I had my 39 week appointment with my OB this week, and the entire thing took about 5 minutes. I mean, that’s great because it means both baby and I are looking healthy, but it seems surreal because my experiences before have been so different.
This will be my first scheduled c-section. At this last appointment the OB checked to make sure the baby is head down [(s)he is] and that’s it (other than checking blood pressure and heartbeat)! No checks for dilation, no talking about labor and delivery… it all seems easy-peasy. Weirdly so.
Except I’m already anxious because I truly don’t want a third c-section. I don’t want the surgery, I don’t want the recovery… I don’t want to deal with any of it. I’m disappointed that my body can’t just have a baby the ‘natural’ way.
I still don’t know how Isabelle ever fit inside me. What a huge baby!
Clara was born via emergency c-section after I spiked a fever during labor. You can read the story here. Basically, my water broke, 12 hours later I went into the hospital because contractions hadn’t started yet. They eventually started me on Pitocin (in the middle of the night), then hours after that I got an epidural, then hours after that I spiked a fever, her heartrate dropped, and they rushed me into the OR. She was born blue and not breathing and it took them a few minutes to revive her. I blacked out and don’t even remember meeting her for the first time, and I was throwing up too much to hold her (Tim informed me after the fact) so Tim did the initial skin-to-skin. Once I ‘regained consciousness’ (I remember regaining consciousness but I was never unconscious… it’s so weird), I demanded a Coke and a strawberry shake but I was not at all excited to meet Clara, my new baby. It was a weird experience and it still makes me sad to think about.
Isabelle was born via an elective c-section after about 36 hours of labor. You can read that story here. (My favorite part is when I say that birth experience is why I don’t want to be pregnant again – HA! 3 years later, and here we are!) All I really remember about labor and delivery with Isabelle is that I had painful contractions forever that were totally ineffective, I eventually had back labor, the epidurals stopped working, I pushed for an hour once I got to 10cm, but then we decided to go for a C-section when she never dropped into my pelvis. The anesthesiologist couldn’t place a spinal block, so I had to go under general anesthesia for the birth. Which means, similarly to Clara’s delivery, I wasn’t really “present” for the birth of my baby and Tim was the one who did the initial skin-to-skin.
In both experiences, my babies never dropped into my pelvis, so there was no way they were coming out of my body that way. This is why once I got pregnant again, we decided I would have a scheduled c-section and not even try going through labor at all. Sigh. I have quite a few friends who say their scheduled c-sections were SO much better than they’re first c-section, but I remain unconvinced.
Yes, it will be nice to have family in town (we were able to plan in advance!) for the birth and for childcare for the girls. And I guess it will be nice to not have to feel labor pain… but honestly, I loved not knowing the date my babies would be born! I liked the suspense and feeling that they arrive when they’re ready. I hated having to pick a date this time around. I hate anticipating a surgery that I don’t want. I hate how my memories of the procedures in the past are overwhelmingly negative. I am praying that the anesthesiologist is able to place the spinal block without issue and that I have a great team of doctors who can try to ensure I don’t shake uncontrollably or throw up during the procedure (as I did with Clara). My main concern, of course, is that baby and I are both healthy… but I also want this to be a JOYFUL experience – somehow.
If I had it my way, I’d be planning a homebirth… not a highly medical procedure. I wish my body would just do this darn thing. But, I’m someone who apparently can make babies easily (such a blessing in itself!) but who cannot get them out!
So I have a lot of complex emotions going into these next few days. And it doesn’t help that every once in a while someone will ask if I’ve considered trying to VBAC. Again. And if I know the effects of c-sections on babies. Oh yes, I know. Plus, there are so many articles about hospitals in Seattle trying to lower the c-section rate and it all makes me feel like I’m CHOOSING this (and it’s the wrong decision) instead of needing this. But I know it’s necessary for us. I do. But then I think “maybe this baby will just magically drop in there (my pelvis)…” Although as of my last appointment the head is floating really high, so that seems unlikely.
I decided to wait until my due date for my scheduled c-section, because I didn’t see any medical reason to go ‘early’ at 39 weeks. I feel like my babies like to stay in my uterus as long as possible (41 + 3 and 41 + 5), so I’m not rushing this one along more than necessary. It’s not likely that I’ll go into labor before my due date, so my OB is comfortable with me waiting if that’s what I want to do.
Our countdown is getting shorter and shorter! I know once I meet our newest nugget this will all seem very worth it.