As I sit down to write this birth story so many things are going through my head. First of all, it’s going to take some time to get it all on paper (or digital paper, that is). There will be many nap times used to type this all out. I have a sleeping baby next to me now. Another thing is as I write this I am processing through a beautiful birth story that went nothing like we planned and yet everything like it needed to go. I’m going to warn you, this is a very long post. I decided to write the whole story with many details of her being breech all in the same post. I hope you’re able to get to the end of the story, you may need a cup of coffee or some kombucha so snuggle in for a good and long story.
Before I start I want you to know that I’ve turned comments off for this post. This is a very vulnerable and emotional post and there are still a lot of emotions I’m processing in postpartum and as a new mom. I really felt I needed to post her story and share my birth. I didn’t really talk about Ottava being breech or the anything about the change in our birth plan. I needed very few people to know (and nobody on the internet) so I could process all of what we were going through. Now she’s born I want to use our story to relate and encourage other momma’s. But I still want to keep comments and everyone’s thoughts private as I continue to process our birth story. If you have a question for me about my pregnancy and birth feel free to contact me directly at drmeghan (at) meghanbirt (dot) com.
There’s a part of me that doesn’t remember not being a momma. This little girl has changed our lives for the best and we are totally and completely in love with every aspect of her. I can still get teary eyed when I think of her birth and the moment we first met her. It was one of the best moments of my entire life and I can say with each week we know her it just gets better.
In order to get to Ottava’s birth story I feel like I need to back up a couple months. It’s really where a lot of it begins and our birth plan needed to be re-evaluated. I will say, my pregnancy overall was wonderful and a pretty smooth and easy one. I said early on that I wouldn’t complain about symptoms or things I couldn’t do while pregnant because we had waited so long for this little miracle rainbow baby and I wanted to be nothing less than thankful each day I got to carry this baby. I was the most nervous getting through the first trimester with a growing baby and didn’t think that our biggest pregnancy decisions would need to be made in the last couple months, weeks and days of this pregnancy.
This was my last pregnancy/ belly picture I took
I had a very uneventful first and second trimesters with the typical, but mild, pregnancy symptoms. I was so thankful and felt the baby move really early on, right around 16 weeks. I could feel these tiny little kicks and would sit for hours with my hand on my belly waiting for a little kick. Phil even got to feel some early kicks at around 18 weeks. The majority of my days I was in awe that my body was growing life and so thankful to God for giving us this gift. I had a lot of fear about something going wrong or something happening in pregnancy, but each day was a faith and trust walk that God had big plans for our little baby.
I have always been fascinated with pregnancy and birth. There was a time in high school I wanted to be an OB and I even thought about midwifery. My call was to be a chiropractor but I knew that I could still work with pregnancy, birth, and babies in so many different capacities. Throughout chiropractic school I would read books and watch movies on pregnancy and I always wanted to have a homebirth. It was where I felt safe, comfortable and I knew I would be well taken care of under the close care of homebirth midwives. I didn’t want to be in a hospital or clinic setting unless I needed to be and with my low risk pregnancy we planned our homebirth.
When Phil and I got married I told him early on about my desire for a homebirth. We weren’t even talking having a baby at that time but I wanted him to wrap his mind around the fact you can give birth at home. I wanted him to be as comfortable with the idea and have a home birth be a mutual decision for the both of us. Phil agreed that when the time came for having a baby, a homebirth was the best choice for our birth.
The reason I tell you this about homebirth is because it was such a desire I had and I’d been excited for labor and birth for years. I have never been scared of giving birth. I knew my body was created for it and able to birth a baby. When we found out we were pregnant with Ottava I got even more excited and ready for labor as the weeks went on. Reading about homebirth, the stages of labor and natural comfort measures was so much fun for me, I know some of you can relate to that, right?
