OK, today’s post is happier. :)
Fourth pregnancy – Following our second pregnancy loss, we waited a few months before trying again. For the first time, really, we decided to just “not prevent” and trust God in the whole baby arena. (What a feeling of peace we got upon making that a conscious decision!) We again got pregnant quite quickly. At that point, I had in the back of my mind that I wanted a vbac. I mentioned that at one of my early pregnancy visits. Doctor said that if all was looking good at the end of the pregnancy, it could be an option. (This is going to be especially relevant in a future post.)
That pregnancy went well. I did have some extra scans early because of my pregnancy history by that point. Even later, I had a Level II scan rather than the basic at 20 weeks. But, everything was good. My blood pressure was good, glucose tests were passed (though borderline and I had to repeat the 1 hour), etc. We found out that we were having a girl, which was a bit of a surprise, as I always saw myself as a mother of boys. But, we were excited. I did end up with one extra scan at 36 weeks. (I don’t remember why – maybe to check the fluid levels since we’d discovered they were high late in the pregnancy with LK.) Anyway, at that scan, my thoughts about her position were confirmed; she was footling breech. One foot down (and pressing/kicking my cervix) and the other up by her head. My hopes of vbac were rapidly coming to an end, as that is an especially difficult breech position to deliver.
Now, going back a bit… I wanted a vbac, but I did nothing to prepare myself for that. I didn’t take any classes, seek support from other women who’d had one, or read the research; I did nothing. All that I had done was mention to my doctor that I was interested, and even that was only once or twice early on in pregnancy.
At the follow-up with my doctor after the scan confirming Scotch’s position, my doctor confirmed my suspicion that because of her position, my only option would be a repeat c-section. He said nothing to indicate that there was any possibility of her changing positions, nor did he suggest anything that might have helped her to change positions. So, again, not really knowing better, I went along with it and scheduled the section for January 15, 2009. Again, one week prior to my due date. (Also, again on the 15th of the month…)
So, once again, I checked into the hospital early in the morning, signed a slew of papers (which again were never fully explained), and got settled into a room hooked up to monitors. This time, the IV took many attempts, several nurses, both arms, different locations, and left multiple bruises. It was not a good start to the morning for me. They did all of the prep for surgery in the room, without the spinal in place – shaving, bladder catheter, etc. All the while they were hooking me up, etc., not one person even felt my belly for the baby’s position. It was still in my head that the only reason I was there for a section was because of her position. This was not an “elective repeat” situation. I know, to the nurses, that’s what it was… but no one confirmed or checked that with me. It turns out, as I had suspected and Dr. B confirmed upon pulling her out, that Scotch had indeed turned head down… the night before surgery. (I don’t blame the nurses for not checking – it’s more on me because I didn’t speak up and ask them to check.)
I walked down to the ER once the anesthesiologist arrived, at around 9:30. He inserted the line for the spinal, and then I was again strapped to the table. Scotch was delivered at 10:15 am, weighing 8 lbs, 2 oz, and measuring 21 inches long. Again, I did not get to see her until she was all cleaned up. A huge difference though, because I’d had chats with Mr. A about it, was that I was able to see and touch her while still in the OR. They unstrapped one of my arms so that I could touch her and I got to see her face before they took her to the nursery.
Mr. A went with her, then came back to me in recovery again. The time in recovery was less with the spinal than it had been with the epidural, though I don’t really remember exactly how long it was. I do remember not liking the feeling of “feeling” returning to my lower body, but being anxious to show the nurse that I could move my feet and legs on my own so I could get out of there and into the room with my little girl. I also remember feeling hot and itchy while in recovery (and for the 48 hours or so after surgery), which was apparently a side effect of the anesthesia. I was given medication to help with that.
Once we got back to my room, Scotch was brought in right way, and I was able to nurse her. Unlike her brother, she latched on right away and started nursing like a champ. (Though, we did have issues with the neonatologist at the hospital FORCING us to supplement with formula while we were there… that was agony… I knew what I was doing, Scotch knew what she was doing, we were fine.) My milk came in within 24 hours, which was definitely an answer to prayer. Another major difference between the 2 deliveries and hospital stays – because Scotch was born at 10:15 on a Thursday, there was no one there when we got back to my room. We were able to have some time alone with her, then called Mr. A’s aunt, who was watching LK for us, telling her it was time to bring him to meet his sister. We were able to have some time, just the 4 of us, before the rest of the family and friends started showing up. That was nice – and another thing I’d made known in advance that I wanted.
Recovery from a section is difficult. You’re caring for a newborn and have just been cut open so you’re healing from that as well. With both, I tried to limit meds (because of nursing) to just what I needed to get by. I know they say not to “be a hero” with that, but I just didn’t want the extra drugs in my system. Things that should have been “easy” in caring for a baby, like changing diapers, were made much more difficult by the fact that I couldn’t sit up straight, lift the baby, get up quickly, etc. I’ve not tried to be “supermom” in doing everything myself. I let others cook, clean, and shop for me in the beginning. Yet, those things like changing and bathing should not be difficult for mom to handle.