Birth story

(Baby is asleep. Attempt to write birth story.)

Baby B’s pregnancy absolutely flew by…until 34 weeks. I was pretty miserable starting from about that point on. I had scheduled a csection, but I often hoped I would go into labor a little early…obviously I wanted him to be term, but I was READY the day 37 weeks hit.

Well no such luck. My csection had been scheduled for 39w4d since my doctor was going out of town and that was the earliest I could have him do it. But at my 38 week appointment I told him it was probably more important to me that he be the doctor to do it than him, and it wanted to just go ahead and get it done at 39w0d (the soonest you can elect to have a cesarean). He said normally that would be totally fine, but they were replacing the air filtration system on l and d that weekend and weren’t taking any scheduled patients…just what came in the door. So I did end up waiting it out and my doctor gave me some ambiens to get me through the next week and a half.

The night before I was scheduled to go in was pretty normal, and I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight. I took my ambien and went to bed early. But the lack of water started contractions which in hindsight I think was back labor and I was up all night with them…on ambien. Miserable. I waited for my alarm to go off desperately and we got in the car around 6am…and still ended up being 30 mins late because of traffic.

They got us in a room pretty quickly, but it wasn’t in l and d – they were full. We were taken back to a room in the GYN unit and it was TINY. No window, no clock, and a shared bathroom. They told us they would try to get us a new room as soon as possible. We went through all the pre csection stuff and then off I went.

I started to panic a bit more than I anticipated.

(…suddenly interrupted with nausea. Come down with food poisoning…)

( a few days later after a day in bed on phenergan and another different kind of tummy bug. While pumping…)

My first panic was the spinal. I was a lot calmer getting my epidural last time…or maybe I just thought I was. Actually, now that I think about it I do remember snapping at the guy to keep telling me what was going on, I didn’t like feeling him touch me without being warned. Anyway. That was kind of scary to do without Mr. R there, but I had great nurses and anesthesiologist who were all super nice and used to people freaking out. After they got it in I started to freak out that it wasn’t going up high enough, then I freaked out that it was going too high and I would be too numb to breathe, but it turned out to be perfect.

My second fear was of throwing up laying down. I’m pretty sure I anxietied myself into being nauseous. So I asked the anesthesiologist for something to help me calm down even though I really hadn’t wanted to resort to that as it would probably make me out of it. He said as soon as baby was out I could. (Thankfully I calmed down as soon as baby was born and didn’t need it so I was present and lucid for everything)

We were able to have a family centered c section which was just awesome. We had an extra nurse at my head who offered to take pictures and as they were pulling him out they pulled back a clear sheet in the drape so I could see him be born. It was amazing. They were tugging and pulling and my doctor grunted and said, “woah! That’s a big baby!” He put him in front of the window so I could see and baby B peed everywhere.

After I got a chance to see him they took him to be weighed and measured. He was 9 lbs 15 oz and 22.5″ long! Huge! That moment I knew I had made the right choice with the csection and was so glad I hadn’t gone into labor naturally. I got a stage 2 tear getting D out who was only 5lbs 1 oz…this baby would have WRECKED me.

They swaddled him up and brought him over to me and I got to hold him while I was still laying on the table (my arms weren’t strapped down) and the nurse helped me breastfeed. On the table! They finished up the surgery while I held him. I don’t remember passing him to my husband but I must have briefly to be transferred from the OR table to a rolling bed, but then he was back in my arms and they rolled me back to my room holding him. They did all his shots, vitals, etc in our room. It was everything I hoped it would be.

Later that night they told us a room had opened up in l and d and we were being moved out of the broom closet room. Yay! We got ourselves comfortable and even though I planned on sending mr R home to sleep in a real bed, I asked if we could get a fold out chair for while he was here so he could be more comfortable. For some reason there wasn’t one in this room.

The nurse brought the chair and after about 30 minutes in it mr R starred finding bugs on him. I immediately had him change clothes, the nurse called environmental services…yep. Bedbugs. Mr. R went home to shower and the nurse told me that we would need to get a different room because they would be putting this room out of commission for a few days to clean it. They bagged all our stuff (bags I had spent weeks packing and repacking) even though they didn’t know how to properly treat it yet and eventually the nurses came in with a baby bath to bathe baby B just as a precaution. Then they took him to the nursery until we could get into our new room.

