The Perfect Birthing Plan (Part Two)

Continued…..

Fast forward to this past year when I was pregnant with our little girl. After what happened with my last birth plan I had minimal expectations of the birth I wanted this time. If the pain was intense again I would get the epidural without hesitation. Sure a natural birth would be nice, but I was not going to risk enduring the intensity of contractions and not dilating like last time. I just wanted a vaginal birth again.

It was at 34 weeks that my plans were already being foiled. My sweet little girl was breech… and measuring to be a little bigger than her brother who was eight pounds nine ounces. I was going to have to get a cesarean section if she didn’t turn or we didn’t have the doctor try to turn her (which can be painful and only a 60% success rate with second time moms). I had never considered the possibility of having a breech baby. So much time goes into thinking about how labor and delivery will go I never anticipated that it might not be my decision how she was born. I was so hesitant about the idea of having her turned. Was she breech for a reason or was I just so stretched out from my first bigger baby that she stayed head up and now needed the help getting head down? I spent weeks going back and forth on what I should do.

One day shy of 38 weeks I had done so many natural remedies to get baby girl to turn on her own with no luck that we decided to try the turning procedure. I knew if it didn’t work, then I was meant to have a c-section even though I wanted to avoid one. I also knew that if I didn’t at least try to turn her I would always wonder if it would have worked and I would have unnecessarily had a cesarean. The day of the turning the doctor literally put her hands on my stomach, one on baby’s head and the other on her butt, and tried to turn her. It was so painful. It was the first time I remembered just how bad labor was. I wanted to stop, would have stopped because of the pain, but baby girl was doing just fine. Her heart rate hadn’t changed at all… apparently she was just enjoying the ride… and it worked! She turned successfully and I was set to have the delivery I wanted! Hell, I was even starting to get contractions and dilated to a one by my post 40 week appointment! Things were looking up, I was so excited!

But that excitement didn’t last long. I went in for an ultrasound the afternoon of my post 40 week appointment just to double check the size of baby girl because of the problems I had getting my son out. I was so happy to see my sweet little girl on the ultrasound again, but my heart sank when I heard she was measuring nine pounds twelve ounces. To make matters worse, her head was measuring three centimeters bigger than my son’s. I knew when my doctor called after she got the results what our conversation would entail. After going through all the potential risks of what trying to birth her could do, I couldn’t knowingly try a vaginal birth. If any of the risks happened I would never forgive myself. So here we were again, back to scheduling a c-section.

As I waited in the hospital for my surgery, I felt in a funk…the whole process felt so unromantic. I was so happy that I would be meeting my baby girl soon but it was so far from what I had wanted even with my minimal expectations. When I had learned I was dilated to a one at my appointment I had been ecstatic knowing this time was already going so much easier and I was so close to having the experience I missed the first time around. To add to it all, my contractions were becoming consistent and minutes apart to the point the nurse commented on it leaving me feeling that baby girl was coming out that night one way or another. Knowing the ultrasound could be off 15% either way and that I could have just an eight pound baby left me dazed as I walked to the operating room with my husband reassuring me we were making the right decision. To be honest, in that moment, a part of me felt defeated.

Laying on the operating table it all felt surreal. Once I had the spinal and couldn’t feel anymore contractions I felt like it was almost a dream. It didn’t feel like I was about to have a baby without going through the stages of a “regular” labor and delivery since I was in sense skipping the laboring part. But then something happened. I heard my baby’s cry. Not just the one cry out my son did, but that loud new born baby cry. It was the most beautiful sound and my eyes immediately began to water. Another first, within moments of her being born and measured I was holding her against my chest. Our sweet girl weighed nine pounds eleven ounces. We had made the right decision.

Between my two pregnancies labor and delivery were so different than I thought it would be but in some ways better. I never wanted an induced labor or a cesarean section. I wanted that natural, unmedicated birth, but that is not how it happened for me. I don’t know why I had put it in my head that it would mean something bad of me if I didn’t have a natural childbirth. As if I would be starting motherhood out badly by not having the “best” birth possible when that wasn’t an option for my body or my babies. It was after my c-section that I realized, it doesn’t matter how I brought my babies into this world. All that matters is that I made the best decisions I could with what my body allowed and more importantly that I have two healthy babies. I think it is amazing that some women are able to have natural births, but that doesn’t make me any lesser of a woman or them any better. We are all so fortunate that we got to have these little miracles, regardless of how they entered the world. This is one of those times it isn’t necessarily about the ride but getting everyone safely to the destination.

The Perfect Birthing Plan (Part One)

I remember when I was pregnant with my son. By the time the weekly countdown was coming to an end I had spent countless hours going over my birthing plan. Yes, I was one of those people that had everything written out. I wanted a natural, unmedicated birth. No one was going to be allowed to mention an epidural in the labor/delivery room, let alone dare whisper the words cesarean section within ear shot. I was going to handle the contractions as long as I could with deep yoga breaths, then as they intensified have family members massage me to help me labor through the pain while my relaxing labor playlist was on. Only when it felt near unbearable I would go into the whirl pool for the remainder of my laboring until I would have to get out to push.

I was so worried that I was going to go into labor early (do all moms think this?), but the joke was on me…At my 40 week appointment I still had not dilated at all and was only 80% effaced. I was beginning to feel stressed. My sister’s visit was almost over so she was about to go back to London. My husband was leaving three weeks from the day for Marine Corps schooling for seven weeks. I was also starting my final semester of school in three weeks. As a final added stressor, my ultrasound had predicted that my son would be close to a nine pound baby and the longer he stayed in the bigger he would be possibly causing issues with my birthing plan. With all of those things racing through my head I decided to get induced.

