I started this post the night Bryson was born, but was typing on an unfamiliar device and got frustrated with the keyboard. It’s taken me 2.3 weeks to get back to it. Yikes! Life is busy with a new baby! How easily we forget that!
What a day! We went pretty much on time this morning, even though there was an emergency C-section before us. We got in the room a bit late, but Bryson was born right after 8:00, so I’d say we were on schedule.
The delivery itself went super well. We arrived at 6:10 for our 7:15 section and got settled in. Our delivery nurse was super nice and so was the anesthesiologist. My anesthesiologist last time intimidated the heck out of me, so it was nice to have a caring, friendly guy this time. Dr. O came in to say hello and let us know the schedule, and then we just waited. We did receive word that our birth photographer couldn’t come into delivery with us which didn’t surprise us. That happened last time too, so we were prepared for it this time. It turned out to be a good thing.
My spinal was perfect. With Matthew’s delivery, my arms weren’t numbed the same and that scared me. I also couldn’t swallow on the right side of my throat, which made me very uncomfortable. I was worried that would happen again but it did not. My anesthesiologist did his work with me laying down on my right side, which was much more comfortable than sitting up but hunched over my big pregnant belly like last time. Everything about this experience was different from the last time. I had a perfect block, the doctor was nice and chatty, and they kept me warm as they worked.
Once the spinal was done, they allowed B in and when he arrived, they had already started cutting. They kept me very informed of what was going on and chatted with me as they operated. Dr. O asked if we had any guesses as to weight and I said 9 pounds 1 ounce. He insisted I was wrong because I looked way smaller than someone carrying a 9 pound baby and I had no stretch marks. One of the nurses guessed 7 pounds 6 ounces and I laughed out loud at that. Dr. O said he’d be in the 8 pound range. And then they got to Bryson’s head. HA! Many on the team said he had a huge head, which we already knew! (All the babies on B’s side of the family have HUGE heads – it’s actually something B’s mom has warned me about on several different occasions. My MIL is a very crunchy, all-natural woman and has actually said that I’m lucky I don’t have to push my kids out – Ha!) Then they got to his body and started laughing at how massive he was. Dr. O said he wanted to change his guess to 10 pounds and said, “you’ve got a huge baby here and not a single stretch mark to show for it. Where were you hiding him?” Ha!
As they literally pushed and pulled on me to get him out, I started to feel short of breath. I asked about it, and it was because I had a “120 pound nurse on top of you, pushing this baby out.” It was unreal. I knew that this baby was going to be much bigger than Matthew.
Dr. O got serious as he worked and asked if we wanted to have more kids. I said yes, we want one more. He said that the next baby can’t be delivered any later than the 37th week because they found a hole, or window, in my uterus right where Bryson’s head was. He explained it to me and what had occurred was the uterus had literally separated, causing a true hole in it, that was only covered by a thin, clear membrane. He then said, “you are very lucky you chose a repeat section because had you chosen a VBAC, you would have ruptured given where this thing is.”
We were stunned. I asked lots of questions and he said that even laboring at all could have been catastrophic. Dr. O said that labor could have, and natural delivery would have, caused a rupture given the location of the window (right at Bryson’s head), the size of it, and the size of Bryson. All of my ultrasounds had shown nothing of concern and he said that these show up late in the third trimester (and went on to say that it could have developed just yesterday). Dr. O went on to say that if we have a third baby, that the third trimester will be closely monitored with ultrasound and that we will deliver in the 37th week, maybe sooner, and will sacrifice lung maturity for a safe, non-rupturing uterus. I would likely get steroids for the baby’s lungs just before delivering, which would be decided via amniocentesis testing (which does not threaten miscarriage in the third trimester).
As Bryson emerged, I was thinking about how lucky we were that I didn’t go into labor prior to our scheduled section. And I thought about how lucky we were that Matthew was breech, requiring a C-section and then requiring a repeat C-section for his brother (we couldn’t VBAC due to the location of Bryson’s placenta – and thank God for that!). I thought about how glad I was that I ignored the many suggestions from people to “just have a VBAC.” As our son took his first breaths, I was thinking about how lucky we were that he got to take them at all.
Bryson’s blood sugar was low so they had to work on getting that up and doing other tests, which kept him from me for longer than I’d have liked. They worked on him quite a bit as Dr. O stitched me up, and I only got a quick glimpse of him as they first carried him to the warmer (he looked just like my grandpa!) and then again when he was on the scale (almost 9.5 pounds). Besides being able to see him those two quick times, all I could see was his arm in the warmer and I kept saying, “he has fat rolls on his arms already! B, look how chubby his arms are!” I was concerned about the blood sugar, but also knew it wasn’t life-threatening and just hoped for quick resolution so I could hold my baby. We didn’t get a quick resolution.