Well, two hours later he was still gone and I hadn’t heard about a new room. Mr R was gone and I was just sitting there alone. And I still hadn’t slept since the night before the c section. I called my nurse in to give me some answers and she said that 3 people came in in labor and we lost the room. I freaked. WHY was the baby not brought back then? If this room is so dirty it needs to be put out of commission for days then why am I still allowed to be in here?! Where have you taken all of my stuff?

Between no sleep and getting so worked up my pain level started to get out of control. I just cried for a long time. I was due to get my catheter out but I couldn’t get myself to the bathroom still.

Eventually they found me another room back on the GYN unit. Still no window or clock, but at least a private bathroom. And that is when the people started coming in and out. Constantly. Every time I would fall asleep, minutes later there would be someone at the door. Because beyond the normal crazy number of people in and out, we had people coming to apologize about this mess, and I think making sure we weren’t thinking of suing. We asked again where our stuff had been taken and those people came as I was trying to sleep too.

We were told everything needed to be washed on hot and dried on high for 2 hours. But the washers in the regular hospital are only used for washing mops, they outsource their linens – so they don’t even have a hot setting. If we wanted our stuff washed on site it’d have to go to children’s. I didn’t want to risk losing it. They did have an autoclave so I picked one outfit that didn’t end up fitting anyway and a swaddle for the baby to be treated in it and didn’t see those things for like 8 hours. I never did get to use anything in that bag until the very last day. My mom rewashed everything and sent it back with mr R.

We did end up getting out of the GYN unit and into a real postpartum room…our FOURTH room…sometime around end of day 2 or day 3. I honestly can’t remember. I finally got to take my first shower and things got better even though I still felt really far behind healing wise. My nurse kept telling me I should be walking so far and I just couldn’t do it. I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep or if I just have a hard time with the csection recovery, because it was the same way after the twins. Both times I didn’t feel like I started to improve until day 5, which is when I got home. Maybe it’s true that as long as you are in the hospital you will stay sick.

I thought that maybe I didn’t react well to the narcotic they were giving me and asked for something else to see if that would help with my pain level. I do tend to need a lot of some meds, I can NEVER get fully numb at the dentist. So the nurse said she would ask a doctor, a resident, who came in my room at 3am and said – no joke -” don’t take this as me passing judgement, but have you ever had a problem with opiates? Like heroine or prescription drugs?” He is lucky I couldn’t get out of that bed…

They did end up temporarily switching me to something stronger, but the nurse emphasized they could ONLY give me x amount and I could ONLY take it every 6 hours. With so many “onlys” I doubted I’d see a difference. Which I didn’t, but I didn’t want to be accused of drug seeking behavior so I just dealt with it.

We did have a guy in a suit from patient services or something come talk to us but he did nothing. We got a silver spin with the name of the hospital on it and $20 in vouchers to the cafeteria and gift shop for our troubles. I would fight it, I don’t think we should have to pay for the room, but Id only be saving my insurance company money.

( …baby is fussing…)

That is pretty much it. The birth: incredible. The hospital stay: terrible. But I have a sweet healthy baby boy and that is all that matters.

Note to self, don’t do a transfer anywhere near valentines day…because then you will have to deliver 9 months from valentines day.

Baby b is super sweet and very laid back. He does tend to get his days and nights confused and doesn’t sleep as well as everyone makes 10 pounders sound. He is pretty much up every 3 hours, with a few exceptions. We are still, somehow, breast feeding. He has a sucky (no pun intended) latch and we got his lip tie cut at 3 weeks. Latch still isn’t good but it’s tolerable. But I’ve had to supplement a little most days and I can’t be chained to a pump when the big guys are awake because they get into mischief. So that has been tough, but I feel like we are I finally getting into a little bit of a groove. I am just starting to see glimmers of why people could like this, but it’s not rainbows and unicorns yet.

He is still SO big, it makes me so sad because I feel like he skipped 3 months! He is 6 weeks today and I think as soon as we finish this pack he will be in size 2 diapers. And he is starting to look like a muscle man in 0-3 month stuff. He looks totally different form his big brothers, just like himself. And he is sweet as can be.

