|With a lovely destination. :-)|
I have written practically nothing at all about this pregnancy, so here's a Cliff's Notes version of what's been going on: after a ton of risk-weighing and interviewing and soul-searching, I decided to have a hospital birth instead of going for a midwife-attended birth. It seems that I have high-risk pregnancies, so unfortunately, I am just one of those women who actually need to birth in the hospital. Transferring at the last minute and delivering with a stranger was so incredibly stressful with Oscar, that I was pretty keen on avoiding that happening again this time around. I was pretty sad to come to this conclusion, but it turned out to be the absolutely right one, as you will see! Fortunately, we found a very non-interventionist, VBAC-friendly OB that was highly recommended by the local ICAN and my sister-in-law, who had a great previous birth experience with him. We were all set to deliver at a birth center attached to a hospital about 3 minutes from our house.
Now the stage is set, on with the story!
The date: June 4, a Monday morning. I was 37 weeks pregnant. For a few weeks, I had been having high blood pressure like I did with Oscar's pregnancy, so my OB had been ordering hospital non-stress tests as well as having me monitor my blood pressure at home. My numbers at home weren't reaching that "call the doctor" threshold, but they were creeping close. The end of the week prior to June 4th, I had a blood sample drawn at the doctor's office and left a 24-hour urine sample... so when I got a phone call Monday morning from the doctor's office, telling me to please come in a few hours and bring a birth plan, I knew something had turned up in the lab work.
Adam wanted to come to this appointment with me, and I'm so glad he did. When we got there, we were ushered into one of the patient rooms where an assistant sat us down and dropped the news: I had pre-eclampsia.
Adam and I pretty much knew the handwriting on the wall from here on. That baby was going to have to come out, and soon. We had already discussed our possibilities if things came to this: artificial induction is already much riskier for a VBAC (greater chance of uterine rupture), and I would be willing to try only if I was already quite a ways dilated and effaced. No way was I going to have a futile 25-hour labor like I did with Oscar and feel like CRAP for days afterward! We had already discussed that in that case, a repeat C-section would be a better choice for our family.
So the OB came in, checked my blood pressure- it was high, of course- and did a cervical check. It was high and closed tight.
So that settled it. Repeat C-section it would be. But when the doctor said, "We need to get this baby out today," I couldn't help but reply, "TODAY??!" in shock. We went over the birth plan (fortunately, I had thought to add a section for C-section birth) and talked for a few minutes. My doctor was genuinely disappointed that I wasn't going to be getting my VBAC (he has apologized to me every single time I've seen him since the birth. He even apologized about it to my sis-in-law, who was also seeing him at the time for her pregnancy. LOL!)
|Taken May 31. Little did I know it would be my last preggo picture...|
We went straight from the doctor's office to the birth center, where I was shortly hooked up to a fetal monitor and an IV. Since you're not supposed to eat or drink for six hours before surgery, and I had just eaten lunch before seeing the doctor, we had a several-hour wait until the C-section. So after I got settled, Adam left to go get my hospital bag and take some overnight things for Oscar, who was already with my bro-and sister-in-law. I watched some TV, tried to talk myself out of being nervous about the surgery, and just let the reality of the crazy situation sink in. Can I just once have a pregnancy that doesn't end in a huge bomb being dropped on me??? :-P But really, I was thrilled to finally be done. This pregnancy was particularly difficult for me, and I had already been on bed rest for a couple weeks, so I was totally ready to get on with life! I must have somehow known that I'd be delivering early, because I had already done all the nesting: freezer meals were made; all the clothes and diapers were washed and put away; I even had bought the Hunger Games to read while breastfeeding in the wee hours (but I ended up reading it on bed rest, haha). I was SO. DONE. with this pregnancy weeks ago.
Adam eventually came back, and we whiled away the time discussing boy names. Yes, once again we made it to the very end without settling on a boy name. We've had a girl name picked for years, but the boy names always get us!
Finally, it was time for the surgery. Adam stayed in the room to put on his adorable little scrubs while I walked down to the OR with our nurse, Buffy. The anesthesiologist greeted me and started cracking jokes about how he had been watching YouTube videos on giving epidurals earlier, so he was totally qualified. I got the epidural, got settled on the operating table, and the operation began. Eventually, Adam came in and sat by me. I was puffing and grunting from all the tugging and pulling they were doing to me, and I felt the need to repeatedly tell Adam, "I'm okay, I seriously can't feel a thing!" so he wouldn't get concerned. (okay, maybe it was more for MY benefit, lol).
The plan had originally been that Adam would be the one to announce the baby's gender, but in the middle of the surgery, he decided that HE wanted to be surprised, too, so he asked the OB to announce it. Presently, a nurse said, "Here comes the head!" and a minute later, the doc said, "Well, it looks like it's... A BOY!"
We still didn't have a boy name, go figure.
Baby Boy was weighed and assessed (7 pounds 8 ounces and 19.75 inches long-- perfectly average for a full-term baby. That kid would have been huge if we had made it to 40 weeks!) And then-- the nurse brought him over to me! This was something I totally didn't get with Oscar. I got to smell his hair (and he had LOTS of it) and watch him mew like a kitten. I gave him kisses. We even got a picture.
He only got to stay with me for a few minutes, but it was very special! It was especially good, because I have had more than my share of moments wondering, "Is this really MY baby?" He looks absolutely nothing like my side of the family or like a baby I would make, but unless they had a spare baby hiding under the operating table, this one is definitely mine!
After a few minutes, he was whisked away for observation, and Adam went with him. I went into Recovery. On the way out of the OR, I mentioned something about the placenta, and a nurse was like, "Do you want to see it?" and I was like, "HECK YEAH!!!" So they brought it out for me to see, which was pretty cool. I was surprised by a) how big it was, and b) by how much it resembled a giant chunk of meat. I don't think I can ever purchase raw beef again. :-P
I spent the hour in Recovery chatting with Buffy. At some point, a student nurse came up and thanked me for consenting to let her observe the surgery. "It was my first C-section to watch!" she told me. It felt good to be a help to someone's education. :-)
So that was the birth story. In my opinion, it was a good birth. I think everybody else is more bummed about me having a repeat C-section than I am, but honestly, I was more concerned about the overall experience than the actual process. A VBAC would have been awesome, but what I really wanted even more was an empowering, positive experience, and this birth was spot-on in that regard.
But hold onto your hats, because this was just the beginning of the story. Yes, we were about to revisit the dreaded NICU... (Part 2 here)