Thursday, January 03, 2008

It’s On (You Know…Like Donkey Kong)

Throughout my first pregnancy I was dead set against the epidural. I thought the possible permanent side effects outweighed the definite yet temporary pain. However, when labor didn’t progress (I never dilated past 4 centimeters) I was prepped for a c-section. And guess what? That meant an epidural. I pretty much had no choice if I wanted to be awake when my baby was born. Nevertheless, I hated the feeling of that cold fluid in my spine and I was absolutely nauseated by the fact that I couldn’t feel two-thirds of my body. It certainly validated my decision not to use the drug in the first place, even though I wasn’t able to uphold that decision. I was extremely disappointed that I was not able to stick to the drug-free delivery that I had planned. I told myself that if given another chance I would definitely make it happen the next time.
Well, here I am with that second chance, albeit 10 years later, and still lamenting my first “failure”. I spoke with my OB at my very first prenatal visit about my delivery options following the c-section 10 years ago. “Once a section, always a section”, he stated without much further explanation. However, he was less than three months from retirement at the time, and I knew he would not be around to deliver my baby in the spring. I still had hope. The retiring doctor’s partner was a young doctor and would surely have better options for me.

It was two more months before I was able to meet with my new OB. During that time I spoke with pretty much any woman who was willing to discuss her labor and delivery with me. My just being pregnant seemed to cause the conversations around me to center constantly around babies and their arrivals. Up until now I haven’t known many women who have had c-sections. With the exception of my sister-in-law who delivered triplets, all of my sister-in-laws and close friends had vaginal deliveries, several of which I would even consider to be dream deliveries. But when women outside of my usual circle began telling me their stories, I realized there were more people out there whose labor and deliveries sounded more like mine. But I also realized that those ladies were missing something that I most definitely had – a bad attitude. While it was reassuring to know that other women had similar experiences as my own, it wasn’t until one woman said that it “didn’t matter how the baby got here, as long it was safe and healthy”. It hit me how selfish I was being. My yearning for a “normal” delivery wasn’t for the baby’s sake, it was for ME!

So when I was finally able to discuss the matter with my new OB, I had much more of an open mind during his explanation of the retired doctor’s “once a section, always a section” comment. The new doctor took the time to explain to me how some women can have a successful VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) due to the circumstances surrounding the initial c-section. If the first baby was breech, for instance, it is unlikely that the same circumstances would hold true for the second baby. However, if the first baby was too big for the mother’s birth canal and labor was not progressing (sound familiar?) it is possible, even probable that those circumstances would be repeated the second time around. This discussion also took place following an ultrasound where the technician said the baby looked to be a pretty big one. Being a diplomatic kind of guy, the OB suggested we schedule a c-section but cancel it if I felt strongly about attempting a VBAC as we got closer to the baby’s due date. I left his office feeling like I was almost certainly going to have a c-section, but not feeling all that badly about it.

A few days after my appointment, my sister-in-law delivered my new niece. Her delivery experience made mine look good. But her sweet baby girl was finally with her, and that’s what was important. It was yet another reason for me to feel OK with having the surgery. So when I had my OB appointment yesterday, I didn’t cry when they called the hospital to schedule my repeat c-section. I was actually kind of excited that I had a date to meet my baby. And when I got home and wrote it on the calendar, I promptly started freaking out about all the things I have to do in the next three months!!


Anonymous said...

I'm one of those moms who insisted on a vaginal birth. I was almost 30, with inflexible bones and a 9-lb. baby. On his way out, David hit his head (you can see the black-and-blue mark in his infant photo), burst one of my main arteries and I bled like a stuck pig. So even though I avoided the drugs during the birth process, I found myself in the operating room with fairly major repair surgery and yards and yards of packing that I endured for a couple of weeks. YUK!. The doc told me if I were to have another baby, it would definitely be a C-section delivery. Ask Gramma Dot. She came up and took care of both David AND moi! So praise Godde for C-sections and the capable docs who perform them.

Aunt Rose

A Buns Life said...

Thanks for coming out of lurking! :) And congrats on the new baby! I look forward to reading more.

Slackermommy said...

As a woman who had 4 c-sections due to a uterine anomaly/breech babies I totally agree with your new attitude. I was disappointed when I found out I needed a section with my first. Fortunately I had a great experience so in the end c-sections were the way to go for me. I know that I could never do a natural birth nor did I ever want to. I don't do pain if I don't have to. I got a taste of labor with 2 of mine and I did not cope well. In the end I ended up with 4 healthy babies and no complications for any of us. And no vaginal trauma which is always a good thing.

I hate that so many women feel like failures if they don't have a vaginal birth and in particular a natural birth. There's a certain martyrdom that really bugs me. Creating life in our bodies is an amazing feat all by itself. Does it really matter how our babies come out? Not in my opinion.

And all those awful things we are told will happen if we take drugs or have a section, none of my babies suffered any of them.

Gregg said...

Those are awesome ultrasound pictures. Our stills didn't ever look so good. It was amazing watching on the screen, though.

Both of our daughters were large (9 lbs 6 oz, and 8 lbs 11 oz) while my wife is small (5.0' and 105 lbs). The kids were delivered via C-section since the opening in her pelvic bone wasn't big enough. On the first kid, though, she was in labor 24 hours and TRIED to deliver. The effort was evidenced by the pelvic opening shaped DENT surrounding my oldest daughter's head.