My first baby was born at 40 weeks gestation after a four-hour labor with no complications. The birth of my second baby, on April 18, 2002, was a different story.
From 32 to 38 weeks the baby had been head down. At my 39 week appointment, the doctor wasn't sure if the baby had shifted position, however, another matter caught and held her attention. During my exam, the baby's heart rate dropped for about a minute.
I was immediately sent up to the labor and delivery room for monitoring. For an hour and a half nothing happened, so I was released.
The next morning at about 4:15, I got up to use the bathroom and couldn't go back to sleep. I was having contractions that were too strong to sleep through. They were about 10 minutes apart and lasted 15 to 20 seconds.
At 7 a.m. my bag of water broke, and the contractions sped up to 3 and 5 minutes apart. I called the hospital and was told to come in. By this time I was moaning through really intense contractions. I had to keep moving, and the breathing and relaxation exercises I had learned in childbirth class were really helping.
When we got to the hospital I was getting the urge to push. The nurse examined me and, instead of telling me I was ready as I had expected, said the baby seemed to be breech.
The news came as a complete shock. By then I was in so much pain I couldn't stand being in bed with monitors hooked up to me. The urge to push was strong; I had to either push or get up and walk around.
A doctor was called up to the labor room. He confirmed the nurse's comments: I was having a breech baby! I braced myself for a C-section with fear, yet felt willing to do anything to have that baby.
They did an ultrasound and called another doctor up and more nurses. The next examination revealed that I was completely dilated.
Then came the second shock: the medical team said I would attempt a vaginal delivery. I was given oxygen for the baby, whose heart rate dropped with every contraction, then was prepped for an IV and moved into the surgery/delivery room. I pushed for about 20 minutes and out came my beautiful baby boy, bottom first to face the world, with the cord wrapped loosely around his neck.
Kael Griffyn was born at 7:53am, weighing 6 pounds 15 ounces, and measuring 20 inches.
I'm glad there were no further complications and, despite his breech position, I was able to have my baby vaginally without pain medication. All in all, this turned out to be a great birth experience.