Today Alecia and I woke up around 6am to get ready for a 7am appointment at the hospital so the doctor could try and turn the baby. As you have read from previous posts, Belen is sitting breached.
We arrived at the hospital on time and headed to the second floor labor and delivery registration area. Alecia checked us in and we headed back to the “triage” area for labor. We were assigned a room down at the end of the row of rooms. The nurses gave Alecia the traditional hospital garb to wear for the procedure. I sat down at the side of the bed in the “one visitor only chair”. Alecia handed me all of her clothes and jewelry that she did not want to wear.
The nurses came in and were joking around with each other quite a bit. The older nurse was going to put the IV in Alecia while the other got the baby monitor ready. I watched closely as the older nurse gave Alecia a shot to relax her uterus and then proceeded to insert an IV into one of the veins on her arm. Right after the needle went in, blood started to gush everywhere. It looked like something out of a horror movie. The white bed sheets soaked up the blood quickly. I was glad that Alecia was not looking while this was happening. She only mentioned that she “could feel something running down her hand”. The nurse finally got it under control and all cleaned up.
Dr. Hodges showed up a little after 7am. He used the portable ultrasound monitor to check out the position of Belen. Her head was still in the same place as yesterday. A large amount of warm ultrasound lubricant was dropped on Alecia’s belly and Dr. Hodges began to try and turn Belen around. Alecia remained calm while I stared in amazement at what was happening. It was hard to tell what was going on, but I could see the form in Alecia’s belly move around. After about three minutes the mood in the room went from “relaxed” to “very serious”. The nurses started to reach for equipment in the room and the doctor went for the heart rate monitor. It turns out that Belén’s heart rate dropped from 135 (resting) to about 80. She was under duress. The doctor had warned us the day before that this could happen and that we might end up having to do a “crash” c-section. My stomach went into knots and I imagined that they might rush Alecia and Belen to the OR at anytime. After a couple of minutes, Belén’s heart got back to normal as she flipped back to the breach position.
The doctor wanted to try one more maneuver to see if he could turn her around. This time he had Alecia do the “downward facing dog” yoga pose while he manipulated Belen. Once again she went into the head down position only to turn back to the previous position. Luckily this time Belén’s heart rate did not drop. Dr. Hodges decided at that time that he would not try anymore and that we were most likely going to have a c-section.
After the doctor left we waited in the room for 1.5 hours. Dr. Hodges wanted to watch and see how Belen reacted after the turn procedure. She eventually went to sleep and the nurse came back in to check her with the “baby alarm.” It was a small handheld device that makes a vibration and some noise. As soon as she put it on Alecia’s belly, Belén jumped quickly. At that point they knew everything was normal.
Through this whole ordeal, Alecia was very calm. The nurses were even asking her if she was feeling any pain. Her only description was that it felt like there was a lot of pressure on her stomach. She is one tough woman.
The whole time I was nervous and excited at the same time. The scariest part was when Belén’s heart rate dropped. There was nothing I could do except sit and watch the doctor and nurses do their work.
Comments from Alecia:
Andy summed it up nicely. I tried to look away for most of the action as it was easier to deal with everything being kind of checked out. The procedure was pretty uncomfortable, but I didn’t really care, I was just worried about the baby. It was really scary when her heart rate dropped. The silence in the room and then the nurses starting to shuffle about getting me IV fluid and oxygen signaled that things were not good. My only thought was if her heart rate went to zero if they would be able to get her out of there fast enough. Everyone was very relieved once her heart rate started to climb and stabilize.
The nurses were quite surprised when the doctor tried to turn the baby again while I was in the downward facing dog pose. Apparently that is not standard procedure. She turned easier in this position, but then immediately turned back again. She seems pretty comfortable where she is and Dr. Hodges felt it important to respect this.
After the procedure, when they were monitoring the baby for an hour and a half, the heart rate monitor kept us informed of her heart rate. While it was comforting to know the fluctuations in her heart rate, it was kind of stressful hearing every little change in the beat pattern. The nurse asked us to monitor her movements once we went home and it has been difficult to determine if she is moving enough or if we should worry and go back in. I think she is fine, but I really feel the parental worry setting in that I am sure we will have for the rest of our lives. Following her obstinate nature displayed today, when we were trying to get her to move by doing everything from eating ice chips to poking on the belly to playing music, she would barely move. Then late at night at 3am, I woke up and she was so willing to move, all I had to do was place my hand on my belly and she would respond in that area with a kick or a move of some kind.
After we left the hospital, we were both exhausted and famished. We went to “Bad Boy Burger” and got the best tasting breakfast burrito I think I have ever had, probably partially because of the circumstances. We chilled out for the rest of the day as I felt way too emotionally and physically exhausted to try and work.
We are warming up to the idea of a c-section. There are benefits to it, even though it is not how we would ideally have wanted it. My dad always checks up on the doctors we choose since he is in the medical field. He asked the scrub nurses at the VA (where he works in surgery) who cross-scrub (word for the day) at St. Lukes, about the best doctors who do c-sections. They all quickly agreed that Hodges was the best, a natural. Based on conversations with Hodges, he was going to specialize in surgery but loved delivering babies so much that he chose his passion over his “calling” with the benefit that he still does surgery as an OB. He assured me today that the stitches would be perfect and I could take a bath if if I wanted within a day. This is comforting, but really at this point, we want nothing more than a healthy baby…everything else is just details.
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