We always encourage parents to write out their birth story after their big day. As time goes on, you'll start to forget all the details and emotions you felt before, during, and after birth. Many parents are worried their story won't sound perfect or be criticized by others, but it doesn't matter, it's your story! We love giving parents an opportunity to publish these raw, powerful stories. This story comes from Kinsey Phifer. who welcomed her daughter, Keeleigh Mae, into the world recently! Here's her story...
"I was about 37 weeks along and having some discomfort while I was at work. I thought "is this the beginning of labor? This might be happening!" I felt a lot of tightness and it got to the point where I was so uncomfortable that I couldn't even sit at my desk anymore. I literally was standing while taking calls for most of the day. Towards the end of the work day, I was getting excited and anxious about this possibly being labor. I started walking up the steps to go tell my husband when I felt a big movement. To this day I still have a hard time describing this sensation. I looked down and my belly just looked like a wave and I felt a big "plop". I noticed that the tight feeling had gone away too and just assumed it was all a false alarm. My 38 week appointment was a couple days later and my doctor had a puzzled look on his face as he felt my belly. He said "It feels like the baby's butt is in your pelvis today. We're going to bring in the portable ultrasound and check her positioning quick." My heart dropped. I started to think about our very first prenatal appointment when I asked my doctor what would happen if our baby was breech. He just said "Oh its way too early to worry about that." But I think I knew even then, I just had a gut feeling. I also thought about how active our baby was through out my whole pregnancy. We had to get 3 separate ultrasounds just to find out her gender and get all the pictures the doctors needed to be sure she was healthy. She was never in the same position during any of them. I remember the ultrasound tech took the wand off for one moment and when she put it back she said "What in the world? Did your baby just flip around? She did!" Then proceeded to tell us that we had the most active fetus she had ever seen. I knew we were in trouble then!
Our doctor brought in the portable ultrasound and sure enough, she was breech. I just sat there dumbfounded. She was head down less than a week ago! My doctor asked "are you ok?" and I just burst into tears. I was completely devastated. I was really hoping and preparing for a natural birth and it looked like that plan had gone out the window. Plus I was absolutely terrified of having surgery. I asked if there was any way we could try to turn the baby and he offered to try an external cephalic version in the next few days but if that didn't work, he would recommend a cesarean. We still made a plan for a vaginal birth and a cesarean. My doctor was so compassionate every step of the way and made sure to answer all of our questions and concerns. I researched everything I could about cesareans to try to prepare myself the days leading up to the ECV. I told my doctor that all I really wanted was for my arms to not be strapped down and to be able to hold my daughter right away if it was possible. He said he wasn't sure if they would do that because it was the anesthesiologist's choice but he would do his best to ask. That's when I told him, "if I don't get to hold my baby right away, I'm going to throw a fit." I was pretty adamant about that and it didn't help that my pregnancy hormones were totally out of whack at that point. He didn't argue with that! I did everything I could to naturally try to turn our baby back around. I tried swimming, chiropractic care, spinning babies exercises, ice packs, playing music low on my belly and even standing on my head. Needless to say none of that worked and the day finally came where I found myself waking up bright and early to go to my scheduled version.
My version was supposed to be at 9:00 that morning which turned to 11:00 which turned to 1:00 pm. I was not happy about it being pushed back so many times and I was so incredibly thirsty and hungry because of course they wouldn't let me eat or drink anything. My husband kept sneaking me sips of water every chance he could though. I had one really annoying nurse who didn't seem to know what she was doing at all and blew a vein in my arm while trying to insert the IV. She also almost gave me the wrong medication and I caught the other nurse yelling at her saying "Nope, don't give her that!" That was very reassuring to watch before my procedure and possible surgery. As time went on, I became more and more nervous. My doctor's nurse came in to see how I was doing and I started crying. She gave me a big hug and told me that I will do great and everything will be ok.
