The very annoying predicament with Baby Clark started at around 33 weeks – baby was still head up. The doctor was confident that the baby would turn in time to have a vaginal birth. The weeks passed by and I knew the baby just wasn’t going to move. It moved as in kicked and wiggled in there, but as for moving head down? I didn’t see that happening.
My 38 week appointment came and the baby was still head up so we set a game plan. At 39 weeks, I was to check into the hospital, get an epidural, and we would try a version. If that worked then they would induce me and if not, then they would take me in for a c-section.
Wednesday April 2nd (39 weeks) came around and I had an appointment at the hospital at 12:00. We left the house at 10:00 to drop off the car (it needed to be fixed due to the wind blowing the door back) and then take Mason to Jamie’s house. We were not even 10 minutes from home when my doctor called and said they could get me in right then. We rearranged plans – still dropped off the car, but then met my mom at Chik-fil-a in Midvale so she could get him to Jamie’s. When we met up with my mom it was very stormy and rainy. Cam got the car seat moved over and we worked on calming Mason down (who was beside himself about leaving us). I had planned ahead and had a toy Mater car and as soon as he had that he was beyond happy (luckily it was so easy).
With Mason taken care of, we headed to the hospital. The rain storm turned to a snow storm (and quite an extreme one) on the way. Not quite the way I expected to drive to the hospital in April. I wasn’t too nervous but the weight of having a baby was setting in.
We got to the hospital and got checked in. The nurses got us settled in our room and we waited for them to check the baby’s position – still breech. They worked on getting my IV going – which you would think was routine, but my nurse tried twice and didn’t get it in right either time. She said I made it harder as I was "a little bit round" - note to nurse, don't tell a 9 month pregnant lady she is round. So she called in another nurse who had to try twice as well. Finally, after 30 minutes, they got my IV in and working. Idiots.
At this point the doctor stopped by expecting me to be IV’d and already have the epidural. He ran me through our plan again (epidural – version – induction if it worked/c-section if not). He said that he would know right away if things would work or not and I just kept hoping that it would. My doctor was so confident that it would. Bobby, the anesthesiologist, finally showed up and got to work on the epidural. Apparently it was an off day at the hospital. He numbed me and then took 10 minutes poking and prodding my back – and it was quite uncomfortable. He finally pulled out a BENT needle! Seriously?! He said that he couldn’t find the epidural space and was just hitting bone. So he asked me to move and tried again – it still didn’t go smoothly, but he finally got it in.
As we waiting for the epidural to kick in they got stuff ready for the version. The doctor, his aide, his medical student, 2 nurses, and my mom and Cameron were all in the room. It all of a sudden felt like so many people and I was starting to get nervous – not for things to happen, but of it not working. I wasn’t sure if I was really prepared if I had to have a c-section. I knew it was a possibility, but I just kept planning on things working out that now that it was go time, I started to get nervous.
My doctor started the version, he cupped the baby’s head, scooted the bum out of my pelvis and started to turn. He got about 45 degrees and stopped to check on the status of the baby to make sure it was responding ok. By the time he checked on the ultrasound the baby had already turned back. He started to try again and didn’t get very far as he couldn’t get the
bum out of my pelvis and the baby had stretched its arms out making it nearly impossible. The doctor just stepped back at that point and said “I tried my best.” And with that my heart sank. I knew what was coming next and luckily people quickly cleared the room – which I was grateful for as I was so overwhelmed. “Bobby” came back and worked on the epidural to make it stronger for the c-section and waited for it to kick in.
As I laid there my mom and Cameron were on either side of me – both holding my hands. I was trying to so hard to keep it together, but the tears were rolling down my face. My mom and Cameron worked on small talk, being positive, and keeping things upbeat – but I could see in both of their faces they knew how I felt and were sympathetic. Cameron took it on as his duty to wipe all my tears with the washcloth they gave me, and I kept him busy. I was still in shock about everything not working like I had planned on and that I was really going to have a c-section. I could feel my body getting more and more numb and my mind kind of started to slow down as well. The doctor came in and it was go time.
