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CAM Birth Story #11: Poppy’s Breech Birth (Mom’s Perspective)

In honor of Cesarean Awareness Month 2010, we will be filling the blogosphere with stories from real women (and their families) who know first-hand the consequences of a 32% cesarean rate. Each day we will post at least one birth story submitted by these women. Prepare to be moved (hint: grab a box of Kleenex)!

From Julie…

I should preface this story by saying several times my friends had asked why I did not use Dr Tate as my OB, my answer was always “Because I do not need him” famous last words.  Dr Tate is the local OB most VBAC moms use successfully and is highly rated in our local ICAN community.

Also about 3 days earlier I noticed and commented to a friend that the baby’s kicks had changed place.  I decided it certainly couldn’t be breech as I never recline what reason would the baby have to turn?

I woke at 6 am on March 13 having had odd dreams.  I was supposed to help out at my child’s school that day for field day.  I was NOT looking forward to being in the heat and pregnant.  I went to the bathroom and got back in bed unable to sleep.  At 6:30 I thought I really wet myself as I laid there and was quite surprised.  I sat up to head back to the toilet and had another gush.  Deciding a gush was bad at only 36 weeks 5 days I laid back down and decided to use the over tired and over used “Honey wake up I think my water just broke”.  This caused my husband to leap out of bed, turn every light in the room on and freak out.

After packing bags, taking a shower, and calling the midwife on call I headed into their office to get checked.  I think this was at 9am.  I arrived and went to get a nonstress test.  After the test I was taken back to get checked.  My midwife said the ONLY reason to check at this point was to encourage labor.  I was claiming to have about 2 or 3 contractions an hour and they were less intense than my previous Braxton hix contractions I had been having the weeks before.  She checked me and I climbed the back of the table.  Apparently getting checked HURTs like the devil.  Why on earth do woman want to get checked before labor even starts?  My midwife said I was 0-1 inside and 3-4 outside.  She followed that up with “I don’t think that’s a head”.

An ultrasound machine was brought into the room and with me standing on the floor in shock we checked and yes the head was up.  We discussed my lack of options.  I said I needed to talk to my husband and barreled through the office to find him.  I walked in on some other poor woman getting her nonstress test.  I found my husband eventually in the parking lot with my kids.  I told him in a panicked tone to “Get in the van”, we discussed my actual potential options.  I walked into my OB office and left a message with the desk worker I would be headed out to see what other options I had and with my get away car started and ready to go I ran out the door as fast as a 36 week pregnant woman who was gushing amniotic fluid with each movement could move and not totally mess her pants.

I then started making phone calls.  I called Christine (ICAN BOD) and she came to the same conclusion I did.  “Go to Dr Tate”.  She called him, I called his office, Tamar gave us directions… or tried her best to give us good directions while squealing happily that I would have a baby soon.  We met Jody at the nearby Chick Filet and she took my boys since suddenly this whole birth thing was going to change.

We arrived at Dr. T’s office and filled out paper work.  Then an old friend came out of her appointment and she suggested some yoga positions which could help baby get back head down.  So I waited in Dr. T’s waiting room on my hands and knees alternating with the downward facing dog position.  This is when my old OB practice called my husband to request we pay our co-pay we owed them or they would not fax over my records.  It was a whopping $25!  I couldn’t believe they would hold my records hostage in a moment like this for twenty five measly dollars!

Eventually I went back to see Dr. T.  I enjoyed watching his nurses interact and do charts… they are a funny lot.  Then I saw Dr T. he checked me and said I was 0-1 did a quick ultrasound and with some begging and agreement to sign some extra papers and be a good little patient he would take me.  Then he sent me to the hospital.

I had felt pretty anxious from the moment my water broke so I had not eaten all morning I begged for permission to eat before checking into the hospital and Dr T conceded.  We drove downtown and the place closest to the hospital was some Gypsy diner… I know gypsies have a reputation for steeling babies so we decided to drive back towards Ga Tech to eat at the place where Billy Bob’s use to be.  The ONLY soup they had was cream of mushroom.  My mother and sister had joined us by this point after a quick stop at Ikea to pick them up because they could find Ikea but couldn’t find Crawford Long.

