looking forward

I know a lot of women have c-sections, and it is a wonderful technological advance, many women would die without it. If I lived in the pioneer days, I might have died. My baby might have died.

The first month of Isabelle’s life I spent recovering. I needed help lifting things, getting in and out of bed, holding the car seat, walking long distances. As far as recoveries go- I think mine was about as standard as they get- as good as I could hope for considering the giant incision and trauma my body had been through. I enjoyed my newborn every bit as I could, she was so little and healthy and perfect.

But it hurt. I don’t think anyone will tell you that major abdominal surgery is a breeze. For a short time, Jazz would have to come around to my side of the bed and physical lift me up while I cried because using certain muscles was so painful. There were times when the thought of walking to the bathroom was so daunting, I didn’t want to go. There were things that I missed because I was immobile or on drugs or just not able to participate in. I missed her first bath. I missed changing her diaper the first day or so. I missed being able to pick her up in the night when she cried- I had to have someone there to hand her to me. These things may seem trivial to some, but to me I felt less than equal, and I hated that.

None of this tarnished the bonding or the instant love I had for Isabelle. Every moment spent with her was perfection to me- she was so incredibly perfect. Waking in the night was a privilege and sometimes me and Jazz would look at each other and say “should we wake her up so we can play with her?” I loved bathing her in the sink (eventually) and putting her weak little arms into her onesie sleeves I had embellished for her. Her tiny meow cries were priceless, her every facial expression soaked up, every noise appreciated. I would have ten c-sections to have another baby, every bit of it was so, so, so worth it.

I didn’t tell people I had a c-section unless they asked. I didn’t want them to know that I had a giant FAILURE sign stamped right on my fore head. I know I didn’t fail- I KNOW THAT. But to me, that’s how it felt. Like I wanted into this great exclusive club and I was on the waiting list for 9 months and when I got to the top of the list, I was skipped over and sent home.

So I started reading. I started reading about rising c-sections and why they happen and how to avoid them. A checklist was given of what not to do if you want to have a regular birth. I hit every point, to me I had done everything “wrong.” I was induced. I had an epidural. I didn’t labor at home. I didn’t wait long enough. I waited too long. My doctor feared a large baby- when Isabelle was a petite 7 pounds 4 ounces. We did learn that her body was twisted and she was posterior, meaning she was facing the wrong way, her head was tilted and wasn’t causing me to dilate.

Was that because I was induced? Because of the epidural? Maybe Isabelle never would have turned the correct way? I don’t know. I can speculate and ask ‘what if’ all day long, but it can’t be changed and I’ve accepted the way everything happened. I don’t know why it happened, but I know it was for a reason.

I assumed I could try for a different birth experience the next time around. When I had healed, when we were ready, we would have another baby and everything would be different.

Then, unexpectedly- we moved to Redding, where we currently live. I searched for an OB who would do a VBAC with me (vaginal birth after cesarean). I found none. I learned that because of hospital regulations in this area, there are zero VBACs allowed. NONE. There are a bunch of reasons why, and I won’t go into them now, some are political and some are because of money and insurance, but it doesn’t matter. Bottom line, I can’t have a VBAC in Redding. (Unless I choose to have a home birth, which is not something I personally feel comfortable with.)

The closest hospital that will take me as a VBAC patient is in Davis, which is a three hour drive from my house. Three hours! It may seem far- and it is far, especially with the labor game when we don’t know where or when or how things will happen. This is what I know so far.

I have an OB here in Redding who is willing to work with me until my 8th month of pregnancy. He does not see any reason why I wouldn’t be able to have a trial of labor in a different hospital. I have been referred to UC Davis Women’s Center for Health, where their hospital allows and encourages VBACs. I have an appointment in November, a VBAC consultation, to set up our schedule of weekly visits towards that last month of pregnancy and discuss how this will work with me living 3 hours away. I’ve been told that at some point, I’ll have to stay in the area for the remainder of my pregnancy, I’m not sure how that will go or when that will be.

