Delivery Options

From early on in my pregnancy, I knew I wanted to deliver our little one into this world as naturally as possible. I had no intention of being militant about a natural childbirth—I was not going to adamantly refuse any and all drugs at all costs. But I have a pretty high pain tolerance and, barring any complications or unforeseen issues and armed with deep breathing and relaxation techniques honed from years of yoga practice, I had every intention of undergoing a drug-free delivery.

Conservative Hubby, of course, thought I was nuts—particularly once we attended a day-long Lamaze class and learned in more detail what happens during childbirth and what the drugs can do for you. He questioned why, when given the opportunity to deliver relatively pain-free, I'd ever choose the pain and agony of natural childbirth.

It's a reasonable question. I don't want to go into a drawn-out debate about the topic. I don't think there is anything wrong with a woman having a child with the assistance of the many drugs and medical interventions hospitals regularly use during labor and delivery. It's simply that after careful contemplation and research on the options, I decided without a doubt that I wanted to be fully aware, fully present, and fully feeling every moment of my son's birth—and to avoid the potential complications that not delivering naturally can sometimes lead to. Women have delivered naturally since the beginning of time, so it's really not that strange!

But it's a good thing that I wasn't, as I said before, militant about delivering naturally, because we discovered a few months before my due date that our little guy was breech. At that point, he still had plenty of time to flip around to the correct position—and many babies do, up until right before they're born. But as October gave way to November and the final countdown began, it became pretty evident that despite all the wiggling he was doing in my stomach, the little guy had no intention of budging from his breech position. His head was resting comfortably (well, for him anyway) above my belly button and his legs were curled up under his bottom way down near my pelvis. (Consequently, that is still one of his favorite positions to snooze.)

(On a side note, this position gave Conservative Hubby cause for alarm, because after our initial "its a boy!" sonogram, the bambino's position made it impossible for the "visual confirmation" Conservative Hubby needed that we were, in fact, having a boy. He grew increasingly concerned that we were going to bring home a little girl from the hospital and that she would spend the first year of her life wearing all of the boy's clothes we had been given as gifts.)

That concern never crossed my mind. I was more worried about the possibility of a c-section, which I absolutely, positively had no interest in having. Major surgery? No thanks. I knew enough about the potential complications and the long recovery time to know I'd take a vaginal delivery (with or without drugs) any day over surgery. Conservative Hubby thought I should just go with it. Spending less than an hour in the operating room rather than an unforeseen number of hours or days in labor sounded pretty good to him. To me, not so much.

After I learned the baby was breech I, of course, set about researching what I could do to turn him around on my own. Inversions? Yep, tried them. Elevating my pelvis on a big stack of pillows? Did that too. Putting a cold bag of peas on the top of my stomach so he'd want to flip and get his head where it was warmer? I tried that once and decided it was ridiculous and perhaps a little mean to give my baby a brain freeze before he's even born. Positive thinking and coaxing with phrases like, "Come on, flip buddy"? Did that every day.

Still, nothing worked, so in early November we set a date to try the last best hope for getting the baby to flip: Going to the hospital and having the doctor attempt to turn the baby. It's called a "version." I'd be all hooked up to an IV and given a drug (see! already had to change plans) to help relax my uterus, then the doctor would actually work on turning the baby by placing her hands on my stomach and pushing him around until he moved into the correct position. It wasn't a sure-fire solution, but it had a pretty high success rate. I was willing to try it if it meant I could still deliver naturally.

So we set the date: November 19. We were scheduled to go in very early in the morning for the version. If it worked, the doctor would induce labor right away with the hopes I'd have the baby before he decided to flip back around (which sometimes happens). If the version didn't work, while I was all hooked up and ready they'd whisk me in for a c-section and deliver the baby that way.

As disappointing as it was that I wasn't going to get to leave the birthing process up to nature, it was kind of nice to have a date in mind for when our little guy was arriving. And it was particularly nice that it happened to be the day after my parents were able to arrive in L-Town, a Saturday morning, and long enough before Thanksgiving that I could (hopefully) celebrate the holiday.

I held out hope that the version would work and I'd still be able to deliver, if not completely naturally, as close to it as possible. But I also went back and began reading about c-sections (I'd ignored the part of articles and books that dealt with them because I had no intention of having one), so I knew what to expect during the surgery and recovery.

You know me, gotta be prepared. And it's a good thing I was.

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