Up again tonight at 2:30. This time trying to cope with feeling of disappointment of another unwanted c-section. I have a little more than 24 hours to go into spontaneous labor, but after that point, it doesn’t look like waiting for this little guy to appear on his own is the best choice — for his health or mine– and so we have a c-section scheduled for Thursday morning. I wanted to go to 42 weeks when the baby would be technically post-term, but even my hippy midwife after examining me and all the ultrasounds didn’t necessarily think it the best idea. And so I am taking her advice. I trust her a great deal.
I am feeling so disempowered at the moment. I don’t know why my body won’t just do what it’s supposed to do. This is my third and final birth. And so far, in all three, my body has failed to “get it right.” Sam was my most ideal birth and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to have pushed him out. But even so, there will still a lot of medical intervention involved with him. With Sam, my water broke and I never actually had any contractions. So I was put on pitocin. I had to have an epidural because I am allergic to general anesthetics and it had to be in place in case an emergency c-section was called for. I did push him out. But I had my extremely rude doctor give me an unwanted episiotomy. And I still tore the worst that you can tear (level 4). With Henry, it was found at 38 weeks that he was breech, and after 3 weeks of trying and failing to get him to turn, I had a c-section. Then I suffered a miscarriage but was unable to actually miscarry all the tissues and had to go in for a D&C. And now I am 41 weeks, 2 days pregnant and have done my utmost to carry this baby in a healthy manner, to maintain my perspective about what is most important (a healthy baby, not my birth experience), and to encourage him to start spontaneous labor.
Yet here I am on the cusp of another unwanted c-section. I can’t be induced. Pitocin and other drugs used to induce labor are very hard on a woman’s uterus. And taking them greatly increases my chance of having my last c-section scar rupture which is a chance I am unwilling to take. It is hard to talk about because even though I feel the way I feel, I also recognize that these feelings can be extremely insulting to others who opted for c-sections, who had to have c-sections for medical reasons (like me, I know) but who, unlike me, did not have any issue dealing with that/did not feel disempowered by the experience, or those who had very positive birth experiences with their c-sections (whether planned or unplanned). Or my goodness, how about the people who suffer from infertility or have had a catastrophic event happen at their births and can’t believe that I would complain about not getting to have the birth experience I want when I get to have not one, not two, but THREE children.
And I get why my frustrations and disappointment could rub those people the wrong way. I am sensitive to that. And for the most part, I’ve kept much more quiet about my own feelings this time around than I did when I had the c-section with Henry. But tonight, I’m feeling the sting and wishing that my body would just cooperate and do this supposedly natural thing that my body has failed to do 4 times now.
It doesn’t affect my feelings of joy, anticipation and giddiness over my childs’ impending birth. I could not be more ecstatic to welcome this human being into our lives. And I know that in the end, my birth experience will be a distant memory, perhaps a small tinge of sadness in a great pool of gratefulness and happiness (God willing!)
But Craig and I don’t plan to have more children, and so this is my last opportunity to experience the empowering feeling of laboring and bringing my child into the world without too much medical intervention. And it’s an experience that I have always longed for. As each hour ticks by, that possibility becomes less likely. And I’m just feeling pretty sad about it tonight. I sort of wanted to write it out and let it go as much as possible so I can focus on the excitement that lies ahead and refocus my mind.
Every night when I go to bed, I feel that labor is imminent. All the signs of it. Every night. And then I fall asleep and my body reboots and I am not in labor again. And it’s physically and emotionally draining.
People are very keen to tell me all what they “did” to get their labors started. While I have, in almost all the cases, attempted those things myself, I also find it very frustrating to get this advice. Because it implies that if I just did this one little trick, my body would do it. That the reason that I’m not in labor yet is because I simply haven’t tried hard enough or done the magical thing they happened to do right before they went into labor. Examples of what has been suggested to me/what I have tried to encourage labor to begin of its own accord:
WALK THE BABY OUT. I have walked 1 mile plus each day since 37 weeks.
ACUPUNCTURE: I have now received approximately 8 acupuncture treatments between 38 weeks and now to help induce labor naturally. In some of them, he even shot electricity into the points.
ACUPRESSURE: Craig has been massaging different acupressure points on my feet every single night for over a month to help induce labor naturally.
BIRTH SQUATS/SITTING/LYING IN SOME POSITION THAT ENCOURAGES THE BABY TO DROP: Again, since 37 weeks, I have been aware of my positioning when sitting, sleeping, etc to try and give the baby room to move down and engage.
SEX/ORGASMS: Um. Yes. Tried it. Keep trying it. This is possibly one of the only upsides of the trying to induce naturally. But it is clearly not working in the way I intended it.
GETTING A PEDICURE: Yes, I had one at 38 weeks. But I cannot go get another at the moment because I have developed an absolutely disgusting and exceeding rare pregnancy rash all over my belly and legs ironically called by this stupid cutesy name — PUPPS. And there is no way in hell that I could convince a pedicurist at this point that she was not risking life and limb by having contact with my skin — even though it is not remotely contagious.
CLEANING: Dude. I am an obsessive cleaner anyway. I have been nesting since about 2 weeks along. But I’ve really sort of upped the ante in this last month and physically done some pretty impressive things in the name of cleanliness while hugely pregnant.
SPICY FOOD: Yep. Eating it daily. Nada.
PINEAPPLE: Yep, eating it daily. Drinking pineapple juice. Nada.
GETTING MY MEMBRANES STRIPPED: It’s a horrible name for a pretty basic move that your doctor or midwife can do if you are dilated. I’ve been checked since 38 weeks to see if I’m dilated enough for this to be done. I finally was at 41 weeks, had it done and … nada.
HERBS (raspberry leaf tea, cohosh, evening primrose oil, castor oil, etc.), AND NIPPLE STIMULATION: These are things I have not tried and will not try on the advice of my midwife because they can be dangerous to someone who had a c-section already and put me at a greater risk for a uterine rupture should they send me into labor. So, obviously not a good choice for me.
MEDITATION/RELAXATION: I’m trying, but I’m not very good at it. I envision things falling — waterfalls, leaves from trees, stones into water, etc. I read comforting books in the most comfortable chairs. I write. These are all helpful for my emotional state, certainly. So, I won’t discount them. But they don’t seem to be helping the baby feel relaxed enough to come out.
TALKING TO THE BABY: Yes. I did this anyway. But of course I talk to him and tell him that I’m ready whenever he is and tell him that I am so thrilled to be meeting him soon.
PRAYER: Oh boy do I do this. More than praying that he’ll come out in the way I want him to, I pray that God will send me peace and comfort, that He’ll keep my priorities in perspective, that I want Him to know that I accept whatever lies ahead, even if it’s not what I would have chosen for myself, that I am extremely grateful for the chance to be a parent to this child and to please keep the baby and I healthy and whole, that I am sorry that I am so fixated on my own birth experience and that I will try to relax about it and remember what is most important. And more.
I really don’t think there is anything else that I can do or not do to make this happen in the way I envisioned. I feel pretty powerless about it and while that is a pretty bad feeling, I’m hoping by sort of talking through it and getting it all out in some organized way, I can look at this post and say, Ok Gen, you really have done your best. Now let go and move on and refocus yourself on the monumental task and gift that lies ahead — parenthood.
So, here’s to organizing the mind. Now for some rest…