This is not how things were supposed to go.
So, yeah. Those tests. We did the non-stress test first, which involved having two monitors attached, one to record the baby's heartbeat and one to mark contractions. I'd been advised by friends to drink something sugary ahead of time, since a sleeping baby would not provide the desired 3 moves per 15 minutes that they usually like to see on an NST. I needn't have worried. First the nurse had to chase the baby around to get the monitor placed properly, and then he proceeded to boogie down for the next 20 minutes. I lost count of how many times I pressed the button on the electronic clicker thing they gave me. I only had one contraction the whole time, even though from 36 weeks until this past week I'd been having Braxton Hicks contractions that increased in frequency and intensity. I'd started to worry that the dropoff in contractions meant something wasn't quite right, but I decided to believe maybe my uterus was just resting up, even though the baby's activity levels hadn't slowed, like people say they tend to just before labor starts.
After the NST, we went to have an ultrasound, and it turns out I should've listened to my instincts. As soon as the image popped up onto the screen, the tech said, "Oh, girl." Our baby, who was absolutely head-down and properly engaged a week ago, had somewhere in the intervening seven days flipped himself transverse breech. Our OB told us we could try an external version to turn him, but that she definitely would not recommend it at his date and size, and said he may have had a reason for turning after being in the proper position for several weeks. I think I handled it pretty well, considering. We found out he was breech around 2:00 and I didn't break down and have a big ugly cry over it until about 6:00.
I never really talked about it here, but we'd been planning to try for a natural birth. I read books and articles and visualized and practiced breathing and relaxation techniques, the whole bit. I guess the best way to amuse the universe is to make plans, right? Anyway, I didn't talk about it because I didn't want to jinx myself (HA. Real fucking funny now, right?). Also, as Jonniker so aptly put it, we are all unique birthing snowflakes. I certainly don't care if someone else wants an epidural or an elective C-section or wants to have their baby beamed out via alien technology or desires a homebirth surrounded by their commune and attended by their parakeet. Really, your business. But dammit, *I* wanted to try an unmedicated birth. I truly did. And we had a picture-perfect pregnancy and a baby who by all measures is still perfectly healthy at 41 weeks, and yet, it's not enough. I'm still going to have to have a c-section to bring him into the world.
Of course, intellectually I know this is not a big deal. I know a healthy baby at the end is the most important thing. I know that I'm lucky to have the doctor I do and that c-sections exist because of situations like this. And omg, you ungrateful bitch, some people don't even have babies. Or their babies have, like, three heads and a tail. I know. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pretty disappointed. I'm bummed that we did all that planning for nothing, I feel stupid for all the practicing and visualizing, I feel like a jackass for the hours I spent putting together a birth playlist, I worry that this isn't the best start I could've given this baby, I'm nervous about the surgery, and frankly I'm slightly offended that after waiting so long to be able to roll over in bed and go for long walks and get quickly back into yoga, I'm now going to be in worse pain after the baby's born than I am now, and for longer than anticipated. To put on my petulant pants for a minute, it just fucking sucks. I'm not heartbroken or devastated or hysterical, but I'm hugely disgruntled at the moment.
Worse, there's no way for me to know 200% that this wasn't just a freak thing and not something that happened for a reason. I wish I could know for certain that he wouldn't flip back around, given time (not that we have much time left.) There's no crystal ball for me to look into and find out if he'd turn himself back around if we waited two or four or six more days. I hope I don't always worry that we didn't give him a fair chance, that if we'd waited until Monday or Wednesday, he would've been able to be born on his own. The uncertainty is the hardest part, the not knowing if I'm making the best choice for him.
I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow. I tend to bounce back pretty fast, and I don't really have time to wallow since the c-section is scheduled for 12:00 on Friday. We'll have to spend tomorrow re-packing our bag for a longer stay and returning all those natural birth books to the library and getting last-minute stuff done.
And I'm sure Friday will still be one of the best days of my life, even if it does start with me probably half-sick with nerves and then filleted like a fish, because Friday will be the day that I get to meet my baby. My allegedly 8 lb 4 oz baby (the ultrasound tech likes to make a guess to see how close she can get), a baby with a fat little fist and small round toes, who still didn't want to show his face, who is most definitively a boy, and who apparently has hair. On Friday, I will become his mother, for real and forever, no matter how he comes out.
tucked up beside his hairy head. I have no idea.