Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lauren Jade's Birth Story

This Sunday, my baby girl is turning 2! Celebrate with me for the rest of the week, if you don't mind, while I tell you the story of her birth.


Once upon a time, I was a mother of one. My 18-month-old daughter was in the midst of acquiring her own attitudes and preferences, and I was in the midst of being bewildered by those attitudes and preferences. We hadn't yet reached the phase of raising a 2 year-old, and I was worried.

Mostly I was worried that once our little firecracker of a daughter turned 2, she'd be even more of a handful than she was at 18 months. And I was worried that would mean we'd put off having another child because hello, who looks at a toddler tantrum and says LET'S HAVE ANOTHER!? However, I did want another itty, bitty, sweetie baby, and I didn't want to wait and see if we could handle one; I just wanted to do it, and then handle the difficulties (if any -- I had high hopes) later.

So, we did it. (Hush, now! Stop that giggling!) We got pregnant with our second child when our first was 19 months old. I'm sure you've already read Mia's birth story (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), and it's a good thing because that means you already know my mindset going into this pregnancy, which was something like this:

Please, please, please, I want to have a natural childbirth and I'm fully prepared to do so and I KNOW I can do it, but I also know everything will be OK if I have to have another c-section, but PLEASE let me try to have a VBAC. Please!

Those might have been my exact words to my obstetrician at my very first appointment. Luckily, he's a wonderful doctor and had anticipated my hopes before I'd even begun spouting them in run-on sentence form.

He was all in favor of me having a natural childbirth as long as I met some simple requirements first: 1) The baby had to be head down when I went into labor, and for that matter, 2) I had to go into spontaneous labor before 41 weeks. No inductions for me, due to the risk of a ruptured uterus. Since Mia was 4 weeks early, I had no worries about the spontaneous part; this baby would be early, too, I was sure of it.

That only left the head down part, which I worried and worried about, long before it was even an issue. I frequented sites like SpinningBabies.com and tried to tell the difference between the baby's head and tushie day and night. I sat myself in positions that were certain to help the baby stay upside-down, and I fretted about the best way to sleep...the best way to exercise...the best way to live in order to help the baby stay head down. At each of the third trimester OB appointments, I'd hold my breath to get the doctor's take on the baby's position, and I was elated when her head was, actually, down. And it stayed down. After 37 weeks, I didn't worry about it any more. (Read: I didn't worry about it quite so much.)

Although the positional worrying was lessened, the one other criteria I had to meet before being allowed to try natural childbirth -- spontaneous labor -- was nowhere to be found. I was absolutely positive that this baby would be born before her due date. Weeks before, just like her big sister. So when 37 weeks arrived and there was still no sign of impending labor, my worrying went through the roof.

Each week, each day that passed with no sign of labor brought me one step closer to the c-section I'd been praying to avoid. I began to ask everyone I could think of for help in inducing labor naturally -- my friends, my doctor, my family, Dr. Google -- and I tried all of their suggestions. Even the...embarrassing ones. We'll leave that little nugget right there and move along.

Quickly, now. Chop, chop.

Feeling ever more nervous about my approaching due date, and spending every moment of my free time searching the internet for helpful ideas, I wound up on DONA's website and felt highly motivated to contact a doula to help me through this process. I was still trying to be as positive about my 'planned' childbirth as possible. I reasoned that if I hired a doula, my intentions would somehow be cemented in fate's eye, and natural childbirth would be guaranteed.

My doula was absolutely wonderful. She in no way promised me that with her on board, we'd have the natural childbirth of our dreams (drat), but she did offer me another positive ear and hopeful spirit. We discussed my hopes and fears, talked about techniques and plans, and settled in to wait.

And wait.

And wait some more.

By the day before my due date, I'd all but given up hope. I'd packed my hospital bags with things required after a c-section. I'd primed myself for surgery by trying to feel only excitement over meeting my new daughter, instead of disappointment that it probably wasn't going to happen naturally. I knew I had a week left before my doctor would call the shots, and I didn't see much possibility for natural childbirth any longer.

I had an appointment on March 27th -- the day before my due date -- and my body hadn't progressed any further than the nearly 2 centimeters of dilation it had shown for the past 3 weeks.

For the second time in my life, we got out the surgery calendar and planned a date for my c-section. My doctor agreed to wait a few days past the 41 week mark -- over a weekend -- but could guarantee no more time than that.

I tried really hard not to cry at that appointment, and at least held it in until the room was empty. Everyone there, the nurses, doctor, and nurse practitioner, were so encouraging and said things like "I have a feeling you're going to do this. I bet you'll go into labor this week and have your successful VBAC." but at this point I'd been expecting labor to begin for the past 3 weeks. Daily worrying hadn't helped; it had accomplished nothing.

I went home deflated, but resigned. If the baby wasn't ready yet, she wasn't ready yet. She'd be born soon, one way or the other.

Another week at the most, and I'd have my daughter in my arms.


I'll be back later today with more. See you soon!

8 comments:

  1. Oh, you know this story tugs at my heart, having been in the same desperate VBAC-hoping position before. I can't wait to read the next segment!!

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  2. I loved Mia's birth story, and am already thoroughly enjoying Lauren's! Can't wait to read the next part!

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  3. Another birth story? Yeah!! This is where I am wishing you had more kids so we could hear more!!

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  4. Ahhh! I'm not very good at being left hanging! Can't wait until tomorrow!

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  5. Oo oo, I love your birth stories! Ditto to Emily at Me In Life!

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  6. thanks for sharing your birth story with us :) 2 years old is such a milestone...and it comes so quickly! happy birthday to your baby girl this weekend :)

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  7. I love birth stories and this one has me yearning to hear more!

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  8. ooooh, I'm so glad you're writing this! I love reading these! So excited to find out what happens next!!


    and your embarrassing labor inducing methods? BEEN THERE!

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?