Rose’s birth did not go according to my plan.  Not much about having a baby has, though, so I guess I’m not surprised.
My mom taught childbirth classes for most of my life.  And, for most of my life, she’s been telling me not to have a baby in a hospital if I can help it.  So I began going to The Birth Center several years ago, and have looked forward to having a Birth Center baby ever since!
When I got pregnant with Rose, I came to TBC and was so excited to finally be one of the pregnant ladies!  Because of a blood antibody, I had to have monthly (and later weekly) level 2 ultrasounds and biophysical profiles.  During these visits we watched “the Bean” go from breech to transverse to head down and back again.  I also listened to those doctors scaring me about my placenta (which moved in plenty of time) and telling me how BIG the baby was.  So much so that even though I passed the 1-hour glucose test (twice), they made me take the 3-hour one (which I passed).  More reasons to love the midwives!  They always managed to bring me back to earth after I melted down due to the doctors at Maternal Fetal Medicine (who were really just doing their job – they’re just a little more alarmist than I like).
I took Hypnobirthing with Peggy and was looking forward to using my new techniques (even though I’m sure there are people who practiced more than I did).  I took all the classes that were offered.  I went to an awesome chiropractor (Dr. Kostow) for the Webster technique.  I considered an external version, but the doctor wasn’t convinced that the baby would stay once he turned it.  I briefly considered moxibustion, but decided against it.  And then, 2 weeks before my due-date, the baby was still breech and the news was broken – I had to be transferred to an OB.  I was not happy.  I tried to bargain with them – if the baby turns before then, I can come back, right?  If I go into labor and the baby turns in labor, how about then?  (Answers – of course, and maybe).
I went to see Dr. Cooksey.  I didn’t want to go see him, and I didn’t like any of his answers.  Can I have immediate skin-to-skin?  No.  Can we delay cord-clamping?  No.  I forget what the other questions were, but I began to think that the man only ever said “no.”  I left in tears.  This was not going to be the wonderful waterbirth that I planned.
A week later I went back to Dr. Cooksey, and this time I was in a better mood.  I had allowed myself to grieve the delivery that I wanted, and while I still wasn’t happy, I had accepted that this was the safest way to bring my baby into the world.  I found that he’s actually a nice guy, this doctor.  The c-section was scheduled (for 2-6-12.  I’m a complete nerd so the fact that it’s a fact family is completely awesome to me).  He assured me that they would check the baby’s position when I was admitted, and if it had turned head-down, he would induce and let me have this baby naturally.  I prayed and prayed for that to be the case.
Feb. 6th arrived and I woke up at 5:30am to eat breakfast since I wasn’t allowed to have food or drink after 6am (starve the pregnant woman – that part really sucked).  I went back to bed, thinking this may be the last time I can ever sleep in.  At 11:30, my mom came over, dropped off her stuff that she’d need here when we got home, and we were off to Christiana.  Admission was fast, and soon we were in the prep room.  I met the anesthesiologist, Dr. Katz (who later became my favorite person) and a load of other people.  They came in to do an ultrasound and found that the baby was in an unidentifiable position, kind of like downward dog.  Her head was sort of down, but her hands were below her head with her butt up and feet toward my back.  Everyone came to look at the weirdly positioned baby, and my last shred of hope for a natural delivery went down the drain.
People came and went, informed me that my surgery had been postponed an hour (which upset me more because I was hungry than because I really wanted to meet my baby).  Finally it was time.  Mom suited up and I was wheeled back to the OR.  Mom had to wait outside the room until I had the spinal.  The spinal.  I was SO SCARED of this.  I never liked the idea of a needle in my back – it’s one of the main reasons I didn’t want a hospital baby – I didn’t even want to be offered an epidural.  So here I was, on the operating table, with Dr. Katz sticking me in the back.  Guess what?  It didn’t even hurt.  I barely felt a thing.  The next thing I know, everyone in the room was kind of shoving me onto my back.  It seems that if you don’t get on your back fast, all of the effect of the spinal goes right to your butt.  Dr. Cooksey said it was the fastest he’s seen that happen.  Go me!
The blue curtain was set up and they started prepping me (while I drove them nuts with “I can feel that – should I feel that?” statements).  Mom came in and was seated by my head.  She really wanted to stand and watch, but they didn’t really go for it.  Dr. Cooksey informed me that he had just pinched me with something really hard, and since I didn’t feel it, it must be time to start.  I felt a lot of pushing and pulling, but no pain at all.  At one point I heard cutting with scissors and remarked how gross it was that I could hear it, and I knew it was me he was cutting.  Very soon he asked if we wanted him to say the sex of the baby.  Of course!!  “I think it’s a girl.”  Um, you THINK??  A few seconds later he confirmed that it was a girl (which was a shock – both my mom and I were positive it was a boy) and announced, “It’s a toddler!”  I didn’t get to see Rose (that’s her name) right away.  They took her across the room to be weighed and measured (mom went with them and was running back and forth taking pictures and showing them to me).  She was with the pediatricians for less than 10 minutes. Then my mom brought her over to me and held her cheek to cheek with me.  The nurses freed my arm so I could touch her and I just cried.  It truly was love at first sight.  She was so beautiful and at that moment it didn’t matter how she was delivered – she was here and perfect (and huge – 10lbs. 3oz. and 23.5 inches).  Dr. Cooksey closed me up, they freed my other arm, lifted me with the whale crane (think Free Willy) onto the bed, and gave Rose to me to carry out of the OR.  After a short ride in the hallway, we got back to the recovery room (same room we started in), and within minutes, Rose found my boob, latched on, and nursed away for about 45 minutes.
We had some visitors – Rose’s godparents and my cousin came in, and a few other friends later on.  They FINALLY gave me some crackers and a drink (saltines have never been so good).  Every 10 minutes or so, someone came to check the incision and my vitals.  Then more people came in to check the incision.  The word “oozing” was used a lot, which then turned into “bleeding.”  And all of a sudden, they were going to have to take me back to the OR.  My incision wouldn’t stop bleeding.  A different doctor was on, and he wanted to give me general anesthesia, which I REALLY didn’t want.  Dr. Katz (the anesthesiologist) came back and saw my cracker and juice mess and said I could have another spinal.  Awesome!  But the doc came back and disagreed, and the two of them took it out in the hallway to figure it out.  Dr. Katz was the victor, and that meant no general anesthesia for me!  I was worried because I didn’t want to leave Rose or risk not being able to feed her.  They let my mom stay with her, and at about 9pm, I was brought back into the OR where my incision was re-opened.  It only took about a half hour.  At about midnight, they finally took us up to the room where we would live for the next 4 days.
This was absolutely NOT the way I wanted Rose to be born.  But it happened to work out this way, and after trying everything I could to change things, I just couldn’t make them go the way I wanted to.  It doesn’t matter.  I have an amazing baby girl and I still have a home at The Birth Center (Dorinda called to check up on me in the hospital, and after my staples came out, all my post-partum stuff is happening at TBC.  We even still got our picture on the door).  I am very sad that I never even got to experience labor (most people think I’m nuts for saying that) or got to know what it feels like to push out a baby.  I’m even sadder that this means any future children won’t be born at The Birth Center – unless they decide to start doing VBAC.  But I got over a lot of fears through this experience, and in the end got the best prize there could be.