Friday, January 23, 2009

And so it goes

I feel as though I've been holding my breath for six months. I knew it was coming, I just didn't know when. They've been dropping hints of it here and there; asking me leading questions about each of my births, asking what I thought of theirs (both sections), praising their doctors' skills. Do I see accusations in their eyes when they talk to me? I feel so helpless in the face of their stunned realizations.

Sister A laments her scar. She had a bad infection after leaving the hospital and it had to be opened and drained. It's a thick, uneven scar that sort of "sticks out" where it had to be opened. It throbs and burns during her period, so much so that it brings her to tears. Is she crying from the pain or from the question of its necessity?

Her constant refrain these days is, "if they'd have just let me wait a little longer, I know I could have done it by myself!" They couldn't let her "wait" any longer though. After she got the epidural that she was assured carried no major risks, her blood pressure skyrocketed and her temperature shot up.

At a recent visit to the OB who cut her she asked if he "did VBACs". His answer was a pointy boot in the gut. "Oh sure we do VBACs, if your baby isn't too big or too small, if you don't gain too much weight, if you wait 2 years after your cesarean and if you go into labor before 40 weeks." Here response to me said it all: so basically he told me I can't have a VBAC!

Then there's Sister H. While Sister A has always been upset by her section, Sister H is only just beginning to have her doubts. She recently learned that the OB who cut her doesn't do VBACs. She didn't know a doctor could do that. I don't think she's quite brave enough to walk away from "her" beloved OB just yet, but still really wants to labor "to see what it's like." She told me that even if she "has" to have another section that she'd at least like to go into labor first. That doesn't sound like a woman who's afraid of any perceived VBAC risks. It sounds like a woman who's afraid that she might have let her OB make a bad decision for her last time, like a woman who wants to know her body isn't broken, and like a woman who wants to give her baby the benefit of being ready to be born.

By the way, Sister H had a section because her OB said baby was 11 or 12lbs. OB pulled out a 9lb baby.

I feel so absolutely stuck between my sisters! One wants me to tell her she made the right decision and the other wants me to tell her she can VBAC next time.

I won't lie to my sisters.

But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break
And this is why my eyes are closed
It's just as well for all I've seen
And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows
~from Billy Joel's "And So It Goes"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Working on my labor shirt

Since I'm going to be at the hospital for at least some of my labor (maybe), I've been working on a labor shirt or gown to wear for the labor and birth. I've always hated those hospital gowns that have the name of the hospital plastered all over them. Here's my current design. It's a plain white t-shirt with red letters:

What do you think?

Monday, January 19, 2009

A photo request

I'm working on putting together what I hope will be a beautiful post. The last things I need are the following photos:

1. A pregnant woman standing near the ocean.
2. A picture of a laboring woman sweating.
3. A pregnant or laboring woman sitting with eyes closed.
4. A laboring woman surrounded by women.
5. A laboring woman with a strained or pained look on her face.
6. A mother resting with a fresh-squeezed baby.

If you have any of these photos and wouldn't mind me putting them on my blog, you can e-mail them to vbacwarrior at gmail dot com. If you have a blog I'd also be happy to link the photos to your blog. Thanks!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Today is the c-section anniversary

Four years ago right now I was a happy, if a bit battle-worn, whole, young pregnant mother expecting to give birth to her first child in about three weeks. At 10:27 p.m. central time it will be four years since that changed.

So many people ask me, "how can you still be so upset about something that happened so long ago? It can't be that bad!" I'll admit that now, anyway, it's not "that bad"-not for most of the year. It's just this day. I ask myself that question a lot too,though. How can I, the woman who held her teenage sister's hand as a doctor told her that her baby boy had died just two weeks before he was due, I, the woman who watched that young body give birth to a lifeless body, I, a woman who knows, personally, that birth can so often only mean death, how can I be upset when I have such a bright, beautiful four-year-old, living, blessing in my life?

Though a scar will never be the same as the ache of a missing baby, I think my sister said it perfectly recently when she said, "it's not okay. it's never going to be okay because he's never coming back." This scar will never go away. Where there is a physical scar there always remains an emotional one.

I think it's worse for me this year because it's the first time I've been pregnant on the c-section anniversary. What is comforting today,though, is that when I look down my scar is eclipsed by my growing breasts and belly. For the next 5-6 months, at least, my scar will be invisible to me.

Still, a thought I can't get out of my head: I'm carrying a baby in a damaged uterus. My first baby had a whole home. My other two had to settle for second-best. They deserve so much better than that and it's something I'll never be able to give them.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I had my 16 week prenatal appointment today. Some small disappointing news: I lost 2lbs. No more ketones in my urine though, so the midwife was happy. She said she "wanted to see some weight" on me next time though. I told her, "have you LOOKED at my thighs?"

