DOULA+INFLUENCER+ADVOCATE

A photo my husband took

My Cesrarean Birth Story

  

I had a miscarriage. That pregnancy was wanted. We had been actively trying to conceive. I was beyond elated to know that we were going to be having our first child together. But my happiness was soon turned into devastation and despair when I saw blood that I knew was not the normal spotting in pregnancy. And my fears became reality when the bleeding became heavy and it was confirmed to me that what was once inside my womb, no longer was. I left the hospital in shock and retraced my life hoping to figure out why this happened to me. I knew that miscarriages happen often but knowing that fact did not help me feel better. Everyone around me was supportive and told me I could try again soon and everything would be ok. I naturally had my miscarriage at home and once the bleeding stopped, I was hopeful that I would carry again soon.


I was pregnant again 2 months later. Again, I was elated and I prayed that this baby would make it to my arms safely. The provider I was seeing downplayed my warnings. I told him that I had a previous miscarriage and that although miscarriages do happen, I wanted to make sure that my progesterone level was good. He fought me on it. And I had to push to get tested, because I had a nagging suspicion. Sure enough, my progesterone level was low and I was put on medication immediately. The thought of knowing that I could of lost that pregnancy as well due to my provider not hearing my concerns. Once I got into the 2nd trimester, I was able to feel relieved and start enjoying the pregnancy. 

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The pregnancy went along fine. It was fairly easy in the beginning. I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and my sugar levels were so bad that they recommended medication immediately. They doubted that I could control it with just diet. But I pushed for time to figure it out on my own. I went home and did major research and joined support groups. My nutritionist was shocked to see how well I did just on my new with taking on a new diet tailored to my needs and triggers. I basically threw her diet in the trash and did my own homework. My diet went so well that the nutritionist released me from her care which shocked my provider. I was so proud of myself. 


Once I was smooth sailing with my gestational diabetes, a new roadblock came about. My baby was in the frank breech position. He had time to turn but I could not ignore this feeling that he was not going to turn. My provider stayed optimistic and told me that most babies do turn and not to worry. But I did worry. I began to fear a cesarean was in my future. But I also watched birth videos of vaginal breech births and came to realize that it could be done and having a cesarean isn’t always recommended or best. And besides, I was a good candidate for a breech vaginal delivery.


36 weeks came and he was still frank breech. At my appointment my provider said I had 1 option. A cesarean. That was it. I was crushed. I asked about having an ECV done to manually turn the baby head-down. He was not fond of that idea and told me I could wind up with an emergency cesarean if the placenta or baby did not tolerate the ECV well. I told him I was willing to take that risk. He was dumbfounded and said “Most people don’t want and ECV after I tell them that”. He was trying to scare me. And I was. But not enough to not try. He scheduled the ECV for 38 weeks. For the next 2 weeks I did everything I possibly could to turn him. I begged, I pleaded, I cried, I did handstands, I did spinning babies, I saw a chiropractor, I used ice, used music, I mean, I tried it all. Nothing worked.

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I was in such a state of anxiety the morning of the ECV. I got to the hospital and I was put on the monitors, had an IV placed and was given terbutaline to relax my uterus. I was shaking uncontrollably and was on the verge of tears. My provider came in and was looking at Canelo’s position under ultrasound. A part of me prayed that he had turned so I could just get the fuck out of there. But, there he was, with his booty deep in my pelvis. Not only was he still breech, he was extremely low and ready to come out booty first.  My provider found the placenta and was ready to begin. It was immediately painful. I reached out and grabbed the hospital bed for help. It was agonizing. Nothing like the smooth ECV videos I had seen. Tears started to burst from my eyes and my husband was desperately holding my hand and wiping my tears. He was anxiously trying to help his wife who was in pain. Meanwhile, Canelo was not budging. His booty stayed deeply wedged. My provider inverted the bed so my feet were above my head in hopes of gravity pulling him out of my pelvis. But nothing worked. I was left in tears, a severely sore abdomen and with a breech baby. My provider offered to try again in another week with the help of another provider. He explained that both of them would be pushing at the same time. That sounded horrendously painful and my intuition told me that my baby would not like that. I declined. I stayed a little while before going home so they could monitor the baby.  All was well him and we went home.