Let me just clarify. This is no guarantee that I will not have a c-section, and I know that. I may labor and labor and have the same problem with this baby and will eventually have to have a c-section. I feel like I have to do everything in my power, everything that my body can do to have a regular birth, and if that doesn’t work out, it will not be because I didn’t try. I feel like if I don’t try now, with this baby, I may never get the chance.

I do know that every birth is different. Every mother has different expectations and ideas. I know many women who have been perfectly happy with their cesarean births and wouldn’t have it any other way. I also know women who have had horrific and very scary vaginal births as well. There are definite risks either way I go at this point- and things we are discussing and praying about as a family. This is not a decision to be made lightly, and I understand that.

That being said, we are moving forward with hopeful hearts and daily prayers that I will have a different experience the second time around. I’m feeling very optimistic about it right now- and really excited for what lies ahead. Regardless of the method of delivery, we are all overjoyed with bringing a new spirit into our home and into our family and can’t wait to meet baby boy.

5 thoughts on “looking forward

  1. And that, my friend, is all we can do. Go forward with hope. And love what IS as it comes. What a great couple of posts. I love that you are pursuing what you want your experience to be, rather than just folding to the powers that be. You go, girl. Are you going to look into natural childbirth? Being able to move helps A LOT with posterior babies rotating, should that happen again. If you've not considered it, I would recommend checking it out. Good luck! I'll pray for you. ♥

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  2. I love this. I love that you write in depth (I have trouble with people who don't) and are honest about how you feel and are actively pursuing what you want. I think you are being smart about it all. With this approach, you know you can be satisfied with the outcome. I will be rooting for you 🙂

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  3. I love that you wrote that. It was amazing. I never knew that you felt that way. I wish I would have helped you more after you had Isabelle!I hope and pray that everything will turn out how you want it to. One of my friends is going through the same thing right now (she is due in 3 weeks and hoping to have a VBAC). Working in L&D I see both sides…Good luck!

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  4. I commend you for being inconvenienced with the location to be able to try a VBAC. I wish I had done more research for my 2nd baby, but I took the doctor's “no VBACs” statement serious and didn't even look for another location/doctor. After 2 c-sections, I couldn't find anyone willing to attempt it. After 4 c-sections, I'm not “supposed” to have any more babies because of scar tissue & a thin uterus. I HATE the limitations. I don't plan to have more babies, but I always wonder “what if” I hadn't had all these surgeries. I felt jipped and incomplete after each surgery. Each time I had a scheduled c-section I was told it was to avoid labor and EVERY time I actually went into labor at the hospital waiting for my doctor to arrive to perform my c-sections (with baby #2 my water actually broke & they made me wait). Thank goodness for modern technology that keeps us healthy & allows us to survive to raise our babies, but CURSE this rise in c-sections “just because.”

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  5. I had to have a c-section with Clara because I was induced at 5 days overdue and after three days of Cervadil, Pitocin and some other drug I can't remember, I never dilated past 1cm. During the surgery I had a seizure, so I didn't get to see her right after they pulled her out, I didn't hear her cry for the first time, I didn't get to give her a bath or change her first diaper. I spent two days in the ICU and in that time I only got to hold her for about 30 seconds before I was got sick from trying to focus on her little face (morphine is awful). I didn't get to see or hold my baby until, literally, every other person in both our families had held and cuddled her. I wanted to wait until she was born to pick her name, so she wasn't even named officially until she was two days old. ….Anyway, the point is that I understand feeling like you missed out or failed at something. I constantly ask myself if things would have been different if I hadn't agreed to be induced. But ultimately I came to the same conclusion that you did; things happened the way they happened, and there's no changing it. My baby girl was born healthy and strong, just like Izzie, and all I can do is plan for the same outcome the next time around. Hope your pregnancy is going smoothly. Good luck with the delivery plans this time around!

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