Illyana Joy Paveza
“My God Answers”
Jan 12, 2017 at 1:51am at home
7lbs 9oz, 18.5 inches long
This birth story wasn’t my plan from the beginning but God answered my prayers and it was truly a blessing. I learned to trust Him more and lean on Him when I didn’t understand why. We never know the future but it is a beautiful blessing.
It was December, Christmas season, where I celebrate the birth of my Savior. My family was coming in town to celebrate since I wasn’t traveling due to being 36 weeks pregnant. Everything with the pregnancy was going along smoothly. We were set for our home birth with our midwife, Jessica, and her team. Baby girl was in position (head down), I was healthy and she was healthy. I was looking forward to January 1st, 2017 as I would be full term and baby girl could safely come with my birth plan at home.
But we got a surprise thrown at us as baby girl chose to flip breech on Christmas Eve which sent us into a week and half search for answers. We didn’t even know for sure she was breech until Tuesday after Christmas because the ER visit on Christmas Eve didn’t tell us the full outcome of the ultrasound but that is another story. Rob said, “this girl is already causing drama.”
But what were we to do? Did we have options? Would she flip back before I went into to labor?
My plan had been a natural home birth with my midwife but California law states that midwifes can’t deliver breech or twin babies. The “norm” and “mainstream medicine” stated that baby had to be head down or I would have to have a C-section in the hospital which was opposite of everything I wanted and scared me. I worried about bonding, healing, complications, breastfeeding, etc. There were so many unknowns to me about a C-section.
So, the first step was to try to coax baby girl to flip in the immediate days after finding out. I started doing tricks to see if she would flip. This meant doing a handstand in the pool, ice packs on top of belly, and doing inversion on an ironing board. I did feel her do a big movement and pull into a ball which I hoped meant she was ready to be head down. But my midwife with her mentor midwife could not tell what position baby girl was in when I was checked. So, the only way to know position for sure was for another ultrasound. Off I went and the ultrasound confirmed she was still breech. Her head was nicely tucked under my ribs and I was now almost 37 weeks. She probably wouldn’t flip on her own.
My midwife sent me the phone number for an OB in Santa Monica that specialized in vaginal twin and breech babies specifically at home, Dr Stu Fischbein. A vaginal breech birth? I had never thought or heard of that but I wanted information for anything besides a hospital intervention with a C-section.
So, I called him and left a message. He called right back to talk. We set up consultation to talk options and check her position for Tuesday, Jan 3rd. Now the goal was to make it through New Year’s weekend or if she decided to come early we had to have a C-section in the hospital. It wouldn’t be a choice for us but forced.
We made it to Tuesday and met with Dr. Stu. He was definitely a specialist in breech birth; confident, knowledgeable, friendly, and honest. He took the time to get to know us and what we wanted. He then did an ultrasound to confirm breech, specifically frank breech position. He advised against trying to manually flip her with an ECV (External Cephalic Version) due to my anterior placenta and baby girl being frank breech. Frank breech means both feet were by her face which wouldn’t give her any leverage to move on her own.
After meeting with him, Rob and I decided to go with him and keep our home birth plan just with a vaginal breech birth instead. We trusted Dr Stu because we felt he practiced evidence based medicine and was straight forwarded with us. We would still have our midwife, Jessica, and her team along with the doctor. It wasn’t in my first plan but it was the new one.
I got to relax now that we were all set. But I was oh so ready to meet my baby girl after the two weeks of stress. But no one can predict when a baby will arrive. It was just getting harder to keep up with David. And I started having more cramping and more Braxton hicks which were getting painful. This was very different from David’s birth lead up.
I just couldn’t imagine baby girl waiting until my due date of January 21. It seemed forever off.
Then on Tuesday, January 10th, I went to picked Rob up from work to go to small group when contractions started pretty consistently but not that painful. Throughout group they started to pick up slowly. On my way home I contacted Jessica to give her a head up in case it progressed over night to full on labor. I was nervous about the chance of having her before anyone got here. The contractions were consistent until I finally fell asleep at 11:30pm when they dropped to just cramping. I was a bit disappointed because I was hoping baby girl was coming.
On January 11th, I woke up early due to all that had gone on through the night. I went down stairs to work on my “baby puzzle”. It was the same puzzle I made the day David was born. I was in new territory and had no clue what to expect so needed to keep distracted.
I did continue to have contractions throughout the day while keeping up with David. Sometimes it seemed consistent then other times just two per hour. This is called prodromal labor. It was quite exhausting and tiresome. I kept myself distracted by taking David to the park and walking. I knew if labor was coming walking would help it get stronger anyway. I also made a chocolate chip cookie cake just in case baby girl did decide this was to be her birth day.
