A different birth, a different story…

On January 27th we were blessed with our sweet baby girl “C”.  As fast as the pregnancy went, and as quickly as J has grown into his 20 month self, it still baffles me how quickly this first week has gone by.  So far we are adjusting quite nicely to being a family of 4. J is already an awesome big brother – we never doubted this though.  But now for the birth story…

Since my labor with J was pretty quick, I suspected that C would also come along quite quick.  If only I’d know just how quick!  At my 39 week appointment I was already at 5cm and 90% effaced…we all thought she’d come any day at that point.  But just like her brother, she was right on time.  Born exactly on her due date.  At 1:30 am I started feeling contractions.  Much stronger than the many many you feel the closer you get to going into labor.  3 contractions and 15 minutes later I woke up the Hubby and called my Mom to head down the hill.  I swear J had a sense something was happening cuz he woke up shortly before my contractions started and by the time we left for the hospital 45 minutes later, he was wide awake and sitting on the couch with Dada until reinforcements arrived to stay with him.  It was quite funny though as I cussed and danced my way through each contraction…my sweet 20 month old sponge started trying to repeat my cuss words…whoops!

Luckily the hospital is only 10 minutes away – especially at 2am when you run all the red lights…ahem…By the time we got into our room in labor and delivery, I was at 8 cm.  Hubby and I had talked about not going with an epidural this time around.  Getting one with J had delayed everything by 12 hours…ugh.  We were not going to do that again!  And a few weeks ago I’d had a chat with my midwife about what I planned to do – epi or not – and she’d mentioned how once you’ve been through labor up to 8 or 9 cm the pain doesn’t get much worse through the end.  If you can just stick it out for a little longer, you’ll get through it all much quicker.  Something I wish I would have known the first time around, really.  Especially since my labors go so quickly. I also planned to do a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) with the hopes that Miss C would have a smaller head than her brother…  Anywho, we both laughed when they asked if I wanted an epi as I was nearing 9 cm.  Lo and behold, 5 minutes later I was ready to start pushing. Thankfully I flew through the pushing and only 1 1/2 hours after my contractions started I was holding my sweet girl.

She had been under stress during the quick labor and had already pooped, and we found out that the cord was tied in a knot around her ankle as well.  But here she was, healthy and perfect…and very punctual.

This labor was quite different from my first, but I wouldn’t expect them to be the same.  No two things are.  After a successful VBAC the complications set in…

They soon discovered that there was placenta left behind and although some of it was retrieved, an ultrasound later that morning showed that there was even more to go and get.  We had hoped to spend only 1 night at the hospital after a ” normal” birth, but no-can-do when you need a D&C under general anesthesia to clean out what was left behind.  Thankfully they did the ultrasound and the procedure and in the end, although I lost over a pint of blood, I finally was able to start recovering.  Still only 2 nights in the hospital compared to 3 after my C-section!

It still took a full week before I started feeling human again.  That much blood loss and I will be anemic for a while.  I get winded walking up the stairs, and the smallest chores are quite wearing. But C is nursing like a champ, J is adjusting nicely to his little sister, and Hubby has been great at keeping things in order in our new chaos.

I watched What To Expect When You’re Expecting a few days ago.  Although being a little postpartum played a part I’m sure, it was the perfect movie to watch as you come out of a pregnancy.  One of the few movies that shows the many, many different sides of birthing.  It’s never exactly as you planned or expected.  But in the end everything is just as it should be.

I am feeling very blessed to have a beautiful daughter, a sweet little boy, an amazing husband…and another birthing story to tell 🙂

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C-Section

When I was pregnant with J I knew that I was going to want an epidural.  No question in my mind that I wasn’t ready for a natural childbirth and so for me, I always planned on the epi.  When I went into labor they were sure J was going to be born within about 6 hours from my water breaking, he was moving along pretty quick.  But I didn’t get my epidural until 8-9 cm and then it was overkill and I completely lost feeling and the ability to push effectively.  So my labor stalled.  12 hours into labor I was finally able to push and pushed for 2 hours with no significant movement.

My midwife had told me at my 39 week appointment that J’s head was on the large side.  Well apparently my pelvis, while plenty wide, is also oval-shaped.  Something I’d have no way of knowing…until I tried to give birth.After 14 hours of labor, even the vacuum didn’t help any and the decision was made to take me in for a c-section.  There was no way that J was coming out as planned.

I’d never really thought too much about a c-section.  Mainly because I didn’t think there was any significant risk of needing one.  I didn’t have any specific ill-thoughts or feelings about c-sections either though.  Beyond not wanting to go all-natural, I didn’t have a specific idea of how my birthing plan would be carried out.  When my midwife told me that I would need a c-section after all, she approached it with some apprehension.  I think a lot of mothers who go through the initial parts of labor and really disappointed when they have to go through a c-section too.  I appreciated that she approached it carefully and explained to me what was happening and that J just wasn’t going to fit through the birth canal.  C-section really wasn’t an option at this point, it was mandatory.

My c-section went smoothly, and besides being really exhausted after 14+ hours of labor and then a major surgery, I didn’t have any regrets at the time.  The only major disappointment I had was that I wasn’t able to hold my own baby until an hour after they pulled him out of me.  I made sure that I was allowed skin-on-skin as soon as possible and he breastfed fine, but I missed out on that whole first hour.  Luckily Daddy got to be with him during that time so they could stitch me back up.

Yesterday I shared this post from Facebook:

csection

Five Things You Should Not Say to a Cesarean Mom and Three Things You Should

 

I don’t specifically remember comments that I’ve made in the past to friends who’ve had c-sections.  Nor do I specifically remember comments that were made to me after my own c-section.  But the article did get me thinking back to my experience and how these five things affect me now.

#1 is a very valid point in my mind.  Everyone’s experience with birth is different.  Some people have it really “easy” with no complications, and some people struggle with birth or recovery.  Comparing one birth to another is as valid as comparing a fruit to meat.  Just don’t do it.

#2. Yes, very true, but don’t forget that birth is a very important experience to moms, dads, family members.  If you had a very specific birth plan in place and you were forced to change it, that’s a hard thing to quickly get over.  Consider the mother’s feelings, especially since she birth is exhausting.

#3 If someone would have said this to me I would have either slapped them or not spoken to them for a very long time.  Seriously? Who in their right mind would say something like this to a new mom riddled with hormones and postpartum symptoms?

#4 If you really want a c-section by choice, that’s your own prerogative.  Maybe that’s in your own birth plan.  But don’t cheapen our experience by making it sound like a c-section is the “best” way to give birth.

#5 Some people connect more to their c-sections than others.  For some it is a reminder that things didn’t go quite the way they planned or envisioned. For others it may be a way that they can look back on a wonderful gift.  I personally have no attachment to my scar other than it being a story to someday tell my little one(s).  To each their own.

If you really want to talk to a new mama about her birth story, c-section or otherwise, please keep in mind that new mama’s are very sensitive, overly emotional (rightly so) and sleep deprived.  Be careful with what you say and how your words may come off as judgmental.  Be supportive and listen to what mama has to say about her experience.  Unless she asks, she probably doesn’t give a rats ass about your own thoughts or opinions on the matter.

When baby #2 for us happens, I will tell my midwife that I’d like to try for a VBAC first.  Unless the next one has a head the size of a watermelon too, I’m hopeful that I’ll get to experience a vaginal birth.  My midwife did tell me that the chances of needing a second c-section are higher if you’ve already had one, and that if we are planning on more than 2 kids we will need to discuss the risks of a possible 3rd pregnancy or c-section.  We’ll cross that bridge when/if we come to it.