May 10, 2019 6 min read 1 Comment
You were breech at 32 weeks. I did my best to relax my uterus enough for you to flip head down. I did inversions, handstands in pools, took stress relieving herbs, cancelled stressful plans, got special chiropractic care, and even did a special hypnotism session, but nothing worked. You did NOT want to be upside down.
At 37 weeks, our midwife suggested I try a procedure called external cephalic version to push you from the outside and try to get you to turn. It hurt. A lot. You still didn’t want to flip, so our midwife recommended finding a doctor for a cesarean procedure.
I didn’t want that.
I wasn’t planning on having a surgical birth. I wanted it to be natural. But no doctors or midwives in Austin would deliver a breech baby vaginally because of the complications of resuscitation.
I leaned in.
I gave up my plan for your birth so that you could be born however you wanted. If that meant I had to have surgery in a hospital, then I was going to learn to be happy about that.
That evening, I went out to dinner with a friend. We talked about you, the birth I might have, and my dilemma of whether or not I should schedule the surgery or let you choose your own birthday. And even after a full meal, I had an itch for some coconut oatmeal cookies. I sat and researched recipes for the longest time and after my 30th trip or so to pee… I felt a pop. My water broke! I think. It was just a small trickle and I didn't think I peed my pants... but I wasn’t 100% sure.
Your dad was out at a comedy show and raced home. Our midwife came over and checked how far along labor might be and said that it could be anywhere between 10 and 36 hours! She said to take it easy, drink a glass of wine, and try to get some sleep. We celebrated with a little bit of champagne and got the house ready.
Your dad scrambled to pack the bags. I cleaned… which now seems silly but I wanted the house to be clean for you when you first came home. But... you weren’t ready yet, so we took a nap.
I woke up around 2:30am in a puddle with some minor contractions. I used an app on my phone to time them and labored by myself for about an hour before they started getting strong. I woke up dad and he stayed with me rubbing my back and trying to help make me comfortable.
Around 5am, it was time for us to go to the hospital. Walking was so hard. I had to stop every few minutes to have contractions. I leaned on the wall. I leaned on the side of the car. I sprawled out in the seat (exactly how they do in movies) and painfully felt every bump on the road. I had been scared of having contractions in the car, and here I was - having contractions in the car. I could do this!
We arrived at the hospital. We got lost. I don’t know why said no when they asked if I needed a wheelchair. We walked in circles. Very slowly. I took breaks for contractions. And finally, your dad left to get me a wheelchair and a security guard found me moaning on the floor on all fours. It sounds chaotic... because it was.
The security guard helped me into a nearby wheelchair and led us to the maternity ward where they hadn’t entered my pre-registration paperwork. Honestly, I imagine I’m their worst fear -- a home birth mom showing up in the middle of labor with a breech baby needing surgery.
But, everyone was welcoming and most importantly, calming. In the rush to get me from the car to the hospital, dad forgot the bag that had our birth plan. As he went to grab it, I labored relatively peacefully. The hospital staff wanted to honor my birth plan for you as best as they could, and I was pleasantly surprised to have an experience closer to the one I wanted than the one I expected.
The hardest part about laboring at the hospital was that they had to do my intake and ask me a million questions about my health history, my grandma’s health history, etc. It was just terrible to have to think that hard, when all I wanted to do was to meet you. Our doula, who we had hired less than 24 hours before, repeatedly told me to just look into her eyes and to sink into the uncomfortable feelings in my body. I was ready for you and I knew it.
Around 8:30am, the nurse came in and started prepping me for surgery. She said it was time for me to walk over to the operating room.
You read that right, walk!
I knew I had to move fast before another surge came, so I bolted. Dad turned around to grab his booties. The nurse turned around to grab paperwork. But I was on the move.
Questions ran through my head -- Would the surgery go okay? Would you be healthy and happy?! Would I be a good mom?! It wasn’t the first time or the thousandth time these thoughts ran through my head, but while racing to the operating room, it was all I could think about. Eventually, I leaned against the wall to let a contraction come while everyone caught up.
The worst part of the whole experience was the fifteen minutes between when I went into the operating room and when dad was allowed in. I couldn’t stop thinking of you and the birth plans that I had for you as I walked into a big, bright, cold operating room alone. I tried climbing up onto the table and felt another surge hit.
The anesthesiologist said something along the lines of, “I’m so sorry you’re in such pain” and that really messed with me. I guess if it were my job to keep people out of pain, I might have said that too. But that question caused my mind to start thinking about the entire birthing process. This was so hard. Would I have been strong enough to deliver you naturally?
I felt the spinal tap go into my back. I scooted down the table and the surgical ballet began. A team of eight doctors and nurses helped deliver you. I could only see their eyes. There was a blue sheet just below my arms so I couldn’t even see what they were doing, but that was okay. When your dad walked in, I instantly felt at ease. He held my hand and we waited as the team brought us one step closer to you.
I requested no chit-chat in my birth plan and I’m so glad I did. The team kept their talking to just the minimum, every once in a while saying the next surgical step or giving us a countdown to you. 5 more minutes until you were born. 1 more minute until you were born. It’s happening.
Dad watched you come out. The doctor held you up over the sheet so I could see you. You were blue and you were silent. I held my breath until you let out a small cry and they rushed you over to the baby warmer to take your footprint and give you a good rub down.
I had told dad that after you were born, his main job would be to stay with you. No matter what. And he did such a great job. While the nurses were drying you off and putting your diaper on, he was maintaining skin to skin contact as much as he could. And he kept telling the nurses to hurry up so that we could start having our skin to skin time on my chest, as well.
So 3 minutes and 30 seconds after you were born on August 5, 2019, at 8:54am, I got to officially meet you when the nurse laid you on my chest just below my chin. It was the happiest moment of my life, and I’m tearing up as I write this, as I do every time I remember what it felt like to finally become a mom. Your mom. It’s the highest honor to have you trust me with carrying you and helping you grow up.
Dad started to sing you your song “This is Your Daddy” while they stitched me up. I clicked my tongue to the beat, rubbed your cheek with my thumb, and thought about how perfect you are and always will be.
Your mama, Serenity Carr
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