I did ask Dr. O more about the uterine window as he stitched me up and he was very serious, but I didn’t want to be dramatic about it. I wanted to think it was not a big deal – and maybe more of a threat than a real situation had we labored at all or delivered naturally. As I asked questions, the delivery nurse who saw the window came to tell me that, “had you ruptured, and it looks like you would have, we would have only had 2-3 minutes to get him out to save you both, because of where it is. We’re all happy and lucky that you needed a C-section.” So – I guess it was more dramatic than I wanted it to be. (* More on this below.)
We were finally done in the OR and got back to my room, where they worked on Bryson some more. They had to keep testing him. I was pretty upset that I hadn’t held him, or even really LOOKED at him, but he wasn’t responding how they wanted and was having trouble breathing, so we didn’t push them to get him to me. At this point, our birth photographer (and more importantly, our GOOD friend) was in the room and she knew I was upset and came to hold my hand. I cried a bit, but it was so nice that she was there!
I finally got to hold Bryson and nurse him, which was wonderful! He latched on great but his vitals dropped quickly so he was taken from me again. The NICU team decided to tube-feed him so that he could save some energy to try nursing later. I was fine with that as long as there were no bottles. Bryson was returned to me for kangaroo care and we snuggled quite a bit. Once his vitals stabilized again, B was told that Matthew could meet his little brother.
B returned about 30 minutes later with Matthew who was unimpressed with me, his little brother, everything really – except for the huge window that gave him a view of “FWAGS” and TRUCKS! HA! He did kiss Bryson quite a bit, but only very quickly before returning to the window to look out over our little suburb! B’s parents were there and they came in to meet Bryson. It was nice and quiet.
Before we knew it, my sister and her family were there, as well as my parents. It was nice to see everyone, and they didn’t stay too long which was wonderful 😉 I don’t really remember much more of the day other than our visitors and that I was up and moving, unassisted, by 6:00 PM. My tail bone was so sore from laying in bed, so I asked to stand up to stretch my legs and they allowed it. The nurses decided to take me off IV pain meds and the catheter, giving me full freedom with the promise that I wouldn’t move around without someone there to assist me. Fine by me!
B spent the night with us and I nursed Bryson often starting around noon and that went really well! Bryson slept 4 hours that night which was nice – because I was exhausted!
I know that a lot is said about birth plans, natural deliveries versus medicated deliveries versus scheduled C-sections, etc. I was devastated when I was told that Matthew would be a scheduled C-section because I planned to deliver in a hospital with minimal interventions (no pain meds, no Pitocin, etc.) with doctors who truly supported my goals. All of that was tossed out the window in the interest of safety, which I came to terms with rather quickly. Now – that decision has impacted another child, and as B says, very likely saved Bryson’s (and my) life. Everything happens for a reason, and I’m so glad that my original birth plan over 2 years ago was thwarted by a stubborn, huge baby with a short cord who refused to turn into the “right” position. His position was perfect for him, for me, and for his future baby brother.
* I did speak with our delivery nurse in more, coherent detail about the uterine window right before she got off her shift that evening. She explained that as Dr. O cut into my uterus, light was filtering OUT of it. This was due to the OR lights going into the clear window, and then coming out through the incision. She verified that this window was NOT caused by my prior C-section, that it was in a new location, lower in my uterus where Bryson’s head was. She said that once Dr. O got it “cleaned out and trimmed,” that it was about the size of a silver dollar before he sutured it up. I now have two incisions/scars in my uterus – one where they go in to retrieve my babies (the C-section incision/scar) and one where the uterine window was. I am clarifying this because I have already received lots of opinions from others on what this was, and what caused it (based on what they’re reading on the internet – which says that most uterine windows occur where prior C-section incisions are located. I trust my medical team immensely and I ask that everyone please refrain from weighing in on what you think this all means in regards to my health, our deliveries, etc.). The attending OB (not Dr. O) had a serious talk with me about this once again the next day during rounds. I was told to absolutely not deliver any babies in any way for at least 12 months, and to discuss future family planning and delivery options (C-sections only and not past 37w0d) with Dr. H at our 6-week post-delivery OB appointment. B will be attending that with me. He is already implying that we are done building our family given that “we have two babies at home who need you,” whenever I mention our babies/embryos at the fertility clinic. I am struggling a great deal with this possible reality – because I know that I would like to have a third baby – I felt that the minute I held Bryson. In my heart, I know that I’m not done building my family – but once again, science, fate, and medicine may be deciding that for me. And that is hard.