It’s been three months since we met our little Leo. I have replayed his birth so many times (just as I did with Heslin, my first birth) and felt different emotions each time it played out. I have tried not to compare the births of my two boys, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.
This pregnancy as a whole felt pretty different. I was nauseated almost the entire pregnancy or having some sort of digestive issue-- heart burn, indigestion, you name it. I also had so much pelvic pain it made it pretty difficult for me to stay active during the third trimester. I finally felt like I was in the home stretch, everything moving along nicely, until I found out that Leo was breech. This was gut wrenching for me. However, let me also say that I thanked God every day that my baby was healthy, and I would do whatever I needed to do to bring him into the world safely.
We found out that he was breech at my 36 week check up, so that did not give him much room to flip. I tried everything in my power to get him to turn: acupuncture, Spinning Babies method, certain exercises, manifesting... but he was staying put. My last resort was to have my doctor perform a version. Because I was so close to my due date at this point, I needed to make a decision on the route that I would take. With the guidance of my doctor, I ultimately decided that I would schedule the version at 39.5 weeks, and if it did not work, we would proceed with a c-section.
We woke up at 4am on November 30th to get to the hospital. We dropped Heslin off at my in-laws so he could stay with them over the next few days. That was harder than I imagined. I didn’t want him to see me cry, so I kissed him and walked out of the house. Once we were at the hospital, I was prepped as if I was going to have a c section in the event that either the version didn’t work or something went wrong during it.
I was in awe at how “medical” everything was. So vastly different from the birth of Heslin where I just showed up at the hospital and labored until he was ready to come out. Drug-free, all natural, perfectly as planned. Once I was prepped and ready for the epidural, they wheeled me into the stark white OR. Immediately my eyes filled with tears. I remained calm and practiced deep breathing while my nurse told me a story, and the anesthesiologist gave me the epidural (I hate needles, btw). I was also super freaked out about being claustrophobic knowing that most of my body was going to be numb.
Everyone in the OR was amazing. They talked me through what I would feel and when. Once I was laid out on the table they asked if I wanted my husband to come in. Of course I did! Again, as soon as he walked in the room, my eyes filled with tears. I was relieved he was with me, but it was also time to get this show on the road. I had two doctors start pushing with their entire body to get our baby to flip into position. I held Hess’s hand, closed my eyes and prayed that Leo would cooperate. They tried for about 10 minutes before they knew that he was not going to turn. “I’m sorry, we tried hard,” is all I remember hearing, then, “let’s have a baby!” In that moment I knew that he was going to come to us on his own terms and there was a reason he didn’t make the flip. Hess texted my family and his to let them know we were having a baby, and just minutes later at 8:46am, Leo Rome Crockett made his debut.
This is where I feel like most stories end, so we just assume mama and baby go on their way in baby bliss....
It was all of that, and I truly only have joy when I think about how baby Leo came to us, BUT I can tell you I would do a drug-free birth 100 times over. It is absolutely wild that there is not more awareness for c-section deliveries and recovery. I never felt like I “failed” or thought any less of my delivery, but I do remember wishing time away so I could feel like myself again. Those first moments with your baby are so precious, and I hated feeling like I wanted time to go by any quicker. I feel like c-sections are “looked down upon,” especially in the natural birth world. Instead, we should reinforce the fact that WE must be our own advocates, do our own research, and be both prepared and at peace with doing plan b (or c) for our babies when we need to in order to get them into this world safely.
Now that a few months have gone by, I am truly at peace, and I know everything happened exactly the way it needed to. I am enjoying every second with my boys, completely recovered, other than the scar. And I wouldn’t have it any other way, because every time I look at my scar, it’s with gratitude. It's a little reminder of just how resilient we are, how strong our bodies are, and how much we are capable of as mothers! <3