Monday, May 14, 2012

Anxiety, Acceptance and the "c-word"

We decided to get pregnant the summer of 2011. I wanted year 28 to be my last "selfish summer" and from there went off the pill and went at making a baby! He was very planned - I know the exact night we conceived. As I am neurotic to a fault I studied all the methods on how to best get pregnant and was really thankful it happened for us after 2 real months of trying. I have been writing this blog since I had an inkling of a fledgling of a whisper of an idea we were pregnant. Flying home after a work trip and feeling feverish and flustered and "is this really happening?". Documenting each change from 4 weeks 3 days pregnant (or as I counted back then, 15 days post ovulation) 

Every morning I continued to pee on sticks from the Dollar Store (just to make sure the line was getting darker and that this was REALLY happening).  I would send these pictures to Glenn dutifully each morning. (Nothing says love like "look at this stick I peed on" each morning)

Each week I would take a photo to see how progression was coming along, while spending the rest of my time on the babyboards, and doing a ton of reading about all things preggers. 

weeks 5-8
I feel I haven't gone into any of this blindly - I researched and changed doctors early on because I wasn't satisfied with their level of care. I determined which hospital I thought was best, what prenatals and other vitamins were healthiest, and sought guidance on some early fears regarding my cervix and baby's viability and ability to work out. Once given the okay, I pushed myself to limits I didn't know were possible, working out more often and with greater intensity than I have for previous vanity quests before vacations.

I looked at labor as a challenge... that my mom had both me and my brother unmedicated after not really ever exercising, being dutiful about eating well, and because it was the 80's, smoking. If she could do it and have this great euphoric rush, then surely I could train like I was going to run a marathon and push a baby out unmedicated like butter! I seriously had no fear about the pain, I read into alot of holistic birthing practices...wanted to labor at home as long as possible, take baths, position myself in ways to best bring this baby into the world, not strapped down on my back in bed. I've drank red raspberry leaf tea once I hit the safe-timeline to do so, I read Ina Mae and had started practicing Hyponobabies. I was DETERMINED, god dammit. I was excited. I was thankful my body had been so cooperative with me!

As things progressed and I got bigger (seriously, let's talk about how I was "showing" at 12 weeks and I got commentary from thereon out about how huge I was/must be carrying twins/due in a month) I kept waiting for a kick from this baby. Most first time moms can feel them anywhere from 16 weeks on. I kept reading the babyboards and being jealous that I didn't feel any little flutters....I asked all my mommy friends when they first remembered feeling movement, and read into it and diagnosed myself with having an anterior placenta long before any ultrasounds proved me right. 

Holidays - 16 weeks along
I didn't feel any movement until 19 weeks -- and from there on I felt like, YES! Validation! It truly is the greatest feelings any mom can have, but for a first time mom it feels like all your fears and worries can be assuaged. 

I did read early on that anterior placentas often caused posterior babies and bad back labor. I honestly didn't read toooooooo much into it, figuring there was lots of time for the baby to flip and that given how much I had tried to stay healthy and work out that I could make everything work. I also wanted to remain positive and hope for the best. 

18 & 20 weeks
As we continued to grow and grow and grow some more, we got good news at all of my appointments. Never any gestational diabetes issues, never any scares with my blood panels, no protein in my urine or high blood pressure issues. My doctors remarked on how "perfect" everything was going, and how I was a picture of health. I beat myself up a bit on my weight gain but figured everything was well with the baby so all was well in the grand scheme of things. 

It wasn't until the 3rd trimester that the "holy shit you're huge comments" began to have some merit. My fundal heights for months had been accurate in terms of weeks pregnant, but started to jump up a bit. From measuring 1 week large to 2 or close to 3 at times. The Dr's scheduled growth ultrasounds and we realized my oven makes 'em big!

When the ultrasound technician told me at 32 weeks that the baby was already 5 lbs + I didn't believe her at first. All the literature said babies that age should be 3.8 at the high end...

7 & 32 weeks

I still knew ultrasounds could be off, and if anything, was thankful that the baby was big and healthy. 

We just kept getting bigger and bigger, and the Doctor showed some concern about his size. Clearly we were eating well and growing strong and fast. At 36 and 38 weeks we hit the 89% and 95% percentile and kiddo gained about 25 ounces in 2 weeks. At that rate he's about 1.78 a the time of my Doctor visit today he could be at 9 lbs at 38 weeks 4 days. 

Upon discussion of his sunnysideupness and lack of flipping around, his large size, and my tailbone issues -- the idea of a cesarean had been broached a few times. Each week the doctor(s) would suggest that it was an option but not the ONLY option. That we could try to go into labor and let things progress, but that given his Occupant Posterior position that back labor was going to be intense, and that my tailbone was likely to break. I didn't feel pressured to jump at a csection...I wanted to know what contractions felt like. I wanted to warrior through like I had anticipated after months of working out. I wanted to PUSH this baby out of me like a champ. 

