I didn’t birth my two babies. I had them. I’ve come to terms with my first, his was truly necessary and without a doubt saved his life. The second, I’m still trying to heal from 7 months later.
I had Aedyn February 2009, he was what the Dr called hyper-mobile, all it meant was that even at 40+ weeks he was turning somersaults. He slept breech and then flipped vertex when he was active.
I had my birth plan ready, it was going to be completely natural, I knew I could do it. My Dr was 100% on board and he and the nurses were completely supportive. At 41 weeks my water broke. On our way to the hospital I remember it actually sinking in that I was going to have a baby that day! I’d been nervous for the past month about a possible C-sec because of the occasional breech position, but refused to think of it as an option. But there, in the car, a small voice in my head asked “Even if that means a C-section?”, I felt a peace settle then, that yes, even if I needed a C-section, I would be ok, I was going to be a Mom!
I arrived and was checked into my LDRP room. My heart sunk when the nurse looked at me and said, your stomach doesn’t look right and I can’t feel baby’s head, we need to get an ultrasound right now. Aedyn was oblique, not terrible far off, but his head was at my left hip. My Dr came in and offered me the option of a version. I’d have to have an epidural, but they could let it wear off before I needed to start pushing. Not ideal, but better than just going in for a C-sec.
By the time I was prepped for the version and they rechecked Aedyn’s position, he had rotated fully breech. The Dr was less than thrilled, but he was still willing to give it shot. To his surprise Aedyn rotated head down like he was sitting on a lazy-susan. Then they completley lost his vitals. Things erupted and Aedyn was lifted out of my abdomen 6 minutes later. Yes, we FLEW down that hallway!
I remember only a few things during those minutes, I was so worried about my baby. The Dr promising to do the best he could so I could have a VBAC and then them opening me up and the Dr saying “Where’d the baby go?” I could’ve told them that, the moment the Dr let go of him from the version, he flipped back full breech and curled himself as far up in my ribs as he could get. Still a moment of panic that I’d not really had a baby inside of me for the previous 41 weeks did flit through my head.
Then I heard something else, the Dr said, “Well, that’s why he was so mobile, his cord was so short!” it turns out that Aedyn’s cord was 1/2 to 1/3 of the length of the average umbilical cord. Had I birthed him vaginally, unless He dropped and was born in one push that placenta would have been riped away from the wall and he almost certainly would have been stillborn.
As soon as they checked his vitals he was handed to my husband. After my x-ray, since they hadn’t had to time to count sponges or scalpels, he was handed to me and I held him as I was taken back to the recovery room, he was nursing less than 20 minutes after being born. For a C-section, I really couldn’t have asked for a more supportive and caring Dr and hospital staff. They bent over backwards to do everything they could to follow the rest of my plan. It was hard, it wasn’t planned, but it was so necessary and done with such sensitivity that I ended up being ok.
Fast forward to 7 months ago, November 2010. I’ve moved halfway across the country and am seeing the only Dr in the county who will permit a VBAC. I hate the hospital postpartum policies, and am not thrilled with the L&D policies either, but it’s the only hospital in the area that will even consider allowing VBACs.
I felt my water break at 39w 4d, and because I’ve been GBS+ twice, I’m a little more than rushed to get to the hospital and get some antibiotics started. So I go in, turns out that I have a high leak, so they’re going to keep me, but not much else is going on. I was in tirage for 9 hours because the nurse was trying to buy me time, and because the L&D rooms were all full, seems like Jaron picked a pretty popular day to make his appearance.
The on-call Dr didn’t even attempt to come and see me, he made my Dr come down. They knew I was going to fight. But after 9 hours, absolutely no progress and no contractions, even I was starting to wonder what was wrong with my body. After I consented to a C-sec now rather than a possible emergency one in the middle of the night my water fully broke.
This is my deepest regret and I feel my failure. I should have said stop. I wish I had insisted that they wait a little longer now that my water was fully broken. That we see what happened. That…that something. That anything other than think about the Dr making a special trip on his day off, that the OR was scheduled throught he rest of the evening, that everyone was ready for me. That I didn’t want to cause a problem.
But I did think of those things. And my people pleasing side came out. I had my second baby that evening. Unlike my first, no one mad eany effort to help me through the pain of a failed VBAC and unplanned C-sec. After holding Jaron for a couple of minutes he and my husband were ushered to the nursery where they waited for nearly 2 hours because there were too many babies ahead of them.
Jaron was out like a rock when they finally came to see me. He didn’t nurse until much later. I felt horrible. Then I saw the nurses’ notes on me FAILED VBAC. Not that it made a difference. Not that any of them talked to me about it. It was just written there next to Jaron’s APGAR scores. FAILED VBAC.
Physically, I didn’t even really notice that I had a C-sec, physically I recovered so quickly it was miraculous. But I had to. I had family in town, but no one knew how to help. I had to take both kids to the dr all by myself the day I got home from the hospital. My husband was able to be there for the actual appointment and to help me get them back in the car. But we couldn’t afford for him to take off work.
My first night, all the family left. I was alone with my 20 month old and 4 day old and a huge gash across my abdomen. I called my parents and they did come over that night and every night for the next 2 weeks to help me get my toddler to bed.
But I never heard what I wanted to hear. That I’d done good, that I’d done a good job. That it was hard work. Because it wasn’t, all I’d done was lay there. And no one bothered to tell me that no matter what happened to get him out of my body. I did do good. I thought of my baby, I carried him for 9 months, I’d kept him healthy.
My husband I think wanted to, but he didn’t know how. I’m not even sure that he even knows how much I’m still deeply affected by it. For good or bad I’m fairly good at hiding it.
But it hurts, I see those letters on the nurses sheet when I least expect to. FAILED. It doesn’t matter that I know he’s healthy and I’m a great mom. I still FAILED. My body doesn’t work right. I’ve never dilated, I’ve never felt a contraction. I have two beautiful litlle boys that I feel like I didn’t earn. I feel like I’m not a real woman, that I’m defective. I know it bleeds over into how I see myself now, my figure especially. And I know that having bottled it up for the past 7 months has done more harm than good.
But I know…well, I hope. I’m not the only one who’s still struggling, who’s still hurt. Because that would mean that she’s not the only one either. And someow that possibilty gives me hope that maybe these feelings will diminish and not because I have a successful VBA2C next time around, but because I can actually absorb the fact that wether I have babies or birth them, I am not defined by that reality. It is what it is, but I am more.
By: Heather S.