04 November 2016

My Breech Week Story

In honor of #breechweek (heeeey Better Birth), I agreed to post a blog about my breech birth.  As any of you who have kept up with these Jones' know, our daughter Faith was born vaginally and breech.  While I explained some of the inner workings of that, I also skimmed over a few things.  So let me start back at the beginning...

Picture it: Houston 2013...

Sometime in October-ish, I, under the care of a hypervigilant OB, had another ultrasound done to check on baby.  I was still in my late 20's/early 30's of gestational age, but while the OB was hyperfocused on my translucent gestational diabetes diagnosis, I noticed that kiddo was breech and was NOT prone to turning often in utero.  As in I never felt her be not breech.  So being the proactive mama that I am, I started looking up breech information.  Of course the first focus was on getting baby to turn.  My search led me to the Better Birth's breech predecessor, the now defunct, but rolled into BB, My Breech Baby site.  Of course my search also led me to the Spinning Babies site.  Seeing as our budget was tight, I couldn't afford much in the way of purchasing SB's resources or scheduling sessions with any of their practitioners, but I did try some of the techniques on my own and scheduled a visit with a Webster technique trained chiropractor covered by my insurance.  The next month or so found me with my ottoman propped up on my sofa and me laying upside down on it or my knees on my sofa and elbows on my floor pretty regularly.  My husband was amused.  Meanwhile, my first chiropractic visit was intriguing and very relaxing - I fell asleep in the parking lot after getting adjusted!  I went back a few more times and even a few postpartum sessions.

However, as November rolled around, kiddo was yet breech as seen on ultrasound.  I could tell she'd never flipped and was seemingly very comfy as I felt her stretch out very often: head under my ribs, toes touching my bladder.  So around this time, I started searching for local doctors who performed vaginal breech births as my OB had made it plain that breech=cesarean with her (especially since she was still cawing about my "big baby" from having GD).  In my world, I'd fought too hard to get pregnant only to have it "cut short" by not being able to birth my baby vaginally.  As I scoured the internet and called around, only one option seemed to constantly present itself.  The Harris County Heath System hospitals.  Of course at that point, I had to face my economic & insurance privilege head on.  Do I pursue what could be lower quality care of the "county hospital" or stick with my fancy newly built Pavilion for Women?  After chatting it up with my midwife who advised me to follow my heart on the matter and my husband who reminded me that President Bush (41) receives care at the county hospital, so surely it can't be horrible, I decided to schedule a consultation with Dr. Michael Lucas at Ben Taub.

So this brings us to December - on the 4th, I have my consultation with Dr. Lucas and his team.  The "county hospital" experience was much of what I expected it to be with the lack of plush and posh.  And it was also a culture shock that every admin person specifically asked to see my medicaid card instead of generically asking for my insurance card.  But Dr. Lucas and his assistant checked me out and reassured me that all seemed well enough for me to birth my baby vaginally and he also told me that if the External Cephalic Version I had scheduled on the 6th didn't work or baby turned herself back afterward that I could simply pop over to him and he'd accept me as a patient.  I left feeling a weight had been lifted from my shoulders!

Friday, December 6th rolled around and hubby and I pack our groggy selves over to the Pavilion for our 6am appointment for the version - I was exactly 38wks.  We're relaxed and chatting away when the nurse who's checking me and prepping me notices that I seem to have low amniotic fluid.  So my OB comes in and confirms the assessment and pretty much demands that I submit to a cesarean immediately.  I declined.  Just two days prior my fluid was fine, so I was prepared to simply transfer my care to Dr. Lucas.  However, this is where my OB turned up the drama: death, doom, and destruction were my portion should I step foot out of this hospital.  I declined again.  She repeated her prognosis, this time appealing to my husband's more manly logic to convince me of the error of my ways.  He declined.  He was already on board with the plan to transfer care.  I laughed.  Finally she released me, AMA, after calling Dr. Lucas herself to verify that he would indeed accept me as a patient.

So at noon, after grabbing a small snack, we drove the short distance across the MedCenter to Ben Taub and got me checked in and after I was settled, he went scrambling to buy a carseat and the cosleeper (things we were planning on buying that weekend or next anyway) and grab my hospital bag.  The OB team there confirmed my low fluid assessment and Dr. Lucas and I agreed to induce baby.  The induction was started at 4p but stopped an hour later as kiddo was not happy with it.  We gave it a rest and then Dr. Lucas, understanding my intense desire to birth vaginally, agreed to restart the induction.  We did so at 6p.  This is about where I lost track of the time... but I do vividly recall my mom, aunt, uncle, and cousin showing up to visit with me as Southern was playing in the SWAC championship game nearby.  Funny story: my mom wasn't originally planning on coming that weekend, but a few weeks later.  But when hubby called and told her I was having the baby she caught a ride with someone coming for the game!

Anywhoo - I did most of my laboring without pain medication.  But apparently, this second portion of induction was going too well, because Dr. Lucas (who'd originally planned on going home) ended up sticking around to attend the delivery, as it went very quickly.  Sometime in this, my water broke.  Also sometime in this I was asked to get an epidural so that they could help me slow down my pushing as my body was taking this at a rather spirited pace.  That was the hardest part of it all - holding still during contractions to allow it to be placed safely.  After a while I felt a limb escape my womb.  Sure enough, lil missy stuck her right foot out first... I've since nicknamed her Twinkle Toes for this.  When we informed the nurse, they were in disbelief, but sure enough there it was.  I was then transferred to the operating room, just in case, ya know.  It was very cold in there.  There were two things about the actual delivery I recall vividly: the temp in that room and this super annoying nurse who kept asking me to hold my leg with my hand that hurt from having prenatal carpal tunnel syndrome despite me telling her that I could hold up my leg without my hand (hey, I'm a dancer!) and that it HURT!

