So, I sit here in bed, with tears streaming down my face and feeling super suck ass. Yesterday, I had my second attempt at a version to move the kid to a head down position. He has been breech for about a month. He was totally fine before but I went in for a midwife appointment and there his little head was, wedged up by my right ribs and making it nearly impossible to tie my shoes of put pantyhose on. Even underpants are hard to do, but luckily mine are all black, cotton thongs and I can just hold them out in one hand and whip ’em around one foot and then kinda jiggle myself into them. I’m sure it looks pretty sexy.
My first version attempt was Saturday. It was at 10 am and I was told to not eat after 2 or 3 am. I woke up starving, but that’s okay too. It was for a good cause. I later learned it was pure torture for absolutely nothing. They did manage to turn my little man, after 5 excruciating attempts, from breech to transverse but several hours of strong contractions later had him right back to butt-side down. I know many people have seen video of an external versions before. If you haven’t, you should look it up, it actually looks pretty easy and painless. The girls who are having it done may grimace for a second or two but overall, they are fine. Please, if you are wanting to have this done, understand those chicks, the ones who do not look like they are in agony, have been given pain meds and or an epidural. I wasn’t offered either at my first version.
To get through it, I imagined I was being tortured in a dungeon. No, that doesn’t really get me off or anything, but it did kinda take my mind off of it a little. I’ve watched “The Tudors” a lot over the past few months so I have a very vivid picture in my head of what the interrogation room looks like, so I just went there in my head and pretended I was a proud criminal and wouldn’t let my torturers know they were hurting me. Silly, but effective. I left very bruised and a little disappointed because my stinking kid didn’t do much but at least I didn’t divulge any secrets during my torture session.
After that awesome torture session, I decided I needed to hire a doula. The nurse assigned to me was really, really great but had she not been, I would have been up shit creek. My partner was supporting me but what I really needed was my mom or a mom or someone who had female organs at least supporting me. My partner, as pregnant as he is becoming (seriously, he has cravings, he is tired all the time and he is newly gassy too) he just can’t understand the types of pain and discomfort lady parts can cause. He tries to understand. I’ll give him credit for that, he deserves it. Luckily, I found a volunteer doula service in my area that had doualas who wanted to do it, but not enough mothers who needed them. I was pretty stoked when I stumbled upon that and sent an e-mail introducing myself and telling my story and sending them over to my blog so they could kinda see what they would be dealing with. After one day, I got a response! She’s new to the area and still working on certification, but she wants to be my doula! Awesome.
That was Tuesday, so we set up to meet on Thursday and yesterday I went in to another hospital to start my screening process for a vaginal breech delivery. Sounds gross. Well, while I’m there, I’m told I will need an MRI to see if my pelvis is big enough (fine) and an Ultra Ultrasound (fine) and an interview with one of the department heads (fine.) The hospital didn’t have the stats on how many of these vaginal breech attempts are successful but considering they are the only hospital in the Pacific Northwest who will do it and I don’t have a homebirth midwife who will do it and I’m not sure I want to do breech at home unassisted, actually, I’m sure I don’t want to do it, it is my only option unless I want to have a c-section.
I know that c-sections are routine now. I know they are done every day and they are quick and relatively safe. I also know that I don’t get a prize for a vaginal delivery (I was told that yesterday by an OB/GYN) but I also know that it is Major Abdominal Surgery. It is a surgery where multiple layers of muscle are cut into and then an organ is cut into and something is removed. That is major. It takes weeks to recover from it and it also can poison my milk supply and compromise mother/infant bonding. I look at a Caesarean Section as a brilliant tool to save lives in an emergency. But, I will only allow one in an absolute emergency. Like I have told all the OB/GYNs that I have had to deal with: “If I have a section, it will be a crash section and you will get to save a life or two, for real, this time.”
After I finish up with the initial appointment, I wander up to labor and delivery for my second version. I’m told this time, it won’t be just the external, because if that didn’t work after five tries that it’s not going to work with him being a few days bigger so they are going to have to do internal as well. Upon hearing this, I imagine a gloved hand, covered in lube, shoved into my who-who pushing up on my bowl-of-oatmeal like cervix to push the little mutant up and out of my pelvis while someone else tries to spin the kid from the outside. Horrified, I ask the Lady Dr what she means by internal and she quickly describes to me just what I had been imagining plus adding that the other person will also be doing the ultrasound to check position and heartbeat. Super. She also suggests I get an epidural because it hurts.
