Sunday, December 18, 2011

Birth story - Audrey

I love reading other people's stories of their children's births, so I wanted to be sure to write mine down with Audrey.  It's amazing how much you forget so soon, so this way I hope I can remember all the details!

I was very much hoping for a VBAC with this pregnancy.  The entire time, a black cloud was hanging over my head with this issue, since I knew it was going to be a struggle to labor and not end up with another c-section. But I still held out hope and optimism that I would be able to have a natural birth and would do whatever I needed to to fight for one. I hired a doula, read tons of books and really tried to get in the positive and determined mindset.  When one of my doctors said that with my history, she'd give me less than a 50% chance of a vaginal birth, I rolled my eyes inside and thought You're nuts, because there's a 5% chance I'll agree to having another c-section!

I knew I wouldn't be early, so wasn't surprised when I reached my due date.  I stopped working on my due date, the week before Thanksgiving, and planned to spend the rest of the time resting, preparing, and doing what I could to initiate labor.  I was 41 weeks pregnant when I went in for a doctor's appointment.  The c-section was scheduled for the following Monday.  When the doctors encouraged me to schedule the c/s at 41.5 weeks pregnant a few months previously, I went ahead and did it, thinking that of course I won't need it, I will have had my baby by then!  I did a non-stress test and had an ultrasound to check the amniotic fluid levels and everything looked great.  There was a ton of fluid and the placenta still looked healthy.  Almost like the baby would be comfortable staying in forever, which seemed to be what she intended!  She was moving like crazy and we decided to postpone the c-section for a few more days, until the following Thursday, at which point I'd be 41 weeks, 6 days pregnant.  I wasn't excited to be pregnant any longer, but wanted to give my body every opportunity to go into labor on its own and not have any regrets.

In that week, I did everything I could to get the baby out.  I walked the mall multiple times, my mom and I tried accupressure, ate spicy food, bounced on an exercise ball, visited a chiropractor, sniffed clary sage oil. I'd been having contractions for a few weeks, which I never had with my first pregnancy, so I was still hoping that perhaps something might happen.

But the following Thursday came and I was still pregnant, so off to the hospital we went around 7:30am.  I was checked again but was still barely a fingertip dilated so there was no more hope.  It was going to be a c-section.   I cried.  I knew I had done everything I could, but couldn't help but feel like my body failed me again.  For some reason, I wasn't meant to have my babies the way that women were designed to and it made me so sad knowing that I would never be able to experience the natural labor that I'd wanted so badly.  It was especially sad, because I should have been excited and happy to the day arriving that I'd meet my daughter and instead, it became a day I was dreading because of the surgery.

The nurses set up the iv, I drank the nasty drink, put on the compression stockings and walked to the operating room.  It was harder this time than last, having all the advance knowledge of what was going to happen.   I was so much more scared than last time.  Once they injected all the pain medication, the surgery was ready to begin and they let Tim in.  Throughout the surgery, I felt nauseous at a few points.  I told the anesthesiologist and he tweaked the meds a little, which allowed the nausea to pass and made me feel hot and my face to get sweaty.  But I didn't vomit, which was a huge fear of mine.  He offered to give me something to make me less anxious, but warned that it would make me drowsy.  As panicked as I felt, I declined, because I wanted to remember every detail and not feel out of it or groggy.

After a few minutes of incredibly intense pressure, the doctors announced that they saw her, that she had a ton of hair and then they lifted my baby girl out at 11:04am.  They held her up and she proceeded to cry loudly and to pee on me!!  Everyone laughed.  I hope this isn't a sign of anything to come!  Everyone exclaimed how much hair she had and before long, they brought her around the curtain for me to see her.  Right away, I thought she looked so much like her brother.

We had made special allowances with our doctor so that Tim could stay in the room holding the baby while I was stitched up.  Part of what was so frightening last time was being all alone in the room and not knowing what was going on with them while I was being stitched up.  It was a great idea in theory to have them there, but I had to concentrate so hard on not vomiting and trying not to hyperventilate while I was being put back together, so I couldn't enjoy having them next to me, so I went ahead and told them to go to Recovery, so she could be checked and weighed.  I was really curious to see how big she was.

The entire surgery was a lot more painful than I remember the first one being.  Maybe because I was so much more nervous or maybe because I didn't have the anxiety-reducing drugs.  Or maybe, as is nature's way, I've forgotten the pain and nervousness as time passed so that I'd get pregnant again.

Once they finished, they wheeled me to Recovery, where I was able to nurse her and finally get a good look at her and hold her.

I spent the next few days in the hospital, recovering.  At midnight, they had me stand for the first time.  The next morning they took off the leg compressors (thank goodness, because these were awful and itchy!), removed the catheter and iv.  I slowly walked a little around the room that day and did more throughout the next few days to regain my strength.

My c-section recovery has been a lot better the second time around than the first.  I am still trying to be cautious and not do too much too soon.  I had a lot of bruising this time around, that I didn't have the first time, but overall, I had a lot less bleeding and less swelling.  I stopped the regular pain medication around a week postpartum and started only taking ibuprofen as needed.  Two weeks out, I'm not 100% still, I still feel my incision if I do too much or sometimes when I turn or bend, but in general, I feel really good for having had a major abdominal surgery two weeks ago!  And this is all a good thing, because I definitely needed to recover faster with both a toddler and newborn to take care of!

I'm still deeply saddened that I wasn't able to have the VBAC I'd wanted and have to face the fact that I'll never have the natural childbirth I'd hoped for.  I do wonder why my body wouldn't cooperate and go into labor.  But I can't dwell on that, because I have a beautiful and healthy baby girl.  She has already brought so much joy to our lives and is such a sweet and cuddly little thing and I'm so glad she's joined our family, in whatever way she arrived!

You know how people take pictures holding up 10 fingers when they get to 10cm?  Yeah, I got to <1.
But did reach 42 weeks!  Woohoo??

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