It has taken me six months to sit down and write about this part of our journey. Brynn’s birth. It was unpredictable and scary, but it happened in the most beautiful and perfect way.
It’s kind of a long story, so I have divided it into two parts.
Brynn spent most of her time in my womb in the transverse lie position – sideways, across my belly. She rotated and changed positions A LOT. Right, left, forward, backwards, right-side up, upside down. But almost always sideways. She was occasionally breech and almost never head down. Dr. T, my MFM specialist, was hopeful that she’d be positioned head down by 36 weeks. However, at 35 weeks, it was apparent Dr. T was growing more concerned about the possibility of a cesarean delivery. I was nervous, too. I really wanted to have an un-medicated vaginal birth. Although, the chances of that were very slim from the start, considering the plan was to induce. At the very least, I wanted a vaginal delivery.
Ben and I discussed the possibility of an external cephalic version with several doctors, but decided against it. The noninvasive procedure has only a 50% success rate and could cause fetal distress, which would require an emergency cesarean delivery. We didn’t want to do anything that could possibly cause Brynn any kind of distress, especially before induction. How she would enter this world was truly up to her at that point. And I accepted the very real possibility that I’d have a C-section.
At 36 weeks, Brynn was transverse lie, so we went ahead and scheduled my C-section for the following week. The plan was to have an ultrasound before delivery, and if she was head down that day, we’d be induced instead.
My C-section was scheduled for a Wednesday, but I had my regular triweekly appointment with MFM the Monday prior. I was exactly 37 weeks. I remember walking into the hospital that morning in disbelief that it would be the last time I’d see Dr. T before Brynn was born.
I laid down on the examination table and held my breath as the sonographer moved the ultrasound transducer across my belly. Exhale. A huge wave of relief washed over me as soon as I saw the flickering heartbeat on the screen. This happened at every single appointment. Anxiety and then relief. This time, there were tears too. I couldn’t believe it. Brynn was head down. Dr. T was so excited when she came in to see me after my ultrasound. I remember her exact words – now if we can just get her to stay put until Wednesday. My response – why wait? Brynn was finally head down, and knowing how much she liked to move around in there, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Dr. T agreed.
Ben was at work that morning. We exchanged texts the whole time. It was fun going back and reading the messages. The gist of our conversation was as follows.
Me: Brynn is head down. They are checking to see if I can be admitted for induction today! I’m having contractions but can’t feel anything. I’m also waiting for them to check my cervix.
Ben: Aaaagh!!! I’ll be on the next train home!
Me: Great. Can you bring me some fun magazines and golden Oreos?
Once I was admitted to the hospital, I got settled in my room and received my first dose of Cytotec. Since my body wasn’t showing any signs labor, I had to ease into the induction. Slow and steady. Ben arrived not too long after I was admitted. Cookies, magazines, AND foot lotion in hand. There was so much excitement and nervousness in the air. It felt so surreal being back in the hospital for our second delivery. I didn’t know what to expect this time around. It was all so different. I knew there was only one thing we could count on; we were going to finally meet Brynn. All we could do was pray that she’d come into this world alive. I felt so hopeful at that point though. We had made it to our induction with a living baby. Something we were just days shy of with Elliot.
As the day went on, my nerves started to take over. I had a few more doses of Cytotec with very little progress. I was having some contractions, but none that I could feel. I was hooked up to several different monitors, including the NST so they could monitor Brynn’s heart rate. For hours, I focused on the NST and was on edge every time her heartbeat seemed too slow or too fast. I was obsessed with her heart rate. I didn’t want to miss even the slightest change. The nurses always monitor the NSTs from the nurses station, but I still couldn’t relax. It got late and I needed to sleep. I made Ben promise to watch Brynn’s heart rate and wake me if it dipped too low or peaked too high.
At around 11pm, Brynn got really active and her heart rate increased quite a bit. Not dangerously high, but enough to get my nurse’s attention. She had me adjust my position. She told us that babies sometimes have trouble getting settled at night. A different position could help Brynn relax. Once I got comfortable, the nurse adjusted the NST monitor. Brynn had been so active, she moved out of range. Anytime she went off the monitor, I had a minor panic attack. Once we found her heartbeat again, I was relieved and tried to mentally calm myself. Ten minutes later, the OB came in with a portable ultrasound machine and told us she heard Brynn may have flipped. I wasn’t paying attention the fact the nurse moved the NST monitor higher up on my belly! Sure enough, our active little baby had changed positions and was breech.
It turned out to be a good thing that the induction had moved so slowly because it allowed for a scheduled C-section the following morning, rather than an emergency C-section that evening.
By midnight, we were meeting with the anesthesiologist and signing all the paperwork that comes with major surgery. Our C-section was booked for 8am the following morning. I had a few hours to sleep. I don’t remember if I actually slept. I doubt it. At 5am, I was prepped for surgery. We were surprised when P, the nurse who admitted us with Elliot and helped us with our CuddleCot donation, arrived in our room and asked if she could be our nurse for the morning. Without hesitation, we agreed. Ben and I were so relieved to see P. She took such good care of us last time, and we knew having her there with us again would make a big difference. It was comforting and so fitting that the same nurse we had with Elliot would be there for Brynn’s birth. I truly believe P needed to be there with us again. Elliot brought us together that day, just as she had done almost two years earlier.
To be continued…