Posts in BIRTH
Baby C's Unexpected Birth Story - Part 2- The Decision

READ PART 1 HERE

"Can we take a peek at your baby?" Dr. Cap said.

"Yes, let's see what's going on," I said.

Despite leaking fluid for about 18 hours at this point, Dr. Cap said we'd probably see little pockets of fluid around certain parts of the baby's body. There was no panic, we just wanted to know more about my little guy's situation.

I laid down on the cushioned exam room table, crinkling the fresh paper under me as I lowered myself down and pulled up my shirt to expose my pregnant belly. More water smooshed out between my legs, making me extremely thankful I'd remembered to wear a pad before taking J to his morning of preschool. I stared at the TV screen on the wall, waiting to see what was up with my baby and I smiled when his black and white image popped up.

He was still breech. As Dr. Cap moved the ultrasound around on my belly, he told me what those fluid pockets would look like if they were there, but we didn't see any. My baby was pretty much dry docked, but his heartbeat sounded great and he wasn't in any distress.

Dr. Cap's office in Encinitas, CA.

Dr. Cap's office in Encinitas, CA.

Next up, we tried to find his feet. We couldn't see them up by his face for an obvious frank breech (bum down) position, but we couldn't see them anywhere else either. His feet were hiding.

It could be a trick of the angle we were looking from on the ultrasound and his body position, but my first thought was that he could be footling breech - a more risky breech presentation to deliver, I knew.

Dr. Cap didn't say anything about that possibility but I knew from my own education that a feet-first baby could run into trouble with things like a prolapsed cord or other complications.

Labor still wasn't starting. I had no contractions at all despite leaking fluid for 18+ hours.

Finally, we looked at my baby's head. He was looking straight up at my face from under my ribcage, putting his head in an extended position instead of chin tucked to his chest. He was still sitting really high, too. This baby had not dropped.

If labor started with him in this breech position, and Baby C dropped into my pelvis with his head extended like that, Dr. Cap told me he was concerned because my baby's head could get stuck.

I knew exactly what that meant because my two-year-old had recently gotten his head stuck in our cat tower/scratching post thing that had a little kitty hide-out compartment with a circular hole for an entrance. My doula was over for a prenatal chat and while we weren't looking, J stuck his head in there to see what was inside. Of course, he lifted his chin to see better, and then couldn't get out as he tried to pull straight back with his head still in that extended position. He panicked and cried, and my doula and I had to physically help him adjust his body position, and verbally coach him to tuck his chin to his chest so that he could finally slide his head out. It didn't last long but it was really scary for all of us.

The baby in my uterus wasn't so coachable.

I briefly considered that maybe my body could sort him out and give me the vaginal (non-surgical) birth I wanted, but I quickly nixed that idea because my intuition was practically shouting at me to lose the ego around having a "natural birth," and just give my baby a safe, peaceful arrival into our lives. I wasn't going to risk letting it turn into an emergency.

Dr. Cap entering the exam room during one of my previous prenatal visits. Always in a good mood, always armed with a cheerful, "Hey guys!" Here, he was talking to our son who was turning a light on and off, over and over.

Dr. Cap entering the exam room during one of my previous prenatal visits. Always in a good mood, always armed with a cheerful, "Hey guys!" Here, he was talking to our son who was turning a light on and off, over and over.

And Dr. Cap basically said the same thing. He looked at me kindly, knowing everything I've been through and what I wanted for this birth, and gently said I could still go to the hospital that day and have my baby via c-section. And he quickly explained what surgery would look like with him.

A gentle cesarean. A horizontal incision below my bikini line. A clear drape so I could see baby as he emerged if I wanted. A little delayed cord clamping. Immediate cheek-to-cheek skin to skin. Then Doran would go with the baby while he got checked out to make sure he was stable. Then he'd be put on my bare chest right there in the OR for full skin to skin and breastfeeding, and I'd be stitched while leaving everything internal. He'd close my uterus, my rectus muscles, the fascia, and the skin, finishing it off with a special skin glue so I'd have a nice clean, small scar.

