Weeks 36 & 37
~ She's Breech!
Well, I am just going to jump right in and maybe work backwards from where I am right now to where I left off last entry, because it is too painful to postpone the inevitable telling of this tale.
We are breech, we have a low level of amniotic fluid and we are delivering Jellybean via c-section in either two days or four days depending on her fluid levels. In my last entry at weeks 34 and 35 I had been told by my doctor that she was breech but that there was still a small chance she would turn on her own before 36 weeks. My 36 week appointment was with a different doctor, as mine was on vacation. A quick ultrasound confirmed that Jellybean was indeed breech, still. This doctor told me that my doctor would likely want to schedule a c-section. I freaked out. Were all my options gone? Was there no chance of a vaginal, natural childbirth? I began doing research with a fever pitch. At my next appointment, which was last week, week 37, I saw my doctor and she checked Jellybean's position. Sure enough, still breech. We discussed options while tears rolled down my cheeks. The news wasn't all bad. My doctor said that we could try external cephalic version, where she would attempt to manually move the baby into a head down position. We scheduled this procedure for the following week. The catch to this, though, was that my amniotic fluid levels were 'borderline' and therefore, the chances for a successful version went from the standard 50% success rate to about 10%. But with no increased risk to me or baby (other than the very very rare chance of needing an emergency c-section), my doctor said she was totally willing to attempt it if we wanted on the one condition that the amniotic fluid levels did not drop between now and then.
The other piece of really good news was that when I asked my doctor if we would have to schedule a c-section or if I could just wait and go into labor naturally (and hope that the baby turned either before then, or even during labor with the pressure of the contractions) she readily agreed that as long as we were healthy, going into labor on our would be just fine. I was so relieved. At least I would get an opportunity to experience the joy and excitement of 'It's time!' I also believe there are some hormonal benefits to mom and the baby if labor is allowed to begin on its own. With a c-section there is a higher risk of post-partum depression, breastfeeding is supposed to be more difficult to establish, and the bonding doesn't occur the same way so if I could minimize any of this by at least going into labor naturally then that made it all ok in my book.
So…While waiting for the day of the version to arrive, I did lots of laying on my chest and knees with my butt in the air, and applying cold packs to the top of my belly and lots and lots of talking to Jellybean. I avoided reclining positions and generally thought lots and lots of positive thoughts about her turning head down. Then today, we checked into labor and delivery for the version. These things are never simple and easy and today was no exception. We had to go to admitting, even though we were pre-registered for the delivery already, to sign a couple of additional forms. This took about a half hour, then we went to labor and delivery and got ready to have the non-stress test. We got it all hooked up and I just totally 'zenned' out on Jellybean's heartbeat... so strong and beautiful. It was so calming to me. Nic and I just held hands and talked to Jellybean about flipping around. Then our doctor arrived to do the ultrasound and check the amniotic fluid level. After a delay of about 20 minutes when they had to switch out ultrasound equipment because a monitor was not working, we finally got a glimpse into her world. And wouldn't you know it, the fluid level was indeed lower than it had been six days ago and our doctor would not try the version, which was the first shock to deal with (though not entirely unexpected, she had warned us).
Then the second shock was delivered, the doctor was saying 'I know you have an appointment tomorrow (Thursday) but I want you to come in Friday instead' and I am thinking ok, she just wants to check the baby again and it makes sense that tomorrow would be sort of dumb... but she kept on talking 'and if the fluid levels have dropped more then we will just do it Friday and if fluid is ok then we will do it Monday or Tuesday'... as my brain processed what she was saying it literally felt like an out-of-body experience... Was she suggesting we schedule a c-section? I could no longer go into labor naturally? I was and still am totally devastated. Don't get me wrong, I am not willing to jeopardize my little one's safety and health just because of some perceived benefits that I think there might be for going into labor naturally. But it doesn't make it any easier to accept the reality. I am glad that I have the rest of today and all day tomorrow to deal with and process this information. I know that in time I will be ok with it. I just need the time to gain perspective. I keep telling myself that all that matters is getting this beautiful little girl out safely.
That is where we are. I am very emotionally drained. My brain and heart are struggling with the emotional paradigm shift from natural birth to cesarean birth while at the same time I am totally freaked out by the whole surgery aspect of this. For me it is not just about losing out on the whole childbirth experience, it is about having a major operation. I don't like medical stuff. I know that nobody likes being cut open, but that doesn't help me from thinking all sorts of horrible thoughts like 'will I die?', 'what if they cut too deep and major complications arise for me or Jellybean?', 'what will my recovery be like?'. And on top of those thoughts are the little ones that I keep pushing aside, 'what if all of this is happening because there is something wrong with Jellybean?'
Man, this is the hardest thing I have ever gone through in my life! Excitement is starting to creep in, I am now writing this part of the entry after some sleep (not much though, only a couple of hours all night) and I feel slightly better. I am starting to think about today as possibly my last day of pregnancy and the last day before I can hold my little girl! Those are some amazing thoughts. Nic and I picked Josh up from school yesterday and shared with him the news that his sister may be coming on Friday and he was so excited. He was surprisingly a little disappointed that this meant she was not going to come on his birthday (September 18), but I reminded him that it would probably be more fun if they each had their own separate birthdays. This morning when he was leaving for school he talked to Jellybean and said he can't wait to see her 'in the next couple of days, but most likely tomorrow'. He really used the words 'most likely'... he is getting to be so grown up! Did I mention that he wanted to postpone his birthday party until Jellybean could be there?! What a great little man!
Let me just recap some of the other things I went through in the last two weeks. First, Josh started second grade. We (all of his parents and his other sister) got together for our traditional first day of school dinner at our house. Josh picks the meal and this year it was spaghetti! Yum! I also had my work baby shower, which was amazing! My coworkers went all out! We played games, ate yummy food and there were lots of presents! Everyone was so generous! Nic and Josh were there to help out and share in the memories! My mom came down last weekend and we really went to town finishing the nursery. Nic had completely finished all the painting and the chair rail about a week prior, and he had moved the furniture in and hung the beautiful curtains my friend made. I had already washed and put away all her clothes. But there was still a lot of stuff do, hours worth actually. Mom and I put together her stroller, we set up the changing table (unpacking newborn diapers, wipes and putting the gorgeous pad cover on), we organized all the bath stuff, nursing stuff, everything!! Nic put her carseat in the car and we started packing our bag. Mom also took me shopping for nursing bras, what joy that was! I only found one bra that was even slightly comfortable... guess I will need to go out later and try to find another one (don't ask me when, especially if she comes tomorrow!).
Well, I think that just about covers everything! My next entry will most certainly be the story of Jellybean's birth, wow!!!