I consulted a midwife who writes a popular blog....called my chiropractor and the nurse practitioner all looking for "odds" of a successful vaginal delivery without breaking my tailbone. The doula/midwife couldn't give me too much information regarding my situation having not examined me, but noted that OP babies do often cause some distress to that area, and suggested all the spinningbabies and positioning methods I had already been practicing for weeks in order to get him to flip. At 38 weeks 4 days he still hasn't flipped. My chiropractor said he knew tailbone fractures can be debilitating  - and that he could adjust me to try to make my pelvis more comfortable but that it was likely to break. Short of having a doctor x-ray me (not an option for lady bits/being pregnant) or having someone adjust my tailbone by inserting their finger in parts that would make your mama blush, there was not much we could do. 

The nurse practitioner said given my factors, that a healthy uncomplicated vaginal delivery could certainly be attempted, but may not be likely. She said she would send my reports onto my Doctor who I would have my appointment with next. 

In that timeframe between Thursday to Monday (today) I felt a huge range of emotions....from curiosity, regret, fear, loss, to guilt. I had wanted so badly to be the best mom possible to him since the moment I knew I was pregnant. I wanted to be healthy for him to best bring him into the world the natural way. Having to give up that idealized view of childbirth was beyond defeating. 

Of course "the internet" can be a scary place full of judgey people who think anything less than a Natural Unmedicated Child Birth is a failure. An epidural is a failure. A hospital birth is a failure. Inductions are a failure. And above all else, cesareans are a failure. 

Because society often has a distorted view of the birthing industry and puts a ton of pressure on women in general (pregnant or not) I instinctively knew that if we elected to have a c-section that I would be judged. Nobody can tell me anything negatively that I haven't heard myself echoing in my head for weeks. That I didn't try hard enough. That my tailbone may not necessarily break. That ultrasounds are wrong and that women have large babies all the time. 

All of that is arbitrary. All of it may be true. I have really no way of knowing, other than doing a TON of research, talking to medical professionals, and seeking guidance from women who have gone before me. 

I have gleaned the following information after looking into all of our options:

                     - OP babies often go past their due dates and have longer promodoral labor (early labor) 

                     - OP babies (in general) have longer labors with less progression 

                     - OP babies can have longer contractions/more cycles causing the mom to think they are closer to transition/pushing stage than they are -- earlier pushing can equal swollen cervix = more interventions. 

                     - OP babies (in general) have more interventions (breaking of waters, early epidural for pain relief, and so on)

                     - OP babies (who have been OP since early on) are particularly less likely to spin in the proper head down direction

                     - OP babies are likely to break tailbones (even if your tailbone has never been broken)

                     - OP babies can get stuck and require extraction through means such as forceps, vacuum or an emergency c-section. Having consulted a nurse friend, she said she would NEVER let a doctor take her baby that way as she as seen too many issues with brain bleeds or permanent damage. That was enough to terrify me

                     - OP babies who are extracted through above means are often more likely to cause tears. Not just mini episiotomy tears, but 3rd and 4th degree tears not just to the back but the FRONT because the babies are sunnyside up. I read way too many stories about incontinent moms in their 20's with fistulas to make me really not want this to be an option.

                     - OP babies that are LARGE may never actually descend properly. Even with inductions they are squeezed with the addition of pitocin in a manner where their heads are "floating" essentially and never engage in the pelvis through the canal. Their poor little heads just end up ramming into your pelvic bones but not through the canal - and often end up distressed, with heart decels and end up being taken by c-section (emergency) anyway. 

- OP babies have a difficult transition if you can manage to get them into the canal, and once born often have misshapen heads, bruising, and sometimes nerve damage

                  - Large babies (OP or otherwise) are more inclined to manage to have their heads be birthed but have their shoulders get stuck (shoulder distocia).  This is not only terrifying, but can cause the baby's shoulders or collarbones get broken (at the least) or cause death (the worst case scenario).  My Doctor said that about 7% of "large babies" have this occur. The shoulder distocia can also cause permanent nerve damage as well, rendering the affected arm useless. 

 WHEW. It's alot of info. Still with me? And not all of it "has" to happen with an OP baby - or a large baby, but given where I am currently sitting (on a healed tailbone) we have alot of issues stacked against us.  

My mom came with me to my Doctor's appointment today at 38 weeks 4 days. Before he entered the room I heard him exclaiming to the nurse practitioner, "wow, 95th percentile!" and he walked into the room, shook my mom's hand and gave me a sympathetic look. 

