Archive for August, 2012

August 14, 2012
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So it’s been a while. Yeah, I know. My blog is a reflection of me – i.e., imperfect…so I guess there really shouldn’t be any surprise there, huh? Darcy is only 8 weeks old now though, so I am doing better this time than I did last time (I didn’t blog Piper’s birth story until she was several months old).

I am so happy to have my precious girl finally here. She is so adorable, and looks just like her daddy – which is a change from Piper, who could be my clone. As excited as I am to have her here, that excitement is – or, at least, has been– atrophied somewhat because of my recovery.

As many of you may know, I had a cesarean with Piper at 37 weeks. I had preeclampsia and they attempted, unsuccessfully, to induce me. Preeclampsia is a big deal, is common in first pregnancies, and the only cure is delivering the baby. My body just wasn’t ready that early.

This time, I had high hopes for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). The Dr. who delivered Piper had been extremely encouraging and optimistic about my ability to labor with future babies. My current Dr. had also told me numerous times (just as a sort of disclaimer) that my pelvis was pretty narrow, but that didn’t set anything in stone by any means and that I should definitely give it a good try. She said that since the pelvis isn’t a fixed structure during birth, it was definitely possible (although maybe not probable) for me to VBAC. Add that to the fact that my mother had a successful VBAC, and my aunt had two successful VBACS (both of whom are skinnier and more petite than me…so, I figure, their pelvises must be more narrow than mine…meaning if they could then I could, right???). Well, we were feeling pretty confident. So, Jared and I hired a [wonderful] doula to help with the delivery, and with such a supportive team, were sure that we could do it.

Before we go further, though, I am sure some of you are wondering why I care so much about having a VBAC – why not just schedule another C-section?

.Yeah, I get asked that a lot. Jared and I – to keep it simple – LOVE our babies and want more of them. I don’t know how many, but…the consensus between us is and has been “A LOT!” for some time now.

Which brings us to the problem(s). When you have c-sections, the risk to mother and baby goes up with each consecutive surgery, and a LOT of OBGYNs won’t accept patients (or won’t be happy about it, anyway) who have 4 or more c-sections, or perform said sections. And, I’ve done it, so I can say this from experience: having a C-section is MAJOR SURGERY, people. It’s not a walk in the park. There are major risks, and the recovery is a LOT harder and a LOT longer than with a vaginal birth. With a vaginal birth, once you have the baby, you have the baby. It’s over. No recovery (assuming things go normally). With a c-section, you’re in the hospital longer. You can barely walk, much less do anything else (such as pick up or carry or bend etc. which makes life with your other children very interesting). You are on very strong pain medicine, and can’t drive. Again, it’s MAJOR surgery. You are basically on bed rest for a minimum of two weeks.

So, what would having another c-section look like for me? Bed rest. Jared taking off for 2 weeks, minimum, to take care of me. Me feeling guilty about that since I know he is swamped and doesn’t really need to be away from the office right now. Plus, not being able to pick up Piper, put her in her high chair, etc., or drive. Oh, and probably having to always have c-sections from now on. Which means, more than likely, fewer [biological] children.

Yeah. Tough pill to swallow. Which is why I was determined.

The pregnancy went really really well – especially compared with last time – my blood pressure was excellent, I gained less weight, I had no signs of preeclampsia, I had no swelling, and I made it to – and past! – my due date. Things were looking good.

My due date was June 15th, but the first ever prenatal visit I had I was told it was June 18th and they changed it to the 15th at a later appointment. Anyway, (Friday) June 15th came and went. No baby.

On my due date, I thought my water might have broken, so I went to the hospital and got examined just to make sure. False alarm. So, we trudged back home.

That Saturday night, it was pretty late (around midnight) and Jared and I were getting ready for bed – chatting, I was cleaning/organizing some stuff – and I had to pee.

So, I go sit down, and pee. And then I noticed that it just…kept…coming…out. I wasn’t peeing, but stuff was DEFINITELY STILL coming out. I yelled at Jared and I was like, “Um, do you hear that?” and he was like, “Yeah, you’re peeing…so???” and I said, “But, that’s just it…I’M NOT PEEING!”

[We were both a little skeptical, given that I had literally JUST been in the labor and delivery ward thinking the same thing had happened the day before, and I had been wrong. I wasn’t about to humiliate myself by going and being told it was another false alarm.]

The leaking stopped, so I get up and continue doing stuff and then it happens again…this time all over my clothes. I told Jared to call the on-call Dr. and ask them what to do. I had decided at that point that either 1) I was crazy and had a seriously incompetent bladder and needed to go to the ER for that anyway, or 2) my water had definitely broken.

After being advised to come in by the on-call doctor, we called our labor babysitters (aka, Jared’s parents) and they headed to the house. When they got there, Jared’s dad drove us to the hospital and dropped us off.