Now the really, really good, fabulous, wonderful, terrific, exciting, couldn't be any better news:

I'M GROWING A BABY!!!! She didn't take an actual numeric measurement from pubic bone to top of fundus, but she did feel for how high up it was. It's HIGHER than she would expect! Can you believe that?! I'm going to have a NORMAL-size baby!

What a happy day, today!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How My Babies (Don't) Grow

This is what my babies looked like at birth

Sarah, 3lbs 10oz

Caleb, 5lbs, 2oz

On Weight and Wait

Four weeks from now I will be 20 weeks pregnant. Four weeks from now I will have a prenatal appointment that will consist of a new element: the fundal height measurement.

This new stage of my pregnancy is one I dread. I dread it more than blood tests and cold hands. This will, in theory, tell the midwife how my baby is growing. My babies don't grow well. I had a 37 week 3lb 10oz baby and a 41 week 5lb 2oz baby. My pregnancies are plagued with alphabet soup: IUGR, SGA.

I'm a young, healthy, chubby woman. Why can't I grow a healthy weight, chubby baby? "Maybe you just grow small babies." That's what everyone says. I'm 5'1'', but so is my mother and she smoked and had 7 children all between 6-7lbs. My husband is six feet tall. Where are his genes in these babies? My MIL is even shorter than me and both of her babies weighed over 7lbs at birth. My 15 year old sister had a baby who weighed almost 8lbs and another sister recently gave birth to a 9lb baby. There's no way I "just grow small babies." Except...I do. I want to know why though and I want to change it. A week ago I had a dream that I gave birth to a delicious 9lb, 12oz baby. I don't know what "they'd" say about a VBAC mom pushing out an almost 10lb baby, but there's no doubt in my mind I could do it.

The night my first child was born, less than 4lbs, there was a mother who gave birth to 6lb twins. I cried. She could grow two babies to 6lbs but I couldn't even do that with just one. It's such a sad thing to give birth to a baby that looks like his mother has starved him for nine months...

Monday, January 5, 2009

HG and Me

As I've mentioned before, I have suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum in a previous pregnancy (my first) and am again dealing with it during this pregnancy (my third). I lost close to 30 lbs with my first pregnancy and had a baby born at 37 weeks, 1 day weighing 3lbs, 10oz. Cause and effect? Well, my doctor said no, but she also couldn't tell me why she was so small. With my second pregnancy I wasn't sick, had better nutrition, and had a bigger baby. So, you be the judge.

This third pregnancy and second battle with HG have been horrifying. This time I have a two year old and four year old to take care of. I haven't been able to take very good care of them. The nausea has been much worse this time, not even abating at night. I was finally admitted to the hospital about 3 weeks ago. I stayed there for four days. The first day I didn't even try to eat anything. I just slept and let my fluids and nutrition come from my iv bag. The second day I sat up and sipped chicken broth and lemon jello. The third day I began drinking water by mouth and the fourth day I was keeping down pot roast and green beans.

Four days after leaving the hospital I had a weight check and had gained back 4lbs. There was some concern though because I still had ketones in my urine. Since I was, however, eating, drinking and gaining weight I was sent home instead of back to the hospital. This Thursday I go in for a regular 16 week prenatal appointment. I'm hoping I've gained a lot of weight and there are no more ketones. We'll see on Thursday. . .

Friday, January 2, 2009

Back for Good

Wow, what a busy six months I've had! I moved to Alabama, got pregnant, moved back to Florida, celebrated the second anniversary of my first VBAC (my little guy's two?!), survived another busy holiday season and will soon remember (notice I don't say "celebrate") the fourth anniversary of my c-section and have a big party celebrating my big girl's 4th birthday.

I finally have internet access again and am glad to say that I'm back to Refuse to be a Womb Pod for good. Over the past 15 weeks of this pregnancy I've had many thoughts and experiences that I've wanted to explore here and it was frustrating to not have that capability. Among the "highlights" are a huge blow to my birth plans and a debilitating battle with HG. Thankfully I'm recovering from both. I haven't thrown up in about two weeks now and am down to taking the Zofran just once a day. I hate taking that medicine. It scares me to death. Maybe I'll be off it by next week :)

I have a small concern about my placenta, too. I know most of those who read here will think it's silly, but I think I may (again) have an anterior placenta. At almost 16 weeks pregnant with my third baby I have yet to feel any discernible movement. I'm absolutely confident that if I was feeling movement I'd know it at this point. I think the lack of feeling on my part is because of an anterior placenta. The midwife has also had a difficult time finding heart tones. With my last pregnancy, I had an anterior placenta as well. It didn't cause any problems as far as my cervix or cesarean scar were concerned, but I did have a very long labor with a malpositioned baby. While I describe that labor to anyone who'll listen as a "blast", I'd prefer a shorter "blast" this time.

I'm sorry I've been MIA for so long. Please check back often, as I'm hoping to be able to post at least every other day now!