After eating we went to Crawford Long and checked in.  My mom and husband did the paper work because I was doing my best to remove myself from the situation so I wouldn’t FREAK OUT.  I mean I didn’t know Dr T and just an hour before my OB had been someone totally different.  My water was broken and I was preterm.  I had oodles to be freaked out about.  I went to the bathroom and cried; I had soaked through my pad and didn’t take any with me to the bathroom.  To top it off my cell phone had no net coverage in the bathroom so I was unable to call and request my mom or sister bring me one.  After a while my mom came in and brought me a pad because I was taking too long to just be using the toilet.  I felt so much better once she was there.  Especially knowing she was supporting my choices in an attempt to have a vaginal breech birth.

Around 3:00ish we got checked into room 7.  This is my lucky number by the way, so I felt good about that.  The nice nurse tried to get a gown on me, at which point I started walking around in nothing but a bra, a too small tank top (husband packed the wrong one) and underpants.  My explanation was what I was wearing actually gave her more access than a hospital gown would.

I walked the halls, with some additional clothes on with my mom and chatted with my family.  I went to the bathroom about every minute.  I belly danced, labor had no intention of picking up.  I sent my sister home to pick up my boys and take them home.  I didn’t know how long this was going to take and knew I would feel better with my boys at home and Miguel getting to go to school in the morning.  Around 10pm Christine recommended I sit on a birth ball.  We got one and I bounced on it to no effect.

At 11pm I saw Dr T for the first time since his office and he suggested Cytotec since I had made no progress.  My first response was to freak out and say no.  We discussed it at length, he had some good arguments and I conceded to use it.  It took like an hour to get it and apparently my dose was stolen from another patient because the pharmacy was taking too long to get it to me.  The dose was administered around midnight.  I then had to watch the monitor for the 2 hours to make certain nothing was going to go wrong.  Who can trust highly trained nurses and what the heck do I think I know about monitoring labor?  LOL

After I watched the machines for the designated 2 hours everyone in my family slept including me.  Unfortunately about 2 hours later the nurse came in and gave me a new dose of antibiotics only she didn’t realize my site was included and without the fluids to dilute the penicillin I suddenly woke from my sleep with my thumb feeling like it was on fire and going to burst right off my hand.  So a already freaked out pregnant woman too sleepy for words trying to work out why suddenly her hand is in pain while trying not to wake her husband and mother got me pretty worked up.  The nurse came in and fixed the issue and then I was left to rest some more… cause you know it’s so easy to get back to sleep.

At 6 am Dr T checked me and I was 3cm and 70% which is progress, we discussed it and agreed to start pitocin.  This is also about when my sister called to talk to my mother crying she had slept wrong and had a bad crick in her neck.  After her second teary call I sent my mother home to take care of my kids and my sister.  I figured I would just get grumpy if my sister continued to call my mother in tears while I was in a pitocin induced labor.  Since my mother was leaving I contacted my doula and requested that she head on over.

Pitocin was started around 6:40 am.  This is where things get kind of hazy time wise.  I tried different things through the contractions.  The thing that worked best at first was shimmies.  Then we found sitting on the ball and standing leaning over the bed worked best.  Then Doc T checked me and said I was 5.  I found this news very disappointing.  After he left the room I went to the bathroom because I felt like I needed to poop.  Only I only felt like I needed to poop when I was having a contraction.  While in the bathroom I tried to poop and then stood up.  This is when I felt an odd flutter sensation in my vagina and copious amounts of meconium started shooting out of me.  This freaked me completely out.  I cried I panicked.  From my previous birth meconium is a reason to panic even in little amounts.  This was actually shooting out of my vagina.  I found out soon after that this is NORMAL for breech births.  Little bottom sitting on the cervix like a potty and then the baby getting squished causes baby to poop.  If the meconium is shooting out my vagina then it cannot be aspirated.  However this is the last straw which shook my confidence to the point of fear.

I soon announced I felt pushy so my doula suggested I lay down in bed.  Not too much time later I was pretty pissed off about the contraction pain.  I was extremely angry my contractions had no let up.  I started begging negotiating and offering to give the baby to anyone willing to get me a fricking epidural hell I didn’t care what had to be done to make it stop but I was done.  After I ranted, yelled, and was a complete bitch for a while Dr T came in and said he would see if I could get a paracirvical block.  I agreed to get one, Dr T checked me saying I was 7 cm and turned around to order it… only that’s when I suddenly started pushing the baby out.  I yelled “The baby is coming!” because in that unintentional push I felt the baby move down.  This was no joke.  Everyone started telling me not to push like I had some control over it.

