Our birth story actually began the week after class ended, 11 weeks before our crazy Tuesday, May 31st.
The week after class ended I was diagnosed with Cholestasis of Pregnancy, which puts baby at risk after week 36/37. I was transferred from midwife care to an OB, I began taking medication daily, I had weekly ultrasounds and blood draws and every other week clinic visits.
At week 33 I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and was told that Baby would be born at week 37, either by induction or c-section. So I increased my efforts to turn Baby. I wrote my Birth Preferences as well as my “in case of emergency/c-section” plan.
At our week 35 appointment we were scheduled for an External Cephalic Version (ECV) at 9am on Tuesday, May 31st, with an induction to follow at 12 noon (or a c-section if the version didn’t work.)
At week 36 Baby was still frank and I was getting disheartened. I struggled to continue my daily home play and all my daily baby turning activities. I was struggling with the idea that all of my preparation, time, energy (not to mention money) might be for naught if I was going to have a c-section. But I knew negative thoughts can affect outcomes so I started to say that over Memorial Day weekend Baby was going to turn on their own and my water was going to break on Monday, that we weren’t even going to need the ECV or induction on Tuesday.
Well, nothing major occurred over the weekend. Or Monday. On Tuesday morning I woke up at 2:15am needing to use the bathroom. I got up many times between 2am and 6:30am and told Dave that I thought my water may have broken, and he said “nah, it’s probably just another weird pregnancy thing,” as he threw his arm over me and fell back asleep.
So we got up at our planned time. My father in law stopped to get the dog. Dave got the last of the things ready to go as I laid on the couch listening to the Turn baby track on repeat. Then we got in the car and headed to Abbott and met our amazing doula, Holly there.
The triage/assessment nurse got the IV started and I mentioned that I wasn’t sure but I thought my water may have broken. She did the test to see as she hooked up the monitors to my belly, and well before the 10 minutes were up she said that yes, in fact my water was broken. I began to cry as it is not routine to do a version if the water is broken and I was mourning the loss of experiencing the birthing process. The nurse started normal saline to try to hydrate both Baby and me since I had been NPO since midnight and had urinated several times.
The nurse left to notify the OB of the situation and Holly walked over to look at the tracings. As she did so, she asked if I was having any pressure waves. I said “no,” as all I had been feeling were Braxton Hicks, the same thing I had been feeling at night for nearly 2 months. Holly’s eyebrows shot up, she got a huge smile on her face and said “well, you are having pretty decent pressure waves every five minutes, according to these tracings!” This whole time I had my “Turn Baby” track playing in my earbuds.
When the OB on-call came in he said that while it is not standard practice to attempt an ECV after the membranes rupture, because I was so determined to have a vaginal birth, he was willing to try the ECV but wanted to do so in the OR “just in case.” So we met the surgical team. I don’t know the exact timeline of events after this but I know the order things happened.
As we went in to the OR, I continued to listen to my “turn baby” track, Dave and Holly right next to me saying "peace" and other Hypnobabies cues. Dr. H, the OB, tried to turn Baby to the left. It was incredibly painful and Baby didn’t budge. So Dr.H tried turning Baby to the right which was less painful but Baby still refused to move. Dr. H looked at me and said “this shouldn’t be this painful or difficult, I am sorry, Momma, but we need to do a cesarean." I was actually at peace with this as with the attempted ECV I felt I had tried everything I possibly could have to get baby to turn and apparently this was the course our Birth needed to take. We switched audio tracks to the “Deepening” track and proceeded to the c-section.
At 11:54am, Tuesday May 31, 2016 Dave got to announce that our baby Wesley Roy was born. He was 5lbs 2oz, 17 and ¾ inches long. I was able to have skin to skin with our baby, who had a full head of hair while the surgical team continued to work on me. Holly told me that we were together for nearly an hour. The neonatal nurse kept telling us that they needed to take to Wesley to Special Care as he was just under the weight threshold and they were worried about his ability to regulate body temp and blood sugar. I began to cry. Dave stood there not knowing what to do as they took our baby away and I was still open on the table. Holly told Dave to go with the baby and she would stay with me. I repeated several times as they left the OR that I wanted Dave to do skin to skin with Wesley.
While they continued to work on me I asked Holly to put both ear buds in so I could focus on my hypnosis. I did hear the surgical team talking on the other side of the drape and heard Holly say “isn’t that treated with methotrexate?” Dr. H said “yes, sometimes, but luckily we were able to get it all so that won’t be necessary.” I registered that methotrexate is commonly used as a chemotherapy drug but was so focused on my hypnosis I didn’t ask any questions. When we were finally in the Post-anesthesia recovery area Holly and the nurse informed me that I had an undiagnosed placenta accreta, where the placenta grows into the uterus. Dr. H had to scour my uterus to remove all of the placenta that had grown in it.
The next morning, when Dr H did rounds, he told me that had I had a vaginal birth, whether Wesley turned or we attempted a vaginal frank breech birth, I would have had severe bleeding, Dr. H would have had to reach inside to try and retrieve the placenta which would have led to an emergency surgery with general anesthesia. He told me that the likelyhood of severe bleeding in that scenario was great and that it was likely that I would have had an emergency hysterectomy. By Wesley not turning and having a c-section, rather than my dream natural vaginal birth, they were able to preserve my uterus and probably saved my life. I call Wesley my Superman because he saved the day. He knew what needed to be done.
Dave spent the next five days with Wesley in Special Care. My mom and dad spent the majority of four of those days bouncing between my room and Wesley’s, and my mom spent the first three nights in my room. I used the Deepening track to fall asleep each night and when I started to get upset that I couldn’t be with our baby.
My pain was not well controlled. Once each of the first two nights I experienced intense pain responses, due to the combination of uterine contraction and surgical pain, where my entire body went into spasms. It took a long time for the nurses to get orders from the on-call OB. While I waited for medication I listened to the Deepening track, breathed Peace and Wesley 's name on exhalation and taught my mom to say “peace” on my exhalations. I was able to get my body (not my pain) back under control in about 45 minutes both times before the medications arrived. While I didn’t get to use my Hypnobabies the way I envisioned I did get to use the skills I learned.
I may not have gotten the birth of my dreams but both Wesley and I are now happy and healthy.