If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that at my 36 week checkup my baby was confirmed to be breech. I immediately panicked as all I could think was “Oh My God I have to have a c-section”.
I’ve tried anything and everything I could do to get this baby to flip, but as far as I know she is still breech despite all of my efforts. This means I have to set a c-section date. The OB said he is comfortable waiting 4-5 days past my due date so Dec 19 it is. We just pray that she flips in the meantime!
Having a “date” now is not bringing me any sense of joy or excitement, but maybe I just need a little time to process. I had to tell family members because their curiosity, however well meaning, was becoming annoying when I kept being asked about having “a date yet”. Now, after having told them the date I get bombarded with questions about why it is 5 days after my due date, is he waiting because he thinks she will turn, what if I go in to labor, yada yada yada. Why can’t they just be supportive right off the bat and wish me luck that she turns or pray for a healthy and safe delivery for us both?
I’m comfortable with the Doctor’s decision. Since most first-time mother’s go in to labor 10 days after their due date I should be fairly good on timing. Waiting will give her lungs more time to fully mature, especially since c-section babies have higher rates of respiratory difficulty. And although I’ve not posted about it yet, both my husband and I are carriers of the cystic fibrosis mutation so there is a 25% chance she will have that disease. So ultimately I’d like her lungs to mature as much as possible if a c-section is necessary since she could already have difficulty with breathing. If I go in to labor before the 19th then I just go straight to the hospital and have the c-section anyway. And yes, waiting more time means there is more of a chance for her to turn, even if the chance is small. I’ve heard from several of my readers that their baby’s flipped days before they went in to labor so I can at least hold on to that hope awaiting the date.
The hardest part of this whole experience has been dealing with a sense of loss. I feel as though my birthing hopes and dreams have been ripped away from me before the time has even gotten here. I had envisioned a natural birth at the birth center. I would be able to move around, sit in the tub, eat and drink as I please, have my husband massaging my back and coaching me, smelling essential oils and enjoying a peacefully, dimly lit room that resembled a bed & breakfast. I would focus on my breathing during contractions and use visualizations of my baby to help me through labor. I imagine that when she finally arrives I feel a sense of renewal and so much joy that even if it had been a long and hard journey, it would all be worth it when my husband “caught” her as she came out and he and the midwife immediately put her on my chest. We would spend the next hour bonding as a family and she would latch on to begin nursing. After that first hour of bonding I would then go to take a shower and freshen up while the midwife performed the newborn exam and then my husband and I would clean the baby up, put her in her first cloth diaper, and dress her for the first time to be ready for visitors.
Since the beginning of my pregnancy I have known that I wanted a natural birth. With the US rate of cesarean being so high, I wanted to avoid using any of the typical pain medications and artificial hormones used in modern medicine that are statistically proven to increase the chance of a c-section. How ironic that I took all pregnancy measures to avoid a c-section but at the end of my pregnancy am forced in to one because my baby is not in the “ideal” position.
All the information I have read about naturally birthing a breech baby is that it is safe if you have a practitioner who is knowledgeable in how to perform the delivery. In the US it is just not taught and most definitely not readily advertised because I could only find one hospital on the other side of the country that openly advertised breech delivery. Other countries appear to be able to do it successfully, so why can’t we?
I know many women have safe c-sections and are happy with their experience, but it is just not at all what I wanted. I feel nervous about having to get an epidural. I think I will be annoyed with having so many more people in the room. I imagine it to be cold and metallic. I’m sad that my belly will be cut in to and that my hands will likely be strapped down. I won’t be able to see my baby until someone allows me to. I won’t be able to have her placed on my chest right away because c-section babies have a much higher risk of respiratory problems and she will need to be evaluated immediately. I’m sad that I won’t be able to delay cutting the cord or bathing her to get those extra immunity benefits. There will likely be an hour between her being delivered and actually getting to hold her. I worry about successful breastfeeding since she won’t be placed on my chest right away. I worry that I will be in pain and have difficulty wanting to get up. I worry that I will not be able to physically be a good mom because I have just had major abdominal surgery. Mostly, I worry that not having the birth I imagined will cause postpartum depression.
Trying to emotionally prepare myself for a birth experience I never expected has been a roller coaster. I’m slowly becoming more accepting, because I can’t find any other option. It is also very hard to wish and pray that my baby will turn and keep doing things to try to encourage her all the while knowing there is such a slim chance she will turn this late in the game. However, I know that there is nothing else that I could have tried to get her to turn and I really have done everything.
My reasoning to myself is that she knows better than I do. Maybe there is some reason that she does not want to be delivered vaginally and will be safer coming out in a c-section. Even if I don’t believe that, I have to believe that she is not flipping for a reason and that she knows best. It is way out of my control at this point and my birthing hopes and dreams can now be simplified in to one sentence: “I dream of a birth that goes safely and smoothly for both my baby and I”.