We wanted to make sure that we were the most educated and prepared for labor as a couple. I wanted Phil to know as much as me. We love information and more information meant we were more comfortable with the whole process. For us it meant taking the Bradley Method Birth Class. It’s a 12 week class about having a natural birth and a husband coached childbirth. Throughout the class Phil would be empowered with things he could do to comfort me and feel like he was really participating in the whole labor and birth process. I recommend the Bradley method class to everyone! It was amazing and the best part was seeing my husband become so passionate about labor, birth and everything I was going through in pregnancy. He was a total rockstar and it got him even more passionate about natural birth and we were 100% sure of our decision to have a homebirth.
Photo by: Gina Zeidler
At 32.5 weeks I had some very light spotting. I called our midwives and they said that’s not what you want at this point in pregnancy and I better go into the clinic and see if there was an issue with a low lying placenta or if I was dilating. I was feeling totally fine with no cramping and the baby was still active, but I didn’t want to mess with any spotting and thought we should be safe versus sorry.
We drove to the urgent care by our house and got admitted. This was the first ultrasound we had on baby because we opted not to do any of them if everything was going well. The sonographer said during our ultrasound that my placenta looked great (nice and high), my fluid levels were normal and the where I thought the baby’s head was, there was really a butt there. So we learned that baby was breech. And it honestly didn’t phase Phil or I. We knew babies were often breech up to 36 weeks and had so much time to flip. I thought with increasing my exercises found on the Spinning Babies website and doing a few other things that baby would flip and all would go as planned.
I stepped up my Spinning Babies exercises and read Gail’s articles on flipping breech babies and implemented those new exercises to my daily routine of pregnancy stretches I was already doing. I immediately started doing 3-5 inversions per day, hip stretches, side lying stretch, bridges, hip and pelvis stretches and being on my hands and knees. I actually blogged often on my hands and knees, it’s hard to do! I also started seeing a lot of different practitioners and took all the referrals to other practitioners who could help that I could.
Here’s what I did in the month of January and the beginning of February:
- 2 Mayan Abdominal Massages. I had done these massages prior to getting pregnant to boost fertility and optimize uterus positioning
- 2 Acupuncture sessions with 2 different practitioners, one specializing in pregnancy and fertility
- Moxa (multiple times, including the smoky moxa that we had to use outside in January in Minnesota. I was all bundled except for my bare feet, it was quite the site to see)
- Over 20 chiropractic adjustments by 4 doctors using multiple different techniques
- Walking on the treadmill as often as I could get to the gym (remember, it’s freezing cold here in Minnesota in January so outside walking was out of the question)
- Swimming in the pool doing many flip turns and even handstands in the pool. If you want to look rediculous then go to the pool at 37 weeks pregnant wearing your bikini (because I wasn’t going to buy a maternity one piece for a couple of weeks) and then proceed to do flip turns and hand stands in the pool. I got a lot of crazy looks. Anything for the baby though!
- Craniosacral balancing work
- Body work with attention to my uterine adhesions and abdominal fascial adhesions. Ouch, but it felt so good afterwards. Thanks Dr. Faith!!
- Breech Balancing Technique: we went to an amazing bodywork massage therapist who sees a lot of pregnant mamas with breech babies and works to balance muscles, ligaments and pelvis and gives exercises to do daily based on what she found. The daily exercises took about 20-30 minutes and Phil had to help me with them. I couldn’t do them myself. Did I mention my amazing husband helped me out on the daily with these things, often times coming to the appointments with me? He was a rockstar this whole time!
- Turn baby Turn MP3 from Hypnobabies. I would literally cry while I did this one because something inside me said there was a reason this little baby wasn’t flipping. But I kept listening hoping it would do something
- Ice pack on the top of my belly and a hot water bottle on the bottom of my belly
- Playing music pretty much to my crotch to encourage the baby to move towards the music
- Sleeping in good body positions with the use of a huge body pillow and way too many other pillows in the bed. Thankfully we have a king sized bed
- Essential oils: I worked on emotions to see if there was an emotional component to the baby being breech. I’ve heard and read stories of babies flipping when the mom identifies the emotional block. I used Valor, Release, Joy, Peace and Calming, Surrender, Forgiveness, Frankincense and Present Time. I mostly applied them to the back of my neck or smelled them throughout the day
- I also rubbed Myrrh Essential Oil on my belly 1-2x per day after 38 weeks to see if that would encourage the baby to flip. I read that Myrrh can stimulate uterine contractions so I did this when it would be ok if I went into labor. I never felt an increase in contractions with using Myrrh and clearly didn’t bring me in any type of earlier labor, she was born at 41 weeks.