As for me, I am feeling great now. I’m not so happy with my body at the moment but that has just been motivation to keep breast feeding. I gained just as much with this little guy as I did with the twins, but I still hadn’t lost 8 lbs from them. I’m still a good 15-20lbs away from my pre pregnancy weight (so add in that 8 lbs and it’s a lot). And I got stretch marks this time even though I didn’t last time. The worst thing though is that now I have this flap of a belly that just hangs over my scar. It is still a bit numb and painful if you have pants on it the wrong way, and I have no idea how to dress with it. I’m still in maternity stuff and just wishing it away. But do you go over the flap, under it, or through it? These are new issues to me, I had no idea how good I made it out last time. But I am SO glad that I am not simultaneously recovering from a tear this time.

Baby B is born!

Needless to say I have been finding my new life with three children very busy and haven’t found the the time to type up a birth story, but I wanted to pop in to say that baby B was born (5 weeks ago! :/) and that all is well.

Hopefully after the holidays are over I will have some more time to sit down and update!

Starting to feel a little crazy!

Saturday I will be 35 weeks. For those who don’t know or remember I had the twins at 34 weeks exactly, so passing that milestone has been a big accomplishment.

For the most part this pregnancy has FLOWN by…until the day I turned 34 weeks. We’ve had lots of activities going on and keeping up with 2 toddlers generally keeps me pretty busy, but the activities seemed to have slowed and coincided with that 34 week date. I also think I have started feeling contractions this week. Every night my belly feels like it stays rock hard, like one continuous braxton hicks with a few real contractions mixed in.

Knowing that this is when my water broke last time just puts me on edge, like it could be any day now (even though that is most likely not true) and I find myself over analyzing EVERYTHING. It feels weird to not have made even one trip to l&d and every time I feel a cramp, or get a moderately elevated BP reading, or see something weird in the mirror I am wondering, “should I go in? No that’s crazy. They’re going to think I’m stupid.”

And I feel stupid! I don’t want to be one of “those” people, but honestly – its terrifying! I am definitely feeling uncomfortable and grouchy, but I am SO SO thankful to not be having the kidney issues I had last time. Adding to my impatience is the fact that this baby has been measuring much larger than the boys did, and if ultrasounds are correct is likely over 6 pounds already…to me THAT is a big baby! And I can feel it. I have gained more than I did with the twins, have gotten stretch marks and keep getting new ones whereas last time I didn’t, and by photos I look just as big or bigger (though my fundal height is on track instead of 6-8 weeks ahead). I have to be a lot more active this time too. I am carrying both boys into school plus the diaper bag and lunch box, in the floor changing diapers…its just not comfortable and when I’m not by myself I have Mr. R help, but during the day I often don’t have a choice.

I feel guilty about being antsy. I know its a normal last month of pregnancy thing, but mine were in the NICU so abnormally long I thought I would be much more tenacious about getting to 39 weeks. I definitely want to avoid NICU time, and I want him to get all the antibodies he can get from me with winter germs going around and such…but if that meant 38 weeks maaaayyyyybe it wouldn’t be so bad? I dunno? :/

I think I just need him to drop or something. Get more comfortable.

Otherwise I am glad to have made it this far. And I am really looking forward to the prospect of ACTUALLY having the baby in the room with me during our recovery. That sounds amazing :) I am SO excited to see this little guy.

 

Decision – made.

I am 25 weeks and 2 days today. It’s wonderful to hit one more milestone, and I absolutely don’t take a single day for granted!

I was able to take a peek at baby’s position on Saturday and he was frank breech (he was transverse last month as well). And to be honest, my first reaction was to be relieved/excited/hopeful. A breech baby would take the whole choice part of the VBAC/RCS decision away and therefore the guilt and anxiety of making the wrong one.

After that reaction, I realized that I really don’t actually WANT a VBAC. People can say whatever they want about that, but many “vbactivists” have not had a vaginal delivery before. I have and the recovery from my stage 2 tear, while not as intense at the beginning, lasted a lot longer than my c-section and left more long lasting issues. I still have pain sometimes.