Kiddo was born shortly after midnight on Saturday, December 7, 2013 (5lb11oz: very far from big, if you've followed the secondary storyline here).  Vaginally. And Breech.  As mentioned there was an induction and epidural involved.  There were also forceps and an episiotomoty.  So while not everything was ideal according to the knowledge I have since obtained about best practices for breech birthing, I accomplished my primary goal at the time, which was to NOT have a cesarean hanging over my head as I headed into future pregnancies.  And good thing, too, because it seems like baby sister, due December 2016, also has an affinity for being breech.  This time I'm under the care of my midwife and will be delivering at home.  Also humorous, my midwife seems to be having a year of breeches!  It's not only Breech Week for her, it's been Breech Year.  I guess this is a perfect match for my Breech Babies.

p.s. - we happened to spot a roach in both the pavilion procedure room and the county hospital labor room... so there goes your fancy schmancy dollars at work.  ;-)

28 July 2016

Hope is Here

So last we chatted, I was fretting about the possibilities of another kid and our finances and such.  Today, not much of that has changed except for the fact that we did move forward with the fertility treatments and are expecting again.  Come December 2016 we'll have a 3yo and a newborn.  And I'm terrejoyed by that fact.  We also ended up with a new car a few months ago because mine refused to hold on any longer.  And there have been more household repairs that ate into our plans.  And the treatments ended up costing us way more out of pocket than we planned because there was a snafu with our insurance, so we're still waiting on that to be straightened out so that we can get a refund and pay our midwife.

Did I mention that I decided on a home birth this time around?  Yes, well, through a confluence of factors, I decided that this kid will be born at home.  One day, early in this pregnancy, I was still feeling the effects of the rather severe OHSS that I developed and in conversations with those whom I usually turn to for support, I felt vastly unsupported.  That day I called her and went to chat with her.  I explained our situation, my feelings, and our finances, and we agreed that she would attend me at home.  As in times past, I knew I could trust her and she was totally there for me.  So I have come full circle with her in having her attend me in some ways with all of my children: she was my midwife with the twins before we lost them (and after), she was a counselor with Faith, and now she will attend this kid's birth.

Another reason I've decided to have a homebirth is the culmination of not so great hospital visits I've had in these past few years as it relates to my varying maternal experiences.  I was extremely dissatisfied with the hospital's ER when I went in with bleeding with the twins.  With Faith, the hospital protocols caused me to miss out on immediate skin-to-skin and her first few days of breastfeeding.  Then even with the OHSS with this one, even the billing was a bait-and-switch with them putting me in an "observational" extension of the ER overnight, so I was never actually admitted and my bills are higher.  With my midwife, what she says she will give me is what I will get and what she says I owe her now won't change later.  There's more that could be said about the maternity care systems in this country, but I'll leave that to others who've put in the research time.  For me, let's just say that if it came down to hospital or home alone, I'd choose home alone before choosing to birth in a hospital again.

So here we are - pregnancy #4, all due to fertility treatments, and expecting baby #2 to "take home."  Nothing's even close to perfect, but the hope of new life continues to shape our God-given destiny.

08 December 2014

Back In Limbo

So, we just celebrated Faith's first birthday and I am in love with both her and motherhood.  She's a joy and life is rather fabulous with her.  Of course there are challenging times, but I finally feel like I'm living the life I was meant to have instead of being in a perpetual state of tortuous limbo.  So why the blog title?  Because, as before, I want lots of kids.  So starting over on that quest puts me back into the mental state where there are too many unknowns for my liking.  There's the PCOS/infertility factor, there's the faith/fear factor, the finances factor, and now we have the newcomer: the breastfeeding factor.

As you may recall from previous posts, the PCOS factor is where we got started in the beginning.  My body's version of PCOS leads to no ovulation.  I have perfectly textbook PCOS ovaries according to one doctor: they're full or pearly partially mature follicular cysts.  So since my body never releases mature eggs, I rarely have a menstrual cycle because my body gets stuck on that one step.  But since there are rare occasions when I do have a cycle, I never truly know if at any given moment I might actually have a chance at a natural conception.

Then there's the faith/fear factor where I truly believe that I'm meant to birth more babies with this body, but simultaneously scared that Faith will be an only child.  After years of infertility, it's still hard to believe she's here sometimes, let alone that she's well, growing, and developing normally.  Nothing of the infertility has touched her!  Not that I expected it to, but that the issues consumed so much it's such a breath of fresh air that she's perfectly separated from it.  But in the meantime, I want to do it again and have to have faith and trust that God will honor my prayers on that.

Of course, fertility treatments aren't cheap, and neither are the costs of having a baby.  Not to mention random things that can (and did) happen where we had major household repairs, we're not in a good place financially.  So even though we both would love to have another baby, there's no way we could go get treatments again at this moment.  None.  And that is super frustrating.

But the finances aren't the major deterrent to treatment because I know I'll have some hassle from my specialist about using the ovulation induction medications while breastfeeding.  And I don't plan on stopping that any time soon.  As hard as I worked to get to this point, I'm super proud of my body for creating and then growing a fabulous girl.  Not to mention she's not even close to weaning herself from breastfeeding: there are days when we hang out together and she's still perfectly content with only having breastmilk to eat all day.  This kid ain't giving up no time soon and I won't force her to, not even for her future siblings.

So yeah.  Limbo.  But it's a much more peaceful limbo now that I have Faith to keep me company.  I mean, look at that smile!

BTW - please vote for her in this competition.  She NEEDS to win!