Saturday afternoon’s mail was nothing special. Mostly junk mail. There weren’t even any bills. But there was one letter with the return address of my OB clinic. My address was hand-written, so I knew it wasn’t a bill. Hands shaking with excitement, I opened the envelope to find this:
The confirmation of my scheduled c-section. We’re officially on the schedule at the hospital. And yes, I DID schedule this into the calendar on my phone. Why wouldn’t I?
I wanted to take a second to talk about WHY I’m choosing a c-section for this pregnancy in case there are others out there contemplating the same thing, or if there are people thinking I’m ludicrous for choosing something like this.
First and formost, my birth experience with Aric was nothing short of a nightmare. I hated every living, breathing second of it. There was nothing special or magical about any part of it. And I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE that that’s how I view Aric’s birthday. Sure I can look back now and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, but it took a VERY long time for me to get over it. I firmly believe that was the catalyst that set off my post partum depression. The yodel that caused the avalanche as it were.
I was induced for pregnancy-induced hypertension. My doctor was very concerned about it turning into pre-eclampsia. I was put on a high dose of pitocin and my water was broken right away. I made almost no progress after 12 hours of consistent contractions. My doctor promised me that if I could make it to 4 centimeters she would let me labor as long as I wanted. I never got to that point. At 7:15 that night I signed paperwork authorizing a c-section for “failure to progress.” My nurse reassured me that it’s just the technical term; I didn’t do anything wrong, and it wasn’t me who was a failure. I signed away, and the rest of the night was a complete blur. Aric was born at 7:54 pm. I didn’t hold him until after 10pm. The drug induced haze set in, and never really lifted.
I remember about 4 weeks after having Aric sitting with my sister and telling her I didn’t feel like a “real mom.” I couldn’t do something as simple as bringing a child into the world, something women had been doing for thousands and thousands of years. I felt like I’d failed myself as a woman. I felt like I didn’t deserve my child, because I wasn’t even the one to bring him into the world.
Lots of therapy and anti-depressants later I know this was all crazy-talk. But in the darkness of postpartum depression you can convince yourself of anything.
I do not want that darkness over me again. I will do anything in my power to help keep that away, and the first thing I’m going to do is take charge of Abby’s birth. There are few things I get to have control over where pregnancy and newborns are concerned (and toddlers, too, but that’s another story for another day ), and those are the things I WILL control.
In talking with my doctor, we explored some of the reasons WHY my labor failed to progress. I’d been on a steady, high dose of pitocin and had regular contractions which SHOULD have done the job. My water was broken quickly, and in most women’s bodies that’s a signal to the uterus to get busy, but it my case, it did not. Aric just did NOT progress down the way he needed to. We knew that he was kind of crooked and was sunny side up so perhaps he wasn’t triggering the internal pressure points to get my cervix to dilate. My doctor surmised that most likely, since we knew he wasn’t a large baby (only 7 pounds 13 oz), perhaps my hips were just too narrow and not able to pass a baby through them.
I was given a choice between a c-section or a vaginal birth. My doctor told me she would support either option and do her best to give me the birth I wanted. She did warn me that with a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section), I would not be able to be given pitocin or any other kind of drug to speed up labor due to the risk of rupture. And that with my specific history I would more than likely end up in the same place I was before: Long labor ending in a c-section.
I chose scheduled c-section. I want that control. I want to be able to have a specific date of arrival. I want to know EXACTLY how the birth is going to occur, and since I’ve already had a c-section before, I have a good idea. I know what to expect, so there is a far less chance for me to be disappointed with how everything plays out.
There are many women in my position who would chose a VBAC, and that’s awesome for them. They know their limitations just as I know mine. I did not consider what others would think of me when I made my choice, just as I hope other women do the same. I made my decision based on my own history and how I want my daughter to be safely brought into this world.
It’s the first decision I get to make as Abby’s mom, and I’m gonna make the best one for her
If you’re contemplating c-section vs. VBAC, there are lots of resources out there for information, especially your doctor. I love my doctor more than words can express, and I know she cares about me, too. I trust her fully and completely and I know she’s always acting in my best interest. Lots of people can’t say that about their doctors, so I know how fortunate I am.
For some online resources, check out Childbirth Connection, Baby Center (VBAC) (C-section), or some of my favorite blogger’s stories like Miranda’s VBAC story or Kate’s repeat c-section story. But please, make your decision based on what’s best for YOU and YOUR BABY, not based on what others tell you you should do.
All I know is that I’m super excited for December 28th
12/28/12 just looks so cool!