This baby could be born any day. And honestly I can barely stand the anticipation. I want to meet him NOW! Not to mention that I feel like I am about to burst. Got to love those last few weeks of frustrating discomfort. And it is 100 degrees here in Escondido. However, I find all the aches and pains beautifully reassuring. Every kick to the ribs and (almost but not quite painful) braxton-hicks contraction reminds me that a healthy FULL TERM baby boy is on the way.
Pain is a privilege although we often don't see it that way, the pain of childbirth included.
Speaking of which, let me update you all on my current birthing plan.
But before I do let me clarify that my intention is not to stir up controversy or open myself up to critique. My husband and I came to these decisions together through research, prayer, and more research and more prayer.
I also have a great doctor now. It took me 35 weeks to find him but I did and couldn't be happier. I did not feel safe in the hands of my other doctors so it feels good to now have a doctor I trust and respect.
I also feel that it is important to talk about these things though because I am clearly choosing the path less traveled in my situation and this information may be helpful to someone out there searching for answers like I was. I hope it is.
Let me give you the run down...
Natural birth is very important to me. I believe strongly that the birth process is misunderstood and feared unnecessarily in our culture and it need not be. However, that is not to say that it should be taken lightly and not approached seriously. Being informed is extremely important. The tricky part is getting true information. And if you know me at all you know how I seek TRUTH relentlessly, truth in all areas of my life, including the truth about the real risks involved with this pregnancy.
My first son was a natural birth. A full-term worth every second of pain beautiful natural birth. But Aubrey and Ellie were born by emergency classical c-section (as opposed to the more common transverse c-section). It was the best decision at the time and I don't regret it. My daughters' lives were on the line and I did what I had to do.
However, when I got pregnant with this baby I was told that having a previous classical c-section introduced greater risks to this pregnancy and that a vaginal delivery was out of the question. If I did manage to avoid preterm labor I would not be allowed to carry any longer than 37 weeks AT MOST and would require an amnio at 36 weeks in order to schedule a c-section as soon as possible. I was even told that they would deliver my son even if his lungs were not ready for fear I would rupture in the interim. The didn't want me to go into labor at all. They also strongly insisted on progesterone injections.
It seemed my hope of an intervention free pregnancy was an impossibility.
I went straight home and began researching what the doctors had told me. Although none of it "felt" right to me at all, I am not a doctor and needed to do research and get a second opinion before I accepted or rejected this course of action.
I felt so torn because I did not want to do anything that would put my baby or myself at risk. I have lived through losing two babies and was incapable of being flippant about the real risks of pregnancy and childbirth. But I also didn't want to make fear based decisions. I didn't want this baby to be robbed of his time in the womb or of a birth if it really wasn't necessary.
Somehow I had to sort all this out.
Not to mention I couldn't shake the feeling that my doctors were imposing on me "policies" that were in place more for their protection than for mine. A scheduled c-section would control a lot of variables and at the end of the day put a healthy baby in my arms most likely...which I understood. But was it truly what was best? It has risks too as does progesterone injections, amnios, and delivering a baby at 36 weeks.
I couldn't get rid of the nagging voice in my heart that kept asking me if this was truly the best course of action or just the most acceptable? I felt like I was settling out of fear instead of striving for the best for my son...although I wasn't sure exactly what that was. I was not about to put him at risk of injury or death to prove a point, but I also did not feel comfortable with what was being told to me. And I was not sure what to do...
One thing I was certain of though is that I am not a defective pregnant time bomb. I was not going to let the current medical establishment treat me that way. Just because I had a "history" of preterm labor that caused the deaths of my daughters did not mean that I was a ruined womb only capable of being salvaged my the miracle of modern medicine and all its interventions.
God makes babies. God grows them. And He determines all the days of their lives.
Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for what modern medicine has to offer. I am not anti-medical intervention. Not at all. All I am saying is we can't lose sight of who is really in control of all of this...our bodies, our wombs, our babies, our lives. He is the Great Physician and we should consult Him first, seek direction and guidance from Him, and listen to His voice, as we navigate these things.
It is so easy to feel broken and wrecked, especially when a doctor is telling you how damaged you are. I know many of you have struggled with this too. Maybe you have never been able to get pregnant or you have had multiple miscarriages or chronic pre-term labor? Maybe your child was born with a genetic disorder? And it is so hard not to feel defective. Especially when doctors are reinforcing that to us with statistics and scientific evidence...but it isn't true.
What is true is that we are all ruined and broken and always have been but Christ redeemed us and all good things come from Him. We are just as He made us to be and He is glorified in our weaknesses and insufficiencies even more so than in our strengths and abilities.
We cannot and should not take the credit nor give it to our bodies for the maternal successes we have had. Just like God gave Sarah and Abraham a baby when she was past her ability to even conceive, He does these miracles in us...the babies we have and don't have are ultimately up to Him and not even the best doctor can guarantee us anything. Not that God doesn't use doctors and medicine, not that we shouldn't be sensible and responsible...but living in fear and simply trying to eliminate as much risk as possible is an illusion anyway. Our trust cannot be in men, but in Christ alone. Not to mention there is a difference between real risk and perceived risk and we NEED the Holy Spirit to help us know which is which.
Sometimes we need to be brave, to be strong, to walk off the beaten path when we are called there by Him...
I was feeling nudged. So I kept reading and researching. I changed my insurance so that I could have consultations with other doctors for second opinions. I got my hands on any and all information available to me. And I prayed. A lot! I asked others to pray for me too. I asked God to lead the way. I asked Him to help me know what the right thing for this baby really is.
To make a long story short this is what my husband and I have decided to do: I declined the progesterone injections. I also declined the amino and refused to allow my son to be born prematurely. My research showed that not only are amnios unreliable and have risks but my risk of rupture simply carrying my son was extremely low and that going full-term did not put my unborn son nor myself in nearly as much danger as my (previous) doctors had implied. It was clearly in my son's best interest to leave him alone and let him mature in my belly for as long as possible.
We did set a c-section date at 39 weeks, however if I go into labor on my own before 39 weeks I will attempt a trial of labor to have this baby vaginally. The risk of rupture after a classical c-section is way lower than you might think, although higher than a transverse incision. Surprisingly, a woman has a greater chance of rupture by receiving prostaglandins during labor and other induction/augmenting drugs during labor (even with no previous c-section) than I do after a classical c-section. So that is the kicker though, I have to go all natural! I feel confident I can however as I have done it once before. If not, off to a c-section I go.
In a perfect world I would not have scheduled a c-section at all, but my husband has some reservations so that was our compromise. I get a shot at a vaginal delivery but only to a certain point. And he feels better knowing that we have a multi-outcome plan. I feel very settled about the whole thing.
Most importantly I feel like I am doing what is best for my baby. I feel like I had to protect him from both the risks of a previous classical c-section and unnecessary medical interventions and find some sort of middle ground for his sake. I want him not only to live but to thrive as I am sure all mothers do.
I will keep you posted as to the outcome of all of this. Please keep us in your prayers. My c-section date is July 30th so we know he will at least come into the world by then if not earlier God willing!