With this being our rainbow baby, I undeniably had major fears and anxieties during this pregnancy, but there were two that stood out because they were entirely unlikely and unrelated to prior issues: breech baby and cord issues. I’m not sure why I had anxieties over these situations, but I did.
Last bump picture.
I guess my first clue should have been her movement. All of her strongest movements were very low. So strong that it would often immobilize me with sudden pain. And no one else really felt her kick. At my 36-week appointment we found out that was because she was breech (head up position). About 3% of babies are breech by 37 weeks, and after several chiropractor visits and some unique yoga poses, she was still breech the Monday (37 weeks pregnant) we decided to do the ECV, which is a manipulation from the outside to get baby to turn head down. Going into the procedure, I had my doubts that she would turn. Apparently there are common underlying issues for most breech mamas, such as being a first time mom, being an avid runner, having been in an accident, having a unique shaped uterus, or having low amniotic fluid/big baby. I didn’t fit into any of those, so I felt like maybe there was a reason she was breech we couldn’t see. We tried the ECV anyway because I desperately wanted to avoid a c-section. My doctor was great. She tried, but she wasn’t going to force her. We got baby to lay transverse (sideways across my abdomen), but no farther. Within minutes of stopping, her head was right back under my right rib cage.
Little did I know I'd be back in 3 days to actually have the baby!
I may have had a total meltdown or two over the impending c-section. I was really struggling with the concept for a very long list of reasons, but mostly it boiled down to I didn’t want to. I went so far as to inquire with a doctor 5.5 hours from me who delivers breech babies vaginally. I was apparently the perfect candidate as I had delivered vaginally before, baby was a frank breech (feet up by her head though she would swing them down occasionally to really get my attention), and we were both healthy. I guess God had other plans because before I ever got any further in that process, labor started.
I had the “fake” Braxton Hicks contractions for months. Months. By the time of my ECV, the monitor was picking them up every 8 minutes. That was my normal. It was kind of funny because when I was leaving the hospital Monday after the ECV, the nurse said to come back if I was having contractions. Uummm, you’ll have to be more specific. So she added, or if they are painful. Again, more specific. If they continue longer than an hour. You could just admit me now. So we agreed on every 2-3 minutes, and I couldn’t complete full sentences through them.
Wednesday night I had more Braxton Hicks, but some were stronger than others around 11pm. We went to bed at midnight, and suddenly I felt like I should time them. Every 4 minutes and they were 1.5 minutes long. After a half hour I woke up Ben. He got up, and I tried to stop the contractions in a warm bath. We were supposed to be scheduling my c-section in the morning! We had decided February 15 was a good day. Apparently not because we were out the door and at the hospital by 2am. The contractions were strong and consistent, plus I really didn’t want to accidentally deliver a breech baby in the car! I think I’ll always wish I had spent just another moment longer saying goodnight to my oldest that night.
I had three contractions from the hospital doors to the exam room, and they were getting stronger. When they checked, I was 4cm and 90% effaced. Still breech. My doctor wouldn’t be able to perform the c-section as they were worried there wasn’t any time to wait for her, so the on-call doctor was notified.
I was pretty blown away by how fast it all went after that. I signed a whole bunch of papers, Ben got dressed in scrubs, and I was taken to the OR. There were lots of people and movement, but everyone was super kind. They kept putting warm blankets on me (OR room was cold!) and asking me questions about the baby and such. The spinal was so fast, and the surgery began before I even had time to fully comprehend that my baby was going to be born any minute.
Before, during, and after the surgery, I shook hard. Apparently that is normal, and it’s my normal in intense situations. I’m a shaker, but man did I shake hard. Ben being there helped tremendously. He couldn’t really talk me through things this time, but he kept me calm. There was no pain, but a lot of pulling and pushing sensations. I remember my doctor saying it typically only took 3 minutes from the start to get the baby out. I looked at the clock and saw it had been longer. I also noticed the time. 3:33 am on February 4. First, I guessed February 3rd or 4th as the day she would be born. I guessed my first daughter’s birthday too. (Sorry that trick only works with my own.) And because I had guessed it, I was once again positive it would not be the day. Also this was almost a year to date when we experienced our first miscarriage. What a beautiful rainbow He made from that storm! Third, my nephew had been born at 3:36 am three days earlier. If you know our back story, my sister and I like to do everything the same, but opposite. We were due about a week apart and joked we’d give birth the same day; apparently it would be the same time and by very different means. At 3:37 my husband said, “There she is!” Temperance Rose was lifted over the curtain for me to see. I loved hearing her cry. So much relief. Tears immediately.
She was swiftly taken to another spot. I was told I’d get to keep eyes on her, but they took her out of my line of sight for a minute, and Ben followed at my urging. I didn’t think much of it until a few hours later when Ben informed me that she had the cord wrapped around her neck twice. They didn’t want me to see that. Apparently a vaginal delivery for a breech baby is dangerous because the head can get stuck inside the mother. This is also a possibility during a c-section. And it happened, which is why it took longer than 3 minutes. The cord and her head were very wedged inside. A vaginal birth would probably not have had a good outcome. And I still find it pretty crazy that two things I had been unsettled about came true. It's amazing how we can know our bodies.
So thankful they let me hold her while finishing the surgery!
Otherwise, Temperance Rose was perfect. Even scored a 9 on Apgar. I did hear a nurse mention it was a very thin umbilical cord, so going to ask the doctor about that. They let me hold her skin to skin in the room as they finished the surgery, which also went by quickly. It took several hours for the spinal to wear off, but soon after, I was up and about. So thankful for one nurse in particular who seemed to really care about how I recovered. She was called in on my last day there and requested me, which I was so thankful for. She had a daughter the same age as myself and enjoyed playing grandma to Cordie.
I feel kind of silly now lamenting that Temperance might not have a birth story like Cordelia, but that is very obviously not the case. Though a c-section was not what I had pictured, I’m thankful for it. I do request prayers though as I recover and hopefully avoid my oldest (weird to say!) daughter’s coughing cold! Never a dull moment!
Kinda loved my extra day at the hospital to soak in this baby.
Big sister was SUPER excited.
Cordie has wanted to do two things since learning she'd be a big sister: sing to baby and rock baby. Check. Check.
She loves her small hands and feet.
Look who's a big kid now (but always my baby)!