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.
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 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|
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 day...at 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!