My sister has had a few home births. I've got a niece that is basically in and out of the hospital in less than a day with new baby in hand. Heck, there was even a couple that used First Opinion to deliver their baby in the backseat of their car.
Unfortunately, easy baby arrivals doesn't seem to be how my wife, Dee, rolls. Our daughter was minutes from being taken by C-Section when she finally arrived, and so I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised when a routine doctor visit a few weeks before the due date went too long1.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 5:04pm to 5:14pm
Me: Just curious where you're at?
Dee: Still at the doctor. I think everything is fine but it's a long story. Hopefully coming home soon.
Dee: Don't freak out. I think it's ok
Me: Too late, I'm freaked, you've been at the doctor for over 2 hours
Dee: It's really not as bad as it seems. Just too long to tell you over text. It does look like the baby is breech though. Or at least turned funny
Dee: Doesn't mean he's not healthy or that it won't be ok though.
Me: :( let me know when you're headed home
Now I want you to close your eyes and imagine the doctor just told you the baby is breech and the umbilical chord is hanging down so if you went into labor outside a hospital you would most likely lose the baby. Now, imagine the doctor wants you to go the hospital to have them attempt something called a version, which you've never heard of, where they attempt to re-orient the baby into the correct position while still in the womb. Finally, imagine you had planned to have the baby in Redwood City, you knew that, your husband knew that, and your doctor knew that. Okay, so you need to go to the hospital, what hospital do you go to?
If you're my wife and me? You pile into the car, with makeshift overnight bags, and drive to Redwood City, walk in, go up to Labor and Delivery, where there is only a door that says Stop! No Entry and then back down to admitting, where the helpful clerk tells you you need to go back up to the floor you were just on and through the door that says Stop! No Entry and then down the hall and to the left where the nondescript unmarked door that has a silver buzzer hides Labor and Delivery.
The nurses were not expecting us, which is a seriously bad sign in a situation like this. After some back and forth, we were informed that versions are only performed at the San Francisco hospital, and after a quick phone call it was confirmed that San Francisco was wondering where the heck we were. We would've had a good laugh about the misunderstanding if any of us had been in a laughing mood, maybe someday.
My sister met us at Redwood City and took our daughter, Kenzie, home with her while Dee and I began the long rush hour drive back up to San Francisco. We finally arrived at the correct hospital a little before 9pm, where we were educated about what was about to happen. The doctors would attempt to turn our baby, if that failed, they would prep Dee for a C-Section and put her under anesthesia, and then try again more forcefully to turn him.
If either of those were successful, no C-Section for us. We were also informed versions have only about a 50 percent success rate. Also, they can't use the medication they normally use for the procedure because it elevates heart rate and Dee's heart rate was already a little too high, so our success rate was even lower.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 10:23pm
Me: Version attempt 1 will take place soon
My Sister: Good luck and fingers crossed
At about 10:30pm the doctors began the first version attempt. My sister tells this great story about a massage she got in India once2, where she sat in the middle of a room, cross-legged and naked, while someone poured oil over her head and then basically punched her back. She called it the worst massage any person could ever get ever, a version is kind of like that. I pressed my forehead to Dee's forehead while she grunted through the pain of two doctors forcibly pushing on her stomach trying to knock our baby back into the correct position.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 10:55pm
Me: Wow, they were able to turn the baby in one of the most uncomfortable massages I've ever witnessed.
My Sister: I can only imagine. Will they monitor through the night?
Me: Now they are going to watch for a few hours to see if she will continue to stay in labor or will return to normal
My Parents: Wonderful! But sorry it was hard.
Me: The doc says he might be inclined to induce since she is one day short of 38 weeks
Me: He's not sure he wants to risk the baby turning again
My Sister: Makes sense.
My Parents: How is dee doing? Give her our love.
Me: She says she doesn't know how she's doing, it was just supposed to be a normal checkup
The next 13 hours are standard labor and delivery fair, if this was a movie, here is where the montage would be. Dee's water broke around 5:49am, they put an epidural in around 7am and prepped the delivery table. They moved Dee into position at about 10:30am, and Hayden was born about 11:44am, an 8 lb 10 oz exciting new addition to our family. Between events I was able to grab a little bit of sleep, and Dee was not.
Thursday, July 17, 2014, 11:44am
Me: Hayden j Marcyes, no idea weight or time but he's here
My Parents: We are so happy. Now you can both get some rest.
My Other Sister: So happy all is well!!!
Me: 8 lb 10 oz
My Other Sister: That's pretty big. Holy cow.
My Parents: Good thing he didn't wait two more weeks
My Sister: Big boy...he looks great. I am tearing up.
That makes two, count them, two narrow C-Section dodges. And two freaking awesome kids.