Fast forward to this past year when I was pregnant with our little girl. After what happened with my last birth plan I had minimal expectations of the birth I wanted this time. If the pain was intense again I would get the epidural without hesitation. Sure a natural birth would be nice, but I was not going to risk enduring the intensity of contractions and not dilating like last time. I just wanted a vaginal birth again.
It was at 34 weeks that my plans were already being foiled. My sweet little girl was breech… and measuring to be a little bigger than her brother who was eight pounds nine ounces. I was going to have to get a cesarean section if she didn’t turn or we didn’t have the doctor try to turn her (which can be painful and only a 60% success rate with second time moms). I had never considered the possibility of having a breech baby. So much time goes into thinking about how labor and delivery will go I never anticipated that it might not be my decision how she was born. I was so hesitant about the idea of having her turned. Was she breech for a reason or was I just so stretched out from my first bigger baby that she stayed head up and now needed the help getting head down? I spent weeks going back and forth on what I should do.
One day shy of 38 weeks I had done so many natural remedies to get baby girl to turn on her own with no luck that we decided to try the turning procedure. I knew if it didn’t work, then I was meant to have a c-section even though I wanted to avoid one. I also knew that if I didn’t at least try to turn her I would always wonder if it would have worked and I would have unnecessarily had a cesarean. The day of the turning the doctor literally put her hands on my stomach, one on baby’s head and the other on her butt, and tried to turn her. It was so painful. It was the first time I remembered just how bad labor was. I wanted to stop, would have stopped because of the pain, but baby girl was doing just fine. Her heart rate hadn’t changed at all… apparently she was just enjoying the ride… and it worked! She turned successfully and I was set to have the delivery I wanted! Hell, I was even starting to get contractions and dilated to a one by my post 40 week appointment! Things were looking up, I was so excited!
But that excitement didn’t last long. I went in for an ultrasound the afternoon of my post 40 week appointment just to double check the size of baby girl because of the problems I had getting my son out. I was so happy to see my sweet little girl on the ultrasound again, but my heart sank when I heard she was measuring nine pounds twelve ounces. To make matters worse, her head was measuring three centimeters bigger than my son’s. I knew when my doctor called after she got the results what our conversation would entail. After going through all the potential risks of what trying to birth her could do, I couldn’t knowingly try a vaginal birth. If any of the risks happened I would never forgive myself. So here we were again, back to scheduling a c-section.
As I waited in the hospital for my surgery, I felt in a funk…the whole process felt so unromantic. I was so happy that I would be meeting my baby girl soon but it was so far from what I had wanted even with my minimal expectations. When I had learned I was dilated to a one at my appointment I had been ecstatic knowing this time was already going so much easier and I was so close to having the experience I missed the first time around. To add to it all, my contractions were becoming consistent and minutes apart to the point the nurse commented on it leaving me feeling that baby girl was coming out that night one way or another. Knowing the ultrasound could be off 15% either way and that I could have just an eight pound baby left me dazed as I walked to the operating room with my husband reassuring me we were making the right decision. To be honest, in that moment, a part of me felt defeated.
Laying on the operating table it all felt surreal. Once I had the spinal and couldn’t feel anymore contractions I felt like it was almost a dream. It didn’t feel like I was about to have a baby without going through the stages of a “regular” labor and delivery since I was in sense skipping the laboring part. But then something happened. I heard my baby’s cry. Not just the one cry out my son did, but that loud new born baby cry. It was the most beautiful sound and my eyes immediately began to water. Another first, within moments of her being born and measured I was holding her against my chest. Our sweet girl weighed nine pounds eleven ounces. We had made the right decision.
Between my two pregnancies labor and delivery were so different than I thought it would be but in some ways better. I never wanted an induced labor or a cesarean section. I wanted that natural, unmedicated birth, but that is not how it happened for me. I don’t know why I had put it in my head that it would mean something bad of me if I didn’t have a natural childbirth. As if I would be starting motherhood out badly by not having the “best” birth possible when that wasn’t an option for my body or my babies. It was after my c-section that I realized, it doesn’t matter how I brought my babies into this world. All that matters is that I made the best decisions I could with what my body allowed and more importantly that I have two healthy babies. I think it is amazing that some women are able to have natural births, but that doesn’t make me any lesser of a woman or them any better. We are all so fortunate that we got to have these little miracles, regardless of how they entered the world. This is one of those times it isn’t necessarily about the ride but getting everyone safely to the destination.