We ended up getting to the hospital around 2, and seen by a doctor by around 3, who confirmed that my water was DEFINITELY broken. Jared and I settled in and planned to try to get some rest before the morning, when things were probably going to pick up. Jared was able to sleep, but I was really anxious, and didn’t sleep a wink, despite my best efforts. Around 7am, my contractions started to pick up a little, but it was still pretty mild. My doula and friend, Angie, got there around 9am, which was perfect timing since that is when things really started to get…well, painful. I talked to the Dr. at 10am and was given pitocin at 11…after that, things got pretty hard-core, contraction-wise. About 3-4min apart and STRONG. By 1pm I was ready for an epidural, partially because of the pain, but mainly because I was afraid after not getting any sleep that I would quickly get exhausted and not make it to the pushing stage. The epidural took 3 attempts, which was really difficult given that I was having really painful contractions the whole time and had to keep really still.

By 11pm that night, I was completely dilated and started pushing. The pushing was going really well. Everyone was really surprised and pleased with how great a job I was doing and the progress I was making with the pushing…for the first hour and a half. By the next hour and a half, we were all beginning to realize that there was a problem. The Dr. originally gave me a goal of trying to have the baby out by 2am, and said after that we’d have to have a talk about how things were going to go and the risks of pushing longer, etc.

There at the end, I was exhausted, delirious, frustrated, getting discouraged, and feeling the urgency upon my shoulders to get the baby out NOW, or I would be rolled into surgery.

Despite all of that, I also felt extremely loved and supported. My labor team was amazing – I had a resident, my OB (who was actually not my OB, but a sub, since mine was on vacation, but who still did a fantastic job), several nurses, my doula, my mom, my aunt, and Jared. All of them were in there with me the entire time I was pushing…wiping my face, holding my hands/legs, telling me I could do it. There is no way I could have pushed that long without their help. They are what kept me believing I could do it all the way up until the very end.

But…I just couldn’t. I couldn’t do it.

By 3am, my contractions had almost stopped completely. I had no power behind the pushing, and I knew it was over. My mom and aunt both left the room – they said it was to inform everyone else, but I knew it was mainly because they were upset for me and didn’t want me to see them crying– and the rest of the team pampered and reassured me. They told me that I had done the best I could, and the situation now was absolutely not due to lack of effort, etc. The Dr. looked at me – I kid you not, with tears in her eyes – and said, “If I could give anyone the right to have a baby, it would be you. You deserve to have this baby. I am so, so sorry.” At that point, I was just concerned with getting myself emotionally ready for the reality of surgery.

So, we got suited up (and drugged up, in my case)- and after 20 total hours of labor, with 4 hours of pushing- off to the operating room we went.

Darcy was born via cesarean at 3:27am on June 18th, my original due date.

The surgery was hard. Scary, and a lot more difficult than when I had Piper. The epidural was only supposed to numb me from my feet up to my chest (top of the ribcage area). For whatever reason, it numbed up to my neck. After I had been on the operating table for a few minutes, I went to take a breath and couldn’t. Needless to say, between the exhaustion, the emotions, and the drugs, I FLIPPED OUT. I started saying [outloud], “I can’t breathe. I am going to die.” At first I was pretty calm, just thinking out loud. All the doctors and nurses in the OR kept telling me that I wasn’t going to die and that I was, in fact, breathing because I was talking. Which obviously makes sense. But, when you can’t feel yourself take a breath, and it doesn’t feel like you’re breathing….it’s pretty freaky. I just started saying “I can’t breathe, I’m going to die…” over and over, and I kept saying them faster, and I could feel myself panicking. Then I realized I was crying. And I would gasp for air because I was crying and I couldn’t take in any air (or, so it felt).

Jared was finally allowed in at that point (they have to get you onto the table and get stuff set up before husbands/whoever are escorted in). I guess they warned him that I’d lost it because he immediately came over to me and grabbed my hand. (Which, you know, was good…that I would get to say goodbye, you know. Since I was clearly dying…I thought.) I told Jared I was dying…he also insisted that I wasn’t, which was making me panic more, because I CLEARLY WAS – these people were not taking me seriously here, there was something really, very wrong and no one even believed me. He told me to squeeze his hand whenever I thought I was dying, and that would reassure me I wasn’t…because if I could squeeze his hand, I was alive and could breathe. Which really doesn’t make much sense but it worked. I remember squeezing his hand, and crying, and then…nothing.

And then I woke up. To Jared. Holding a baby.

And he looked at me and said, “Look Darcy, here is your mommy.”

And the realization hit me that I had blacked out, and during that time they had delivered her, cleaned her, weighed her, and swaddled her and given her to Jared, as well as stitched me up – which means I must have been out quite a while.

