Cesarean Section BirthThere is this nugget of not-so-feel-good wisdom my mom likes to drop on me occasionally which goes like this:
“They say, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” – Unknown
Having a natural birth was something I didn’t have to give second thought to. Naturally, it felt like the right and most perfect thing to do for my baby and for my body. No drugs in. No painkillers. I imagined myself tuning in to my body’s commands, obeying them and birthing a beautiful baby at the end. With that being said I’d like to share my original birth plan, avenue I took to get there and additional thoughts. All of the following plans probably had God rolling on the floor laughing.
First, a quote: “Natural childbirth isn’t when you do nothing to prepare for the birth; on the contrary, it only happens when you do many things to prepare.” – Dawn Freeman
In preparation for having my first born I decided to take a 10-week childbirth education course with instructor, Chantal Wilford at Birthways in Sarasota. My mother was in attendance as well seeing how my husband was/is working outside of the country. My soon-to-be-mommy mind expanded to great proportions each week as I learned new and invaluable information, techniques and my rights as a future breastfeeding mom in America. While topics such as breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and circumcision were all touched upon, I wouldn’t say this is where I benefited most. Topics that really grabbed me were those in pain management during labor, various birthing videos, making decisions (using your B.R.A.I.N.) in both emergency and non-emerg situations and topics that stressed becoming a more informed patient. I won’t cover 10-weeks of lessons here, but I do suggest moms wanting to have a natural birth take some kind of course if available.
Developing a birth plan was one assignment that proved most beneficial. Here is my exact original birth plan minus some of my personal deets:
While at Birthways, I’d like to have the flexibility to try for a water birth if best for baby and mom, but if needed to have the baby outside of the tub. Movement, music, aromatherapy, food & drink, low light are all welcome dependent on my mood. These are things I’d like to go with the flow on at the time of labor. Lastly, in addition to my support team, I’d like for Valerie Joy McClintock-Gipe (Photographer) to be on-site (if available) to photograph my birth story. On the quirky side: I have no desire to keep my placenta, but would like a photograph with me and this amazing organ for keepsakes.
Coincidentally, this action occurred the same day I had gone in for prenatal acupuncture treatments. The acupuncture was to help with spontaneous labor and with thinning the cervix and so forth. The treatment I received has never been known to turn babies breech and I do not blame the care provider. This type of treatment is practiced quite commonly in German hospitals and other parts of the globe outside of America. Again, it could be one strange coincidence.
In order to remedy the big turn the baby had made I visited a chiropractor to try the Webster technique 3x and I continued to work with the acupuncturist doing moxabustion treatments daily. Both of these techniques are said to have a 80-85% chance at turning the baby and I certainly did feel movements when they were performed. It just wasn’t enough movement to make the full flip. My midwife then recommended I see a OBGYN / specialist in performing external versions.
I met with him the week of Thanksgiving and after a review of my ultrasound the Doctor explained the likelihood of the baby turning. He said chances were slim, but that he could try. It was my job to go home that night and think it over. I felt like this was a test, like if I attempted the external version it would prove how stubborn I was and how much I wanted a natural birth. Given the risks involved with the procedure and that it would need to be done the day after Thanksgiving, I decided to pass and plan for a C-section.
Having my mind locked in on a planned C-section with spontaneous labor gave me the opportunity to try to make the best of things. Of course I needed to revamp my birth plan and here is how the new one went for the section:
Thank you for being a part of the birth of my baby. I appreciate your expertise and experience during this incredibly important day – the day I meet my baby. I would like to be kept fully informed of my options and be involved in decision making. Please remember I am hearing impaired and may need you to speak louder at times and/or repeat yourself a number of times. With that in mind, we (my mother and I) have a list of preferences that we would like respected whenever safely possible. Let’s deliver this baby together!
I actually stumbled across a sample C-section birth plan from the local ICAN group here in Tampa and used their sample to guide my own.
[Note: there’s a Facebook group for ICAN of Sarasota too.]
Now that I’ve shared all my plans, let me tell you how it all went down and offer some unsolicited advice.
My water broke shortly after 1:00 AM the morning of Monday, November 28th. I had just gone to bed about a hour before after my usual Sunday evening routine. I had been camping in my mother’s room the last few nights in the event that I went into labor or started feeling funny (this was the final stretch) and woke her to let her know the water had broken. At least I thought it to have broken given the contents in the loo. My mother readied herself for the trip to the hospital as I was slowly gathering last minute items and meditating through contractions. We were at the hospital by 3:00 AM or so.
We checked in at Labor & Delivery, informed the nurses I was in labor and that my baby was breech. This basically meant: sound the alarm and let the Doc know a C-section is needed. One of nurses checked things out with another ultrasound and confirmed what we had stated. I was still feeling the contractions and I felt like water was leaking everywhere. It was not a pleasant feeling. They prepped me for the section, gave me the spinal tap and the Doctor came in shortly after. Before I knew it the baby was delivered. Bada-bang. Bada-boom. I had skipped ‘GO’ and collected my $200 or baby without the trouble of pushing, panting and doing it the natural way. As supremely bummed as I was the last couple weeks leading up to the C-section, I sure wasn’t bummed when they announced I’d had a baby girl.
I wanted to cry, but my eyes were so itchy from the anestesia that the tears didn’t fully form. Still a well of joy filled in my throat. I felt speechless, blessed and beyond words to see God’s latest work of art in my hands. Once I returned to my room for recovery I proceeded to breastfeed and bond with my baby girl skin-to-skin.
It wasn’t how I had imagined it, but things happen for a reason, plans change and it all works out in the end. Just go with it, be prepared, be flexible and and be happy with the outcome. This was the watered-down mantra I sorta said to myself. My advice to self for the next baby and for other moms who are open to it is the following:
That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.
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