Corbin’s Birth Story
My second baby was born in November 2011. It was a boy, and we’d already picked the name Corbin. I was planning to do a VBAC- my first baby, my daughter Madeleine, had been a scheduled C-section due to being breech. During my first pregnancy, I hadn’t researched the issue of breech births- I assumed most doctors still did them, so I was really surprised at my 36-week checkup when my doctor found Madeleine to be breech and said, “Oh, we’ll schedule you in for a C-section at 39 weeks unless she turns around”. I didn’t want to switch doctors at that stage of my pregnancy, so I agreed, and it turned out to be a good thing. Madeleine never did switch around, and she came out at 8 pounds 8 ounces (about a pound more than predicted!) so it might have been a pretty difficult breech delivery for both her and me. The C-section recovery wasn’t very difficult for me, and I felt back to normal after 2 weeks. But for my 2nd baby, as long as he wasn’t breech, I was looking forward to having a regular birth. I even wanted to do a natural delivery and walk around, and maybe deliver from a sitting position, which sounded a lot easier than lying down. I wasn’t looking forward to the over-the-top pain that transition labor was supposed to bring on, but I felt like I’d be in some way connected with the billions of women throughout history who went through natural labor (I’m a history teacher and think in weird ways like this). I found a doctor and hospital who supported VBACs and wrote out a birth plan.
So my due date came with no signs of labor, and I was measuring even bigger than I did with Madeleine’s pregnancy. Corbin was going to be a big baby. I’d been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for weeks, but no real labor. Finally, the day after my due date, I woke up at 5 in the morning with what were unmistakably more-than-Braxton-Hicks contractions. I sighed in relief (at the idea of finally getting on with things- I was so sore and uncomfortable from pregnancy!) and hopped up to use the bathroom. I noticed some blood spotting and wasn’t sure if that was normal or not. My hospital said that anyone could come down to triage any time they were worried or had questions, and I knew I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I thought, “I’ll just run down and get checked, then get back here before Brad (my husband) has to leave for work at 8. I’ve got plenty of time!” I look back now and laugh… but at the time, I threw on sweats, grabbed just my purse, poked Brad and told him that I was heading down to the hospital for a check but would be back in 2 hours, tops. I was not planning to be one of “those” women who came in to the hospital way too early! After my check, I would come home and do my early labor there.
So I headed down I-17 in the dark, with my contractions coming every 5 minutes or so. They were uncomfortable but nowhere near full labor. I got to the hospital, checked into triage, and they hooked me up to monitors. The nurse quickly assured me that spotting was okay, then checked me and told me I was at a 3. Okay, I thought, that’s pretty good considering I’m not in much pain yet. The nurse frowned at the monitors, then left the room. I waited thirty minutes or so, as nurses changed shifts from night to day staff, and then the day nurse came back in to look at my monitors and frowned again. She said, “I’m going to have the doctor come look at this”, which of course made me immediately nervous. She also told me I wasn’t going home without having my baby, which made me start frantically calling Brad to tell him that he needed to get our daughter to Grandma’s house, find a substitute for his class (he’s a math teacher), and get down to the hospital. Oh, and please bring my bag that I hadn’t thought to bring with me. My doctor came in a few minutes later and explained that the monitors showed that Corbin’s heart rate, while not in any danger at the moment, was dropping after (not during) each contraction and that meant my placenta was not working as well as it should. She said, “I don’t think you’re going to get all the way through labor without needing to get him out by C-section, so we should go ahead and just do it now rather than 5 hours from now”. I quickly agreed, both for Corbin’s safety and also because my contractions were just starting to reach an “Ow, that hurt!” level. There was a cancellation in an OR in one hour, so within 30 minutes I was upstairs and prepping for surgery. Brad made it 15 minutes before operating time, and by 10:30 in the morning our beautiful son was out and crying! He was 9 pounds 9 ounces, as perfect as could be, and nursed like a little barracuda as soon as I was able to hold him.
So even though I didn’t get the natural labor that I’d hoped for, I felt like I gave it my best shot, which was fine with me. Most importantly, I got a safe and healthy baby, which made me so thankful. 8 months later, Corbin is a happy, bouncy baby full of smiles, and I’m so grateful for having the access to good medical care that helped him arrive safely. He is such a joy!