| || |
The Perfect Birth
March 19, 2012 - Stacey Sacco
Tomorrow is my due date. I was fully prepared to still be pregnant today. I was not prepared to have a two-week-old baby.
After all, I had a two page birth plan detailing what I was and (mostly) was not OK with in terms of medical interventions before, during, and after my labor and delivery. I did not want an induction and was prepared to wait her out so she arrived when she was ready. I certainly had no intention of rushing off to the hospital at the first sign of steady contractions, opting instead, like my previous two births, to labor at home for awhile to avoid all the monitoring typically done in a hospital setting. Medical interventions are great for people who need them. I just never have any intention of needing them.
Sometimes (OK, usually) things don’t go as smoothly as I had imagined them. I felt like I knew what to expect, since this is the third time I’d done this. I was confident that I had a great doctor who was respectful of my choices and a husband that was prepared to encourage and support me through a third natural childbirth.
What I didn’t take into account was how cooperative the baby would or wouldn’t be. At 38 weeks, our baby girl was still breech. I had known for about a month that she was in that position, but my doctor was confident that because I had not had this problem with either of my previous two pregnancies, she would soon turn. By 36 weeks, I was starting to panic. I tried every theory, guess, and old-wives tale out there about turning a breech baby. Nothing worked.
So at 38 weeks, my doctor recommended an external version, manually turning the baby from the outside. Although it doesn’t always work, he thought I was a good candidate for it and I was willing to do just about anything to avoid a C-section. We made the appointment that week.
The external version was successful (although just as uncomfortable as it sounds). Immediately after, I started having contractions and I had to stay in the hospital for at least a few hours to make sure baby recovered from her flip. Several hours later, the contractions had subsided and baby’s heart rate looked great, but she was still high and her head wasn’t engaging to keep her where she was supposed to be. The doctor recommended that we take action to start labor so she would not have the chance to turn back to breech- a realistic possibility.
Every option I had at this point was on my DO NOT list- a C-section if she turns back, pitocin induction, cervical ripening, constant monitoring, etc. After a long discussion with my husband and doctor, we decided to go with the least invasive option of cervical ripening. Still an unwanted intervention, but a choice made in order to avoid anything worse.
It took awhile, but it did work. Thankfully, I had a wonderful doctor and great nurses who were supportive of my natural birth plan. They empathized over the fact that this wasn’t my ideal plan for meeting my daughter and offered ideas for making myself more comfortable despite being stuck in the hospital. Twenty-four hours later, I also ended up agreeing to have my water broken to move labor along (also in the “no” category per the overridden birth plan).
But the cascade of interventions I feared never took place. I didn’t have pitocin, an epidural, or a C-section. I wasn’t tied to a fetal monitor the entire time I was there. I walked the halls, used the birthing ball, and sat in the Jacuzzi tub for awhile. Most importantly, about three hours after having my water broken, we had the privilege of welcoming Anelise into the world and as a part of our family. My boys had a very healthy little sister.
It may not have been what I pictured, but it was still OK. I’m sure not everyone will agree, but I feel that I made the decisions I needed to without forfeiting the things that were important to me in the process. Maybe my image of the perfect birth was skewed. I still would have preferred to give birth completely on my own terms, but it’s not always possible. Maybe the perfect birth is the one that ends with the perfect baby, and in that case, I’ve had three!
No comments posted for this article.
Post a Comment