Here is where we start moving in a very emergency style way to the OR as Dr T doesn’t like to deliver breech in the labor and delivery rooms.  We were suddenly being moved.  Dr T was on the end of my bed with his hand holding the baby in.  I grabbed the bedrails for comfort and then everyone was having fits about my hands being IN the bed.  Thing is when you are on a ride it is normal to want to hold on to something.  Seriously hospital bed designers should consider some kind of patient handles for these occasions.  As I was being wheeled down the corridor to the OR I started chanting “Stop!” which got louder as my will to stop my body from pushing took more effort.  Dr T was begging me to stop pushing and in my life I have never wanted to do what someone was asking more.  Unfortunately my body was barely listening, though by the time we got to the OR doors my body was responding to my chanting.  I do not remember any additional contractions past this point.  I do not know if I had any once IN the OR.

Then they wanted me to help them move me from the hospital bed to the OR table only once again I had no where to put my hands to manage leverage.  I grappled at my nurse pretty certain I molested her to get a grip on something to scoot without moving my lower body out of fear it would kick back in gear since I had finally convinced it to slow down.

In the room there was a lot of yelling… and this time it was not me.  Some person was trying to get a heart rate monitor on my finger and Dr T wanted me to use that hand to hold my leg so it kept popping off.  There was a lot going on in the room.  My nurse yelled that everyone not needed for the birth must leave.  No one did leave but it did quiet the room and all the fussing about at least a little.  Then the room got too quiet and I asked if I could finally push.  Dr T said yes and I did.  Only after having the baby paused so long once I got her body out I couldn’t tell if she was out or not.  I couldn’t feel her IN me but everyone was still waiting for something.  My body had finally turned off its fetal ejection reflex.  I asked if she was out and when Dr T said no for the first time in 3 births I actually had to intentionally push.  I pushed once and it was ineffective.  I could feel that it wasn’t quite right.  So I tucked my chin and rolled up into a crunch position which was very hard since someone put a rolled towel or something under my middle back.  I then pushed again with success, 1 more push later and the baby was out.  Apparently much of this hubbub was because the wrong code was called when I was taken to the OR.  Rather than getting the vaginal breech team the emergency C-section team showed up which explains why the heart rate monitor person was so intent on getting that darn thing on my finger.

We waited for the placenta and at some point someone brought me the baby to see.  This confused me because what I saw they brought me was a white blobby thing and I couldn’t see a baby at all.  They wanted me to see her before they took her to the NICU.  Only the white blob they were showing me was not a baby.  So after saying I don’t see the baby I said if she needs to go to the NICU don’t worry about me just take her.  Later I would discover I no longer had my glasses on thus couldn’t see the baby.  It wasn’t that everyone around me had lost their minds as I had originally thought.

I pushed out the placenta with some ease and then I was stitched up.  The size of the head coming through the vagina breech makes the head loads larger than in the traditional head first way.  I thus sustained a 3rd degree tear.  I was feeling MUCH better or at least a little less like a raving lunatic.  Once stitched up my nurse bathed me which was a really beautiful and lovely experience.  My nurse requested a wheel chair to take me back to my room.  Dr T teased I had to walk… my nurse got me a wheel chair anyway.  This for the record was the ONLY time I used a wheel chair for any of my frequent NICU visits.

I was taken to my room where I cleaned up changed clothes and packed.  My doula took my bags to my post room and my nurse took me to the NICU to see the baby.  It was not till we were in the room packing I realized I couldn’t see at all and this explained why my baby was just a white blob of blankets and not an actual baby to my eyes.  My husband was called and he had my glasses in his pocket in the NICU so once there I was able to see my daughter.

She was in the NICU but we later learned this was just an over cautious pediatric choice due to her being premature she was in bed 7 just for the record.  She was on a CPAP just long enough to determine she didn’t need it.  She was happy and content.  My husband and I discussed her name a little and I headed to my post partum room.  Once there I found across the hall from my door on the opposite wall was a beautiful picture of a field of Poppies… which made her name Poppy instead of one of the complicated names we had otherwise considered of Greek Goddesses or Muses.

She was released to our room and we headed home just 48 or so hours after she was born.

Poppy Jewel born May 13, 2009 10:20am 6lb 10oz and 19inches

Click back later today to read Poppy’s Dad’s side of the story…