April 29, 2013

Trying to VBAC

This is me TMI-ing all over the internet. But if you know me, you know this is nothing new.

If I had to guess I would say my odds of VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section) are about 30%, in comparison to the 70% chance I give myself for a repeat c-section. I'm NOT scared scared of either choice. That's a lie, there is a human inside of me and it has to exit my body in the next month, that's terrifying. But, I love being a mom and I'm not too terrified of that, I was meant to do that. My body knows what to do during labor and many women have done this before me, that's comforting, even if I'm way late to doing my homework.

Way late. Like should have been doing this homework before I was pregnant kind of procrastination. But better 8 months preggo than never. I did ask my general MD for VBAC supportive doctors one day before I found out I was pregnant with baby #2 (ironic), I thought I was late then, so I didn't do any more research, and accepted my fate. Boy was I wrong.

But this is where my head is today. Week 36 of 40.
I was told by my OB, 4 weeks after Maggie's birth that I would not be able to have a normal birth. Generally, once a c-section always a c-section. I cried, made my sister promise me I could be in the room when she delivered my first niece/nephew and then accepted it. I found out later that VBAC was a thing.

Fast forward 9 months... I'm pregnant again

At the beginning of this pregnancy my OB changed her mind. I was a candidate for a VBAC (surprised me), but she did lay out all the scary sh*t more than once in front of my husband and mother (between you and me, I think the doctor has witnessed a not-so-successful VBAC). The whole uterine rupture thing scares a lot of doctors.

My reason for my first c-sec is severe pre-eclampsia, it was scary for everybody involved. That's another story that is still being written, with a 17-month procrastination time.

But I decided in month 3 or 4 with limited knowledge and some serious tenacity (to have baby #2 exit the same way it went in), that I wanted my girl-power moment. My mother was able to do it, my grandmother was able to do it (7 times), this is what my body was meant to do, I was a woman and I felt (still do) that I have something to prove. Family and doctors all grudgingly agreed (still do). I had to agree to ideal conditions for a VBAC (planets aligned, no complications, no late babies, no pitocin, no surprises). I even agreed to an epidural. I was ok with that. Healthy Baby, Healthy Mama... has been my motto since day one.

Fast forward to month 7

My blood pressure wasn't ideal and I get doctor's note for a limited work schedule (kinda bed rest). I started doing some serious research, I watched The Business of Being Born and its counterpart. I googled myself into a frenzy of information. Epidurals slow the process down, pitocin speeds the process up, babies have to go through the birth canal or they will have lung problems and suffer from obesity, anybody can have a uterine rupture, the Obstetrics-medical industry is out of control in America, c-secs are overly performed in Brazil, emergency hysterectomies can happen with c-sections, its surgery and hard to recover from, moms who have c-section babies or epidurals don't bond with their babies immediately, c-section babies have a harder time breast-feeding, pre-eclampsia is a real good reason to have a c-section. You get the point.

I talked to several supporters of VBAC, friends who have successfully VBACed, doulas and other people in the field. I joined a yahoo North Texas group for VBAC supporters. All of them had one uniform suggestion, change providers since Dr. OB wasn't 100% on board. OK, I can do that. I had supporters of this decision, I had names and numbers of VBAC providers and doulas, I had people willing to get me a referral to the best VBAC doctor in the country (who happens to live in North Dallas).

I was 34 weeks along. I sat down during my lunch break at work, with my PB&J, by myself, in the conference room, phone in hand, ready to change the course of this pregnancy. Then I lost it. Preggo hormones/Just-Crystal hormones whatever you want to call it, I lost it, that sh*t is scary. I didn't want to change providers I didn't want to drive to Denton, I didn't want to meet new people, I didn't need more people seeing my lady parts (this doesn't really bother me ... TMI), and I had already prepaid for a lot of the services already, and I really really don't like talking on the phone to people I don't know (my sense of humor is always lost on strangers).

I talked to mom and my husband and came to the conclusion that changing providers and making these kind of big change decisions this late in the game would put too much unnecessary stress on everybody involved, most notably ME. I pride myself in knowing who I am and being "self-aware". And what I really want is to be in control of the situation, well as much as a pregnant woman can be.

Now as I enter the 36th week (the week Maggie was born), my blood pressure still isn't ideal (only gestational hypertension, no pre-e), and with 2 triage hospital visits under my belt with this pregnancy already, my emotions have made a full circle. I'm ok with however God wants to give me another baby, I've come to terms with my pride and what other people will think of me. I'm super thankful that I can get pregnant and that I can carry healthy babies full term. I am so blessed beyond belief to have people in my life who care about me, and I wouldn't jeopardize anything to watch this baby and my 1st c-section baby grow up.

Recently, I read this metaphorical article on going to a great Thai restaurant but wanting a burger. It is right I am trying to walk into a situation where I really really want a VBAC but I'm not willing to give up the comforts of knowing my providers and knowing the process. But I'm going to still walk my butt into the familiar Thai restaurant and ask politely for a burger. I'm ok with that.

Why I'm ok with a c-section (my self-assessed 70% chance of a repeat)

After 4 sonograms (the last one at week 34) all signs point to a happy big healthy baby. I really feel selfish asking for more than that. With a c-section I can control the situation a little more (even tho it feels unnatural) I can control when, where, I can go without certain drugs and get plenty of rest beforehand so that i can remember it a bit more. I didn't have any problems healing after my first c-section. Due to my already underlying problems  of high BP (a legitimate reason for c-section) I will be more willing to understand a repeat. I even have some friends who had a "normal" birth then a c-section and both of them prefer the c-section... mostly because their lady parts remained in tact and unharmed. Also IF (and that's a big "if") me and my husband decide on baby #3 I'll find a provider who will do a VBA2C and I'll be healthier when I do get pregnant.

Either way I plan on breastfeeding till I'm thin and people start calling me "granola". Super healthy baby and mama, (there is no substitute for mama's milk.)

BUT, Why I still want to "try to VBAC" (30%)

I want my girl power moment, I want to work through the "pain and discomfort". I want my water to break on its own, I want to experience labor. I want to hold a slimy naked baby in my arms umbilical cord still attached (I blame awesome birth photographers for this thought in my head, it makes birth look magical). I don't want an epi. I want to bounce on my birthin ball, and hum loudly swaying back and forth. I want to have that feeling of pride and accomplishment and a feeling of womanhood. (and yes I know how silly that sounds to some people). I want the rush of oxytocin. And if the planets align and there are no complications then I'll get my chance and somebody will have to reread this too me while I'm in labor, I'm sure of it. Be careful what you wish for. :)

But God has his plans for me and baby Willow and I hope he blesses me with guiding me through those plans.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding – Proverbs 3:5