Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What was I thinking?

We've got a new plan for Baby Amelia now, one that involves giving her the best possible chance to make her appearance without requiring surgery. The "last chance, just in case" C-section date has been switched from July 17th (41 weeks) to July 24th* (42 weeks). I am 39 weeks and 3 days today.

I absolutely want to avoid a repeat C-section at all costs this time, but somehow let myself get pulled into the conventional medical wisdom of the day which can often lead healthcare providers to be scared of VBAC-attempting moms. MY midwife and MY surgeon do not fall into this category, which is what I just realized. But the very brand-spanking-new (residency just completed last year) doctor whom I was stuck with seeing for my VBAC consult way back when (they don't trust midwives to do this, for some insane reason) played the cautious ticket and recommended the 41-week surgery. I didn't question it then, probably because it seemed so far off still. (And who really thinks that they're going to mind when someone offers you an "out" of your overdue pregnancy in the middle of the summer?)

But now that the due date is so close - super close - and it's starting to dawn on me that going over the date is not only completely possible, but likely, I started to think a little bit.

The C-section for Jackson's birth was completely necessary. I've never had any doubts or regrets about it for one simple fact: his Apgar score upon birth was a 2. TWO. He was in fetal distress and needed to come out pronto (his distress was the only reason for the surgery; no non-progression on my part whatsoever). There was no crying at birth for this boy, as he needed help to breathe first. (His Apgar jumped to a very healthy 9 within 5-10 minutes and he's been healthy ever since, but he needed help getting there.)

But if I let the doctor cut me open to take my baby at 41 weeks just because labor hadn't started yet? I would always wonder "what if I had given Amelia a few more days?" Conventional wisdom also states that letting a pregnancy go until 42 weeks is completely natural, as all pregnancies are different and most babies are born between 38-42 weeks.

(Remember, the whole reason for this question in the first place is that they won't induce me under any circumstances this time around because pitocin has been linked to C-section scar ruptures. I need spontaneous labor or surgery. There are no other choices for me to truly jump start this labor machine. I'm still eating pineapple though.)

That "what if?" question was enough for me to make some calls and talk it through with my midwife and doctor/surgeon of choice. They both agreed - emphatically - that waiting was a better choice and were surprised that I was willing to throw in the towel at 41 weeks anyway. (Grr to the young doctor who scared me into it...**)

So, as disgusting as it sounds to wait even longer and be confined to air conditioned buildings (the humidity is officially at a gross level and I refuse to play outside until it goes away), I am committed to the long haul. What's another week in the big picture of my life? Or the big picture of Amelia's life, more importantly?

While I'm doing everything I can to encourage a healthy and spontaneous start to labor, what we really need to focus on is cheering Amelia on so she wiggles her butt into gear before July 24th. Go, baby, go! It's all you, honey girl. I'm not standing in the way or giving you an artificial deadline. Just please don't make Momma stay pregnant all the way til the end of the month...please.
* July 24th is the birthday of my very good friend Sarah though. So at least Amelia would share her birthday with someone very special if we went that far.

**Did I ever tell y'all about the doctor who told me I was going to have to be induced and would probably end up with a C-section with Jackson anyway since I was the ripe old age of 32 when he was born? That was at my 41-week check-up and I only saw him because all of my midwives were at the hospital or sick that day. I was so mad that I couldn't speak. Spontaneous labor started that very afternoon, however. Take THAT!


Purple Purl Girl said...

Thank you for another reminder of how important it is for us to be advocates for our own health and the health of our children. That was the mature thing to say now the immature thing.
Doctors can be soooo stoopid! A healthy 32 year old woman must have a C-section?!In my special vacation spot in my mind there is a long line of people who deserve a good smack upside the head.

LaVerna said...

Good for you.Just wait and that precious little girl will come out when she is ready.I went into labor and had my last ine the day before I was to be induced.I was never so happy.Hopefully Amelia won't wait too much longer!

Gretchen said...

Oh heavens- I have been (mostly) in your shoes. Late, end of summer baby, with 100 degrees days and forest fires. Ugh.

Hang in there! You're doing great, and I applaud your VBAC desires! My sister got to schedule her induction for 38/39 weeks- I didn't get to schedule one till I hit 40 weeks, then I got sent home from the hospital when I was past 40 weeks, 4 cms and contracting with my 4th baby.... I swear I had some mean, mean doctors that night!

Hugs and hold on!

Heide said...

Amelia will out when she's ready. My birthday is on the 18th... just sayin'. Air hugs (so as not to make you hotter).

Jess said...

Good for you for trusting your body! Amelia will come when she's good and ready and the chances are greater of her coming before you hit 42 weeks than after.

Shame on the doctors - the one who said you'd probably end up with a cesarean because of your age (WTF, seriously?) and the one who pushed you to schedule one at 41 weeks this time around. How very arrogant of them.

TinkingBell said...

Mine were both c-sections for good reasons plus the fact I was - gulp - 40 and 42 for mine! But have you thought about going for a ride in a jeep over a rough road? My friends who went overdue with all 3 of her natural births highly recommends it!

Anonymous said...

My VBAC baby came at 42 weeks. Those two weeks "overdue" were the hardest two weeks of my life, the not knowing part. But I am so glad I gave my baby time to come when she was ready. when I finally did go into spontaneous labor, it all went smoothly because she was ready to come. I had my VBAC after two c-sections. Of my three births, the VBAC was by far the best and the easiest to recover from. Certainly, c-sections can be life saving when needed. But if you can avoid surgery, there are tremendous benefits. I do know that induction increases uterine rupture rates, however, I have heard of some methods for gently jumpstarting labor when necessary - you may find help and good information at the mothering.com discussion boards if you are interested.
Good luck with everything!

Becca said...

You've got a great outlook, Catherine, and way to be your own advocate! It's always helpful to step back and look at the big picture, isn't it? Owain was 42 weeks and healthy as can be, born in the middle of a hot August. Same with Ellis, who came 10 days after his "due date". You are most definitely strong enough to handle the heat and discomfort and waiting...all of that will melt away when you finally meet Amelia on the "outside"! Peace - Becca

Kristina said...

Yay! This is great news! I've stayed tuned in from my phone while traveling and was most excited to read about this latest development. Hoo-ray for your midwife and your doc! Most of all, hooray for you and sweet Amelia!

thursday said...

32?! That's ridiculous! How is that too old for a regular birth? I would've been LIVID! And you didn't slap him. Huh. Good job. :)