At my next appointment he was still breech, despite my efforts. I begged my provider to allow me to birth him vaginally. That I could do it and that I was a good candidate. He was older and I told him that I knew he had been trained to deliver breech babies vaginally. He agreed but told me it’s no longer recommended, and he wouldn’t do it because it was extremely dangerous. I had to have a cesarean. I asked him what I had to do to get him to deliver this baby vaginally. He said the only way he would do it is if I came into the hospital with the baby hanging out of me. I was devastated and appalled because that sounded so scary, too. What if he wasn’t there and I had staff pulling and yanking on my baby causing him harm? That wasn’t an option for me either. He finished me off by telling me that if my baby’s head got stuck in my pelvis, he would have to decapitate my baby to get him out. He really said that to me.


I told him that if his only option to me was a cesarean, then he needed to respect my wishes for the cesarean. I told him that I was going to wait till I went into labor on my own to make sure that my baby picked his own birth day when he was ready to be born. And that I wanted to labor to give him and I all the hormones and all the time to turn. I also told him that I wanted my husband next to him to watch our son being born and take photos. I also wanted skin-to-skin right away. He agreed. Not happily, but he agreed. I told my husband that I needed him next to our son and watching him come out of my womb. And I also wanted him to take pictures of his birth. I didn’t care how bloody it was. He agreed. He never made this about him or was scared to see blood and guts. He was so brave and respected my wish

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I left that appointment in complete despair. In tears, in devastation. But I didn’t stop trying. I called around and no provider would help me. Everyone told me no. I could not believe that this was happening. I continued trying to turn him on my own. Never giving up hope. Every night that I went to sleep I was terrified that my cesarean was making it’s way to me. I edged closer and closer. My pregnancy was not fun, not enjoyable or even likeable. I was living in a nightmare and depression. “Your baby will be healthy and that’s all that matters”. Everyone told me this. And they were so wrong. My baby’s health was indeed important but I MATTER TOO. My feelings matter. My body matters. Having a major abdominal surgery pushed on me for no good reason fucken mattered. I wanted to be left the fuck alone in my sadness.


39 weeks and 5 days, I woke up to feeling a heavy downward pressure in my pelvis and my water broke all over my legs. I didn’t move. I knew exactly what happened. I shook my husband and woke him up. I told him my water just broke. He jumped out of bed and flung the covers off of me. He turned on the light. I asked him to look and see. I knew my water was broken but the side of me that was terrified was hoping it wasn’t and I could just stay pregnant forever. Immediately he knew. He helped me get out of bed and I waddled over to the toilet where more fluid gushed out and it was meconium stained. I knew my baby was still breech. My heart began to race and I could feel my pulse rising in my neck. I put a pad on and waddled back to the bed and laid down. I just wanted to stay forever and forget this was happening. My husband asked me what I was doing. I didn’t know. I was just so scared to undergo an unnecessary abdominal surgery. We had to go and I hated putting on my clothes and getting ready to do something I did not want to do. I walked into the kitchen to grab my colostrum that I had been pumping and storing. I knew my baby could have low blood sugar levels because I was diabetic and I did not want to give him formula, so I pumped to make sure I could supplement him with my milk if he needed it. As I was pulling my milk out of the freezer, the first contraction hit. And I couldn’t help but feel eager to feel pain. Pain that my baby was ready and my body was doing what it was designed to do. We woke up my oldest son and got into the car. It was raining. The perfect weather for what I was feeling.


On the way to the hospital my contractions started to pick up. I was surprised at how fast it was happening. I walked into the hospital and waited for the elevator. The contractions were starting to take my breath away. The elevator ride up was so quiet and sad. Just knowing what was about to happen. They immediately put me into triage, confirmed my waters were ruptured, and y contractions were increasing quickly. They called my provider right away and he was there fairly quickly since my labor was progressing quickly. When he got there my contractions were 4 minutes apart and I was struggling to get through them. It was all happening so fast now that that they hadn’t set me up yet for anything. My provider walked in, checked the baby’s position one last time via ultrasound and I was gutted to hear that he was still breech. My mom picked up my oldest son from us and I said bye. They quickly wheeled me down to the operating rom.