I’ve just been having this feeling that this is going to be a large baby, he has measured way ahead at every scan and I have gained weight fast as well. D was only 5 pounds 1 oz. and I tore. A c-section could very well happen anyway and the #1 thing I remember feeling about the twins’ birth was that I should have just chosen the c-section to begin with.

My hospital offers a family-centered cesarean where they really try to make it as good of an experience as possible, and I’d really like to try for that if I have the opportunity to pick the date and time. I know it requires an extra nurse at your head and they only do so many – and usually not if it is in the middle of the night or an emergency. They dim the lights a bit, will play music if you want, peel back the blue sheet revealing a clear window so you can watch baby being born if you want. They also will “walk” baby out a little more slowly because there is evidence it helps to squeeze the fluid out of their lungs better similar to a vaginal birth. And they offer delayed cord clamping and skin to skin with mom or dad in the OR while you are being stitched up. They will even let you try to breastfeed on the table so long as you are up for it.

I have an appointment tomorrow and at the last two my doctor has asked what I had decided and I wasn’t sure. So I gave myself a deadline to decide by this appointment. And I have: I’m choosing the scheduled c-section.

It feels like a huge weight has been lifted. The rupture risk for the baby just kept eating at me and I feel like doing the safest thing for him is the best decision for me. I’ve had two friends have their second or third sections in the past few months so I’ve been able to see how they are recovering and that has helped a lot.

It works out best for us to have a plan and a schedule to get sitters for the boys because our family all lives 3+ hours away, and 5 days before my due date is a painful anniversary for my husband’s family so I really need to avoid delivering on that day if at all possible. I also am considering getting my tubes tied (weird) since I am not using them anyway, I will already be in the OR, and our insurance will be maxed out for the year. It might seem counterproductive to do so if we plan to try for more, and pointless if I am infertile anyway, but stranger things have happened and because of our feelings about life and our embryos we want to avoid a spontaneous pregnancy and use as many of them as possible since they are already created (even though it is much more expensive to do so). If our remaining 3 didn’t end up creating any more babies, at this point I think we would be content with 3. Heck, I am SO glad to have these three…I haven’t forgotten wondering if we would even get one. But even if we changed our minds, IVF again wouldn’t be off the table without tubes. And not taking BCPs (and likely forgetting frequently and screwing up my hormones) sounds awesome.

We still don’t have a definitive plan regarding our remaining embryos, which was the biggest factor for thinking of VBACing. But we aren’t going to make one in the next 4 months. It’s a circle – we both can only get so far when really thinking about it before our brains throw up that wall and say, “NOPE! Shut down – do not make any decisions”. There’s no way to know the outcome of future transfers either regardless of our record, so it is pointless to have everything planned and decided.

But there are still options and that is the important part.

The past two weeks

In the past two weeks the boys have had their 18 mo checkup, D was referred to EI for evaluation based on possible delayed speech, J had a hearing test, I had my 20 week anatomy scan, and D had his subsequent EI screening AND evaluation. CRAZY.

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The anatomy scan went great, NO soft markers this time to cause me two months of grief thank GOD! I saw my doctor afterward and again brought up the VBAC subject in hopes he would say something reassuring since I have been so unsure, but also because Mr. R was there and I wanted him to hear all these stats and things from the doc himself. Basically he said that when we get closer they will put all of my info into a “VBAC calculator” and if it is 61% or higher projected success rate they will suggest a trial of labor because maternal morbidity with a repeat c-section is actually higher (13 in 100,000 vs 3 in 100,000 with VBAC). 51% percent or lower with the calculator and they suggest repeat c-section.

I found that calculator online and it projected success rates for me at 85-89%. However, the 1% risk of rupture is still there. And that is 1 in 100 not 1 in 1000 like I thought. The doctor did say that a scheduled c-seection recovery is like butter compared to the emergency double whammy situation I had last time and that his wife had had 2 of them…and the reason she had the second one is because he didn’t want to take that 1% risk. But they only wanted 2 kids.

I also asked him if the hospital had an average emergency c-section response time, and he said he didn’t have the data on hand, but it was damn good, something like 8 minutes and the best we will find anywhere around here. I figured as much, we picked this hospital for a reason last go around.