- External Cephalic Version (ECV): We decided to try this more medical approach to flipping the baby. We had a recommendation for “the baby whisperer” of versions. This dear older OB had been doing them for years and was known for his gentle, but effective technique. Baby didn’t turn but we had a really good experience. It was uncomfortable but not painful and definitely not a horror story like some people have. He tried 3 different times (both ways) and said that the baby wouldn’t move. He wasn’t going to stress me out or the baby out. I respect him so much for his gentle external version philosophy and the whole time the baby was completely stable and wasn’t stressed out at all. We wished she would have flipped but were grateful for a good experience either way. I know some people have traumatic version experiences and if you’re thinking of an External Version reach out to the doula or homebirth midwife community in your area for recommendations. Everyone seemed to know that this OB we used was one of the best.
- Lots and lots of prayer. We prayed a lot for the health of this baby and for the baby to flip. We had friends, family, strangers and other churches praying for us. We really believe in the power of prayer and I had to remind myself often that even if this baby doesn’t turn, God is still in control, he has a plan and ultimately we want his will, not ours.
Photo by: Gina Zeidler
The month of January completely flew by. I was so busy I barely got any work done. I was busy doing exercises, reading, and going to different appointments. I knew I needed to try everything (some things more than once) because I didn’t want to look back and say “I wish I would have tried that”. It’s more of how my personality works, I exhaust all options when I’m passionate about something. I did it when healing my body, I did it a lot with nutrition in pregnancy, and was doing it again with the baby being breech. At first we didn’t question that this baby would flip. Babies flipped all the time in pregnancy and it wasn’t until around 36-37 weeks when they engage in your pelvis that a breech baby really gets stuck there. But there’s also many stories of babies flipping right before labor or during labor. We had a lot of hope for flipping.
There was a point in time around 35-36 weeks where her being breech became a bigger deal to us. We had the “breech talk” with our midwives as they call it. It was where they wanted to talk to us all about what a breech baby would mean for a vaginal birth. We talked risks, alternatives, and every option we could. I remember feeling like a ton of bricks were on top of me during that appointment. It wasn’t because of what the midwives said, just the reality of the decisions ahead of us. I never processed the fact that a breech baby would change the birth process and this was the first time where I felt I may not have a homebirth. Our midwives will assist a vaginal breech birth but you have to meet a lot of requirements first (how baby is positioned, how labor goes, etc…). They encouraged us to think about all of our options and that they would be with us for any decision we made.
**I want to make something very clear here. There are a lot of very strong options about breech babies and breech birth in this country right now. I know them because of all of the research I did. And I’ve felt a lot of emotions behind Breech vaginal births aren’t being taught in medical schools anymore so the majority of OB’s and midwives don’t know how to birth a breech baby. The medical system is black and white. If you have a breech baby, you have a cesarean. No other options. In Minnesota (or at least where we live) no breech vaginal births are even allowed to happen in hospitals, even if a doctor is highly trained and skilled in breech birth. The decisions we made on how to birth Ottava were made with so much care. I felt the emotions of the breech world. Some of them hurt in what was being said online and the polarized emotions. I felt the pull to do things “naturally” more than you can imagine. I believe that how someone chooses to birth a breech baby is completely between that couple. There’s no right answer. There’s no “better than another” option. It’s personal and I believe personal for each pregnancy and each baby.**
Photo by: Gina Zeidler
We had some very big decisions ahead of us. This is where my pregnancy hormonal emotions started to come out. Cue lots of tears. I remember at about 36 weeks I had been doing almost a month of exercises and running around to appointments like a chicken with my head cut off. I was exhausted and my emotions started to turn. I realized I was putting all my eggs in the basket of “If I do this exercise then the baby will turn”. As if was as easy as that. So each day this baby didn’t turn, I was getting frustrated and mad. I started to feel anger towards the baby. I was doing my part, why wasn’t she? And then I started feeling guilty. My unborn child did not need to be feeling my negative emotions. Something had to change.