Being separated from my husband while they prepped me was agony and I fell apart. I was sitting up on the operating table waiting to get my spinal block. I was crying, shaking and staring at the clock in front of me while desperately trying to breathe through the contractions that were ripping through me now. I needed my husband. A nurse came over, she held my shoulders and talked me through the contractions as they were placing the spinal block in my back. I was crying pretty heavily at this point and he told me I was going to be okay. The spinal was done and they laid me down. Strapped my arms down and started to poke me asking if I felt it. And I did. I felt it. I told them they cannot start because I wasn’t fully numb yet. They sat me back up and gave me another spinal. This one worked. I didn’t feel shit. And my chest felt heavy. Again, I was strapped down and I started to cry again. I still couldn’t believe this was happening. My husband was let in and he came right to me. He wiped my tears, stroked my head and told me to just breath and that everything was gonna be ok. I felt better with him by my side helping me.


My provider came in and was ready to start. Once he had me open, he called my husband over to stand next to him to see our son being born. My husband began to walk behind the curtain and the nurses tried stopping him. But my provider told them it was ok. He left my side but I knew he was going to be seeing our son coming into this world. I felt lots of pressure which I knew meant Canelo was making his way out of my belly. And then I heard a cry. I heard my baby’s first cry while staring at the ceiling and I cried. My husband stayed with Canelo while they examined him. He was vigorous and perfect. My husband came over to me and showed me a picture of him. I was in love and wanted so desperately to get up and grab my baby. But I couldn’t. My husband went back to our baby and he came back holding him. He was perfect. My provider closed me up rather quickly and Canelo was placed skin-to-skin on me. I was so fucken in love. They wheeled us out of the operating room and I still had him skin-to-skin on me. My family just so happened to see us being wheeled out and they ran over to see us for a moment.

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 They brought me to recovery and I just held him. He was so calm. Not a peep. Just calm and present. I was still very numb since I had 2 spinals so I stayed in recovery longer than normal. But that was fine. I was with my baby and husband just staring at him in awe. He started to root and want to feed and I didn’t hesitate. I offered him my breasts and he latched immediately. Perfectly. I fell in love again. For a moment I had forgotten what had just happened and I was in this enjoyable moment that I longed for. I hadn’t had any enjoyable moments for so long. I needed this. 

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My spinal wore off and I was wheeled into my own room. Canelo’s sugar levels were perfect. He was perfect. But I was in so much pain. This hurt. I was back to feeling anxious and wanting to go home. I clung onto breastfeeding Canelo and loving him to get me through. His legs were so cute and naturally swung high since he had been breech for so long. After a day I was ready to go home. My provider came in and I told him I was done being here, I wanted to get my staples taken out and I wanted to go home. He agreed and signed me out. It was a relief to know that I was going on the road to trying to heal from this. 

  

My recovery was painful and long. Everything hurt. Caring for a newborn and other children while trying to recover from surgery was so trying. I cried many times. And even crying hurt my wound. I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I found myself being really angry about it all. And yes my baby was healthy and he would have been just as healthy coming out of my vagina. I knew that. It me sadder and angrier to know that. “But your baby is healthy” was a punch to my gut. I hated people telling me that. They meant well but didn’t understand that I’m a person with feelings who just underwent something traumatic for no valid reason other than a fucked up medical system. Thankfully my husband held space for me and allowed me to express my feelings. Because I matter, too.


I walked into my postpartum visit and I had disgust for him at this point. He looked at my scar and said this was one of the cleanest scars he had ever seen. He was quite proud of his work. And I was traumatized by his work. He told me next baby I could try for a VBAC if my baby was not breech again. I giggled inside. Because he really thought I would come back to him with my next pregnancy. I left there knowing that I would never come back and my next baby would come out of my vagina, breech or not.


I became pregnant again at 10 months postpartum and went on to find a provider who supported m e through a successful VBAC and although my baby was head-down this time, my provider was willing to assist me in a vaginal breech birth if I wanted one.


-Flor Cruz