I can tell my husband is more comfortable going the repeat c-section route and in a lot of ways so am I. After that appointment I was ready to just choose a RCS and put it to bed, but after sleeping on it I wondered how I would feel if I went into labor spontaneously before my due date and everything was textbook….it would be hard not to even try. So I think I am leaving my options open, but the tentative “birth plan” is:

- schedule a RCS for due date or the day after

- if I go into labor before then and I am feeling good about it, I will try for the VBAC. I don’t want to use induction agents (not because I am against them, but because they increase rupture risk) and will get an epidural.

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D’s appointments have also been weighing on my mind a lot. We went from “probably fine” with the pediatrician to “probably delayed” and qualifying for EI in a week. It is just the worst feeling to watch someone do little social experiments on your kid and know he isn’t doing what he is supposed to. I felt like I was watching from outside my body, because in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter how he performs. He is still my son and I love him no matter what so if he turns out to have delayed social skills…it doesn’t change anything. But the society we live in right now has taught me to panic about autism, and though my gut hasn’t been telling me he has it…where will all of this lead? When he does something that raises a red flag, that I can see so clearly behind the therapist’s eyes – is it a regular red flag or an autism red flag?

So today my mind has just been spinning with what ifs. And I am still pregnant with another boy so that worry is there for him too. I have really been looking forward to having a new baby, but after this week it all just seems so overwhelming. I just hope I don’t lose my mind so much that I can’t enjoy it!

Thoughts on VBAC

I haven’t been very good at updating lately. Maybe it is because until a certain point it seems to early to consider anything seriously for fear you will jinx things. Since I am 18 weeks now and nearly halfway there I think I am starting to think more seriously about choices up ahead…with one big one being to VBAC or not to VBAC.

My doctor is actually the one who brought it up at my first OB appointment. He recommended I attempt to VBAC, and honestly if he had said c-section I probably would have followed blindly. However, I have the right kind of incision, we waited long enough before a second pregnancy, and so long as I go into labor on my own at or before my due date (and baby isn’t gigantic) I am apparently a fairly ideal candidate.

I’m kind of surprised to find myself really anxious about trying for a VBAC. I think its the element of the unknown. I feel like if I knew I was going to have a scheduled c-section I could relax. But the word “rupture” sends me (and Mr. R) into a panic, and I with the boys I didn’t really “labor”…my water broke and I went on pitocin, but never really felt contractions (I  got an epidural at 3cm). So it scares me to think of a potentially painful labor experience and hour drive to the hospital. I would love a normal birth with skin to skin after, and no incision to deal with when I will have to take care of 3 kids after discharge. All of that sounds great, but the rest makes me extremely nervous.

Our other big dilemma is that we still have 3 embryos left. We know we eventually want at least one more, but one more is all our brains can process at this point – and we are thinking we will take a longer break between babies this time as well. If I elect for a c-section though, I am kind of making the decision about our remaining embryos indirectly because my doctor says its not wise to have more than 3 c-sections. And a pregnancy after 2 c-sections has a lot of increased risks for complications. I’m not prepared to make a decision about those embryos…I still very much feel attached to them.

I feel torn. I am leaning toward trying for the VBAC (or I guess a “trial of labor” is more appropriate), with the real tipping point being an unknown number of future pregnancies. But—this is the part I am really struggling with—does that mean I am putting THIS baby that is actually real and more than just potential, in greater danger?

The thing that freaks me out is that with the twins they had me push in the operating room in case I needed an emergency c-section…and I did. But with a VBAC you push in a regular room. What if you do rupture? Can they seriously get you into an operating room (assuming one is free) get anesthesia, etc quickly enough? The thought of that scenario tears me up and is the reason I still don’t feel I have made a 100% decision. Because I did need the section last time and that is all I know. And what if it isn’t even MY doctor delivering?  Do I trust someone I probably won’t meet until the day of to be able to save both of us in that scenario? The thought makes me want to throw up. That thought makes me want to book the c-section now.

But

I can’t have 5 c-sections.

and I could potentially in some undetermined span of time..have 6 babies. Maybe.

Maybe.

 

I just feel like no option is completely safe. And it is making me feel trapped. I’d love a door #3.

 

…I’m going to go cry now because that is what this subject always makes me do. But I have to face it sooner or later.