This next part is seriously an answer to prayer. I know one woman who had a c-section for a breech baby and she’s very natural-health minded and extremely educated in the natural health realm. I decided to send her an email and ask her some questions that were going on in my mind about c-sections and vaginal breech birth. God was so good because her responses and thoughts were exactly what I needed to hear in so many different ways. When I told this dear friend about how I was getting angry at the baby for not flipping and how each morning I woke up with a head in my ribs made me feel so frustrated. Do you know what she told me? “Every day you wake up, if there’s a head in your ribs, blow that head in your ribs a kiss and just make that an OBSERVATION. Don’t attach anything to it, because no matter what, it’s going to be OK. It really is. Just say to your sweet one, “good morning! Another day closer to meeting you.” We will ALWAYS have to remember to accept our children as they are. This is a great lesson and will probably shorten our learning curve :)” It was a game changer for me. That little head in my ribs started to make me smile instead of feeling frustrated and discouraged. Her email made me deeply connect to this baby and I started talking to the baby a lot more. It was a beautiful, yet still emotional time, to see my heart change in such a way towards the baby.
At this point in pregnancy was where I decided to surrender. I felt God saying “Surrender. Give this to me, you do not need to wear the burden of flipping your baby or not. Trust my plan even if it looks different than you think it should. It’s all going to be Ok”.
Photo by: Gina Zeidler
This is where Phil and I had to make a decision about if the baby doesn’t flip, what does our birth plan look like? Do we want to do a breech homebirth? Do we want to do a C-section? If you would have asked me before I was pregnant what I would do with a breech baby I would haven’t wavered in my answer. I would have said homebirth with all the conviction in the world. But when we actually had to process the risks and options and make a decision it became much harder. One of our midwives said flip a coin. Choose homebirth for heads and cesarean for tails. Whatever the coin lands on pretend that’s your decision for 48 hours and see how it feels. Does it feel right? And then do that for the opposite birth plan. What feels the best? Where do you have the most peace?
We took that advice and we landed on feeling like God was leading us towards and giving us the most peace about having a C-Section if this baby stayed breech. Even though we felt peace about the decision it was some of the hardest and most intense emotions I’ve had to process in my life. The disclaimer I want to say before I get into my emotions were that I knew at the end of the day that I was healthy and baby was healthy. I was grateful every second of the day for that. I know people have to go through much worse news and decisions in their pregnancies. After going through a miscarriage before having Ottava I knew the deep feeling of grief from losing a child. The cesarean decision was hard from a natural health and birth perspective, but never felt deeply sorrowful or like losing a child. It had more to do with grieving my ideal birth plan, which I knew were emotions I needed to process before going into a c-section.
Getting Ready for the C-section. Photo by: Kristen Dyer
We now had two birth plans. Our first birth plan was if baby stayed breech we would do a cesarean. Our other birth plan was a homebirth if baby flipped. Once we decided that we had two birth plans we had to find an OB. It was very hard at 37.5 weeks pregnant. But through a group of doulas I got some referrals to an amazing group of OB’s and one in particular that is known for her ability to listen, explain and is very open to a gentle cesarean or family centered cesarean.
I had heard and had working knowledge of these gentle cesareans that hospitals are now starting to do. The overall idea and attitude of the OB and staff with a gentle cesarean is treating it like a birth first and surgery second. It’s doing things that are focused on the health of the baby and family with bonding and feeling like even though you’re on an operating table, it feels like a beautiful birth experience. I wanted to feel like our baby’s birth was exactly that: a birth and not only a medical procedure. I wanted to get my mind and emotions around a cesarean birth before it happened so I wouldn’t have any birth trauma or regrets I didn’t have a vaginal birth. I am beyond grateful for the weeks I had to prepare and I really feel for the mommas who have emergency cesareans or unplanned cesarean births. The emotions must be big and a lot to process while having a new little life to take care of.
