Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yet Another Choice

Written 6/26/12:

Earlier in my pregnancy, I discussed my reasons for choosing to give birth to my children in a hospital setting. After my last prenatal appointment, my husband and I discovered that where to have our little gummy bear wasn't the only birth-related choice we would have to make. Ever since I found out I was pregnant with Liam, I was terrified that I would need a c-section. I even went so far as to turn off A Baby Story whenever it followed a woman who was having one, planned or not. I hated the idea, but had a feeling deep down that it would end up being the way my son would enter this world.
I was right. Between being positioned in a complicated way, Liam having his daddy's head, and me being on the smaller side, having a c-section became the safest option after 24 hours of labor and two hours of pushing without progress. I cried through the whole procedure. I was so scared that something would go wrong and felt like a failure as a mother because I couldn't even push my kid out the "right" way. Once I saw my son and heard what my doctor had to say, those feelings were gone. I still feel guilty from time to time, but I know for a fact that it was what was best for my son and myself.
Soon after Liam's birth, I decided that I would like to try to have baby #2 naturally, if possible. I had already been told that many hospitals (including the one where my midwife practices) will not accommodate a vaginal birth after a c-section due to the risks to baby and mommy and the doctors that would be needed on call. Although this was frustrating, I didn't let that stop me from looking into the possibilities. I found out that OHSU and the McMinnville hospital are both open and equipped to give it a go.
I decided to ask my beloved midwife about what I would have in store, if I were to choose this route. I trust her opinion more than anyone else's when it comes to pregnancy, labor, and recovery. She is amazing! Unfortunately for my husband and I, at the next appointment, her partner in the practice had to facilitate my appointment. Even though I wanted Nan's opinion, I asked her associate about the possibility. She was so excited that we were interested and made it seem like a wonderful choice. We were pretty excited to hear that there may be a possibility for me to try again.
Luckily for us, we saw Nan in the hallway on our way out and mentioned our plan to her. Instantly we could tell that she was concerned. Within seconds, she gave us several reasons to think about the option more before making a decision. So we did. We read every article, every statistic, every personal post we could find, about having what is called VBAC.
It didn't take us long to realize that this was in no way the option for us! A VBAC requires constant fetal and mommy monitoring above and beyond the usual labor. There are sensors placed on the babies head throughout the labor and monitors covering just about every inch of my body. More than a couple of doctors and nurses would be involved, as well as several more on call in case of complications. If there is the slightest hiccup, the doctors will preform an emergency c-section.
My original thoughts were that having a natural childbirth would be more relaxing in some way, feel more "right", but a VBAC sounds like the opposite of that! I hate, as I always have, the thought of having another c-section, but my unborn child's health is far more important than my thoughts about "how things should be". A VBAC sounds stressful, uncomfortable, and in no way- natural. The thought of going through something like that without Nan, scares me more than I can put into words. I trust her with my life and (more importantly) the lives of both of my children, and if she were not there to help me through the process, I know it would be harder than I could bare.
There are also much higher risks for me and the baby, if something goes wrong. There is the risk that my uterus will rupture, causing severe blood loss and oxygen deprivation for my baby. This would require an emergency c-section and could carry even more risks for both of us. Every risk associated with a c-section is heightened if it becomes an emergency situation, and having a ruptured uterus and fetal distress carry even more risks. The risk of the baby having long-term neurological damage or even dying, are far higher if a c-section is needed after the VBAC process has begun.
For these reasons, my husband and I have crossed that option off the list. Having a VBAC would be a selfish thing to do, knowing that it could be harmful (or even deadly) for my baby. If I had one, it would be for me and my sense of pride, and that is not what is important. I will be having a scheduled c-section and for the first time, I am completely at peace with it. I know it is the safest decision I could make for my baby and myself. It's my job to protect him/her and this is just one of the first ways I will be doing that.

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