The first two trimesters of my pregnancy were fairly uneventful. All of my check-ups went well and my greatest concern was finding maternity clothes that didn't make me look like a whale. Around 32 weeks, during a sonogram to check my amniotic fluid level, I learned that my baby hadn’t turned yet. My doctor assured me that some babies turn later and that I shouldn’t be concerned. Of course, I had to look it up when I got home and I was relieved to read, “Twenty five percent of fetuses are in the breech position at 32 weeks gestation; this drops to three percent at term.” (Wikipedia) Three percent? No problem! This baby was going to turn himself around.
As the weeks went on, I continued to feel those little feet kicking my bladder instead of my ribs, but I knew that there was no way we would be a part of that tiny three percent. In my childbirth classes, we spent 5 weeks learning about vaginal births and one week was dedicated to c-sections. I was sure that I was going to have a vaginal birth, and although I was pretty sure I wanted an epidural, I practiced my breathing techniques. I was nervous, but excited.
Around 36 weeks, I was ready to be done with being pregnant. The record-breaking heat and humidity in Washington DC was like my own personal hell. Family and friends talked about how hot it was, but they had no idea what it was like to work in a building with no central air while 8 months pregnant. People kept asking me how I was feeling and telling me “how awful it must be to be pregnant in this heat!” I smiled as sweetly as I could, but secretly hated everyone around me who wasn’t miserable. My feet and ankles swelled up to capacity and even my oversized Crocs were so tight they left imprints all over my feet.
The day after my last childbirth class, I went in for a routine check-up and my doctor was immediately concerned about my blood pressure. When she told me that I would need to go straight to the hospital, the blood drained from my face. I felt sick as she told me that I might have to have the baby that night and I tried to hold back the tears as she explained to me the dangers of preeclampsia.
I had only been to the hospital once before and I couldn’t remember how to get there. I called my husband sobbing and he gave me the address to enter into the GPS. He assured me that he would meet me there just as soon as he could but, unfortunately, he was at least an hour and a half away in rush hour traffic, so I called my mom and asked her to meet me there as well. As I drove to the hospital, I kept thinking about how I hadn’t packed my bags and the car seat wasn’t installed. I wasn't ready and I was scared.
Upon arrival at the hospital, I peed in a cup and had blood drawn. The nurses hooked me up to machines that monitored my blood pressure, contractions, and the baby’s heart rate. After a sonogram showed that the baby was still breech, the doctor explained that if we had to deliver that night, I would have to have a c-section. I looked around the room and saw posters showing the difference in a baby’s brain size from 36 to 40 weeks. Was that supposed to help me relax? How could they expect my blood pressure to go back to normal now?
After several hours, I was surprised and relieved to hear that the test results were normal, my blood pressure had gone down enough, and they were going to send me home on modified bed rest. As my husband drove me home, I felt so grateful to have more time to prepare for my baby.
About a week later, another sonogram confirmed that this baby had still not turned and my doctor told me that, at this point, he probably wouldn’t. My heart sank as I realized that I was, in fact, going to have a c-section. We scheduled it for the following Thursday.
That weekend my husband and I finished getting the house and ourselves ready for our baby’s arrival. As I got into bed on Sunday night, I felt a wave of calm wash over me. We were ready!