Getting ready to be a Daddy and waiting to join me in the operating room. Photo by: Kristen Dyer
I wish I could explain how amazing our OB was. I want to brag on her for hours. She seriously was so wonderful and I know that God handpicked her for us. She even snuck us into her already booked schedule because of our breech baby situation. Our first appointment was 45 minutes long and she answered all of my questions and explained everything to me. I felt so heard, supported and respected by her. She was also very respectful that we had homebirth midwives who had been and would continue to be with us every step of the way. I have found it hard to find medical professionals who are respectful of homebirth midwives and aware of their advanced training and skill. Our OB got it and that made me even more thankful.
Some of the things that were important to us in a cesarean was finding an OB who would let me go into labor before the cesarean. It is hard to find an OB who is willing to let you go into labor with a breech baby. Most schedule a c-section for 39 weeks with no other options. Ours was totally fine with it because she understood my reasonings. I wanted our baby to decide when it was time to be born and have the hormone cascade of labor start, including that catecholamines (stress hormones) that are protective in labor for the baby. Studies have shown that c-sections are safer for mom and baby if labor starts (and there’s no contraindication to labor, like placenta previa). I also wanted to start labor because I wanted to see if uterine contractions would be strong enough at that point to turn the baby. It was the last measure to flip the baby but labor was important to me.
Our “see you soon” hug. Phil and I were separated for about 20 minutes until he came into the OR. Photo by: Kristen Dyer
Other gentle cesarean things that were important to us included:
- No additional medications other than the spinal and required prophylactic dose of antibiotics given to me. I didn’t want to be tired or groggy for the birth
- Delayed cord clamping which is standard for our OB team, which is 60 seconds. That’s a long time in an operating room. It is nothing like a homebirth where you keep the cord connected until the placenta is birthed. I asked about that but it’s not possible in an OR with an open incision. Never hurts to ask
- We asked for the clear drape so I can see the baby being born. We also learned that our OB’s don’t tie your arms down. I was free to move my hands and arms like I waned to.
- We had no newborn procedures or weight taken right away. We asked them to just dry her off and not clean her up like they usually do. We wanted all of her vernix to remain on her. The vernix is very protective and a good microbiome was very important to me.
- The most important thing was having our baby do skin to skin immediately after birth on me in the OR. Most of the time the baby is wrapped up and handed to dad after all of the cleaning, weight and measurements are taken. Mom maybe gets to see the baby but usually not until recovery or even until the postpartum room, which can be 30 minutes-2 hours in length. We wanted our baby to have the all important skin to skin contact in the OR that they would normally get with a vaginal birth. The amount of research that backs immediate skin to skin contact is incredible. It helps temp regulation, bonding, breastfeeding success, respiratory rates, blood sugar stability and more. Plus, I wanted to be able to meet and hold our baby as soon as possible. This is a must-do for our OB if mom and baby are doing fine. Praise the Lord, I didn’t even have to advocate for this, I just made sure it was in our birth plan. This made me so happy and I knew would make our c-section feel more like a birth.
- Allowing photos and videos in the OR. Once again, this is a birth vs just a surgery. So they let us bring in our camera (and our amazing Nurse Anesthetist, Kendall, took lots of photos which are some of my favorite photos ever). They also let Phil Go-pro videotape the whole thing. He wore it on his head and we have video of the whole time. PS. I wanted him to tape it, I actually made him because I wanted to be able to watch it again and process the birth via video. I am so visual and I knew I would forget so much of what happened without the video. And I love the video so much!
