This story is a bit long and includes things that happened late in my pregnancy because of the impact they had on the way Jessie was born.
During my pregnancy I had wanted to give birth vaginally, known as VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). This is generally a safer way of giving birth than a repeat caesarean and I had hoped that it would be a more positive experience than the birth of my son. Not because I would change having him for the world but because when, tired and exhausted he was finally delivered by emergency caesarean he had to be taken straight to SCBU (special care baby unit) so I didn't even get to hold him straight away... but that's another story.
At my 21 week ultrasound re-scan the sonographer picked up a lump (fibroid) in my uterus. This in itself was not significant but she said it might need an eye keeping on it. Unfortunately I didn't know enough about fibroids at the time to check where it was so remained in blissful ignorance until we came back from a holiday in Cornwall. While we were on holiday I had quite a few early nights while Jon stayed up drinking at the bar!!! One night he came to bed and I said I don't know what that baby's just done but it really hurt. The first week we were back I had an antenatal appointment and the practice nurse (also former midwife) Aileen said the baby was breech.
I tried finding out as much information as possible about breech babies and what this meant for my delivery. I booked in for moxibustion (acupuncture but no needles) to try and turn the baby in time for my 34 week appointment at the hospital. Baby moved around quite a bit but didn't turn. At the appointment I saw an assistant doctor who used a mini-ultrasound confirm and said that because of the baby being breech and the fibroid being low down and 5cm I would have to book for an elective section. She had all but settled on a date when my consultant came in and asked was I keen for a repeat c-s. I said that I was keen for a vaginal delivery. He said it was too early to tell if I had to have a repeat c-s. I asked if he would consider ECV (External Cephalic Version) where the baby is turned around by pushing on the mother's tummy, this is controversial on women who have previously had a caesarean. He agreed to do it because in his opinion if you were expecting the scar to stand up to labour it should be able to stand up to gentle pushing of ECV. He had a bit of a fumble and hey presto turned the baby around. I am sure that the moxibustion helped get baby into a position it was easier to turn from. So I had to stay in for 1 hours monitoring to make sure baby was OK and then I went home.
About a week later I woke in the night and went to the loo. As I sat down the bottom of my ribs got stuck on baby (as it was turning around) and it really hurt. I spent the next hour trying to get baby to move because I was worried that it had been hurt. Thankfully baby got hiccups so I knew it was OK.
At my next appointment Aileen confirmed that the baby was breech again so I started doing more research. An internet article by an independent midwife on breech babies and another by a Dr Richard Fischer told me that a low lying fibroid was a likely cause of a baby being breech and under these circumstances a caesarean delivery was advisable. I also took into account the fact that my son, David, had been so heavy with such a big head that meant a breech vaginal delivery would be extra risky. I had also read the Term Breech Trial the main outcome of this was that a breech baby in developed countries was 3% more likely to die (up from 1%) where vaginal delivery was tried. I don't mind risking me but not my baby and I didn't feel things were on my side.
So.... back to the hospital again. One midwife got my hopes up thinking the baby was head down but she was wrong and a scan by a doctor confirmed baby was breech again. He was a total contrast to the last doctor, he said "I'm so sorry your baby is breech". My consultant came to see me again and asked if I wanted him to try turning again. When I said no he asked me what I wanted to do "book for another section". Not what I wanted but I wanted a baby which was OK. So we booked for 29 May five days before my due date of 3 June.
Having had not too bad a nights sleep (a bit like the night before Christmas) Jon and I arrived at the hospital. It felt very strange knowing that later that morning I would meet my son or daughter.
We went to my cubicle and a midwife, Louise , who we already knew through a mutual friend, came to see us. I was gowned up and then my consultant came to see how we were. He double-checked that baby was still breech and said that we were waiting for the anaesthetist.
At 9.30 my consultant came to get us and we walked down to theatre, I felt extremely nervous. I was taken into the pre-op room and waited while Jon went to gown up. I was given a spinal, which began to take effect straight away, and wheeled into theatre. We were all chatting away about things that were happening about TT and it was all very casual. Louise asked if we had thought of names for the baby so we told her that we had chosen Matthew John for a boy and Jessica Marie for a girl. She thought we might be able to tell the baby's sex when I was opened up because of the way it was lying but she couldn't actually see until they pulled baby out. They had to push very hard on my tummy to get baby out and at this point I was praying everything would be OK. Then suddenly there was a huge scream and my baby was born. Louise popped her head around the screen and said, "It's a Jessica". She was wrapped in a towel and was shown to me (still screaming lustily and apparently having pooed on the way out too!) and taken over to the checking table. I started crying, I was so happy, I had a daughter, and I knew she was OK because I could hear her crying. Jon gave me a kiss and then I sent him over to see Jessie being checked. The operating staff then started having a sweep on how heavy she was, unsurprisingly my consultant was bang on 8lb 1oz. Then all wrapped up she was brought to me to have a cuddle and a feed before going back to the ward.