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Elaine and Skye
Attempted ECV/Breech Baby/Cesarean Delivery

Elaine and SkyeSkye's entrance into this world began on Thursday, September 26. At my routine doctors visit, I was told that I was dilated to a 3 and that the baby might come anytime now . . . perhaps over the weekend, but if not, come in for a check on Tuesday. Needless to say this made for a VERY long though uneventful weekend. I timed every irregular, infrequent, non-productive contraction. I walked miles around the grocery store, Wal-Mart, and our townhouse. I showered morning and night so that I wouldn't be caught off-guard and end up going to the hospital grungy. Still nothing happened!

Then one night (I'm not sure which) I woke up to go to the rest room, as all preggie women do at least twice a night, and when I laid back down in bed I felt the weirdest movement in my tummy. I actually lifted the sheets to see what was going on; it was as if my tummy had completely flattened out (well as much as a 9 month preggie tummy can). But there was no pain, no contractions, my water hadn't broken . . . nothing to indicate the progression of labor, so I went back to sleep. Monday morning came and there was still no baby, so I begrudgingly went to work. Everything was fine until early afternoon when my back began to hurt. It hurt so badly that I sat with tears in my eyes and eventually complained to our secretary about my discomfort. She asked if I thought I might be experiencing back labor and became very concerned that perhaps it was time for the baby. She says it worried her because this was the FIRST time she'd heard me seriously complain during the whole pregnancy. Well, my own pain and her concern prompted me to call my doctor's office. The nurse said to come in for a check (even though I was not having regular contractions nor had my water broken).

The doctors were apparently having a very hectic day, and I'm sure my unscheduled visit was not looked upon with great enthusiasm. But I was bitterly disappointed when Dr. O examined me and found that I was still dilated only to a 3. I thought it was unusual that my dilation had not progressed any further, but I didn't feel comfortable questioning him. (I feel a million times more comfortable with his partner Dr. M, who delivered my son and would eventually deliver Skye, but I have nothing against Dr. O. I'm just as at ease with him.) Anyway, feeling silly for having bothered him, I left.

My next regular visit was scheduled for Thursday, one week since I'd been told the baby could come anytime now. I was to see Dr. M . . . yeah! He seemed genuinely surprised to see me saying that he thought I would have had this baby by now. When he checked for dilation and found that I was STILL at 3 cm his face showed obvious concern. He said something to keep me from getting too upset and told me that he wanted to check things out a little better. At this point I believe he must have put his entire hand and forearm inside of me (though I'm sure it only felt that way). He then stood up from his stool and said, "Nothing feels quite like a foot but a foot!"

The baby was turned FEET first as opposed to the usual head first presentation! (Remember the weird movement and belly flattening? We figure THAT was when she decided to spin around.) Anyway, the feet do not put enough pressure on things to cause the necessary dilation, which is why dilation had not progressed. Dr. M suggested an ultrasound to verify his suspicions and of course he was correct. He suggested that I meet him at the hospital the next morning and we would try to turn the baby . . . a procedure which is usually done several weeks earlier in the pregnancy, but that he thought might still work. He offered a couple of other options, such as just waiting to see if the baby would turn by itself but told us that if my water broke or I went into hard labor and the baby had not turned that I would have to have an emergency cesarean section. It took only a second for me to agree that trying to turn the baby would be best. He had told us that if turning was successful, I would be allowed to go home and wait for labor to progress naturally. But that if they couldn't turn the baby that I would be scheduled for a c-section - something that I did NOT want! The doctors here will not attempt to deliver a footling breach vaginally, because of various difficulties and dangers including the possibility of the umbilical cord prolapsing and becoming crushed or tangled around the baby.

The next morning I reported to the maternity floor and was put into a TINY labor room. My husband was sent down to emergency to check me in (Why we were supposed to check in through emergency I don't know). My mom was there to keep me company. The nurse checked my blood pressure etc. and hooked me to a fetal monitor. Soon my husband was back and before too long, Dr. M & Dr. O came in. Dr. M checked me just in case the baby had decide to flip back around, but she hadn't. Then the ultrasound equipment was wheeled into the already crowded room, and the doctors began to try to move the baby. It was MAJORLY uncomfortable. I hate to whine and say it hurt, but it really did, though I didn't cry, nor curse, nor yell. I wanted it to work sooooo badly, but the baby had her feet locked into my pelvic bones. She didn't budge in either direction.

Once again I was offered a few options . . . go home and wait to see if the baby decides to turn, schedule a c-section for Monday, or go ahead and deliver the baby by c-section that day! I didn't want a c-section but even more I didn't want to risk an emergency c-section. So we decided to go ahead that day (we were anxious to meet our baby anyway). Even though the situation was not critical, I was very emotional and a bit scared by the thought of having a surgical delivery. There were nurses in and out with questions for me to answer, forms to sign, medicines to take and preparations to make. And forgive me for being naive, but when the nurse said she needed to shave my tummy, I actually thought she meant my tummy . . . but THAT far down is no longer considered tummy in my book!

We had planned for my 6 year old son to be at the hospital for the delivery - not actually in the birthing room during the later part of labor, nor for the actual birth, but he wanted to be a part of things. So we had planned that he could be in the birthing room early on and then immediately after the birth. But what now????? Should we get him out of school? He wouldn't be able to be with me during a cesarean or should we just wait and have him brought to the hospital afterwards? We decided that my mother should go and pick him up in time for the delivery. Even if he couldn't be with me, he could be there and in a way be a part of things. This was one of the best decisions I've ever made. The pictures of him looking at his little sister in the nursery minutes after her birth tell more than words can ever express. His face glows with pride, and happiness, and love.

Anyway, back to the delivery . . . my husband was brought in once the spinal anesthetic was administered. I was fully awake, just numb from the chest down. He sat by my head and held my hand. A sheet was pinned vertically at about chest level to keep me from seeing the actual surgery. I felt nothing during the surgery, just a bit of pressure, but it wasn't painful at all. I listened as Dr. M and the nurses and other doctors chatted away, listening for any sound that was my baby, and FINALLY there was a cry . . . a beautiful loud cry! I wanted to see my baby!

The anesthesiology nurse tried to lower the sheet that was at my chest but didn't get it down in time and the baby was whisked away to a warmer in the corner of the room to be examined, and cleaned and swaddled. Her daddy went to her, and I lay waiting. This is about my only major regret about the c-section is that I didn't get to hold her IMMEDIATELY, but it wasn't long before her daddy and a nurse brought her to me. She was so perfect and so pink since she didn't go through the birth canal; her face and nose and head were not squashed. Her eyes were so big and bright blue, so alert. I talked softly to her, telling her I loved her and how beautiful she was, and she watched me with those beautiful eyes.

Before long she was taken to the nursery to be weighed, etc. I went to a recovery room and her dad went with her. Her big brother stood at the nursery window glowing with pride. An hour or so later, we were all joined as a family. I never wanted a c-section, and I'm not recommending elective surgery, but I'm definitely no longer scared of the idea of having a c-section. Sure, I missed out on hours of pain and pushing, but I still GAVE BIRTH and best of all, instead of being exhausted and tired, I was able to enjoy being with my precious new baby.

Catherine Skye Nugent was born at 12:22 p.m. (the doc popped her out on his lunch hour!) on October 3, 1997. She weighed 7 lbs. 12 oz. and was 21 inches long. She has beautiful 'skye' blue eyes, the prettiest pink skin on earth, and nothing but a bit of peach fuzz on her precious head.

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