Today was my last birth and last time at the hospital while pregnant. I was originally thinking I would be scheduled this week in the office, but we had a mama need a scheduled cesarean birth and I said I wanted to go to that instead of the office. Jo was happy to work in the office instead so I could go to the birth (Chloe is away). It was also meaningful for me to go since I’d been through two other hospital visits (to try to flip their baby with an external cephalic version) with this couple.
Midwife note: An external cephalic version (ECV or version) is when a doctor tries to flip a baby from breech or transverse position to cephalic (head down). This is done at the hospital, under ultrasound guidance, by a trained doctor. In our practice, we like to try to attend these if we can to help support our client.
We also always attend the scheduled cesareans, even though we aren’t medically part of the birth. Generally the midwife on call will attend as a support person and familiar face for the family. We help support the person while getting set up in the operating room like with the anesthesia, getting prepped, etc (because the partner can’t be there for that part) and we help to be sure the parents to hold the baby as soon as possible and also take pictures, etc. Afterwards, we try to help with breastfeeding and skin to skin.
I woke up in the morning and decided to do a cardio workout. I chose a 45 minute TurboFire workout. This is a kind of dance and martial arts combo and can be low impact. I’ll admit that I’m not so great at it (my dance skills are subpar) but it’s fun and definitely gets the heart rate up and feels good to move. At one point, I thought I might look pretty funny dancing around with my 39 week belly, so I decided to video a portion of the workout. Little did I know, this would be my last major workout and last cardio before baby was born! (A clip of this video is available on my Instagram for those who follow).
The reason for the cesarean was for a baby who was breech and wouldn’t turn. In this case, we knew that she would be having a cesarean so we planned the date and time with the doctor and we also planned a more gentle approach.
Midwife note: Though some providers do vaginal breech delivery, it’s really uncommon to find a trained provider and not generally recommended. Cesarean is considered the safest mode of birth for breech babies.
Gentle cesarean is a relatively new concept in the birth world, which is gaining in popularity. This approach includes lowering the drape or using a clear drape to allow the parents to see the baby come out, delaying cord clamping and handing the baby to mom when baby comes out for immediate skin to skin. In our hospital, the staff is still getting used to this, but having an extra advocate for this (in this case, one of us midwives), it helps to achieve these goals.
Everything went well with the birth. At the time (since I’m writing this later), I was pretty sure this was going to be the last birth for me to attend before I had my own baby. While at the hospital, I had many people asking me about myself and my own upcoming birth. And in regard to how far along I was, as per usual, my answer was that I was due “soon” or “this month”.
As I was leaving the hospital, I started to get emotional about not returning as a midwife and coming back to have my own baby. It felt weird that I wouldn’t be going into my locker or get scrubs out of the machine for months. On my way down in the elevator, I saw a staff member that I knew. She asked me about myself and as I was telling her I didn’t think I’d be back before I had my own baby, I got emotional and started to tear up. Walking out the door, I took a look back at the lobby and entrance, and pictured myself coming back during my own labor. Little did I know that it would be the next night...
A pregnant midwife living and working in New York City