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Take Two: I gave it my all

Editor’s Note: Take Two is a series of blog posts chronicling the experiences of three WISH-TV anchors (Lauren Lowrey, Kylie Conway and Amber Hankins) who have been pregnant together in 2018. 

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Second pregnancy, second breech baby. With Joaquin it was discovered too late to try to turn him which led to c-section #1. Aside from me going into labor before my scheduled surgery date, the delivery itself went very smoothly and I had as good of a recovery as one could hope for. Fast forward two-and-a-half years and here we are again. Not where I wanted to be. 

My goal this time around was a VBAC for multiple reasons: 

  • Health benefits for baby
  • Curiosity
  • That’s what our bodies are supposed to do, right?
  • Recovery

#4 was definitely the main reason for me predominately because I have a toddler to attend to this time around and I can’t imagine not being able to pick him up when he says “hug!”

I remember how difficult it was to rollover or sit up in bed to nurse Joaquin … bending over, showering, lifting restrictions … basically everything a mom with a toddler does a bazillion times a day. 

I know Joaquin’s world is going to change so much after this new baby and I was hoping against hope, that at the very least, I could be his energetic, hands-on, pick-you-up-whenever-you-need-it kind of mom ASAP. 

My doctor has been watching the baby’s positioning the entire pregnancy since my first was breech. We kept crossing our fingers he would flip, but to no avail. Finally I had to choose whether to try one last option, an External Cephalic Version (ECV or Version, for short). It’s a procedure performed in the operating room in case an emergency c-section is required. Two doctors try to manually move the baby into the cephalic (head-down) position. There’s always discomfort and a lot of pressure, but the extent of that ranges from discomfort to downright excruciating. 

There are possible complications including water rupture, damage to the placenta or too much distress for baby to name a few. The risks of these are low and my doc seemed optimistic so I thought, what do we have to lose? I scheduled the date. Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 at noon. 

For those of you who follow me on Facebook you already know a little bit about what happened that day. It was NOT fun. 

I got to IU Methodist Labor and Delivery just before noon. It was a busy day in the unit so we didn’t get back to the operating room until just after 2 p.m. In the two hours between I was seen by doctors, nurses and anesthesiologists. I knew epidurals were given as an option, but I didn’t realize how encouraged they were.

The doctor who came in to ask if I wanted one, seeing the uncertainty on my face, said something like “the benefits are less discomfort, it relaxes your uterus which gives the procedure a better chance of success, and if an emergency c-section is required, I’d be ready to go.”

Otherwise they’d have to put me totally asleep and I’d miss the first moments of my son’s life. When she told me that last benefit, it was a no-brainer to me. 

I get my IV, blood pressure cuff, heart rate monitor for baby and contraction monitor on and get rolled into the OR. 

There are two doctors, an OB resident, an anesthesiologist, an anesthesiologist resident, two nurses and my husband in the room. We all got to know each other and shared a few laughs then it was go time. 

The anesthesiologist inserted the first epidural and couldn’t get it threaded into the perfect place. He said he could keep pushing it farther in and it would work to numb me but I would be left with an excruciating headache. He said the best option was to try it again at a different level of my vertebrae. Second shot was a success and it took about 15 minutes to get numb enough. 

Next step: Version 

One doctor on my left, one doctor on my right. One nurse, Heather (who I LOVE), grabbed one hand and one of the doctors explained that the baby’s booty is lodged in my pelvis so the first plan of action is going to be to try to lift his booty out.

OH MY GOSH it hurt.

It’s described as a strong pressure, but it is so much more than that. I had my eyes closed and was practicing my deep breathing. When my husband saw what was happening he grabbed my other hand. I have never felt anything like it and I hope I never have to again. This went on for about 10 minutes until everything abruptly stopped and it was pretty quiet in the room. 

A few minutes went by and one of the doctors said the baby liked it about as much as I did and it wasn’t safe to keep going. The baby’s heart rate had dropped in the 70s (usually in the 130s/140s) and it took a while for it to begin to climb back up. Also, he hadn’t budged. At all. 

I had been so strong and hopeful and at this moment I broke down. I put my hands over my face and shed a few tears, which happened off and on for the rest of the day. I was emotionally and physically drained. Not to mention I’d been fasting since the night before in the event of a surgery. 

As I’ve mentioned several times before, my husband is an RN and has seen a lot, medically speaking. He said this was incredibly hard to watch and had to stop himself from calling it off a few times. I couldn’t watch, but I take his word for it. 

Now numb from the chest down, I’m rolled to recovery where my blood pressure drops into the 80s (usually around 115). It happens twice. I get so light-headed and drowsy. But, I eventually came out of it and the feeling in my legs started to come back. My nurse was able to request my discharge papers around 5:15 p.m. 

I left the hospital sore and had an incredibly restless night of sleep Friday night. But, each day I’ve seen improvements. Even today I’m sore in the places where the docs were putting the most pressure, but it’s a reminder of what we women are willing to endure in hopes of doing what’s best for our children. 

Like someone commented under Friday’s Facebook post, I will sure have a story to tell this little guy when he grows up. And I can already tell myself that I did everything within my power to try for what I thought was best for both my boys. 

Regardless whether it’s by VBAC or cesarean, whatever places a healthy baby in our arms is the most we could ask for.  Unless by some miracle this baby flips on his own, I’m now scheduled for a c-section late next week so the countdown is on. 

I can’t tell you how much all of your kind words and encouragement have meant not only meant to me through this past episode, but throughout this pregnancy. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.