Isaac James Rollins
7 lbs 5 oz
20.5 inches long
Sunday, the 28th, at 37 weeks, 4 days pregnant, I slept in due to a killer sinus headache. When I finally got up at 1:30, my parents were congregating in the living room and I joined them to chat, and also began to talk to Edgar over text. I shared with all of them that I had a “feeling” that the baby was coming this week. Part of my reasoning was that while I hadn’t had any Braxton Hicks, I had felt mild menstrual-like cramps very occasionally throughout my third trimester, and I had been feeling them every night for the past week. I wondered, “could this be my body’s version of prodromal labor?” and started getting this feeling I may not even last through the weekend, though I didn’t share that specific detail with my parents or Edgar, not wanting to alarm them.
Then, while sitting there, my water broke.
Not a little bit. A LOT. Niagra Falls, a LOT. And it didn’t stop!
I jumped up and just stood there, on the laminate floor, sort of in shock, until I could gather myself to call Edgar (with whom I was still engaged in text conversation) to tell him my water broke and he needed to do whatever he needed to do to get clearance to come down here ASAP. Then I called my doula. As luck would have it, ALL THREE of her AUGUST clients went into labor the SAME WEEKEND. In fact, she was with one client at the time, who also had her water break (by the way, water breaking before the onset of labor only happens in about 10-12% of births, despite what the movies show!), and that client was also delivering at Harris, where I was to be delivering. She told me she didn’t expect me to give birth until the next morning and to keep her informed and she’d send a backup doula my way and try to share time between us. Then I called L&D to let them know I’d be coming in soon.
Since I tested Group B Strep negative and my fluid was clear, we took our time getting out the door. We secured a flight for Edgar, which would be coming in at 10pm, and gathered our things. I blew up Facebook with a status update. Two hours later as we were heading out the door, I started feeling more cramping that came and went. I knew this was really early labor and I still couldn’t time them, though halfway to the hospital, in the car, I could.
I checked into maternal observation at about 4:30, and my contractions were about two minutes apart, 30 seconds long, and still pretty mild. As luck would have it, all of L&D AND maternal observation was full! There was a running joke that there was something in the air, because just about every woman in there came in because her water broke (remember that 10-12% statistic? Hah!). I sat (on a bunch of towels) in the waiting room with my parents for about an hour before I was brought back. By that time my contractions were still 2 minutes apart and a full minute in length, and slightly stronger.
The nurse checked me and got really confused. She wasn’t sure what she was feeling, but she said it didn’t feel right. She sent for the midwife, who was at first thinking she was feeling the wrong cervix (I have uterine didelphys-double uterus with double cervix), so she checked me herself. Nope, something wasn’t right. That wasn’t a head they were feeling. The brought me to another room where they did an ultrasound and they found that my baby had somehow turned into the transverse position with his legs in some funky yoga move. One foot was tucked behind him while the other was folded in front, tucked into my pelvis, against my cervix… with the umbilical cord. Game over. With his position and the threat of a cord prolapse, there was only one way this child could come out safely, and that was a c-section.
It took a little while to process, but my doula, who managed to take a break from her other client to spend time with me, reminded me that this was one of those few instances we discussed in our childbirth classes where a cesarean was absolutely necessary. She also reminded me that it’s a very good thing that Isaac “picked his own birthday,” and that every contraction I was feeling was not in vain–they were stimulating catecholamines, amino acids that are beneficial to his immunity. I found peace in that. My next concern was that Edgar was now on a plane somewhere on a four-hour flight en route to Texas, and the chances of him arriving before the birth were now next to nil.
It took an hour and a half to prep me for surgery. In the meantime my contractions got much stronger and started to piggyback (I learned later this often happens with malpresenting babies). My mom and doula worked with me through just about every contraction, massaging my legs, blunting the sharpness of the pain.
I was wheeled into surgery a little after 8, and at 8:31, he was here. My mom took pictures while my doula rubbed my forehead and exclaimed, “your uterus is SO COOL!” Haha!
He had a lot of fluid in his lungs, so they had to suction him out pretty quickly, so delayed cord clamping and immediate skin-to-skin wasn’t exactly an option, but they brought me to him as soon as he was breathing and wiped down. I held him on my chest while my midwife sutured up my incisions. He was beautiful. He looked just like Edgar except that he had my lips!
I was wheeled back into L&D to recover for a little bit, and my dad arrived with Edgar in tow at about 10:45.
Several days later my midwife chatted with us about what she, the surgeon, and the other midwives think happened. Isaac had been faithfully in the vertex position every week, even up to my last midwife appointment two days before delivery. It’s possible that after my water broke, my second, non-pregnant uterus put pressure on the other one and encouraged him to flip with each contraction. Another thought is that the force of my membranes breaking “flushed” him into transverse. We can’t really know for sure, but that if my membranes break prematurely next time, she advises I come to the hospital right away.
She also spoke very positively of my candidacy for a VBAC, telling me that they had done a low transverse incision (most common these days) and double-layer stitched my uterus (not very common these days) to preserve its strength as much as possible. She also said that my pregnant uterus was very healthy-looking. On the other hand, she told me that my second uterus looked “rudimentary” and probably wouldn’t sustain a healthy pregnancy in the off-chance I was even able to get pregnant in that side. This isn’t exactly news to me, but it’s good to have a bit extra information about my second uterus.
While I am going to have to wait a bit longer for my natural birth, I am blessed with the healthy little boy I have now.
Sons are a heritage from the Lord; children a reward from Him.
He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.
(All photos taken by Katie Sanders Photography)