When things don’t go as planned, how will you react? When you want one thing, and are handed the opposite, what is your response? When your life changes dramatically, and you have no control, will you be okay with it? Those were all questions that I wrestled with a couple weeks ago.
It all started on the 9th, I guess. Ryan was still breech, despite all our best efforts. This meant that Bernice, our chosen certified nurse midwife, couldn’t deliver him; I was 39 weeks along at this point. So, on Monday, the 9th, we went in for a consultation with Dr. Kindred. We were considering the possibility of doing an external cephalic version, in the hopes that our small, but apparently stubborn, baby would flip, allowing Bernice to still deliver him.
An interesting side note to Monday happened during the sonogram. She didn’t realize that we didn’t know the gender yet, so she unintentionally revealed that to us. Of course, we had been thinking he was a boy for some time, so we weren’t really surprised. The other interesting thing that happened at Dr. Kindred’s office that Monday was that the nurse who hooked me up to the machine that monitors the baby’s heartbeat and movements, and any contractions I was having, forgot to put the paper in. So, what was supposed to be monitored, wasn’t being recorded… 😛 It was rather frustrating.
Anyway, we decided to proceed with the version. It had to be done at a hospital, with an epidural, and in an operating room in case an emergency c-section was required at any point during the version. So, they set up an appointment for the next evening for me at one of the large hospitals in Peoria. After that, they sent me home with instructions not to eat or drink ANYTHING after 9am the next morning. Apparently, they wanted my stomach empty because of the anesthesia. They didn’t want me throwing up in the operating room; go figure.
Tuesday came. Part of my family came. And I was terrible company. I guess I have no good excuse for poor behavior, but I was very hungry, very thirsty, and very stressed. Thankfully, everybody was really understanding, and didn’t expect me to be model company. Then, about an hour before we were supposed to leave for the hospital, I got a call telling me that the hospital had cancelled my appointment due to lack of staff. The doctor’s office also told me that they were trying to get me in somewhere else as soon as possible. Needless to say, I was not happy. Thankfully, after another couple of hours of waiting in uncertainty (and hunger), we finally got a call saying that they got me in at a smaller Peoria hospital later that night. This is where the times start to get kind of fuzzy for me.
Once we got to the hospital, I went through a bunch of admittance stuff, humiliating hospital stuff, and ECV preparation stuff. Epidural, IV, and muscle relaxer were given, and as soon as everything was numb, I was taken to the operating room. There Dr. Kindred and his assistant tried 3 times to get the baby to turn. It was unsuccessful, so I was sent back to a room to recover. Terrible, terrible recovery. Horrid shaking… Ugh. TOTALLY the worst part of this whole ordeal! Once I was able to walk, they let me go. We went straight to Steak and Shake, and I ate and drank for the first time in almost 24 hours. Then home. I was SO looking forward to bed!
But it was not to be. Once home, I discovered that I was bleeding – pretty heavily… After calling various medical people, we decided to go BACK to the hospital. I think we were home for MAYBE 20 minutes.
Back at the hospital, I was again hooked up to a bunch of stuff. Thankfully they pulled my admission papers from a few hours earlier, so I didn’t have to go through all of that again. It was determined that I was 3 centimeters dilated and having stronger and more frequent contractions. Apparently I was in labor. I just thought I was still sore from the epidural and terrible recovery shaking. 😛
Two different nurses thought the baby felt head down (this would have allowed me to do a vaginal delivery, though probably still in the hospital at that point), so they called in an ultrasound technician. She confirmed what Sam and I already knew: he was still breech. Enter Rock and Hard Place. Wedge us tightly in between.
What were our options? Here’s the facts: 1) I was in active labor. 2) Baby was still breech. 3) Bernice couldn’t deliver a breech baby. 4) We hadn’t contacted a lay midwife (and were fairly certain that none of them would take me since I was already in labor). 5) Our known and trusted doctor was flying out Wednesday morning.
It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. And we didn’t really have much choice in the matter. Still, deciding that I was going to compromise my uterus for any future pregnancies and lessening the chances for the kind of birth I’d dreamed about for 9 months, that was HARD. It’s even kind of hard now thinking back to it, and knowing what I am going to have to do/go through for future children.
BUT the decision was made. We decided that it was best to go through with the c-section with the doctor we trusted. I believe that it was the best decision we could’ve made, given the options we had. I will not pretend however, that I’m not a little sad that the apparently wonderful experience of labor and giving birth was literally ripped from me. I am sad. But I am also very happy with the way things worked out.
For the c-section, I was given a spinal, instead of an epidural. The spinal worked much faster and numbed more and more completely. The recovery didn’t seem as bad either, though that may have been the muscle relaxer that gave me such a hard time before.
At 4:50am, Wednesday, December 11, 2013, Dr. Kindred pulled a long, skinny, purple, vernix-covered boy from my womb. I was only able to see him out of the corner of my eye though because right at that moment, the worst headache I think I’ve ever had moved up my spine, through my shoulders and neck, and into the back of my head. I panicked, thinking something had gone wrong with the spinal. Finally the anesthesiologist explained that it was from the air entering my abdomen. That was the worst part of the recovery from the c-section.
They took my baby (Sam went with him) to the nursery while they glued and steri-stripped me back together. When I was moved to a recovery room, I got to hold and nurse my boy for the first time. Then it was back to the nursery for him, and I got moved to the room that would be our home until we were finally discharged.
It seemed like forever before Sam and the baby joined me, but once they finally did, they rarely left me. We had other, minor trials while there (blood sugar tests time and again for the boy – even though he was fine, nausea and itching from the anesthesia, nurses and intercoms constantly in and out, on and off… etc), but for the most part, we were done with the most trying aspects of Ryan’s birth.
We are unbelievably thankful that the version did get moved from one of the large hospitals to a smaller one. We are incredibly grateful to the nursing staff we got. There were several gems in there, specifically Shea, Lynn, and Karen. And we are also glad to know now that my uterus is heart-shaped, thus prohibiting Ryan from turning during the version. Armed with that knowledge, we will be better prepared to make decisions during future pregnancies. The Lord has truly blessed us.
And without further verbiage, Ryan Lawrence Evans: