Birth Story, Other Scar Types

Gabriel’s Birth Story (Bridget’s Inverted J)

It was my first pregnancy. Starting around 32 weeks, I noticed that my baby seemed to be in a side-lying, horizontal position. This is called transverse and was confirmed by my midwife and by ultrasound. So, I started doing everything I could to see if I could spin this little one. I did acupuncture with Chinese herbs every week. I hung upside down twice a day. I went swimming. At 35 weeks, he was still horizontal. So, my midwife recommended that I meet with the head of obstetrics to discuss a procedure called a version. This is when a doctor attempts to rotate a baby to a head down position by applying a twisting pressure to the pregnant abdomen. The head of obstetrics was kind and respectful. She didn’t try to manipulate me or my husband, but just presented the facts. She said that versions were 75% successful for transverse babies. The odds looked pretty good. We planned on attempting a version at 38 weeks if the baby didn’t turn ahead of time. Well, we never attempted the version because when I was 36 weeks pregnant, my water broke. It was at 11pm, and we arrived to the hospital at midnight. When the nurses placed the fetal monitors, the baby looked stressed, so things needed to happen quickly. Since the baby remained transverse, I needed to have a Cesarean section. When the surgeons cut into my abdomen, they found that my uterus was shaped like a heart rather than an upside-down pear. This was an unwelcomed surprise to everyone. The doctors were able to rotate Gabe from a transverse to a breech position (head up and butt down) and deliver my baby’s butt first followed by his body through a standard horizontal abdominal incision. Then, one of the lobes of my heart-shaped uterus clamped down, contracting, and trapping my baby’s head. His head was stuck for 4 minutes. I could tell that things were not going well with my surgery. There was too much tugging and it was taking too long. “Keep cutting,” I heard the surgeon say to the resident. Tension in the operating room seemed to be escalating. Finally, the tugging stopped, and it was followed by eerie silence. Why was it so quiet? What was going on? Why wasn’t my baby crying? After a few minutes that felt like an eternity, my sweet son let out a little cry, and his cry will forever be the best sound I have ever heard. He cried for maybe 10 seconds before calming down. My husband and I looked at each other with awe. “We have such a chill baby!” he said. I was equally amazed. The nurse brought him over to us, and he was just perfect in every way. He was tiny, barely weighing five pounds, with bright blue eyes and soft brown hair. My husband and I felt like we had hit the jackpot. The next morning, I was recovering in the maternity suite and the head of obstetrics came to check on me and see how I was doing. She explained that due to the baby’s head getting stuck, the doctor had needed to make not only an inverted “T” on my uterus, but a hook at the top of the vertical incision making it look like a candy cane. So, rather than an inverted “T”, I had an inverted “J”. My surgeon visited me later that day to see how I was doing. He explained that my heart shaped uterus was either caused by there being two separate cavities in my uterus, known as a bicornate uterus, or that I had a septum separating one cavity into two sections. He said I would need an MRI once I was recovered for a formal diagnosis. He also explained that if I were to have another baby, it would not be safe for me to labor. So, I would need to have a scheduled C-section with future births. I can’t say enough good things about the medical team that brought me and my son through our complicated birth experience. In addition to being a mom, I am also a certified nurse midwife, and I had hoped for a vaginal delivery. However, from working with birth for many years, I’ve learned that birth has a life of its own and it’s best not to fight that. Not all cesarean sections are necessary, but ours was. Because of the shape of my uterus, my son was stuck in a transverse position, and there was no way for him to be born vaginally that way. It was a tricky surgery, but my doctor and medical team brought us through safely. Healthy mom. Healthy baby. My son turns 6 months old tomorrow, and he is such a sweet boy. My husband and I feel so blessed that we get to be his parents. I had the MRI completed which diagnosed me with a uterine septum. The recommendation is to have the septum surgically removed so that the next time I get pregnant, the birth won’t be so risky. Despite the drama of my first birth, my husband and I do hope to have another baby one day. We love our son so much and would go through the birth again in a heartbeat for him.

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