A few of you know I have been preparing for an all natural un-medicated birth. Fewer of you know that my scheduled c-section is this Tuesday.
So, where to begin.
At 37 weeks, Dave and I went in for our final ultrasound since we found out I had a subchorionic hematoma (at week 23). We received good news. My internal bleed had healed completely and my baby was healthy and growing well. We also found out that day that she had decided to flip and was now breech. I saved my tears for the drive home.
I was devastated. Dave didn’t know what to say. I spent that weekend drowning out the world with google searches from the safety of my bedroom.
The next week, still sad, I held on to the tiny bit of hope I had left. I knew I had a small window to try a few things that might help her get into the correct position. I tried everything I was comfortable with. I spent days upside down. I did handstands and flips in the pool. I played music and shown a flashlight down low. I did acupuncture and moxibustion. I worked with my hypno-birthing teacher to relax and visualize her turning. I did the Webster technique up until the very end. I did not do an ECV or a “version”. This entails the doctor manually moving the baby from breech to vertex (head down). I have my reasons and you can feel free to ask me about my decision any time you like. For brevity, I will keep it simple and say that I declined the version.
I told myself and her that we were in this together. It is my job to carve out every path and her’s to decide which road to take. I imagine this agreement, formed in utero, will be the foundation of our relationship.
I passed my due date Friday. Dave and I decided to schedule a c-section for this upcoming Tuesday. So in less than 48 hours, we will finally meet our baby. It seems she has made her choice.
How do I feel?
I am sad that I will not experience labor. I so wanted that experience. I know it may seem odd for some but I was more excited about labor than about pregnancy. And I did everything I thought possible to prepare. I read more books than I can even count. I ate well. I took my vitamins, probiotics, and liquid calcium. I worked out with a trainer at least once a week. I did prenatal yoga once a week. I was serious about hypnobirthing and practiced my scripts. And 2 words: perineal massage.
I am scared of surgery. I wanted an un-medicated birth for 2 reasons. First, to really experience labor in a raw way. To be able to feel the hormonal highs and lows only found in labor. Second, to avoid needles. And medication. And cold sterile instruments. And all the things inside of a hospital that freak me out.
When I would tell people I wanted an all natural birth some people said something along the lines of “good for you” or “more power to you”. Something indicating that I am a strong person. Or at least that I wanted to be perceived as a strong person. And that was never my intention. It’s the opposite in fact. I am not strong. I am frightened. I really don’t want to have surgery. I don’t want to lay in a cold room and have a needle stuck in between my vertebrae…and another in my urethra. I don’t want to experience small talk over my open abdomen. I don’t want to feel powerless and out of control as others hold my baby for the first time.
This was not what I had in mind.
But I know I am lucky. I am lucky to have had the chance to experience pregnancy. Some women would eagerly trade places with me for the chance to experience the excitement of those first kicks. I am lucky to have had the bleed in my placenta because it allowed me to have the ultrasounds many women never get. Those ultrasounds let me see my baby was healthy. It was the ultrasound that detected that my baby was breech early. And because I found out early, I was able to mourn the loss of my plan for a natural birth. I was able to try everything to get her to turn – and take solace in knowing that I tried everything I could. And now, I am able to come to terms with my feelings and fears about what will be my birth story.
So I have decided to switch gears. I have decided to create rituals to help me welcome my new baby into the world. And to get me excited about her arrival.
This weekend my family came over to help me clean the house for our new house guest. Our bags are packed. And her room is ready.
Last night, friends invited us for a dinner in our honor. We celebrated and toasted to Madeleine’s upcoming birthday.
Today, Dave and I slept in. We cuddled until mid morning. We had a lazy breakfast of coffee and croissants outside. Then came inside and snuggled on the couch watching tv. I spent the afternoon soaking up the relaxation found in a deluxe mani/pedi.
Tomorrow, I will not work. I will get a blowout. I will have a facial. If I can fit in massage – you better believe I’m doing it. Oh, and I will take a bath…a long bubble bath. Then I will have a good night’s sleep. And prepare for the calm happy arrival of our baby, Madeleine Sophia Gillespie.