Remember this post... I look back on it now in amazement. A stomach flu!
My OB, who guards my anxiety disorder very carefully and treats me with kid gloves probably more than he should have to, started murmuring even before then about my body not tolerating this pregnancy for much longer even though my blood pressure and everything else registered perfectly normal. I think he might have a sixth sense. I told him I didn't want to have a baby in August. August is such a stinking, hot month in Texas, especially this August... nobody would really want to be born in August.
He smiled and told me he was born in August. (Open mouth, insert puffy pregnant foot!)
Little did I realize how that "joke" almost wasn't one. He sent me home from my 3 am trip to the hospital the morning of Tuesday, August 30th, and told me to come in for a blood pressure check on Wednesday and then for my regularly scheduled appointment on Thursday, September 1st. He was giving me two more days. That would hopefully get me some rest (get me to September) and get my sweet little Cupcake to 38 weeks exactly. Everything went according to plan... except the rest part.
The pains came back with a vengeance that night. I was afraid to eat anything thinking that would make them worse. Yes, I still thought it was a stomach thing. Can you say stubborn? On Wednesday, my BP was lower than in the hospital but still elevated. On Thursday, at my appointment, it was bad. Not scary bad... but bad. He looked at me then and said, "I'm sending you next door to the hospital... we'll talk more there but it's time to have this baby now."
Now?! I can't have a baby now! My kids are in the waiting room, my husband left everything at work on hold to meet me here. They are expecting him to come back, you know! I didn't even bring my bag! My mom is leaving tomorrow for a little Labor Day vacation. I'm only 38 weeks! My babies don't come until 41 weeks! What do you mean NOW?
When he met me over at the hospital, he gave me the low down on my cervix. It was as I expected. No change... not favorable for an induction... locked up tight like Fort Knox! Well, of course it is! I told you my babies never come before 41 weeks! He said we could still try for induction or we could C-section. He told me what all each would entail. I called my doula and talked to her. She told me she would support whatever decision I made. I called the mother of a sweet little saint who was celebrating that day as his feast day in Heaven and begged for his intercession knowing that he would not deny his mama any request. I was exhausted. I hadn't slept more than a couple of hours at a time since Sunday night. I hadn't eaten anything except crackers, pretzels and Jello since Tuesday. I wasn't sure I could make a decision!
And then, I heard myself begging for a C-section.
And I knew it was bad.
Anyone who knows me knows that most of my anxiety centers around medical issues. Not just your typical white coat syndrome. Hospitals give me panic attacks. Even the words "minimally invasive therapy" strike fear in my heart. I had just written to my doula the week before to put at the top of my birth plan that a vaginal birth was imperative because "I am terrified of C-sections!" She had encouraged me some weeks ago to relax and pray for the strength to accept the birth God gives you.
So here I was, saying to him, I can't be induced. I don't have the strength. The idea of pushing a baby out with my stomach aching was already giving me palpitations. Here I was, with those words blubbering out of my mouth and the tears spilling hot on my face, wondering who it was that was sitting in my body, saying these words, because it sure wasn't me.
He could see I was exhausted beyond reason. He offered me one more day. One night of medicine induced rest in the hospital where I could be monitored and checked. One night to get things in place for our older children. One night to allow Husband to grab a few things like something to eat, my bag and some food for our fridge that my mom could easily put together for the kids. One night to get my mom here instead of on her planned vacation So, I ate and slept and prayed that night still feeling a bit out of my own body but at peace with the decision we had made.
My doula showed up the next day, ready to walk with me along this fearful road. She understands anxiety and panic and offered to help talk me through it. As they wheeled me in, I searched my brain for the saint of the day to no avail. I told you I hadn't even looked. But I knew it was First Friday and the comfort and peace that brought me was tremendous.
I have to admit that the surgery, while certainly not a party on wheels, wasn't as bad as I had made it up to be in my mind. Medical technology these days can do amazing things when it wants to. My OB talked to me the whole time. He told me what was happening. He told me what sounds I was hearing and what sensations I might be experiencing. He told me when her head was delivered and how they needed to suction her a little bit more than normal.
He told me how tangled she was in the cord, how it was wrapped around her neck THREE TIMES and I heard how the knot he found further down caused both him and the doula to gasp in amazement.
He told me she was one very blessed little girl. It was obvious to him now having seen the condition of her wrapped up so completely in the cord and the unexpected knot that he found further up, that an induction would have caused her tremendous distress, if not worse. I could tell he didn't want to think about the worse part. I couldn't help but think about it. Now I know why it wasn't an option. Why I begged words out of my mouth that sounded completely out of my mind to me. This was the way she needed to be born... for her sake. It was God's plan, not mine. God gives you the graces to handle what he asks of you, when he asks it of you.
In all my years of being afraid of a C-section, I now realize that what I should have been afraid of was the recovery. : ) Our faith teaches us that in pain and agony will woman labor to bring children into this world. Having now experienced both ends of the delivery spectrum, I know that the pain and agony of a vaginal birth comes before whereas a C-section's comes after. The first thing I said to my friend who has had multiple C-sections was that I was sorry for not being more sympathetic! I can't deny that at times a certain amount of pride was present when answering that question "all vaginal deliveries?" in the affirmative. I know women who speak of feeling empowered by birthing a baby. I have felt that myself. But childbirth is truly humbling, no matter how it is accomplished, and I know I would do well to remember that.
My official diagnosis was preeclampsia; some call it toxemia or pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH). No, I have never had any problems with it before and it's possible that I might never again. We just can't know that now. It happens to young moms, it happens to older moms. What I do know is that I feel less afraid than I did before. I feel stronger, a little bit, every day.
|Not my nicely manicured nails... my beautiful mom's!|