Monday, 6 March 2017

Thinking About Birth, Third Time Around


I've been awaiting the invention of fetal teleportation for more than seven years now. I mean seriously world, I can instantly access all of human knowledge, every pop song ever recorded and eleventy zillion cat videos all from this slab of metal on my lap. But when it comes to the seemingly minor task of moving a baby a few centimeters from the inside of my abdomen to the outside I have only two options, and I'm not a big fan of either.

But the baby is there (and making it's presence felt through the medium of enthusiastic capoeira as far as I can tell) so those crucial centimeters must be traversed somehow and THAT decision has to made again.

So here's a bit of a catch up, or a compare and contrast if you like, from my currently lofty view of hindsight and denial:

Birth thoughts, baby 1:

I will have a natural birth, with no drugs and no interventions. Unless it gets really really bad but seriously how likely is that right? I'm young, I'm healthy I'm six foot tall! I've done yoga class AND NCT AND hypnobirthing, I've totally got this. I'm so not one of those people who wimps out cause it hurts a bit and ends up with a C section or something.

Birth thoughts, baby 2:

So, that was horrific.

I don't want another C section. I don't want another long, long labour. I don't want to have to recover from both those things, at the same time, while also trying to look after a baby and a toddler. How the hell does that even work? Why the hell has the teleportation thing not happened yet? Can I just be put under general now and woken up with the baby is two?

I should have a VBAC and prove I can do it after all. But what are the odds it'll work? WHY ARE THERE NO GOOD STATS ON THIS? What if it doesn't work and it's all like last time, or worse than last time? The only way to avoid an emergency C section is to have a planned one right? Ok, Deep Breath.

Birth thoughts, baby 3:

This time THAT decision started out harder but ended up very straightforward. MissM's planned C section was a wonderful experience compared to the emergency finale to MissE's birth. It was both physically and psychologically healing, sorting out a lot of the scar tissue and adhesions that had left me weak and doubled over for my earliest weeks of motherhood first time around and leaving me, not just upright but able to actually enjoy having a new baby. I hadn't really thought that was possible for me.

But it wasn't easy. The recovery still hurt like hell and I spent several months fist clenchingly frustrated by my own lack of exercise but utterly physically exhausted if I did almost anything. I looked on in awe and envy as other mums were out in the park with their toddlers and babies only days, or weeks after the birth.

So, for a while I was tempted to give that whole natural, or at least vaginal, birth thing another go.

But then I had my first obstetricians appointment.

Right up front here this is not a story about a Doctor trying to scare a mum into a medical birth. When explained my thoughts this time the first thing the doctor did was say that they would absolutely support me to have a vaginal birth. But, there was a but.

It seems that, in addition to the known repairs I'd had last time, the area around the scar in my womb was very thin. The surgeon had only been able to put in one layer of stitches, rather than the two that is normal. So the resultant scar, the one that will have to stand up to months of pregnancy and hours, perhaps days, of labour is a bit flimsy. There is a risk that whole thing could come apart putting both me and the baby at considerable risk or, at the very least, resulting in major blood loss and very rapid surgery.

Of course it would probably all be fine and even if it wasn't I'd be in a bloody awesome hospital that could probably cope with it.

But it's an odd situation, there are, again, no good stats so all I have is those probablys and I've never been a big fan of probably.

So the decision became very easy, even though the doctor insisted they would still support a vaginal birth if I wanted.  I don't want to be worrying about the what if's of labour for the rest of this pregnancy, I don't want to be in labour, attached to monitors, unable to move and in constant fear of what the next contraction could bring. Even if it was all fine in the end and all that could buy me the easier recovery I'd love.

My last pregnancy ended at ten weeks with nothing to show for it put a few more pounds around my waist and a pile of anxiety held over for this time. So I'll have another planned C section, I'll put up with the pain and the immobility and, no doubt, the judgement. But, hopefully, I'll bring this baby home safe with me in a fit(ish) state to care for it. I'll never have a natural birth but, where once I would have grieved for that, now I find I'm actually ok with it. I'm in control of my body and my choices and I'm very grateful for that.

I'd still prefer the teleport though, seriously, she cannae take any more.




SBx