Birth Knot: Peace Beyond Understanding

A year after we started trying for our third child, I actually became pregnant.  It was about a month after I started my certification to become a birth doula.  I was MUCH more educated at this point, and even more determined to get the vaginal birth I'd always envisioned.  I went into my first prenatal appointment (with a new doctor) prepared with facts and statistics, ready for a fight, and to my surprise my doctor was totally supportive.  She made sure I was aware of the risks, but she also stated the correct statistics which gave me comfort.  She did order me a growth ultrasound at 32 weeks to make sure the baby wasn't "too big" and he was measuring right at 50% in both head size and weight.  I was so excited, things really seemed to be on the right track for my VBA2C.  I rocked on my labor ball daily, practiced my relaxation techniques, created and listened to my birth play list, and most of all, I prayed.  I prayed hourly it seemed like most days.  At 35 weeks, it was discovered that my third baby boy was....breech!  My doctor, already knowing I'd had one version done, felt comfortable doing another for me.  She put it on the calendar for the the following Monday (about 6 days out).  For some reason, I had the most uneasy feeling about the version this time.  I was not comfortable with it being done and I had every intention of calling the morning of and cancelling.  
Over the next couple of days, I had tried everything to get my baby to flip on his own.  I really really did not want to get that version.  I could tell that he was trying to turn in my belly.  His head moved from the top right side of my uterus to the top left side (like he was about to do a forward turn) and then just seemed to get stuck.  On Thursday, August 15, my husband stayed home from work.  I ran a few errands that day and ended up getting take-out for dinner.  I remember sitting down on my couch after we ate, when the baby would normally be going crazy.  He didn't move.  Not even a little bit.  There's no way to describe how I felt next, but it was sort of like this presence came and rested on my shoulders, looking back I knew it was the Holy Spirit.  I knew it was serious.  I went into my bedroom to do a kick count.  I had my husband bring me a big ice water and I drank it so fast.  I played music and poked and prodded my belly, but there was nothing.  I called the hospital and they asked me to come in.  It was the evening and I didn't want to disrupt my other sons' schedules if everything was ok so my husband stayed home with them and my mom drove me to the hospital.  My husband and boys all prayed over me and the baby before I left.  It took about 40 minutes to get to the hospital, 40 long, motionless, yet peaceful minutes.  After hooking me up to the monitors, they were able to find the baby's heartbeat which was more than music to my ears.  But he still wasn't moving.  They had me drink lots of fluid, turn from side to side, and even "buzzed" the baby (they put a bladeless electric razor to my belly) but he wasn't responding.  After about 2 hours, they decided to do a biophysical profile on the baby which is just one long ultrasound looking for any sort of movement.  After 40 minutes, the only movement that we saw was the beating of his little heart, he didn't so much as flex or extend a finger nor was he practicing his breathing.  At that point, my mom left to trade places with my husband who was still at home with our other boys.  When she left, the situation quickly escalated.  A whole team of nurses and doctors came in, I was given oxygen and told that we probably shouldn't wait for my husband and that the baby needed to come out.  I was alone and I was afraid.  I was on the phone with my husband who had just gotten into his car and I told him they were taking me back soon.  I wanted him there, I needed him there.  The anesthesiologist came in to prep me with an IV and give me those horrible anti-nausea drugs.  I told her the experience I had with them in the past, so she gave me an alternative and it made a world of difference!  I was so thankful that I wouldn't have to experience that panic attack, especially since I was alone.  The whole time I was alone, I couldn't pray.  I didn't know what to say to God or what to ask.  I was paralyzed with fear.  And then the song lyric came into my head, "you are peace, you are peace when my fear is crippling."  Oh how I repeated that, I clung to it with every fiber of my being.

About 10 minutes after I got into the OR a familiar pair of eyes came into view.  It was my husband!  I was so relieved, it was like a huge weight rolled right off of me.  My son was born 4 minutes later at 1:01 a.m. I was 36 weeks and barely 3 days pregnant.  He weighed 5lbs.  I heard one tiny squeak and then nothing, I thought they had taken him to another room.  A few minutes later I heard his tiny, sweet cry from under an oxygen mask.  He needed a little bit of help, his apgars only being 2 and 8.  But he was alive and so so well, and I will forever and a day be grateful to God for taking care of both of us.  It ended up that he was insanely tangled in his umbilical cord.  It was wrapped around his neck 3 times, then once around his bent arm and then a few times around his ankles.  He must've been working hard at trying to get head down, but I now know why I was uncomfortable with the external version.  I've seen first hand a different outcome for the same situation and not one day goes by that I am not filled with gratitude when I look at the face of my littlest love.

Ashleigh Answers: 
How did the difficulty level meet your expectations? 
In my first birth, the actual labor part really wasn’t so bad.  It was hard hard work but I remember thinking I’d totally do it again, even while I was having a contraction.  

What was the best thing you did to prepare?  
GET EDUCATED!  I did a lot of research, especially when I was wanting my VBACS,  I did hire a doula for my second and third pregnancy as well but ended up not needing her either time, unfortunately.

What was your most effective form of pain control? 
I loved the labor ball, rocking on it and swaying on it.  Also listening to music really helped me escape and focus on something different than what my body was doing.

Would you do anything differently?
I would do a lot differently.  I would get more educated during my first pregnancy.  If I knew then what I know now, I really believe I could have avoided that first c-section which may have changed things for my second as well.

Do you have any advice for pregnant moms?
Trust yourself, trust your body, trust your instincts.  Be educated in every level of pregnancy, labor and delivery.  Have someone with you who can advocate for you and help you achieve the birth you want.