I was wheeled into the OR and I was so scared that I thought about running away! The room was a lot bigger than I expected and I was just thinking about how odd it was that they were playing pop music. I didn't even notice that Eric was no longer with me when I got on the table. My doctor asked me where my husband was and I didn't know! It turns out they had him wait in another room so they could get me prepped for the procedure. I was not prepared to be in a room full of people I didn't know while they placed the epidural. They had a difficult time inserting it and at one point the upper part of my body went numb and I fainted from sudden low blood pressure. The next thing I remember was waking up and having Eric by my side finally. The ultrasound was set up, they checked baby's position and fluid levels and soon everything was ready to go. The two doctors started pushing on my belly and it felt as if I couldn't catch my breath. They tried to turn her for about 10 or 15 minutes but it felt like an eternity. I watched as beads of sweat started forming on their brows and they literally seemed to be using all of their strength. Suddenly, our baby's heart rate dropped. I watched as everyone held their breath as we waited for the heart monitor go back to normal. Relief came over all of us when her heart rate bounced back. That was when my doctor told me "I'm really sorry but I think a cesarean would be our best option from here." I was so exhausted from all the pushing on my belly and just the hectic day in general. I agreed and I felt that it was the right choice.
I felt a lot of pulling and tugging, so much that I felt like I was about to fall off the table! I was hanging on to the sides of the table for dear life and began to understand why they typically strap your arms down. My doctor asked me how I was doing through the drape and I told him "I feel like I'm being scooped out like a pumpkin!" Everyone had a chuckle at that.
The anesthesiologist asked Eric if he wanted to look over the curtain and watch our daughter be born. He did for about a minute and I thought that was so brave! I was prepared to not hear my baby cry because of the stories I've heard from other cesareans. I was pleasantly surprised to hear her almost immediately as soon as I felt her being pulled out. I waited anxiously while I heard her screaming behind the curtain. The anesthesiologist brought a TV screen next to the head of the table so I could see the nurses clean her off. It was completely shocking to see her legs were still stuck all the way up by her head and how her feet were bent towards her shins. For a moment I couldn't see her feet at all and worried that she might not have any. The nurse finally straightened them out and I was relieved to see that she did in fact have feet and everything was ok. I couldn't wait to finally hold and meet this little person who was growing in my belly for 9 months! I was starting to feel a little distressed by how much our daughter was crying and told Eric to go to her. I watched as he took some pictures and the nurse was finally able to bring her to me. Keeleigh cried that whole time until she was placed on my chest, she immediately looked in my eyes and her crying stopped. I could tell she knew who I was and it was honestly the most amazing moment of my life! We just stared at each other while I held her. She looked so beautiful and wise, I just couldn't believe she was mine! My husband took some amazing pictures of our first moments together and I'm so thankful for that. He was amazingly supportive through this whole process. I was up walking around probably way too soon after surgery. The nurses came in and caught me trying to get out of bed just an hour later and made me sit back down. They couldn't believe I could feel my legs already. I was just dying to get up and move around. I couldn't stand the stupid inflating boots they put on my legs and the bladder catheter was really starting to bug me. I got the ok to walk a few hours later so Eric helped me get up to walk the halls. We went up the hallway and I stopped at a collage of beautiful birth announcements on the wall and started to cry again. I always imagined walking those halls while I was in labor having my husband help me breathe through each contraction. I didn't think I would be so sad about it once Keeleigh was here. I never thought I could feel both happy that she is here and healthy and yet so sad that things didn't go the way I had hoped. It is such a conflicting feeling. Despite my feelings, I knew this was the right birth for her and it was still beautiful and perfect in its own way.
Keeleigh loved having her little legs up in the air for about 3 months after her birth, especially when she slept. I always smile when I look back on it. She never needed any braces, we were just told to put two diapers on her to help keep pressure on them. I think she just liked having her legs up though! She is definitely one of a kind and paves her own path even to this day."