He got right to the point and said that given our circumstances, he couldn't safely say that a vaginal delivery was our best or recommended option. He outlined all the risk factors with our current situation and said that he felt a planned cesarean would be the best and safest mode of delivery for Baby Boy Lovelace. He said he understood my goal of vaginal delivery but that if we wanted to move forward with it we would have to sign a consent form basically absolving him of liability if we ran into complications.

He then did an internal exam, and I was at 2 centimeters (I was at about 1.5 last week) and he noted the baby's head hadn't engaged and was essentially in the "floating" pattern I mentioned above. This attests again to his size. I had wondered if that was the case because by close to 39 weeks you should feel like a bowling ball is between your legs and the baby has dropped. I still feel him very active, and he is still kicking up high to the top of my ribs. 

This was enough of a sign for me believe that even IF the ultrasounds are wrong and he isn't close to 9 lbs right now, even IF he happened to flip tomorrow, even IF I had a perfect tailbone...he isn't currently descending as he should by this timeline. That was enough for me to believe that all of the medical professionals in the practice have our best interests at heart, and that a cesarean is the best possible option for the best possible care for both baby Lovelace and me to tend to his needs afterward. 

We are having our long awaited, very loved,  chubby chunk fattykins of a son on May 21st via a planned cesarean. 

I hope you will support us in making the toughest and strongest choice on bringing him into this world. Please continue to send us good vibes and prayers in hopes for a happy and healthy delivery!


  1. I send you all my prayers and support. I think you are a very brave mama and I believe everything will be alright for the 21st! Good luck my dear!
    Beegeebeegee from BC

  2. This is the right, the intelligent as per Aunt Cathy, path to take for your circumstances. Though that doesn't help lessen the feeling of loss of something you were looking forward to, I'm glad we live in the 21st century and you have such great care and advice and options for a safe delivery and healthy baby and mom. LOVE YOU SO MUCH MY BABY GIRL!

  3. Of course we support you 100%, and we cannot wait to meet Baby Love!

  4. I follow you on IG (LvdMoreThnCrrts) and know your situation all too well. My first baby was transverse the latter part of my pregnancy (never ever turned and dropped) and he, too, was ginormous. He was born via scheduled C section at 39 weeks to the day at a whopping 9lbs 10oz. Never ever feel like you need to justify or explain your decisions as a mother- You are already being the best Mama you can be by making the best decision for YOU and Baby Love ;) That's what matters most. Once that sweet boy is in your arms, you won't regret for a second how he came into the world. Promise :) I'll be delivering my second son via scheduled C section in less than 5 weeks.. You do what's best and right for you. And all the Judgie McJudgersons out there can suck a big fat one :)

  5. Your story is so very close to mine. I had my little girl on May 5th, and my c/s experience was amazing. I hope yours goes perfectly as well.

  6. Best wishes!! It'll be perfect! :)

  7. A healthy mommy and baby are the most important thing! All that working out should help your recover from the c-section. After mine I tried to get moving (without over doing it) as much as I could and I was able to recover fairly quickly.

    Good luck and congrats, again!

  8. Can't wait to hold that lil guy! :) Love you all! xo

  9. Hey Leah,

    I know it does take the wind out of your sails. I went to 41 weeks, water broke, 20 hours of labor with pitocin and very little progression to find out that our baby was breach, and alas,the thing I feared most, a c-section. I was devastated. She was 9lbs 8oz and she is the light of our lives, no matter how she arrived, and I am still the best mom I can be, and so will you! Best of luck to you, your husband, and your little 'big guy'.

    Your Cousin
    Lisa Roberts

  10. You do not want their fingers in other holes! TRUST ME!! NOT FUN!! Im am so supportive of this decision and think it it truly the best choice for you and big baby I can't wait to see!!!!

  11. 100% support and good vibes! I've also felt that judgement when I chose an epidural, but you have to do what you have to do to keep everybody safe, healthy and happy! I also, think you made what sounds like the safest decision for everyone! And now you can start the countdown! Can't wait to see some photos :)

  12. hi Leah, you don't know me personally, but I have been following your blog for awhile (several months) b/c I came across your site from your signature on a babycenter forum/thread. Just wanted to say you're sooo brave to have chosen the best way for your baby to come into the world safely and for your own health too because a healthy mama = a healthy baby. I had an emergency c-section with my baby girl (tiny little thing at 5 lbs 5 oz, I'm petite myself and she was early at 37 weeks 5 days and I had gestational diabetes so I only gained 17 lbs total) due to her cord wrapped around her neck TWICE. It was a deep disappointment for me, but of course I'm sooo thankful for the technology we call the c-section that saved her life! I still feel sad sometimes thinking "what could've been," but you are so brave to choose what's right for you and your baby, congrats on your baby boy, he's very cute, and yes, a big boy!


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