I took a deep breath. I knew deep down that labor wasn't starting because my body was protecting me. This baby had chosen his birth and it wasn't the kind of birth I'd had with Little J. It wasn't safe for this baby to go through labor so my body was buying me time. I didn't know why yet, but the information I'd get after he was born confirmed everything my intuition was telling me.

C-SECTION. The word made my stomach hurt. The realization of what I needed to do hit me hard, and I started sobbing. Out of sadness for my body that would undergo yet more surgery, out of fear, out of anger, and out of a deep disappointment for not getting the birth for my baby and I that I had dreamed of for months.

These weren't quiet tears running down my face, either. I was sobbing uncontrollably, letting the emotion wash over and move through me. Dr. Cap left the room and gave me and my husband time to talk about it and decide what we wanted to do. I looked mournfully at my husband. He just wanted our baby here safe and sound, too, so I called Britney, my doula, to fill her in on what we were thinking. She knew my wishes and how I'd do pretty much anything to avoid being cut open again, so she wanted to help me have this baby vaginally, the way I had hoped, but I knew this was different. My heart knew what I had to do. "Okay," she said softly. "If you're sure this is what you want." And truthfully, I never wanted it, and although things like Pitocin weren't an option for a breech baby, I knew labor or the lack thereof could turn into a shit show, fast, and more than anything, I wanted my baby and I to be safe. Dr. Cap made me feel safe and I trusted him, so I took another deep breath, and I said to my husband, "Ok, let's have a baby today."

Dr. Cap came back into the room, and we told him our decision. Then we casually asked, "so what time should we do this? Should we go home and get organized and go to the hospital this afternoon?"

"No," he said. "You need to head over there right now."

My doula, Britney, looking after me with foot rubs and some last minute education at the hospital.

My husband's and my thoughts raced. Wait. What? NOW?! Um... ok. Now. So many things to figure out with no time. Our son was in preschool, we had no plan for his childcare, I had no clothes other than what I had on, I hadn't eaten breakfast or had coffee (sad face), but now we were headed to the hospital and I was going to have surgery and have a baby by lunchtime!

Whoa.

Britney, me ready for surgery, Daniella, and Jen. My friends. My Wise Women. My village.

My husband drove us the mile or so over to the hospital and I started making phone calls and texting people on my cell phone. First thing to figure out was our son's childcare. I immediately reached out to our friend, Jen, who had stayed with our little guy the night before when my husband and I were away in Temecula. She already knew what was happening since I had filled her in on what  I suspected was happening as I made my way home in early morning traffic, and she took one look at my pants when I walked in and said, yup, your water broke! As a mom of four with years of experience as a birth and postpartum doula, she knew what she saw, no medical exam needed.

I couldn't believe how normal our lives had been when I left for a day of pedicures and the pool the previous morning. Now I laughed with her and halfway joked, "Can I hire you right now, at the 11th hour?!" She had been my postpartum doula when Little J was born and she had been a godsend for me then. Now I had a feeling I'd need her just as much but for a different reason. Luckily she said that if we needed her, she could help, and sure enough when I called, she came through for us without hesitation.

Walking with my husband to go have our baby in the OR.

We organized the details quickly and I relaxed a little knowing our son would be with someone my husband and I trusted and we knew he really liked. Then I called my doula again, and my friend Daniella, who had agreed to be my birth photographer a second time, filled them in, and amazingly they were both able to be at the hospital with me as I prepped for surgery, and after.

Soon my son and Jen were there, too, with Britney coaching me on what to expect when I went into the OR, making sure I'd had a chance to inform the nurses of all the things I wanted for my baby when he was born, and helping me relax (to help the baby stay relaxed), and Daniella was quietly documenting it all for me on her camera. Without even meaning to, I realized these friends, these incredible women with so much birth knowledge and experience between them, were my village and the feminine support I needed that day. Just their presence, strength, wisdom, and calm allowed me to get excited about meeting my baby instead of stressing about medical interventions and the surgery I was about to have.

I hugged them all, hugged my son tightly as my only child for the last time, told him I loved him and that he would meet his little brother soon.

Then my husband and I walked out together and down the hall to the Operating Room.

 
READ PART 3 HERE!