This is a totally unknown fact about me for most people. I love pain pills and pain meds in general (okay everyone knows that if they know me) but I don’t take them very often and I usually only take them when I can be asleep for a long time because sometimes they make me itchy and sometimes they make me crazy. Like totally, bat-shit crazy. Screaming one minute, crying the next and for sure telling people they just don’t understand me. It’s like I become a 14 year old and it’s not pleasant for anyone. So, yeah, if I take pain pills for fun, I take them alone and watch “Sponge Bob Square Pants” and think about how the pizza I just ate is going to be in my colon for a week because I’ll be constipated for days after taking the pills. It really is a lot more fun than it sounds like. Really. However, I don’t take pills if I have to be awake or make decisions or have to deal with people. So, no pain meds for me. I did agree to some Ativan though. Unfortunately, it didn’t do much but make me sleepy.
While all of this is going on, my partner is texting with the doula who had contacted me. She had never been to a version and even though we had not met in person I thought she might like to join the party. She didn’t. No reason given at the time so we just went through it ourselves, just like last time. We did fine.
In retrospect, I see that they may have gotten the kid to turn if I had taken the epidural. They would not have been fighting against my steel-like abdominal muscles to turn him. I tried as hard as I could to keep my abs loose but it just wasn’t possible for me. I still had a little bruising on my tummy from the time before and as soon as they began, I was in agony. Again. Add to that a hand up my girl and it was easily one of the most painful experiences of my life. Well, physical pain.
I had wanted to do a little work on my hands and knees before we started, just to get the kid moving but my parter vetoed that for some reason. I say some reason, because I really don’t know why he would have a problem with it. He got flustered when I asked him why he thought I shouldn’t and mumbled something about me being impatient and annoying the kid. I really didn’t understand what that had to do with it but I was tired and hungry and didn’t feel like fighting so I gave in. Clearly, a doula would have helped here. I don’t see how I’m going to birth the way I want to without someone validating my ideas.
I know how crazy this sounds. I have been making my own decisions for such a long time and now, when I’m not just making decisions for myself but for my kid, I’m questioning myself. I’m full of doubt. Part of it is that my body is failing right now. I feel like I’ve done something wrong because I’m breech. I feel like my body doesn’t work right. I feel like there is something wrong with my kid or he is stupid or something. Doesn’t he know he is suppose to be head down? It’s the only fucking thing he is suppose to do and he can’t do it. But then again, maybe it’s me. Maybe there is something physically wrong with me that is preventing him from doing what he is trying to do. Maybe I’ve been laying down too much or maybe I’ve been laying on the wrong side or not walking enough or maybe my uterus is fucked up. Maybe it’s my diet. Maybe I’m not drinking enough water. That is what goes through my head. That is why I feel like throwing in the towel and having a baby with a perfectly shaped head and just having him removed from me. Because I’m a reject. I don’t work right. I can’t do this.
Oh, I digress. So we leave the hospital. My partner is bugging me to call the doula. I don’t want to. I don’t feel like having another person I need to “keep in the loop.” She didn’t want to be there or couldn’t be there or whatever and that’s fine. I knew I was going to see her the very next day anyways so I could tell her what had happened. No big deal. He keeps at it though and then texts her or calls her himself all the while getting annoyed with me because I don’t feel like dealing with anyone. I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to explain, I don’t want to rehash. I just want to eat again (they did let me order off the room service menu and then let me eat it an hour after the glove came out of my girl) and go to sleep. I’m told when we get home that I missed a call from her so he dials the number and puts the phone in my hand. It rings and rings and rings. I hang up. He gets on me for not leaving a message. We go to the market and get food because our fridge was empty and still he’s on my ass about needing to talk to her. I tell him I still have to e-mail her our address for the meeting and I’ll tell her what is going on then. He’s not satisfied with that, but I’m focused on making our dinner and going to bed so I just ignore him.
I awake this morning to find my e-mail returned. The doula will not be able to come over after all. She thought about it and because she isn’t certified yet, she doesn’t want to waste her time working with me because an unassisted birth, if I am lucky to have a body that works right by the time the kid comes and am able to do that, won’t count for her certification. She had told me before that that wouldn’t be a problem. She told me that she was interested and would love to help me do this. She may have been interested and may have believed she wanted to do that at the time. I’m trying not to to be a baby about this. I understand. But I still can’t help feeling like a reject. Even a professional support person doesn’t want to support me. How fucked up am I?