Friday, May 16, 2008

...And I'm officially a sissy...

On Thursday I went in for my ultrasound, expecting to have the ultrasound first followed by a visit with my doctor. Unfortunately, there were several emergency ultrasounds that took precedence over mine, so after waiting in the lobby for an hour, my doctor's nurse decided to do things out of order and I saw the doctor first.

Ever since Sam's birth, I have been worried about any subsequent deliveries. With Sam, I had a fabulous textbook induction. I dialated and effaced like I was born to give birth. Everything was going beautifully until he got stuck in my pelvis at +2 station. I pushed for almost 4 hours and he would not budge. Finally the doctor rescued me from the endless pushing and wrenched Sam from my pelvis with a vacuum. I do not use the word "wrenched" here to be dramatic. The force required to get him through my pelvis was not only quite painful (and believe me, I felt EVERYTHING despite my epidural), I almost passed out and was half unconscious for the delivery, and it left me with a crooked pelvis that took a year of chiropractic adjustments to get in alignment for even a month at a time.

Add to this the polyhydramnios. Even though the risk is small, with extra fluid, I'm at increased risk for umbilical cord prolapse and placental abruption. That's not going to go away until after I've delivered. The extra fluid also makes it possible for John to turn any way he likes and despite being in a good position one day, there are no guarantees he'll stay that way because once my water breaks, the force of so much water could turn him. And then of course, there's the fact that he doesn't much care for the NST machine, and while he's passed the test every time (with the assistance of ultrasound), his heart rate isn't what I'd consider wildly reassuring. In a long drawn out pushing phase like I had with Sam, he could go into distress and have to be removed immediately.

So even before going into labor, there are five very compelling reasons why the risk of an emergency c-section exists. I was having massive anxiety about the whole thing. And I said as much to my doctor.

And then suddenly, my normally quiet doctor became very talkative. He consulted my chart from Sam's delivery to confirm what I was telling him and determined that yes, it was definetely not a problem for me to have an elective c-section. I was completely floored. I was prepared for more of a struggle over it, but he understood my concerns perfectly. There were just too many variables going on to feel confident that labor would go well.

My c-section is scheduled for June 3rd at 1pm. If I decide to change my mind, I guess he'll induce me on the 2nd. I don't think I'm going to change my mind. Even with the additional recovery time, I feel like I'm truly making the best decision for me and John. I would never forgive myself if through some stubborn pride, and an irrational need for bravery, I attempted another vaginal birth that resulted in birth trauma or injury to either one of us.

It hasn't been a popular decision. Tom is freaking out at the thought of me having actual surgery, even though he understands my worries. And of course, you tell anyone that you're scheduling a c-section on a variety of "maybes" and they go all apoplectic and tell you you really don't want a c-section no matter the risks...

They're right. I don't *want* a c-section. And maybe I don't *need* a c-section either. But as someone who likes to negate as much risk as possible, I'd rather do something proactive than wait for the 11th hour emergency--especially where my offspring are concerned.

I'm sure I'll always wonder what if. But at least with a c-section, I can predict a good outcome. As a mother, I think that's the most important thing.

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