READ PART 1 HERE

Baby C's Unexpected Birth Story - Part 1 - The Pool

I did not expect a Sunday when I was 38 weeks to be the last full day of my pregnancy.

And I did not expect to be faced with the birth experience that I feared the most.

That Sunday morning, I left home to spend a day with a girlfriend in nearby Temecula, CA, getting pedicures at the spa, swimming in the salt water pool, and then planned on staying the night away with my husband so we could relax and connect, just the two of us, before our new baby arrived.

Grapeseed Spa

At 38 weeks, I had every expectation that I would be pregnant for another two weeks or so. My pregnancy with Little J had gone to 40 weeks and 2 days, I just expected more of the same. With a pregnancy that was normal and straightforward from the beginning, just 6 weeks earlier, my awesome OB, Dr. Capetanakis (Dr. Cap), had told me that my baby was head down at 32 weeks, and things were as straightforward as could be.

I knew I didn't want to give birth in the hospital again, which is the only place my doctor delivers, so after trying for months, unsuccessfully, to get my insurance to cover a home birth, I took my "straightforward as can be" pregnancy, and finally transferred my care to the nearby birth center, Tree of Life. I loved their birthing rooms, the midwives, and the experience I could see myself having if I gave birth there, all the midwives had hospital privileges, and they often worked closely with my OB, too.

But my 36 week midwife appointment revealed that my baby was in a breech (head up) position. This was not straightforward, and the midwives were not legally allowed to deliver a breech baby at the birth center. I immediately starting employing all of the tools I know to help a baby turn, and I thought it was working. I often felt things in my belly that led me to believe he was vertex (hiccups down super low, little kicks up high) but then it would seem like he flipped head up again.

Soon, I fully believed that he was turning up and down at will. So I kept hoping he would go head down when it was time to be born. I was mildly worried, but I continued with my care at the birth center, believing I could help baby get into the right position in time. I wanted to cover all of my bases to ensure a positive birth experience, so I opted to get co-care with Dr. Cap and Tree of Life, so that no matter what happened, I would be having my baby with someone I knew and trusted, rather than an on-call doctor after a potential emergency transfer to the hospital if things didn't go the way I hoped. 

Sans our 2-year-old boys that fateful Sunday, my friend and I were ready for some much-needed pampering and as we settled into our massage chairs, I started to unwind like I can never do at home. We painted our toes in happy colors, snacked on cheese and fruit and talked birth predictions poolside, and I decided to hop in the warm pool for one last attempt to get my unmistakably breech baby to turn.

I am blessed that Dr. Cap knows how to, and will, deliver breech babies! Not all OBs are trained in breech births, and many won't do them, preferring instead to perform c-sections because they they're taught that it's "safer." I had read that the level of risk for a breech vaginal birth and a breech cesarean section are actually the same (although the risks are different), but the older school of thought still prevails, making a c-section the go-to "fix" when a baby is breech.

If I was unsuccessful in turning my baby head-down, I knew I wanted to try for a vaginal birth even though he'd be coming out bum (or feet) first. I'd watched several videos of breech births, I saw how normal these births were, and I knew my body could handle it with ease.  Breech birth can be just another variation of normal, and after multiple lifesaving surgeries a decade ago, and braving the ensuing pain and uncertainty about recovery, the idea of MORE surgery was just not an option for me. I was willing to do pretty much anything to avoid being cut open AGAIN.

I swam laps of breaststroke and did countless underwater handstands in the pool, but I never felt the desired, dramatic roll or flip of position in my belly. I had yet another earnest and serious conversation with my baby about why he needed to be head down (for a cozy birth center birth, versus a clinical hospital birth) but... nothing. 

When I got out of the pool, water left my body and ran down my legs. "Huh, guess it was all those handstands," I thought. Then a few minutes later it happened again. I still didn't think much of it. I got dressed and went to get gas for the car and noticed my seat was wet when I got out to fill up my tank. "Wow, that's a lot of water. Must have filled up completely with all that time upside down." But throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening, it kept happening, and I was in TOTAL denial about what it really was. 

