Guest Blogger Gina Jacobson shares her birth story.
I am 1.5 metres tall (that’s just under 5 feet) with really narrow hips. My gynae jokes that she has to order the extra small speculum when I have an appointment.
When I fell pregnant the first time we discussed all our options in regards to natural vs planned c-section. She wanted me to have a c-section as I am so little and my husband tops 1.8 metres (6 feet). I was fine with that. Honestly, the thought of vaginal birth scared the hell out of me. Also, I don’t care how babies are born, just that they are healthy.
So we booked the date for 38 weeks and that was that. I had a really easy pregnancy except for killer heartburn at the end. I had planned to leave work at 36 weeks to give me 2 weeks to finish up everything at home and to just relax.
I left work on the Friday and on the Sunday I went to see a production of the Peter Pan pantomime at the Joburg Theatre. The friend I was with joking asked if the baby was ok with the loud noise. I joked back ‘What’s the worst that can happen? I go into labour?’
Little did I know…
That night, just after midnight, I went to the bathroom and as I walked out the door my water broke. I woke up my husband, who had only JUST gone to sleep, and we grabbed the half packed hospital bag and drove to the hospital. We told them that I was in labour but we had planned for a c-section and they admitted us to the maternity ward and called the doctor.
A lovely nurse came and checked me out, confirming my water had broken and hooked me up to a fetal heart rate monitor and a contraction monitor. She also checked the babies position and after getting a second opinion determined that the baby was breech. In fact he was lying in a posterior transverse position. There was no way he was coming out vaginally, even if I had the very brief thought that maybe I was supposed to have a vaginal birth.
At about 5:30 am the doctor and the anesthetist and surgery staff were all there. They wheeled us to the theatre and Paul got changed while I had the spinal block put in. The only side effect I had from the spinal was uncontrolled shaking in my upper body which I think was partly caused by nerves/shock at going into early labour.
A short while later a squalling, almost 3kg baby boy was placed on my chest. Even though he was 4 weeks early, he didn’t need NICU, only a short stint under the lights for a bit of jaundice. He latched beautifully and 3 days later we were home. I had no issues with the surgery and was up and about a few hours later, as soon as the spinal wore off.
Fast forward 2 years and my 2nd child was conceived. Having gone into labour before and having time to think about it I approached my gynae and asked if I could have a VBAC. She wasn’t convinced it was a good idea due to me being so tiny etc but agreed to see how we went with the pregnancy and make a decision closer to the time. In the mean time we booked a c-section for 38 week just in case and carried on.
Again, an easy pregnancy with only that pesky heartburn to deal with. As the time got closer we decided to stick with a c-section. She was a big baby and I was comfortable with the surgery and all it entailed.
Again, I decided to take leave 2 weeks prior to the c-section date. I left work on the Friday and on the Saturday we took my son to my mother and went to see a movie. When we went back to fetch him he insisted on sleeping over so we went home without him.
Just before midnight I went to the bathroom and you can guess what happened… my water broke. I woke up my husband, who had gone to sleep a few hours earlier and we went through to the hospital. A good thing my son was at my mom!
Again, they checked that my water had broken and hooked me up to the monitors. This time I was much further dilated than the first time (6cm within half an hour of my water breaking) and the nurse asked if I wanted to try for a VBAC or if she should call the doctor. We decided on the c-section, mainly because we were again, 4 weeks early and we were not sure if she had turned.
An hour later we were in theatre, spinal in and doctor cutting. A gorgeous almost 3kg baby girl was placed on my chest. The doctor then told me that had she arrived at the hospital even 5 minutes later I probably would have had that VBAC. I was fully dilated and she was head down and ready. That’s water breaking to fully dilated in an hour and a half.
Either way we landed up with two healthy, happy, well-adjusted kids.
Despite being 4 weeks early, my daughter spent no time in NICU but did spend a full 24 hours under UV lights for jaundice. She latched beautifully too.
The one thing we did learn out of both experiences was that if we ever have another child I wont be taking maternity leave at 36 weeks and maybe then I won’t go into early labour! 😉
You can get to know Gina on her blog: www.gnatj.com
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