I had my baby! His name is Joshua and he was born on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 at 12:04 pm in Greenwich Village, NYC at St. Vincent’s hospital via cesarean. Little dude was breech and we did EVERYTHING to try coercing him into turning but no, he had his own plans.
We were planning on a home birth but when you have a breech situation that’s not a great way to go. So, I had to suck it up and go do the thing I feared most about this pregnancy; getting cut open and having the baby just taken out. After trying everything to get him to turn including inversions, frozen peas on my lower ribs, talking to him, visualization, etc., I went in for an external version with Dr. Mussalli. He tried for at least a half-hour to turn my boy but Joshua kept ducking and diving and eventually won the wrestling match. Dr. Mussalli then said we needed to go schedule the cesarean for the following Wednesday. What a trip! The night before the external version we’d had our birthing tub delivered, thinking that it would work out. It’s really weird to know the time and date that your baby will be born! Usually, you’re waiting around for the labor to begin.
As I was recovering from the version, I spoke with Dr. Worth on the phone about the cesarean, which she would be performing. Then she stopped in to meet me at the hospital, which made me feel a lot more comfortable right away.
I was looking forward to the rite of passage that comes with the natural birth process. I’d read up on it for 8 months and done my homework, only to have a spinal block in the operating room and be numb from the torso down when he was brought into the world. Ah, well. Everyone kept saying,” You’ll forget about the actual birth when you have that beautiful baby in your arms.” I heard that so many times that it started to annoy me. I wanted the experience of giving birth and after seeing Ricki Lake’s movie,” The business of being born” I wanted a homebirth.
Before I went in for the cesarean, I felt like I’d gone through my fears and disappointments about the change in our birthing plans. My husband Ben was with me the whole time and he wore my majorly mojo-filled birthing necklace that I planned on wearing, as they don’t let you wear any jewelry during surgery. The necklace is a long and heavy piece containing 23 different friends beads, trinkets, and charms that they’d given to me for the necklace, sending their support for a safe passage. Well, all the mojo worked! It was a weird experience having a cesarean, but honestly all the staff members at St. Vincent’s were really cool and very personable. I felt I could connect with all of them which made a weird, sterile situation much more tolerable.
We stayed in a private room in the hospital for three days so that Ben could be with me the whole time. All of the nurses were helpful in teaching me how to breast-feed. Our room was on the ninth floor overlooking Manhattan, the Hudson River, and Jersey. The three days I spent in the hospital was pretty painful with the stitches and staples in my lower abdomen but I was on a pretty high dose of Motrin that whole time. One part that sucked was that both Ben and I had the flu at the time and with it an awful cough. Every time I coughed it hurt a lot! Luckily there’s a cough syrup that’s safe for breast-feeding so, at two in the morning, after we were home for a day, Ben went out and got it for us.
By Saturday we got to go home but there was a possibility that they wanted to keep Joshua for a few days because he had a high Bilirubin count, indicating jaundice. We had to take him back to the lab and the pediatrician the following Monday and Wednesday to have that checked and you can imagine how much fun it was traveling with a newborn after having a cesarean. Thankfully, his count went down by the second appointment to the pediatrician. It was so good to be back home. I was so grateful for our nice home and a quiet environment.
At the time of this writing, Joshua is seven and a half weeks old! Time is flying by. I can now go back to yoga, which I did yesterday for the first time (you’re supposed to heal for six weeks first).
After hearing stories from women who had their babies around the same time as me, I don’t think having a cesarean was all that bad. Sure, it’s not what I would have chosen but there are positives like, I never went into labor, I didn’t go through labor, I’m not stretched out down there at all, I’ve healed up rather quickly, and Joshua’s head was never cone-shaped- he has a cute, round head.
Now, I do know there are aspects of natural birth that I wish he and I would have gotten to experience; the first being him going through the birth canal. There is the stretching and squeezing of the baby that awakens their nervous system and lengthens their bodies that we didn’t get to do. Also, there are hormones that are released in the mother during the delivery that make her naturally protective of her baby. I’m super protective so, that happened even without the natural delivery.
So, in conclusion, I’m very grateful that we’re at a point in time where a cesarean is a safe option if you need to do it that way. We are both healthy and that is what’s important, just like everyone said. I don’t feel cheated out of my birth experience because I feel like this WAS my birth experience. For whatever reason, the universe had its own agenda.
J, mother of Joshua
4/20/09 Brooklyn, NY