I finally made a call to Jessica at 430 looking for more natural ways to induce what was hopefully labor. It was mainly because I didn’t feel I could do another day of the off and on contractions and keep up with David. Just having David touch me was driving me crazy. I was done and this baby girl needed to come tonight. If she did come today she would share my sister’s birthday.
Blessings did come. I had probably prayed throughout the day pleading with God to just let baby be coming today. My labor finally got consistent and stronger between 5:30-8pm. I went on a walk around 7pm to help them coming and started prepping the house for a delivery while Rob put David down.
I think David sensed it was time because throughout the day he would tell me, “meet baby sister”. Too sweet and melts my heart just remembering it. How can an almost 2 year recognize something unseen is beyond me but he did sense it. He even couldn’t stay asleep like he normally does. He was asleep when my midwife, Jessica, arrived around 8pm but Dylan barked twice on her arrival and woke him up. Dylan usually barks at night and David sleeps right through it. And David never went back to sleep. We had to call some friends to pick him up and he was so amped to come down stairs at 9pm ready to meet baby sister.
Sadly, my labor did slow while dealing with David. He had become my priority for the moment so it was blessing he was leaving. I gave him one last goodbye hug as my baby and only child. He said bye and mentioned meeting baby sister again. I told him in the morning he would meet her.
I went upstairs to do a position called “knee to chest” with Jessica. She said it would get labor going faster and closer together again but I had to be in that position for 45 minutes and it might be uncomfortable. She rubbed my back while I was in that position for 45 minutes. I relaxed and let what was happening come. Sadly, I was only dilated to about a 4 so not even halfway yet or in active labor.
I labored on my side afterwards with just Rob in the room while trying to as much rest as possible because it was close to 11 by now. I wanted in the birth tub but it was still too early so went in the shower instead. I was just trying to work through each contraction and let myself relax. I finally went back to the bed where the midwife checked me again and still I hadn’t progressed very much.
Then I mentally shut down. I totally lost focus and was frustrated that I didn’t know what to expect any more. I had hoped labor would be faster. I wanted left alone on the bathroom floor with only Rob. I felt I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t progressing. Was it the breech that changed my labor? Weren’t second babies supposed to come faster? I wanted on my bed or the birth tub but both were not recommended by Jessica. Frustrated!
In the bathroom, while all those thoughts went through my head, I threw up. Rob said he recognized this as the sign my body was switching into active labor. I didn’t know that Jessica had called Dr Stu to come as she felt it would happen by sunrise. I moved from the floor to my yoga ball which was in the bathroom when Jessica came in to announce that Dr Stu was here and if he could come see me which I agreed to.
My whole team was here and in place. Dr Stu calmed me, reassured me baby would be here this morning and sent me to bed to try to rest. Just two contractions after he went back downstairs while I was in the bed I felt a pop along with a giant gush of water. It was a new sensation for me but I knew what it was, my water had just broken, all over me and my bed. It caused quite the commotion.
My contractions became very close like less than 30 seconds apart and super strong. Dr Fischbein checked me and I was at a 6, suddenly. I wanted the tub now!
Luckily it was all set up. So, off I went to it. The birthing tub is my favorite place to labor in. I love it because with every contraction I can easily move to a different position with the water still hugging my body. I just focused on my body and what felt right. After baby girl was here Jessica said I looked like a swimmer gliding through the water while laboring.
Before I knew it, I felt the urge to push. It happened so quickly that at first I thought it was just a bowel movement but no something/someone was coming out. Butt first, baby girl was coming. I had to tell my team what was happening. Dr Stu had just laid down in David’s bed to try to sleep thinking he still had time before the birth.
I was immediately asked to get out of the water. I just needed help to get out so Rob and Jessica assisted me over the side to the floor. Where on the floor of the nursery, next to the birthing tub, I gave a good long push on my knees.
Then Jessica and Rob quickly guided me down the hall to my bed. I kept my eyes closed concentrating on just baby and my body. Almost ran into the wall but Jessica guided me well. I climbed onto bed on hands and knees which felt like the best way to deliver this breech baby girl. And I began pushing while Dr Stu commentated what was happening for the team and Rob. Not even five pushes later and with the help of Dr Stu, my breech baby girl, came out. My beautiful baby girl.
What I thought was going to be a slow labor turned into a fast hour of active labor from the point I knew all my team was set to deliver. My body was just waiting for my team and to feel safe. When it felt that it exploded into action.
Dr Stu said she had great color, great lungs, she just took a few more seconds to cry then a head down baby but very quickly still. Her butt was bruised but no cone head like David. I got to cut the cord. And to hold my baby girl. A healthy baby. No tearing for me and I feel better afterwards then with David. She was a nursing champ. A perfect addition to our family.
My birth plan changed but God answered my prayers in a better way. I am so thankful I moved to Orange County where Dr. Stuart Fischbein practices so I could have my miracle. God is so good and faithful.