Now that we've had a few days to recover from the big change in our lives, here is the story of Eon's arrival.
The baby had been breech since early May, with no signs of moving on his own. When the ultrasound at what would be our last weekly prenatal visit showed that he was, indeed, still in the same position, we decided that we would schedule an External Cephalic Version (ECV) (aka version, aka turning the baby) for as soon as possible. Waiting longer only increased the chance that Corinne would go into labor and we would have little choice but to do an emergency C-section. Medical protocol required that we wait until 37 weeks into the pregnancy, so we scheduled for the first available day just 3 days later, on Monday.
Over the weekend, Corinne made a point to take it easy, avoiding exerting herself as much as possible. The last thing we wanted was for her to go into labor before we had a chance to attempt the turn! Meanwhile, Anders and I took a break from baby prep to visit the Hood River County Fair.
Thankfully, Monday arrived and the baby hadn't. Since there is always a chance that the version could either induce labor or stress the baby, preparations are made for a C-section, just in case. Therefore Corinne couldn't eat or drink anything starting that morning. After an acupuncture appointment in the morning - also intended to help the baby turn - we departed for the hospital with our overnight bags and infant car seat, just in case.
Corinne was hooked up to an IV for a few hours before the version to rehydrate her, then the doc arrived around 4pm to start the ECV. I'd never seen one before, but it looks like what it is: trying to push the baby around with your hands.
Our doctor tried turning him one direction, then the other. After about 30 minutes, she declared the version unsuccessful. Both Corinne and the baby were monitored during the whole procedure, and the nurses continuously commented that "the baby was happy". Corinne's monitors, however, showed that she had some mild contractions even before the ECV had started. She couldn't feel them beforehand, but after the version attempt she started to feel them. Our doc wanted to monitor her for a couple hours before deciding what to do, though we both started to get the sense that we probably wouldn't be going home that day.
Two hours later, Corinne was still having mild contractions and was slightly dilated. A few more hours later at 11pm, with contractions still present and dilation progressing, the path was clear: we were having a C-section that night. Just 45 minutes later while on the operating table waiting for the start of the surgery, her water broke, thereby confirming the wisdom of that decision. No turning back now!
Once the procedure had started, it took only about 10 minutes for Oskar to emerge at 12:24am on Tuesday morning. For the sake of the squeamish readers out there - not to mention Corinne - I will leave out the details of the C-section procedure itself. I will say that it was very cool to be able to watch. I guess all of those medical dramas and graphic horror movies finally came in handy; I was fine.
During the operation, they did discover the most probable reason for why he wouldn't turn: the umbilical cord was fairly short, somewhere less than 18 inches long. Between that and his breech position, we are pretty thankful that it all happened the way it did. We are pretty sure that Corinne had started labor before the version. By already being at the hospital that day, everything was calm and procedural. We didn't have the stress of deciding when to leave home or whether to make the 1.5 hour drive to our preferred doctor; given how she presented in the hospital, the labor would likely have progressed pretty quickly.
C-sections are a mixed blessing. They are sometimes the only option (like in our situation) and involve less pain during the delivery, but the trade-off is a much longer recovery time. It is a fairly invasive surgery, after all. We would be in the hospital until at least Thursday so that the hospital staff could monitor both patients. Oskar did have an orange pall, indicative of possible jaundice. But unlike with Anders, Oskar's bilirubin (the substance that makes him orange) never reached the level requiring any light therapy. On his 2nd day, Oskar's temperature and blood sugar were low but those were resolved over the next day.
The hospital is certified as Baby-Friendly, which among other things meant that Oskar stayed with us in our room for the whole visit.
We were in the hospital through Friday, staying an extra day to allow for additional Oskar monitoring and to fix his ankyloglossia, aka tongue-tie. His tongue ended up being fixed with a simple scissor snip that made Corinne cry even though Oskar barely noticed.
We had wonderful nurses and became pretty friendly with them. As it happened, during our stay the hospital was doing a promotional video about one of the nurses and the educational program through which she became a nurse. We got to be part of the shoot! The hospital makes souvenir (aka not a legal document) birth certificates with the baby's footprint; we received an extra one signed by the film crew.
The final video and still photos should be available sometime in the next couple months; we'll post them when they are. It was great fun!
Finally, on Friday we were cleared to go home. Now the real journey begins.
- Mike, Corinne, Anders, and Oskar