Our first daughter’s birth and the importance of choosing the right provider
In 2012, my husband and I realized that time had passed us by and we began looking at trying to have children. I came off birth control and had envisioned that I would become pregnant very easily and would not have any issues during the pregnancy. . I grew up hearing from my OBGYN that I had “the body” for pregnancy. My hips were wide and everything always checked out well. I had heard of and witnessed a lot of women seemingly become pregnant without trying or even by accident. I thought that within 3 months of coming off birth control we would see a positive result.
The months and the negative pregnancy tests continued to accumulate, and after about 7 months, we decided to see a fertility specialist. A few months of fertility medication and we got the positive test in early 2013.
My husband and I planned on welcoming our first daughter in December. We began my prenatal care with the OB/GYN, which I had been seeing for the past 15 years. Everything looked perfect and I continued care with her while trying to pursue as natural of a birth as I could do under this OB/GYN practice.
Once we reached this milestone, I started thinking about how I wanted the birth to go. I desired to give birth to my first child with minor assistance and little to no drugs. At 20 weeks, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, however, it was easily controlled with diet. When we were nearing the end of this long journey at 33 weeks, we discovered that our daughter was in the Frank Breech position and that a natural birth was not possible with this provider. There was also the preference of my OB to perform a cesarean at 38 weeks due to the gestational diabetes diagnosis. My husband and I began looking into changing providers to someone who would let me attempt a vaginal breech birth. We finally found a perinatologist in Atlanta who would allow me to naturally go into labor and continue down our desired path. We officially changed providers around 36 weeks. I also took a childbirth class specially directed to train for a successful breech birth and hired two sisters as doula support to assist me throughout the labor and birth. My new provider was very supportive of my wishes and did everything he could to facilitate a positive outcome.
With this new provider, we first tried an External Cephalic Version at Atlanta Medical Center which was unsuccessful. I also did multiple daily exercises and inversions from Spinning Babies. We then attempted a vaginal breech birth at Atlanta Medical for over 14 hours, which ultimately stalled out. With my doula support I was able to utilize many comfort measures with their help such as counter pressure, birth ball, squat bar, various positions, and essential oils. While the labor was progressing normally from home to the first many hours at the hospital, it appeared that our daughter was somewhat stuck in the birth canal. Despite every effort being made, we ended up in a family centered C-section. Our new provider was gracious enough to allow our photographer in the operating room so she was able to capture the special moments.
While this was not what was planned, we still welcomed our beautiful and healthy baby girl on December 20th, 2013 at 42 weeks; just days before Christmas. She was 8 lbs 8 oz. Once our daughter was in our arms the feeling was pure joy……..and exhaustion!
While preparing for our first daughter’s birth, I came to have expectations of several situations and of the people involved. I expected that my original provider would be supportive of my birth plan. We had a long history together over the last 15 years. She had not only been my provider, but also my mothers’. She diagnosed my mother’s Ovarian cancer which ultimately led to her death and had worked with me for years growing up concerning some extremely painful menstruation. I could not believe that she found it hard to even know who I was, but also wanted to structuralize my entire pregnancy and birth. I expected her to listen to my husband’s and my wishes for a natural childbirth and do all she could to facilitate and provide a safe environment for us to do just that. When I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes by not passing the 4 hour glucose test by one point, it surprised me that she would rather have me take medication for gestational diabetes than control it with diet. I expected that most doctors would rather have a natural solution when available instead of preferring medication over a natural solution. We began having issues with her approach when she suggested I schedule a c-section with the office at 38 weeks due to the gestational diabetes diagnoses. When we found out that she also was not going to be supportive and facilitate our birth plan, I changed providers to one that was more open minded and flexible while still making the health of me and my baby the highest priority. Once we made the change to our new provider, I suddenly felt completely calm and confident. He was caring, helpful, and remembers me and my entire family to this day. He looked at me as a person and not a number. He saw that my “gestational diabetes” was easily controlled through my diet; my blood glucose levels looked perfect and saw that I was already eating appropriately. He looked at C-sections as a last resort or emergency and provided me all my options.
There is much to consider when choosing your provider as well as hospital politics and the business that having a baby has become in society. If the wrong fit for you has been chosen in a provider, it can negatively impact the birth and birth experience in so many ways. But when the right provider is chosen, even if it does not go as planned, you will be confident in knowing you did everything you could and what matters is that you are holding a healthy baby. A provider should make you feel calm, confident, supported, and even loved.
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