And then, I was in pain. A LOT of pain. See, with an epidural the medication is a lot more localized and precise…so they gave me enough to last through the surgery and after surgery was over, it started to wear off…which is what I was feeling.

I cried because of the pain the whole way from the OR back up to my room. When they picked me up and moved me back from the operating table to my hospital bed, I yelped in pain because it really REALLY hurt. I felt like I had been beat with a baseball bat all over…even on the inside. I was really alarmed because with Piper, I didn’t feel pain like that. I was a little sore later, but certainly not immediately, and not that bad, either. And when I got to my hospital room, the fun continued…the nurse had to come in and press on my abdomen….and I thought again, “I am going to die.”

The thought seriously occurred to me to reach over and knock the head off of that nurse, but then it also occurred to me that such sudden movement would probably also be really painful, so I didn’t. But I wanted to.

And, let me just say, when most of your family is there and you look like a big, ugly, swollen gorilla who hasn’t showered, and you’re half naked, drugged, bleeding and screaming in pain…well, it’s sorta awkward.

But then, after I realized I was going to live, and the Evil Nurse left, I was able to hold Darcy and get a good look at her.

She was gorgeous (of course she was, who I am I kidding? I gave birth to her, did I not?). No, seriously, she was beautiful and looked just like Jared. And, at that moment, it was all worth it. And I thought, “I would do this 10 more times if I had to.” (Yeah, that’s motherhood in a nutshell, people. For real.)

After all that pain, and seriously thinking I was going to die…it was all obsolete after I laid eyes on her. Funny, that.

Recovery has been difficult, to say the least. I’ve had a reminder every single day that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do the one thing that I wanted to do, the thing that millions of women have been doing for thousands of years, since the beginning of the human race – birth a child. I failed at something I was biologically created to do. What a horrifying realization.

I have struggled a lot with feeling like a failure. It’s a difficult thing to cope with, because those feelings of defeat make me feel ungrateful, which I am most certainly not. But it keeps running through my head, over and over – “You’re healthy, aren’t you? Darcy is healthy. Things could have been much, much worse. How ungrateful can you be??” Like I am nitpicking. And then I feel guilty for nitpicking and not just being happy that I have a healthy baby and I will be able to have [at least] one more healthy baby, as far as I can tell.

Then I think about having surgery….AGAIN. And the risks involved. And dealing with the recovery…AGAIN. And knowing that I can’t do something that LOTS of other people are able to do….AGAIN. And it’s really REALLY overwhelming.

What gets me the most, though, is thinking about my babies. I look at Darcy and Piper and I well up immediately with tears in response to how much I love them, and how much I love being their mommy. And how much I want more babies to love. And I can’t think about that now without facing the reality that I probably won’t be a mommy to as many babies as I would like to. And that makes me absolutely heartbroken.

So. Heartbroken → defeated → ungrateful → guilty → appreciative → covetous → heartbroken. A vicious cycle.

I am thankful, though…that can’t go unsaid. I am so thankful for a sovereign God whom I don’t always understand, but whom I can trust, because I know that He is GOOD. His nature and character are good. What He ordains is good, and right…but not always easy.

And though at times I think I am being silly, because me and the baby are both healthy, and because this isn’t as much of a tragedy as it could have been – or really even a tragedy at all, even though it might feel that way – I remember that it’s OK to feel sad. It’s OK to feel angry, or depressed, or defeated. It’s OK to question why it happened. It’s OK to mourn the children that I probably won’t be able to have. My emotions are real. And the greatest truth of all? God can handle it.

Ultimately, if I can’t have as many babies as I want, it’s because it’s BETTER for me not to…God knows what is he doing. He does it all for His glory and our sanctification…and that is okay by me.

I wish it were more than just OK with me…I wish I could get excited about that. I can’t right now. That’s just the honest truth. I trust God, I know in my head everything I need to know…all the doctrine and the wonderful truths about God and His character…but those truths have not made their way into my heart yet. They will…in time. That’s just another thing I have to trust Him with.

Here is a hymn I have repeated to myself, read, sang, and wept over in the last 2 months. And, inevitably, I weep over it again now.

Every word is true… Every. Single. One.

WHATE’ER MY GOD ORDAINS IS RIGHT

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
Holy His will abideth.
I will be still whate’er He does,
And follow where He guideth.

He is my God,
Though dark my road.
He holds me that I shall not fall
Wherefore to Him I leave it all

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
He never will deceive me
He leads me by the proper path,
I know He will not leave me

I take, content,
What He hath sent
His hand can turn my griefs away
And patiently I wait His day

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
Though now this cup in drinking
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it all unshrinking

My God is true,
Each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart
And pain and sorrow shall depart