With the first part of my birthing plan falling through (no water breaking or timing of contractions for me) I tried to stay positive knowing I was so close to meeting my baby boy. I would have my support group and my husband would have at least a few weeks with our son before he had to leave. I was finally going to go into labor and the rest of my plan would go accordingly. I felt good. I was even so brazen as to tell the anesthesiologist to not even come into my room when he wanted to introduce himself because I wouldn’t be needing him.

After 18 hours of being in the hospital only eating jello and popsicles, I learned that I was not even dilated to one centimeter. My doctor dilated me to a one (yes, that was as bad as it sounds) and broke my water. That got things going and at an intensity I was not prepared for. Courtesy of the pitocin, the following hours were spent with me contracting so intensely I vomited with each one and felt faint as soon as it ended. My playlist only annoyed me because it was not reflective of how I felt, so that didn’t last. Two and a half hours later I was already in the whirlpool where I felt relief for one contraction and then wanted out of the tub. My breathing techniques no longer helped and being massaged was the last thing I wanted…. I may have used some explicits when stating I no longer wanted to be touched. At that point all I wanted was to cling to the side rail of my bed (even while vomiting) and take the pain of each contraction until it was time to push.

When it was time for my doctor to check my progress three hours from when she dilated me, I had decided as long as I was at least six centimeters dilated I would keep going. Hearing my progress, I think it was the first time I didn’t notice a contraction. I was in shock. After hours of this horrible pain and vomiting, I was at a one and a half. I was contracting so hard and tightening my body so much that I wasn’t dilating. At that moment I said I would need to see the anesthesiologist.

When he came in the room I immediately apologized for having kicked him out before. Luckily he was understanding. Once I got the epidural my body could finally relax and I was pushing four and a half hours later…. yes, I should have gotten the epidural way sooner had I known how quickly I would have dilated with it! If only the problems stopped there.

After two and a half hours of pushing trying to get my little man’s larger than average head to pop under my pelvic bone, the doctor informed me that with every push his heart rate was dropping and then rocketing. It was time to either try an assisted delivery or a c-section. I wanted to cry… everything was going wrong with my plan. I was exhausted from all the contracting and straining earlier and I still hadn’t eaten at this 30 hour mark. I wanted at least one thing to happen how I planned (a vaginal birth) so we decided on the assisted delivery, which she would only give me three pushes to try. It worked! His head came out…. and then his shoulders got stuck. After a couple of moves, at which point I swear my epidural was wearing off because it was so painful that I started yelling, he was finally out of me and we heard one cry.

One cry…I have seen enough shows and movies to know that was not how it was suppose to happen. In an instant the doctor was saying the cord was around his neck and he was placed in this little thing in our room with a bunch of people around him. Luckily his breathing got better and he was able to stay with us and not go to the nicu. It was nearly 20 minutes before I got to hold him. I know things could have gone so much worse and I am so thankful that otherwise he was a perfectly healthy little boy, but it was so far from how I thought it would go…….

To Be Continued…….

What Do You Have to Prove?

Why do we let what others think of our lives affect us or our happiness? What do we have to prove to someone else? If we are happy then why does it matter what someone else thinks especially if we aren’t affecting their lives?

When I was younger I had gotten the notion that I was going to be somebody and do big things… what that means I still have no idea. It just sounded really good at the time. What even made me think this way? Well…my family didn’t have much growing up and really had to stretch a penny at times. Because of my circumstances, when I was in late elementary and middle school, I was made to feel inferior because my parents were divorced, my mom, brother, sister and I lived in a two bedroom townhouse and didn’t own a house, I didn’t have the newest clothes (hello hand me downs), and I couldn’t afford to do some of the things the other kids did. I knew we didn’t have much, but that was how it went and I never felt bad about myself or let it change how I viewed myself or my happiness. It wasn’t until those formidable years when things like that somehow determined how people would treat me. It suddenly made me rethink how I viewed myself and my life.

I thought if one day I lived somewhere exciting with an exciting job that when I went back home to visit people would really think I made something of myself. I had the big fish in a little pond mentality and couldn’t wait until I would graduate high school and could move far from my home town in so many ways other than just distance.

What I never realized was that I was letting my perception of what I thought others thought of my life determine my own thoughts. How crazy does that sound? I don’t know what people think of my life, yet I put this expectation on myself to impress people who honestly probably don’t even remember who I am and that I don’t even talk to and haven’t seen in nearly 20 years! Why did I care what people thought of the outside view if I knew how good it is on the inside?

I am currently not living anywhere glamorous nor am I working in my career field, and though both these things are only temporary, I am happy. As much as I know Wisconsin is not the place we will choose as our permanent place to live, it has been a great place to start raising our family. As much as I miss working with adults and working towards my career I wouldn’t trade being so involved in my son’s life and seeing all the firsts for anything, even my dream job.

So why do I care if it isn’t what other people might view as the most exciting life? I have seen people that have these beautiful, picture perfect lives from the outside, living in exotic and glamorous places with great jobs yet they are so unhappy on the inside and dreaming of a different life.

Having realized that I was allowing these self imposed perceptions to make me question the greatness in my life, I feel like I am now able to appreciate my life and all it has offered so much more. At the end of the day I can know that despite what it looks like to others, whether they would want a similar picture or not, it doesn’t matter. How I view my happiness is all that matters. I no longer feel like I need that validation from others, especially those who detracted from my happiness to begin with.