Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Week 18

According to babycenter.com, this week, my baby is the size of a bell pepper.

This pregnancy has been sooo different than with Vivienne. I have been sick non-stop until week 16. I started to worry after week 14 because they say it stops with the first trimester. Umm, no. I remember a co-worker of mine suffering through extreme nausea her entire pregnancy. My thought is, “Oh my goodness. I’m at week 15 and I’m still sick. Does this mean??? :::Gasp::: NO!!”

But thankfully, this week the only nausea I faced was from a stomach virus passed on to mommy and pappa from my dear Vivienne. Nausea was the easiest part of that 24 hours. Blah. Thankfully, it has passed. Literally. J

My burgeoning bump has forced me out of my regular clothes. Most of my prego friends get pretty excited about this. For me, paying $40 for a pair of maternity pants “on sale” just doesn’t cut it. I lucked out with Vivienne’s pregnancy. A friend of my sisters gave her a ton of maternity clothes, and my wonderful sister passed them on for me to borrow. Other than that, I was able to purchase a few empire-waist shirts that cut it until third trimester. (Ladies, check out the clearance racks at Macy’s, Belk, or JCPenneys. Thankfully we have four seasons here, so the clearance clothes from last season still work for this one. Also, check out craigslist. I often see women posting “large bag of maternity clothes for $30” or something along those lines. You have to check it out first though.) I look forward to borrowing some clothes again this time…. I hope!

I am a total believer of boys carrying lower than girls. My doc sent me back for an ultrasound at 12 weeks because he couldn’t find his heartbeat. Turns out he was so low, that the sonar wasn’t able to pick it up. Those minutes about sent me into a panic attack!

Also, the kicks I have been feeling have been really low…. I mean, really really low. Sometimes so low there is no possible way to try and feel it. Know what I’m sayin?

I felt little man’s flutter for the first time at 12 weeks. With Vivienne, it was week 14. First time moms, don’t freak out if you haven’t felt him/her yet.

*~The average time frame to feel first movement is 18-20 weeks.~*

I think I’m very sensitive to my body, hence why I felt it earlier. Even with Vivienne, I didn’t KNOW for sure until week 16 when it was really obvious. The funny thing with Viv is that the first two times I felt her were during presidential debates while Obama was speaking. Yeah, she is a prophet…. Wish she could have literally kicked him out. Oh well. (My blog, my freedom of speech, thank you very much).

So far, all is well.

For my pregnant friends… when are you due?

(Must have a Google, AIM, or other account as specified below to post – sorry about that. Most of you have AIM though, right? Just type in your username, that’s all).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The History

I'm starting this blog almost half-way through my pregnancy, but I want to journal this, as I did with Vivienne. The reason I'm blogging and not journaling is because I want to share this experience, as I'm hoping it will be much different than my first birth.

Before I start my focus on baby #2, I need to tell you how it all began with my darling Vivi. My L&D: Water broke at 8p, on March 16. I was due on March 18th. I called the hospital who instructed me to come in immediately. I was IV'd and bed ridden as soon as I entered my room (not by my choice). I wasn't allowed to walk around, not even to use the restroom. I was not allowed to eat - but I was starving and restless the entire night. I was having very light, non-frequent contractions until 5a. when the nurse came in and said that Doc instructed pitocin to get my labor started. When I checked into the hosp., I was at 1 cm. By 11a. I was contracting strongly, no meds, in major pain trying to breath it through. Doc came in and checked me. I had only gotten to 2cm. I was shocked. Contractions were every 2 minutes and strong and I swore I was at least a 6, if not 8. It was the first time I was asked if I have ever had a surgery. I asked what he meant, and he said he thought something was causing constriction on my cervix. I had never had surgery, trauma, or anything that would have caused that. It was mentioned once again later by a nurse who was checking me. I was thinking... how come no one has mentioned this before? Is that what "tight" means when they said, "tight 2cm"? I remembered my last regular appt when I was dilated a "tight" fingertip (less than 1cm).

After doc left from checking me in the hospital at 11a, the nurse came in and explained that sometimes your body stresses to the pain, and relaxation is what can help with dilation. She recommended an epidural, then stated that if things didn't change real soon, a c-section would be inevitable. I asked if I could please get up and walk around, but I was told that the hospital has a policy that if you come in with ruptured membranes, they put you in the bed so as not to heighten risk of a prolapsed cord. If I had known that prolapse cord means c-section anyways (not death to me or baby), then I would have gotten up out of bed anyways. I'll mention this later, but I was not ready for all the challenges I now read about in labor and delivery. I consented to the epidural in hopes that it would relax my body for dilation. Oh, it was wonderful. No pain, but I could still feel and move my legs and feel my contractions. I napped a little and prayed a lot.