Before dinner, I did at least check the color (clear) and odor (chlorine), but with absolutely no labor symptoms, my brain hung onto the "it's just pool water" fantasy. Because amniotic fluid doesn't smell like chlorine, right? So I put on my little black (maternity) dress, let my hair down, and went out for a fancy dinner with my hubby and we had an awesome date night. 

Back at our room, I was still leaking, and we googled a bunch of things, but I was adamant that I was fine and it was just pool water, and my loving husband kept his doubts to himself. That night, I woke up around 1am, and my sheets were SOAKED.  I knew this was strange but nothing felt "wrong" or anything like contractions, so I STILL clung to this idea that somehow it was still water from the pool! I did google how much water a vagina could hold, though, and how would I know if my water broke while swimming.

The internet was NOT helpful and so I went back to sleep.

When I went into labor with J, my contractions started as soon as I woke up that morning and my water didn't break until late afternoon. And then when it did, it was a small leak, followed by a dramatic "KERSPLOOSH" all over my living room floor. Then the pushing contractions started. It was a totally different experience and I just didn't know what to make of what was happening now.

38.5 weeks pregnant. The last photo of the bump before I had our baby!

38.5 weeks pregnant. The last photo of the bump before I had our baby!

I wasn't even to 40 weeks yet! I knew that "2nd babies often come early" and "breech babies often come early" but my brain just couldn't grasp it. When I woke up in the morning, and the towel I'd placed between my legs was also soaked, and when I sat down on the toilet to pee, MORE water leaked out of me before I'd even started peeing, I finally thought, "OK. Time to call the midwife."

* * * * * *

Let me rewind to the beginning of my pregnancy for a second. When I conceived this baby, I decided early on that I REALLY wanted to have a home birth this time. My experience of racing to the hospital to have J was no fun, and actually left me with some pelvic floor pain because I was trying to hold him in while my body was trying to push him out!

And my experience with one of my labor and delivery nurses actually contributed to that pelvic floor pain because her fairly aggressive and painful uterine massage after I delivered caused me to store that pain in my pelvic floor as well. That deserves its own blog post but I'll just say that emotional "stuff" causing physical pain is a real thing. And it left me feeling less than safe birthing in the hospital.

I knew I could birth this baby, and so aside from wanting my OB to be there, I had no desire to have another hospital birth. I just wanted to stay at home and have my baby. I wanted no interventions and to be pretty much left alone except for my husband and doula's support. So I applied to my health insurance company to have them cover my out-of-network home birth at the in-network level. Due to family health stuff, we spent a lot of money and hit our deductible over the summer, and "just paying for" a homebirth midwife out of pocket just wasn't an option. And despite looking high and low, I discovered there are NO midwives near me, in network with my insurance company, who attend home births. So I applied for what's called a "gap exception" since the lack of in-network midwives constituted a "network gap."

This is also worthy of its own post because the process was long and complicated and frustrating, but eye opening in terms of how to deal with health insurance companies.

In the end, though, my request was denied.

And that's how I ended up at Tree of Life, and it seemed to be working out that it was really the best outcome. I was excited to birth there. But when my baby was definitely breech at 36 weeks, my mind raced. I immediately thought of all the possible scenarios and I knew that more than anything, I DID NOT want to end up with an on-call OB I didn't know, if a transfer to the hospital became necessary.

So I requested co-care with Dr. Cap and Tree of Life. It's not an uncommon thing for them to do as they work together often, and it was simple to start seeing them both. More expensive, certainly, but after hitting our deductible, I didn't care. I needed the peace of mind that no matter what happened, I'd be under the care of people I knew and trusted.

But at my appointment just before Thanksgiving, Dr. Cap told me, "just don't go into labor this weekend."
It was his one weekend off that month, and if the baby came, and was still breech, I would end up with an on-call doctor.

"I won't," I said with a laugh, confident this baby was still weeks away.

HA.

When I woke up with the barest tightening in my tummy and a slight low back ache, my sheets and the towel I'd put between my legs soaking wet, I knew I had to call someone. I had no idea when Dr. Cap was returning, and Monday was not one of his usual clinic days, so I called the birth center to talk to one of my midwives. Susan answered the phone, asked me a few standard questions, and she agreed I should come in a get checked out. I  I had a 45 minute drive home, and we had to get our son to his preschool, so by the time we were about to head to the birth center, I had several text messages on my phone, telling me to go straight to Dr. Cap's office instead.

