41 Weeks Pregnant and Ready to Fight: Part Two of My VBAC Journey
You have two options when you are faced with a 58% chance of succeeding at something.
You either quit or fight like hell. I decided to fight.
I didn't decide to fight because of some moral high ground or because I wanted to prove something to myself. I didn't make the choice based on fear or on the idea that it was safer for me and my child.
I decided to fight because I wanted it deep down in my soul. It was a longing. I wanted it so badly it felt like a need. I needed to have a vaginal birth because there was an emptiness that demanded filling.
So instead of throwing in the towel, I buckled down and did my homework.
I questioned my doctor's intentions (at every single visit), making sure he wasn't going to try and bait and switch me into a c-section. I hired a doula. I joined ICAN groups on Facebook. I even saw a chiropractor, which for me, was a true leap of faith.
Now I would be lying if I said my confidence never wavered. It did quite a bit and if I ever got too cocky or forgot the dangers involved with what I was doing, my nightmares would remind me. I was well aware of the risks of a VBAC and a repeat c-section. I did my homework there, too. This wasn't a blind decision.
The weeks and months went by surprisingly quickly and then painfully slowly, like most pregnancies. I suffered from debilitating nausea in the early months that landed me in the hospital and a down syndrome scare in the third trimester that caused me more than a little bit of anxiety.
But, I survived and before too terribly long found myself at home waiting to go to what would hopefully not be my last OB visit.
I was 41 weeks pregnant. Actually I was 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant but I rescheduled the appointment to squeeze out a little more time, hoping no one would notice.
But, even with those extra 3 days I was getting antsy.
Like most woman who are ridiculously pregnant, I desperately wanted to go into labor. I was, however, willing to wait if it meant getting a vaginal birth. I knew that interventions increased my odds of needing a c-section so I was trying to avoid them at all costs. But, as my estimated delivery date faded further into the past I began to worry that my OB was not going to be nearly as patient.
A few hours before my scheduled appointment time my water started leaking. I knew this to be 100% the case as the exact same thing had happened with my daughter. It was what led to her induction at 39 weeks and, in my opinion, her eventual birth via c-section.
So, when I arrived at the appointment and was asked how everything was going, I decided to leave out the whole water leaking thing and see what the doctor had to say after his exam.
I was effaced, about 70 percent and maybe a centimeter dilated.
He wanted to do an ultrasound.
I questioned his motives, blatantly. This was a doctor I trusted completely, but I was panicking. He assured me that if the ultrasound showed a healthy baby, he would send me on my way, giving labor a chance to start naturally. Every bone in my body wanted to run. I mentioned it to my husband, “Let's just leave!” He looked at me like I was insane.
The ultrasound seemed to take forever. The tech was unusually quiet, the scan had her complete focus.
We were taken to a room with two chairs to wait for the results. One of the chairs was a recliner and had a large machine directly beside it. The other chair was padded. People who came in this room stayed for a while.
But, before I had a chance to panic, the doctor came in. “Listen,” he said. “We are just not seeing the kinds of things we hope to see when someone is this far along.”
I was confused. “Is my baby in danger?”
“No, he is not in danger. He doesn't look bad, but he doesn't look good either.”
I could see where this was headed.
“You're making me get a c-section?” Tears were burning my eyes.
“No, no, no. Nothing like that. I just want to do more tests. Make sure your son is safe and sound in there!” He smiled at me reassuringly. He knew how I felt about this. We had spent hours talking about it over the last 9 months.
“And if those tests go badly?” My tone was accusatory. His tone didn't change, it remained empathetic, soft.
“Then we talk about inducing you. No one is talking c-section yet. We truly want you to have a vaginal birth. We believe that is the best choice for you. When I feel like that has changed, I will let you know. But that time isn't now.”
I spent the next thirty minutes hooked up to a machine that monitored my son's movements. During that time I was able to regain my composure. I no longer felt out of control. My husband, however, was growing nervous. He was afraid I was jumping to conclusions, being negative.
The doctor came back into the room and looked at the machine to my left before saying, “We need to talk.”
All of my defenses went up. It was time to fight.
Missed Part One? See it here.
Ready for more? Read on here.