Fast forward to 38 weeks. We had our teams in place and I finally felt like I could relax. Or I should relax. I came to realize that my exercises, adjustments, and therapies I was doing to get the baby to flip were only to encourage her flipping. It wasn’t going to magically do it because I reached my 100th inversion or she would have flipped if I would have done one more hand stand in the pool or something like that. I was doing all I could do and at this point I wanted to enjoy the remainder of my pregnancy. I had almost forgot that the weeks had gone by and I could technically go into labor at any time. And I was feeling great too. Some of the best weeks of my pregnancy were the last few weeks because I did so much body work, exercises, and adjustments. It was crazy and I didn’t feel close to labor at all.
Phil took a lot of time to go on dates, spontaneously run errands and just plain relax before the baby came. It also gave me more time to get my head around a c-section. Not only was I going to have major surgery but I was not going to birth my baby in my own home by going through all of the stages of labor including pushing my baby out. I had the plan for a homebirth for years. I’d imagined the moment I met our baby and it always was me in a birth tub surrounded by my amazing midwife team in the comfort of our home. I still can see it in my mind and almost feel the emotions I thought I would feel. But instead I was going to meet our child in an OR around people I didn’t know.
I had to grieve my homebirth. I had to feel the feelings around not being in my home, about being in a hospital, about having a baby but still not really knowing what labor and pushing feels like. I needed to let go and surrender (oh that word again) to this new plan. The plan I knew was the safest for this baby to be born. I didn’t have any wavering about how this birth needed to go. But I did still have this idea of my ideal birth in my mind. The one I knew my body was created for and capable of. I had to remember that just because I won’t be birthing this baby vaginally, a c-section is still birth. It doesn’t take away from the beauty that my body was able to grow this perfect baby and do exactly what it was supposed to do. The way we would get this baby will look different but the ultimate gift and end result of meeting our child was the same.
The bible verse that kept popping up in my mind was Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I remember wrestling with this. I felt like a homebirth was the desire of my heart. Did God not know that I had wanted this for years? Researched it? Educated others on the safety and beauty of homebirths? But then I felt the Holy Spirit in my spirit almost say “But Meghan, the real desire of your heart is for this baby. To be a mom, to meet this child healthy and whole”. And that’s the truth. The true and deep desire of my heart and Phil and my prayers for over a year have been for a child. And that is what we got whether or not this child was born in an operating room or in a birth tub in our own home. That was and still is the truth. And as I look at my sleeping beauty beside me I am more convinced that she is exactly who we prayed for and she is the desire of my heart.
I felt for a lot of this breech journey the feelings I was feeling were spiritual in nature. I felt attacked a lot. I couldn’t just say I was natural and a chiropractor and then have a c-section, right? I had a lot of thoughts like that. But I also felt like it would be ideological of me to dismiss processing birth options with a breech baby just because I had to do things “naturally”. As if there is a right answer. I found this Bible verse as I was praying one day and I literally started crying. 2 Chronicles 20:15 “This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” I could take peace that this wasn’t my battle. God was fighting for us, for our birth, for our baby and everything we were going through was important to Him. I didn’t have to be afraid, I didn’t need to feel discouraged, God truly had all of this whether or not I felt it or not. So I felt all the feels as they say. I let myself cry, I talked and connected with this baby (so much it was beautiful), and just processed everything. I am thankful I have the schedule and time to do all of that. I know it made our c-section so much better and something I can look back on with joy and a big smile on my face.
I bet you are wondering how the birth went? As with all of our later pregnancy decisions it was an exciting one! Our OB wanted me on her surgery schedule because the hospital needed me in their system and on their schedule. We scheduled it for 41 weeks because I wanted to go into labor on my own. I never thought I would reach that or have to think about taking the scheduled c-section or not. After talking with our midwives and our OB that week about options, they both said we could do what we felt right about. Take the scheduled surgery or push it out and go into labor on our own, but it was ultimately our decision. 2 days before our scheduled c-section we decided if I didn’t go into labor before Thursday, February 25th at 2pm we would have the c-section then.
It’s a girl!
