I went back and forth about whether I wanted to share Bear’s birth story on the blog. But at the end of the day, this little space on the interwebs is not just to share my stories with you fine folks, but it is also my journal and where I store my memories. I don’t want to forget a single detail of these moment with my boys. So typing this out helps me recall all the tiny details. And one day when I am senile and in a nursing home, I hope one of you will come read this to me. 🙂 So here we go.
Bear’s story actually began in May of 2017 when we knew we were ready for a second baby. Fast forward through a failed embryo transfer in December 2017, an IVF with egg retrieval in April of 2018, and finally a successful embryo transfer in June (which you can read here), and we were finally pregnant!
Bear’s pregnancy was relatively unremarkable. Once I got out of the first trimester nausea and morning sickness, the rest of the pregnancy was a breeze. I had several growth scans towards the end of the pregnancy because of my “history of making large babies” (which is hilarious to me, I mean have you seen my husband). At our 30 week growth scan they told me he was in a frank breech position but to not worry because he still had several weeks to try and flip head down. At 35 weeks, we were given the same update: still breech. And the fact that Liam came early at 37 weeks, I was now feeling the pressure of having little to no time to flip this baby. The doctor agreed that he should be head down by now but to wait and see what he does.
So in an effort to help nudge him in the right direction, I went through acupuncture, tried spinningbabies.com exercises, hung on the couch upside down or against the wall in a headstand, put ice and peppermint oil on my belly near the baby’s head to piss him off, put a warm compresses in my crotch, tried “sifting the baby,” and anything else you can really think of in an attempt to flip him. Nothing worked. And at 37 weeks when he was still breech, we decided to go in for an External Cephalic Version procedure with the doctors to manually flip him. I won’t go into much detail about this because I don’t want to scare away any of you readers who may be thinking of trying this. Because it does have a 50% success rate and could be the answer to having a c-section vs delivering naturally. But the 50% odds did not go in our favor. And after a day long hospital stay and painful torture, Bear was still head up! So we started to plan for our c-section.
We arrived at the hospital on Thursday February 14th, early in the morning. I was 39 exactly weeks pregnant. The doctor came in and did a quick ultrasound to ensure Bear was still breech. They told me if he miraculously decided to flip head down, they would cancel the c-section and induce me with Pitocin instead. I knew he was still head up because at this point I had become quite aware of where his body was in my belly and I was actually patting the top of his little head right as she announced “yep still breech!” We met with the anesthesiologist who quickly went over the drill, informing me that they would be doing a spinal block, and then asking me what playlist I wanted him to put on Pandora during the procedure, for which I announced Mumford and Sons. I have no idea why, they are not even my favorite but it made sense at the time and alas Bear was born to “Guiding Light” playing in the background.
Everything went really smoothly once I got into the OR. Will had insisted that an attending anesthesiologist do my spinal block instead of a student resident. Thank goodness he did, because I barely felt a thing and it went so smoothly. Which is more than I can say for the nurse who put in my IV. My OBGYN arrived and was just as cheerful and optimistic as she always is. They brought Will into the room once I was all prepped and ready to go. I was completely numb from the waist down so if it wasn’t for the Mumfords and Sons playing in the background, I wouldn’t of even know they had begun. It took less than twenty minutes to get Bear out. And during that time, the doctors and nurses all had side conversations about restaurant reviews, traveling to Nashville, and other mundane things. Which actually gave me peace, thinking to myself, everything must be going well if they are talking and laughing through all of this. Suddenly, my doctor looked over the curtain and said, “ok we are about to take him out, get the camera ready.” And just like that at 1:17pm I heard the loudest, most high pitched baby cry I had ever heard! The curtain was pulled down, I looked up, and there he was.
The first thing I noticed was his dark hair. And how he looked exactly like Liam but also looked completed different. I don’t know how else to describe that but still to this day, I look at him and see my first born in his eyes but then see facial expressions that are totally new and exciting. They wiped him off, suctioned out his mouth, and handed him over the peds team who within seconds had him in my arms. After so much worrying about not being able to hold him immediately, when they finally placed him on my chest I was shaking so bad from the spinal tap and felt so light headed that I immediately asked Will to take him. Will walked over with the nurses as they took his height, weight, and APGAR scores. And while they did that I started to feel like I was going to faint. I told the anesthesiologist and he immediately put something in my IV and I felt so much better. Will came back with Bear and we sat there together while they sewed me back together, Will holding the baby, the baby looking at me and me looking at him. He was perfect. The doctor told me after the fact that they found he had a true knot in his umbilical cord. I wonder if that knot had anything to do with why he was stuck in the breech position. Maybe somehow he knew that if he tried to flip head down, he would have pulled the knot tighter. We’ll never really know why he was breech, but such is life’s little unsolved mysteries. Bear has now been home with us for an entire month. My post c-section recovery went really well. I decided to not try to be a hero and I took all the pain medicine they offered at the hospital and even for a few days once I got home. My incision scar still hurts a little if I lean against it, but all in all I feel back to my old self. Just waiting for my six week follow up to get permission to start exercising again. And after that I will start looking for a new excuse to NOT exercise again. So if you have any good ones, send them my way. 😉 I’ve put together a quick video blog of Bear’s birth story. Enjoy: