This story starts when I found out I was pregnant in early December. Having had two previous cesarean sections, I knew that I wanted to avoid a third if at all possible. I immediately started looking into a VBAC (vaginal birth after c/section). In my case, a VBA2C. Most doctors think this is much too risky and are hesitant to 'allow' a woman to have a VBA2C. To make matters worse, I have a history of having 'big' babies. My first baby was 10 pounds 14 ounces and my second was 10 pounds 8 ounces. Still, I had hope. I had to. I was dreaming of having this birth. I mean, literally. Night after night I would have dreams of being in labor and then reaching down and helping pull this new baby into the world. I'd pull him or her to my chest and do skin to skin bonding while nursing this new tiny human. I wanted as little medical intervention as possible. The more I researched, the more I was positive that I could do this. My body was made to do this. Sure with my first two children things happened and their births required medical interventions and major surgery, but I was confident that this time around things would be different. I was very hopeful.
And then I went to visit my OB. I love the man, I really do, but right away I could tell that it was going to be an uphill battle to get him on board with my dream. I first saw him at 13 or 14 weeks into the pregnancy. (That's when my OB practice usually starts to see pregnant patients.) For the first few visits, he seemed open to my desire to VBAC. After a while I was sent for a more in depth ultrasound. It was wonderful seeing this tiny human just dance around in me. He/she measured right where he/she should be. I asked that doctor if he would be okay with me attempting a VBA2C. Long story short, his answer was no. He did say however, that if I were to come in to the hospital in labor and mostly dilated, he would be okay with me trying to birth vaginally. Yay! Not all hope was lost! More time passed, and when I saw my regular OB we didn't really discuss an attempted VBAC. These visits were usually just very quick. Check my weight, urine, BP and the baby's heartbeat. Once I hit my third trimester, pretty much all hope of a VBAC was gone. My doctor was not on board with me attempting one at all, and he made this clear at every visit. I was crushed. He started to discuss a planned c/section date. I wasn't happy at all, and it was not what I wanted for myself or my baby. Being as I had gone through this two other times, I knew what to expect, and I knew that babe and myself would be okay, but still, I had these dreams and visions of a different type of birth. I did have one small victory though; I somehow got my doctor to agree to the scheduled c/section on my due date. He would under no circumstances let me go longer than that, because he wasn't even happy with letting me go that long. At every visit he would mention the scheduled c/section, and I would tell him that if I ended up going into labor before then, I was going to labor at home as long as possible before heading to the hospital. I was desperate and willing to do what I had to do to avoid this major surgery.
As much as I dreaded being cut from hip to hip again, after my results for the Group Strep B test came back positive, I started to make peace with the thought of having another c/section. I knew that being positive for strep b meant that I'd have to have antibiotics in an IV prior to delivery. If I wanted to VBAC, I'd have to go to the hospital right away if I went into labor. If I went to the hospital right away, they'd just be doing the section then anyway. Though I was coming to terms with the c/section, I just felt so defeated. Crushed. I felt like I didn't have any control at all. Pretty much any hope I had of a vaginal birth was just gone. It still didn't stop me from bringing up a VBAC at every appointment with my OB.
My c/section was scheduled for my due date, August 13th. I was so sure I'd go into labor before then. So sure of it. With my second child, I went into labor on my own at 38 weeks. I was confident that my body would do this again. I could go into labor on my own and labor at home for a bit before going to the hospital. They'd hook me up to an IV and I could get the antibiotics. I would be mostly dilated and I'd eventually push my baby out, and pull him/her to my chest, just like all those nights I had spent dreaming of this moment. Wishful thinking, I know. Around 38.5 weeks, I saw my OB again. And again, I brought up the idea of a VBA2C. I was met once again, with a 'no'. At this point, I was just done being pregnant. I love it, I really do, but I was just done. I was convinced that this baby weighed close to 20 pounds. I mean, I did gain about 20-22 pounds, so it had to be all baby right? Haha.
Since my doctor was so adamant about me not going into labor before my scheduled c/section date, I asked if we could discuss moving the c/section day up. He checked his schedule and we checked ours. It looked like August 8th or 9th would work the best. He didn't want me to take a chance of going into labor over that weekend and risking uterine rupture. At this point, I had come to terms with the surgery. My baby would soon be here, one way or another. The days passed by and there was no signs of labor. Though I was on board with a c/section, I still felt a little sad and defeated. I felt like my body was going to fail me once again.
Th day came and went. Finally, it was August 7th. I hadn't gone into labor yet (boo!) which just meant that the next day, I'd be having a baby (yay!). We were told to arrive at 7 am for an OR time of 9:30 am. We made the proper arrangements for childcare for our two kids, and prepared for some last minute things. And then things changed. We got another phone call saying we needed to be to the hospital by 5:30 am for an OR time of 7:30 am. Oh my gosh, this was happening, and it was happening soon! We took our kids out to dinner and bought last minute items. We took them to grandma and pop pop's house that night. I kissed and hugged them like crazy. The next time we were going to see them, they would have a new brother or sister. As my husband drove us home, my emotions got the best of me and I cried. I missed Zoey and Ford so much already. They have stayed overnight before, and I knew I'd be seeing them the next day, but it was still so emotional. That, and what if something happened and that was the last time they got to see me? I love them so much and I would hate for them to have to grow up without a mother. I know it's morbid, but these things go through my mind. By the time we arrived back at our house 15 minutes later, I was fine. I went into a cleaning frenzy. I was like some kind of mad woman! At some point that night, we decided we better try to get a couple hours of sleep. We were both kind of nervous but still so excited. Before heading to bed we checked things off our list. Hospital bag packed and ready to put in the van? Check! Camera and cell phone batteries charged and ready to go? Check! Baby names 100% agreed upon and finalized? Check! Okay, time for bed because we are having a baby in the morning!
The alarm went off early on the morning of the 8th, and I did not want to get out of bed. I guess I managed to get some sleep after all, though it wasn't much. I quickly remember that it was baby day! After waiting months and months, we were actually going to have the baby today! We showered and got around fairly quick. You tend to do that when you've been told you can't eat or drink anything, haha. Soon after the van was loaded, we were off! The half hour drive to the hospital seemed to take forever. We arrived at the hospital and made our way up to the Labor and Delivery floor. One of the nurses at the nurses stationed asked my name and what I was there for. It was such a strange feeling just walking in there, not being in labor or even having any kind of contractions or pain at all, and saying that I was there to have a baby. Once they verified who I was and that I was in fact, there to have a baby that day, we were taken to our room. A friend of ours from high school is a L&D nurse and we were lucky that she was there when we checked in. It was nice seeing a familiar face, and I guess if anyone had to poke me for an IV that day, I was glad it was Jada. During the two hours between arriving at the hospital and actually going back to the OR, things happened so fast. I'm actually a bit surprised that I still remember it as vividly as I do. I was visited by several doctors, nurses, and the anesthesiologists. It was funny because the two anesthesiologists kept going on and on about how great my airway looked and using all these medical terms. After a while I asked him to explain it to me like I was a child, and he said "Basically, it means you have a big mouth." I laughed because it definitely wasn't the first time I'd ever heard that in my life. It was good to know that if something happened and I needed to be completely knocked out for the surgery, they wouldn't have a problem with the tube going down my throat. Hopefully it didn't come to that. We did have some down time in those two hours, and my husband and I managed to watch Game of Thrones on the laptop. (Thank god for wi-fi and HBO-GO.) After 7 am, time started to go by quickly. It was such a whirl wind of activity in and out of the hospital room. People coming and going. Monitors going off and on. Finally, a new nurse came in to say it was time. (Jada had gone home for the day as it was shift change.) I got up to use the bathroom one last time, and after, we started to make that walk to the Operating Room.
It was such a strange, surreal feeling. It went by so quick, yet at the same time, took forever. This surgery was the 4th time I've ever had surgery, and the first time I'd ever walked into the OR. I've always been in a wheelchair or on a bed. At 7:28 am, I walked into the OR. It was freezing cold. It was funny because this entire pregnancy I'd been so warm and hot. I could never get cold. And now here I was, a half hour or so from not being pregnant anymore, and I was freezing. A nurse quickly found some warm socks for me to wear, but when the only other thing you're wearing is a thin cotton hospital gown, socks don't help at all. Still, they were very much appreciated.
The anesthesiologists came in and started to prepare. The first needle (to numb my back) wasn't nearly as painful as it was the last time, and I was grateful. Though it still did hurt. However, that pain is temporary and the relief you get from the drugs is just heavenly. After I was completely numb from the chest down, the catheter was inserted. It was awesome that they did it after I couldn't feel anything, because it hurt like hell with the first two kids. Since, like I mentioned before, I was group strep b positive, I had to have antibiotics in my IV so we needed to let them go through for so long before my doctor actually did the first incision. While waiting for the antibiotics to do their thing, my blood pressure suddenly dropped. Like, pretty low. I was given something to bring it up and everything was nice and stable after that. Right after that, my husband was brought into the OR and was by my side. At this point, I was confident and secure in the decision to opt for a repeat c/section. I knew we were going to be fine. The doctor and rest of the medical staff came in soon after and we were off! I loved having my husband right there by my side. We were exchanging I love you's and he was snapping as many pictures as possible. I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story. :)
(Warning, some of them could be seen as graphic. Though I think they are absolutely gorgeous.)
Big, beautiful and so healthy!
Such a proud daddy!
I'm so in love.
Ruby Eleanor Jo
August 8, 2013
9 pounds 3 ounces
20 inches long
It's been my profile picture ever since.
I have to say, I don't think I look too bad for just having surgery.
I love the three of them so incredibly much. They are my entire world.
I went in to the hospital that day with a healthy frame of mind, and I really think it helped calm any fears I had. I know most women would not opt for a planned c/section like this, but for me, I was okay with it. I trust my OB and I know he's a skilled surgeon. I really was at peace with my decision.
Ruby will be a month old on September 8th, and overall, life has been pretty wonderful. She's such a joy in our lives, and a great addition to our family. My recovery has been rather slow. I've seen the doctor a couple times regarding my incision (I'll spare you all the nasty details.) and finally after a month it seems to be healing. Breastfeeding has been pretty good (though we have been dealing with thrush and a couple more issues.) I feel as though a planned c/section makes for a boring birth story, but I still wanted to share our story. With my first two c/sections, I felt like I was almost like a failure of a mom because I couldn't have a 'normal' birth. I felt a lot of guilt over it. This time around, I don't feel like that at all. I'm finally realizing that, for me, how my children entered this world doesn't determine my worth as a mother.
I can't believe she has been here for a month already! And yet, at the same time, it seems as though she's always been here.
Thanks for taking the time to read. :)