By 5p., the doc came in. I was still at 2cm. He sat on my bedside and said we were at a crossroads. They don't like ruptured membranes longer than 24 hours because of risk of infection. After reading about this, there is no doubt that this is a huge and valid concern with as much as I was being checked. He explained that the risk to baby was elevated, but there were no current signs of distress. I was in tears. He said he would give me a little more time and I told him we needed to pray and think about it. For the next hour, I was praying, Johannes was praying, and I was shifting and turning in bed as much as I could to see if I could somehow control the baby's movement down towards my pelvis.

At 6p, he came in and asked what we had decided. He checked again, and there was no progression. I couldn't even speak, but looked at Johannes and we knew. He told doc that we were ready and we just wanted a healthy baby.

On March 17th at 6:29p, Vivienne was born. 9lbs, 3 oz, and 23 inches long. She was a big girl. Doc later said... "no wonder."

It's a lot to process.. at least it is for me everytime I recount this story.

I won't go into the minute details on why I do not want another c-section, but I will mention three brief points that apply to me alone. I am not trying to offend anyone who had or asked for a c-section. All I know is my experience, and my heart...

1. Healing - Pain was horrible for me. It was hard to bond with Vivienne. The Percoset caused drowsiness in Vivienne. She wouldn't stay awake for a feeding after I took the pain pill. It was the hardest week in my life. I couldn't stand upright for almost a week. I had the continuous feeling that my incision would open when I would stand up to do something.

2. Cost - With my insurance, I paid more than $500 out of pocket than I would have for a vaginal delivery. This year it will be even more, with the increase in out of pocket coverage for 2011.

3. Risk - The risk for problems to occur in c-sections are much greater than for problems to occur in VBACs (vaginal birth after cesearean). People always talk about the risk of a VBAC, but look at the statistics.

I have 3 main reasons why I want to try for a VBAC. I am not an ideal candidate. Ideal is a breech positioned baby for 1st c-section. My c-section was termed "failure to progress", but we have to ask the question, "why?". Why did I fail to progress? Was it my body? Was it the fact that I was flat on my back for 22 hours, afraid to even pee because I was humiliated to use a bed pan with the nurse standing over me? Was it the fact that I wasn't allowed to eat even a cracker and hadn't eaten for 36 hours from the last meal?

And in regards to the scar tissue. I recently asked in my appt., "Can you tell me more about this scar tissue?" The doctor said he wasn't completely convinced that it was the problem or that I actually had scar tissue. He explained what he felt, but said it wasn't obvious like most patients with this issue. He then explained that he felt that the baby was big and wouldn't descend, and this was the reason for failure to progress. It's a hard thing for me to process. Do I have it, or don't I? Is it the cause, or is it not?

Surprisingly, my OB is very supportive of a VBAC. He is already in communication with a high-risk group who can perform VBACs in Winston (nearly 2 hours drive away). The problem is not the doc, it's the hospital. Most hospitals in the US are not legally equipped for a VBAC situation. Several reasons why, but the most is having "emergency" personnel available and present in the hospital 24/7 while the patient is in labor. For small hospitals with only 1 or 2 anesthesiologists, this is not a possibility.

My main goal is to be educated this time around. I have been reading a very pro-VBAC book called Silent Knife. It is dated and against c-sections (i am not completely against ceseareans), so I am not taking it word for word... but the statistics, history, and stories that were sent in can not be questioned. I have read stories much like mine with successful VBAC endings. The common threads in these VBAC women are education on our rights and bodies, a positive outlook, healthy pregnancy, and support.

I have been looking into hiring a doula. I trust Johannes, but I need unfailing support should another unplanned event happen during labor. What I love about Johannes is that he will do anything to protect me from pain or danger. But we need someone who recognizes "real" danger is in those moments where we have to make a decision outside from our emotions. We need someone who can explain without bias.

So, now you have my history on labor and delivery. The experience changed my life in so many ways. First and foremost, I received my precious baby girl... healthy, on the most beautiful day. Her arrival was perfect.

However, my life has also been full of "what ifs" since March 17th. Though her arrival was perfect, the events leading up to it were less than. I won't take the day back, but I won't resign to a c-section because that's my "only option". It's not.

This blog is for you, my friends. I want to encourage you to think about your labor and delivery, whether it has happened or not even thought of yet. I want you to be informed and prepared. If my second attempt ends in a c-section, I will be okay because I'll know that it truly WAS my only option because of all the research I have done and books I have read. If my story helps one person avoid the mental anguish and second guessing, it was worth it.

And besides all of the above... I'm gonna get my baby boy out of this. You get to join us on the ride! How awesome is that??