It is hard to know where to begin a birth story and how much detail to include. Since a major reason I am writing this if for my own memories, I am including quite a lot of detail. So, fair warning: it is long and probably a little gross!
I had a pretty awesome pregnancy—it happened quickly, I found out very early, stayed healthy and active, and had no major health concerns. For the most part I enjoyed myself (my biggest problem is always the emotional side; mainly my tendency to worry about things).
I was VERY focused on/nervous/obsessed with thinking about the coming birth. With my first pregnancy I just kind of thought I would go to the hospital, tough out some pain, and have a baby. Simple. The second time around, knowing a bit more about what I was getting myself into, was terrifying. Ever since my first delivery I knew that if I was to give birth again I would try for a VBAC. This was a huge deal for me—I really wanted as natural a birth as possible; I felt it would be healthiest for baby and for me physically and emotionally. But I also didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment, since I knew, no matter how much a prepared, I could easily end up with another c-section.
I did the best I could to walk this fine line of preparing, but not obsessing. Here is some of what I did:
- · Stayed active (lots of walks and a somewhat physically active job)
· Watched what I ate and gained just a bit over half the weight I did last time
· Took another childbirth class (with a local midwife)
· Talked to anyone who would put up with me about birth and VBACs—especially people who had similar experiences
· Read and looked at a number of books
· Took evening primrose oil supplements and drank raspberry leaf tea during the end of my pregnancy
· Visualized labor and delivery. Seriously. This sounds so new age-y I can’t believe I actually did it, but it’s true.
· Found a very supportive Dr. She always seemed to understand my reasoning, to give me honest and accurate information, and to believe that things could go better then last time (and in the end, she was out of town… but I tried!).
· And probably most importantly: found an awesome support person! This was actually a huge saga—I looked and looked for a doula and was prepared to spend quite a lot of money on someone. But I never found anyone who seemed like a good fit. Finally a local woman volunteered to help. By the time I accepted her generous offer she had many summer plans… but by a huge stroke of luck she was around for the big event!
During the pregnancy I tried hard to will myself not to go super overdue—I just kept thinking I would go into labor at a nice normal time in pregnancy and have a nice normal sized baby. But, no such luck. Hitting 40 weeks and continuing past my due date was very hard for me. Some doctors do not let women who have had c-sections continue so far with pregnancy and knowing this made me really question my decisions. But I continued…
During the week leading up to Nora’s delivery (when I was in my 41st week of pregnancy) I had two scheduled NSTs (non-stress tests) at the hospital. During the first one the nurses administering the test seemed a little uncertain about the results, which I reported to the Dr. (not my normal Dr.). Given the she did not have the strip of data in front of her she decided to do a Biophysical Profile—basically a detailed ultrasound with certain criteria. The baby had moved a ton during the previous test, but during this test she did not move. For a solid 40 minutes. So she failed. Kate the Dr. said I could be induced right then or come back the next day for a test. Kate always seemed to think I should be induced, but I instead choose to come back for another test.
My view…for a lot of that week!
The test strips…the nurses say they feel like the get to know the babies before they are born from these. My baby—Nora!—moved a ton sometimes then took long naps. Here, if you look close, you can also see a big contraction! Uterus at work.
The next day’s test looked fine. Even though it was discouraging registering at the hospital so often the remembered me and leaving the birthing center over and over WITHOUT a baby, it was actually nice to get to know them all so well! Two days later I did another one. During this test the baby showed two heart rate decelerations early on. Because of this I had to stay all day and continue to be monitored. At about 4 I had another Dr. appointment and Kate this time said she would recommended I should be induced. She also said if I choose not to be induced I would have to stay at the hospital overnight to be monitored. This completely freaked me out. The baby was still moving all over and felt healthy to me. After the two decelerations earl in the day everything else looked fine. I hated the idea of being induced… right or wrong I sincerely believed I would have a harder labor and more likelihood of interventions and a c-section if I was induced. So I went back over to the hospital, crying, and preparing myself for a hard decision and probably a night in an uncomfortable hospital bed hooked up to monitors. Boooo.
Brad came after work and we talked to the Dr. again. Brad and the Dr. both thought I should be induced. I was still scared. Joseph and Bob came to visit—Joseph even gave me his happy meal toy to keep my company! Then suddenly at 8 Kate came back and said she still recommended I be induced, but if that wasn’t what I wanted she would let me leave! This was an extremely hard decision for me and I was very worried about the baby’s welfare, but decided this was what I wanted. I am not really very good at the whole “trusting my instinct” thing; I typically make decisions based on lots of thinking, talking, research, and procrastination. But I called everyone back up and told them plans had changed—they all had to return to the hospital since we had done a bunch of car switching! I left the hospital that night (Friday) and somehow managed to get a good night’s sleep. Good thing!!!
More to come…