We arrived at around 9am and went immediately into an exam room. I was nervous, but excited.

"So, what's your plan?" he asked me.

"Ha! Plan? I have no plan. I was not expecting a baby this early!"

* * * * * *

CONTINUED . . . READ PART 2 HERE

* * * * * * 

 

The My Whole Healthy Household is EXPECTING!
My Whole Healthy, baby, expecting, baby bump, Whole Healthy Fit, Prenatal, prenatal fitness, prenatal wellness, pregnancy health

Yup, you read that right.

I.

Am.

Pregnant!

My husband, I, and Little J are so excited to be welcoming a new baby into our family this coming winter!

To celebrate, I have an EPIC giveaway for Pact Organic for you!!! So make sure you keep reading to learn how to enter to win the softest, cutest, most ethically made organic cotton clothing for the whole family!

Get PACT Organic for yourself by clicking here.

I am so excited to share this pregnancy journey with you. Right now, I'm feeling great. I had NO morning sickness at all during my 1st trimester (it was the same with J, thank you for those genes, mum!) but I was EXHAUSTED. Far more than with J - probably because I had all of my mom, breastfeeding (we have started a gentle weaning process as J approaches his second birthday), and business stuff going on, PLUS growing a small human!!

So, I let myself rest. I took naps when J napped. I did not go to the gym AT ALL for a month (but still walked and played with J lots so I kept moving) but am now getting back in there with new goals.

So far weight gain has been right on track - I'm right within the recommended 1-6 pounds for my 1st trimester. Definitely noticing an extra pound here and there when I've indulged in a lot of sugar! And then watching it fall off again when I get my diet back on track. Just a fantastic reminder right away that nutrition (or the lack of) has a powerful and immediate effect on the body, and it pays to pay attention.

I'm still using all of my favorite supplements. My fish oil and probiotics every single day.

My Seeking Health prenatal with methylfolate and methylcobalamin, necessary because of my MTHFR, and other bioavailable forms of all the necessary vitamins.
And I take this 10-strain probiotic that's also very effective now and then, to boost my gut and immune system, and the microbiome of my TWO babies!, with a wider variety of beneficial bugs.

These are my non-negotiables but I'm so thankful for my plant protein powder that helps me boost my protein intake, and curbs my sweet tooth, because pregnancy cravings are ridiculous.  And my greens and mineral powders that help give me energy (coffee is out), and make me feel less frazzled and more "together," and also taste incredible. 

In celebration of our happy news, I am giving away a $250 gift card to Pact Organic!!! 
TO ENTER:

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!
1. FOLLOW me @mywholehealthy AND Pact @pactorganic on Instagram
2. LIKE Maggie Yount: My Whole Healthy AND Pact Organic on Facebook
3. SHARE this blog post on either platform and TAG ME to make sure I see it! Remember to make the post public - if you share as friends only or have your Insagram set to private, I CAN'T see it even if you tag me.

Follow all three steps, and you are officially entered! All entries will be verified.

Giveaway closes Sunday, June 4, 2017 at 11:59 pm Eastern time!

GOOD LUCK!

Leave your questions in the comments! And enjoy some recent pics. All photos by my wonderful husband.

I'm wearing all PACT in these photos! Please excuse the fresh-off-the-clothesline wrinkles ;) PACT sponsored this giveaway but all opinions are my own, and I'm not getting paid for this. I just live in their clothes.

Plus, I wanted to celebrate with you!

BlissBaby.jpg
Fully relaxed baby belly. No core engagement.

Fully relaxed baby belly. No core engagement.

My "normal" resting baby belly. Slight core engagement.

My "normal" resting baby belly. Slight core engagement.

High lunge - one of my current go-tos to stretch my psoas and hip flexors.

High lunge - one of my current go-tos to stretch my psoas and hip flexors.

Little J is very excited to be a big brother!

Little J is very excited to be a big brother!