Prequel: Courtney’s Birth – Conclusion

Yesterday was Courtney’s third birthday. Here is the rest of her birth story.

On February 12th 2003 during a prenatal visit, our midwife said that she thought Courtney was in the breech position. We thought this was odd since we were pretty certain that she was head down six days earlier. So we went to the hospital to get an ultrasound and yes indeed she was breech. Our midwife said when we hired her that she would not do a breech, mainly because she is not trained for it. We found that not many will. Even the hospitals don’t want to do vaginal breech deliveries because they don’t know how.

So, on Thursday the 13th Amy set out to try all sorts of natural things to get her to turn back, like acupuncture, a chiropractic visit, homeopathic remedies. Nothing worked. On Friday the 14th(our 4th anniversary), she found some doctors at Kaiser hospital out in Vallejo(about an hour from us) that would schedule an immediate “external version”. That’s where they will try to turn the baby back with their hands from outside. That did not work and was painful to Amy.

On the way home, our midwife took us to see another midwife who has done home vaginal breeches. Even she said it’s very risky and if there is a problem, there is usually no chance to go to the hospital in time. At this point I am getting freaked out, but Amy still wants to deliver at home, breech or not. We got home at about 9:30PM and celebrated our anniversary and went to bed late.

On Saturday morning, February 15th, Amy got up early to call Kaiser in Walnut Creek to see if they could try again to do another external version. They said they could, so we went in. Before trying they checked Amy’s blood pressure and they thought it to be a bit high for her. So, just to be safe, they drew some blood and sent it down to the lab.

The doctor came in and tried to turn the baby around again, but failed. He said it could be unsafe to continue trying. Since she was already full term at 39 weeks, he recommended doing a cesarean section. Since we were already there, and Amy hadn’t eaten since midnight it made the most sense, rather than waiting until going into labor and possibly having a problem delivering breech, according to the doctor. Amy wasn’t going for it. So, since we had to await the lab results before they would let her go, I went across the street to the bank to deposit my paycheck and called our midwife to ask what she thought we should do next.

When I got back to the hospital, the lab tests came back and showed elevated enzyme levels in her liver and kidneys, an apparent early indication of pre-eclampsia, or so they claimed. The doctor said that this can get worse over weeks or even only days and is dangerous to mom and baby. The hospital was really busy that day, and the doctor needed to know soon so he could get the OR lined up, so we told him we were on for it. Meanwhile, our midwife and doula showed up and gave Amy (and me) some much needed support. They also said it was the best thing to do.

I waited outside the OR as they prepared Amy for the operation. The two doctors and the attending pediatrician each came up and introduced themselves to me as they were preparing for surgery. The head doctor/surgeon was the same doctor who tried the external version earlier in the day. He is apparently one of their best surgeons.

Then they called me into the OR and had me sit near Amy’s head and hold her hand. I could not see anything they were doing because of a big blue sheet they had hanging down at about Amy’s chest. Then one of the doctors said “does dad want to stand up and see this?” So I did and Courtney’s little butt was already part way out. Then her legs popped out and then the rest of her. I remember shouting several times “she’s so beautiful!”

They brought her over to a table to the left of us to check her out and clean her up a bit. After about ten minutes they set her next to Amy and I took a couple pictures. Then it was off to the nursery for Courtney and me while they mended Amy and got her to a recovery room.

After about an hour and a half, I wheeled Courtney in to Amy and picked her up and placed her in her mother’s arms. She breast fed almost immediately.

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