We were all packed and ready to go Wednesday night and I was excited for a good nights sleep and a relaxing morning with Phil that next day before we had to get to the hospital by 12:00. Guess what? My water broke at 1:30 am and I was in labor. What an answer to prayer. So much for our good night sleep and plans for the next day. We were so excited. I called one of our midwives and she said all is well, go back to sleep and just make sure that the baby was active. Guess what? I wasn’t feeling her move and that terrified me. She was going to be born that day, she picked this day on her own as well as us. Because I didn’t feel her moving I felt like we needed to go into the hospital then versus wait longer to see if she will move. I wanted to monitor her at the hospital and make sure all was well.
On the drive to the hospital (after very quickly packing the car) she started to move. She was super active about 5 minutes into our drive and we decided that we would still go into the hospital. Obviously we are supposed to be there for a reason and we kept driving. Our midwives were on their way too, mostly because they are amazing and wanted to be there for support. I knew I wanted her to be monitored for my peace of mind. (See how so many things I said I wouldn’t do in pregnancy I realized were right for us at the time, like ultrasound and continuous monitoring).
At the hospital she was doing great and I started having some pretty strong early labor contractions. I wasn’t feeling the contractions much more than the Braxton Hicks I had been feeling weeks before. Because of that, we all knew I would be going into my c-section sooner vs later. There was no way we were waiting for our 2pm slot even though I wanted to so we could get our OB. But instead we got the on call doctor and she was equally as amazing. I love her too and she was good with our birth plan we had talked about and set into place. We had an amazing team, anesthesiologist, nurses and it was game time. Our midwife Jane said “you might as well have the c-section now, you’re having one today anyways”
That was all I needed to say ok, let’s do this. I never felt rushed, I felt total peace and I didn’t have even one bit of nervous energy. I was ready to meet our baby. It was almost like we had talked about it so much and had put all these plans into place it was about time to meet this baby. We also had to call my parents to get them on the road to the hospital and our birth photographer, Kristen, so she didn’t miss the birth.
Our cesarean birth was beautiful. It was everything I thought it would be and the moment I saw our daughter was the best thing ever. I literally almost forgot I was in the operating room when I met her and she got on my chest. It was a little awkward holding this slippery newborn while I was lying on the table, but that I even didn’t feel that weird about. It was totally focused on our new little family and that was all that mattered. The remaining 30 minutes after her birth when they were finishing surgery and stitching me up went by so quickly. I wasn’t even paying attention and just soaking up our time as a family.
We let them weigh her and then it was off to recovery. We knew that Phil and Ottava would be about 2 minutes ahead of me. They had to get me off the surgery table and brought into recovery. In our recovery room it was just Phil, Ottava and I. She nursed right away (she didn’t want to in the OR) and pretty much nursed the whole 2 hours we were in there. It was so much fun in there, or at least that’s what I remember of it. There was so much joy we felt that it’s like we didn’t register that the nurse was checking me (and doing the fundal massage) every 15 minutes, including my blood pressure and temperature. I also couldn’t feel my legs the whole time, but that didn’t even matter. All was right in our world and we couldn’t wait for our families to meet her.
As I look back at our birth and c-section I have a lot to be thankful for. My water breaking and us going in early was an answer to prayer. I was able to go into labor and experience at least the early stages of labor. Because she was born at 5am vs 2pm I was able to do my post-surgical rehab all day on Friday so by Friday night I was walking and free of everything minus my IV which stayed in just in case they needed to give me something. I felt more like myself by that night and I was so thankful. I wanted to be able to feel like a mom and like I was taking care of my new daughter free of wires and tubes as much as possible. Our earlier birth also meant we were able to go home a day earlier, praise the Lord! We went home the evening of the 27th (she was born on the 25th), which was also my 30th birthday.
What a better birthday gift than a brand new daughter and the opportunity to bring her home on my birthday. I was a complete hormonal and exhausted mess on my birthday and I didn’t even register I was turning 30, and there’s still apart of me that thinks I’m in my 20’s. I guess that part of our new normal will have to catch up with me still comprehending the fact I’m a new mommy and we get to keep her.