As I was rolled out of the room I started to get very dizzy so I closed my eyes and kept trying to think of being somewhere else. I could sense the hospital lights going past and I opened my eyes just as we were entering the operating room. The big bright nights, lots of people milling about, and feeling like I wasn’t even in the room with everyone – it was all a bit overwhelming. I was being talked about, moved, and prepped and it all felt so foreign. It was somewhat an out of body experience. I was so drugged that it was work to even keep my eyes open so I laid there on the brink of sleep, trying to tune out what was going on, and freezing. I am sure I lost track of time as it seemed to all happen so fast, but still take a while. Before things got started and before Cameron got in the room, I was wishing I was anywhere but there. Everything felt so wrong and not how the day was supposed to go.
Before I knew it I felt a soft warm hand grab mine and Cameron’s sweet voice in my ear asking me how I was doing. I could barely squeak out an “ok” – partly because I was too upset to talk and partly because I was too drugged to say much more. He sat there by my side holding my hand and stroking my forehead and checked in on me every now and then. Every stroke of his fingers on my face helped to calm me just a little more and I tried to focus on that instead of what was happening.
I finally heard that doctor ask for the scalpel (very fitting right?) and braced myself for feeling “some pressure” that people always say they can feel with c-sections. I didn’t feel a thing and feel like I may have fallen asleep because it seemed like not a minute later they said “Dad, do you want to stand up and see?” Cameron stood up and said “a baby girl.” It was the only moment of true clarity I had. Cameron leaned down and kissed me and I couldn’t believe we had a GIRL! The nurse held her up on my side of the curtain and I just couldn’t believe it. The next several minutes were foggy, but Cameron eventually held her up to my face and her cute little button nose was the first thing to catch my attention. I thought I saw some Mason in her and still couldn’t believe it was a girl.
Cameron left with her to the nursery as they finished up with me. I was still freezing and they kept layering me with blankets. They eventually moved me back to my bed and wheeled me into my room.
As I got back to my room – there was my mom. Her sweet face depicting everything I felt. Disappointed but trying to be brave. I was still very drugged and cold and laid there wanting to sleep the whole experience away. Things were very calm in my room – the lights were dim, my mom and eventually Cameron there with me, and finally my dad. The room was quiet and quite peaceful. Even when they brought Zoey in the room – she was quiet and alert. It was hard to talk or stay alert enough to really know what was going on – but text, phone calls, and instagrams were being shared with all our family. I felt just support from them even from afar.
Baby girl was hungry and ready to eat – the nurses joked that she came out sucking. I don’t know who gave her to me, but her little body was next to mine – skin to skin – and she sure was ready to eat. All of a sudden here was this tiny, beautiful baby girl. She was all mine.
The c-section was a whole different experience than going through labor with Mason. Granted my labor with Mason was a killer, but this did seem easier and faster as it was all of 2:18 (less than 3 hours after getting to the hospital) when she was born. Part of me felt like a bit of a failure that I didn’t labor and push and get her here the hard way. I am usually not one that feels like either way makes you more of a “mom” or “woman” – but the part of me that wanted to have her vaginally was disappointed. I wanted to know that it would have been easier with her than Mason and that I was capable of doing this hard thing. I also didn’t want the recovery of a c-section. With a busy 2 year old at home and life I wanted to get back to – I felt like I had just had my legs cut off with all of the restrictions and recovery.
The recovery, especially at the hospital, was so much better than I expected. It is a very different kind of recovery and definitely a much longer one. But many of the things I was so worried about and the horror stories of c-section recoveries didn’t seem to either be as bad as I expected or didn’t happen. I think there is a part of me that feels like I really didn’t give birth. I was so absent from the whole thing that I feel like it happened without me.
Either way – my beautiful baby girl is here and healthy. She has the most perfectly round little head, a tiny button nose, and is just beautiful.