Overall our birth was wonderful. I loved the doctor who did our c-section and we had amazing nurses who took care of us. We had a good experience at the hospital which is a place we never thought we would be giving birth. And we had an even better experience with a c-section, which is a birth I never thought I would choose. It has been almost a month since her birth and I have done a lot of processing of my pregnancy, her breech position and our birth. I don’t know if all mommas have to process their birth experiences (even if it was everything they dreamed of) but I have needed that processing time.
As I look at Ottava I know that her birth went exactly as it needed to go. This was her birth story and we have so much to be thankful for during my pregnancy with her and her birth. I wouldn’t do it differently if I had to do it over again. We were educated and prepared for the c-section and recovery and don’t have any “what-if’s” about her flipping or birthing differently.
During the c-section our doctor said she would sweep my uterus to see if there were any septums or something that would cause Ottava to be breech. We did find out that I have an arcuate shaped uterus which is a very mild heart shape. It caused Ottava to get stuck and that’s why she wouldn’t flip. I really did try everything, and I’m so thankful to know there was something blocking her from changing positions. Now for the next baby (which I’m really not thinking about) we will have to make sure s/he is head down during the second trimester. And maybe it won’t even be an issue because my uterine muscle is more stretched out. Knowing why was a major answer to prayer and gives me a lot of peace knowing what I know.
There is a part of me that looks at my daughter and I have thoughts about not experiencing labor and a vaginal birth. I have a daughter and didn’t go through labor. I didn’t push her out of me. I don’t know what active labor and intense contractions feel like. Those emotions have been weird and I didn’t think I would have them. Once again, I don’t look at her and wish for something different. But the whole experience of labor I thought I would have made me realize I still had some processing to do about having a baby but not having that experience. In my processing I found some great articles about c-section moms. I wanted to share this quote with you because it was really powerful for my overall healing process.
“And you ARE a birth warrior. No matter what you believe about yourself, you are.
It takes a tremendous amount of strength, determination, and courage to be on that side of the surgical curtain, for the gift of life. You ARE powerful. Look at what you’ve been through, and you are still standing.
When I have low moments, the one thing that helps me is sitting with my son. My son, who broke me, is also the one who puts me back together each day. He has double dimples and a chin cleft and so much sunshine in his heart.
I can’t turn away from that. It propels me back into life, where I need to be. When I sit with my son, I think, “I would do it all again, a thousand times, to have you here.
And that’s what birth is really all about.”
Hugs and Love from Ottava and Me
Being wheeled into our postpartum room from our recovery room. We were so excited to start getting to know our daughter more in our hospital postpartum “home” room.
I was so happy to have my daughter in my arms and be in our room for the next couple of days. I couldn’t wait to get to know our little girl. Photo by: Kristen Dyer
Our amazing midwives meting Ottava for the first time. They were with us every step of the way in our pregnancy, birth decision and postpartum. I love these ladies BIG! Photo by: Kristen Dyer
These pictures of our midwives captured their personalities so well. Photo by: Kristen Dyer
Passing Ottava to Daddy so I could get some post-op things done. Her little hand got him in the face. Photo by: Kristen Dyer
Daddy resting with sweet Ottava. Photo by: Kristen Dyer
Is she really ours? Our perfect new addition to the family. Photo by: Kristen Dyer
We are in awe of our little sweetheart. She totally captured her daddy’s heart from the first moment he saw her. Photo by: Kristen Dyer
I love that Kristen was still here when my family came to see Ottava. It was such a special time for all of us. We have all been waiting (and waiting) for this little girl to arrive. Photo by: Kristen Dyer
The joy on my face as my family walked in and got to meet Ottava for the first time. Photo by: Kristen Dyer
Jannie, Papa and Uncle Mitch meeting Ottava. Photo by: Kristen Dyer
Ottava with her sweet Grandma Jannie. Photo by: Kristen Dyer