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Why I hate pregnancy
Pregnancy has always been something I hated. I know most people say they enjoy being pregnant but I have never been one of those people. I’ve never had that pregnancy ‘glow’ and I certainly didn’t beam with excitement. In fact I hated even talking about being pregnant. We didn’t tell many people I was pregnant for any of my pregnancies, and waited as long as possible to do so once we did tell people. Pregnancy has just never been my thing.
With all three of my children I experienced terrible sickness all throughout my first trimester, and sometimes well into my second. The third trimester typically was highly uncomfortable, and the fear of birth always caused me anxiety. With the exception of my first child, I have been fearful of dying in childbirth because surgery scares me. The closer we get to the actually due date the more this anxiety and fear kicks in.
In addition to the actual pregnancy, recovery is always painful and debilitating. Because of the surgery recovery takes longer and can be painful (especially when you forget to take your pain meds).
Is there a choice once you’ve had a c-section?
After having a c-section with my first child I assumed there was no other choice. I have always been told that once you have a c-section you will always have to have a c-section. My mom told me this (she had two c-sections as well). Friends, family, and even some doctors also told me the same. It seems everyone just assumed that was how it worked.
For my second child we just went ahead and picked a date for a planned c-section because I assumed that was what we were supposed to do, and no one offered my any other options or suggested otherwise.
You can learn a lot in a year
It has now been over four years since I’ve had my second child and I’ve learned a lot in those four years. I’ve actually learned a lot in just the past year alone. I now know that it is actually considered safer for mom and baby to go the route of a vaginal birth EVEN IF YOU’VE ONLY GIVEN BIRTH VIA C-SECTION previously.
No one ever told me this. I had to actually seek out this information on my own. My doctors didn’t suggest it, nor did they offer it as an option. It was just once again assumed that I would have a repeat c-section because it was easier. I don’t know who it is easier for to be honest, the doctors I suppose. I found several documentaries, online articles, and local support groups (ICAN was a great resource for this) that offered a great amount of information and support.
The only thing that would have made my decision easier is if my husband was on board with it. He of course was okay with whatever decision I made, but he would make comments like “it would just be easier if you scheduled it like last time.” For a person who is already an emotional wreck, this is not really the response you are looking for from the person who is supposed to be your biggest supporter. I was going to go ahead with the VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) either way and he knew that, but sometimes he just doesn’t realize how insensitive his comments can be. To him it may be a joke, or something that is supposed to be funny, but to me it just came across as unsupportive.
Greater risks with every repeat cesarean
I also learned that for every c-section you have the risks are greater each time. My doctor actually went into great detail about the risks of surgery and VBAC once I told her my plans. I was made to sign a consent form notating that I understood the risks in both scenarios. I was at least grateful that the hospital was as accommodating to my requests as they were because I’ve heard many places won’t even consider allowing you to attempt a VBAC, but after this appointment I was actually scared out of my mind to deliver this baby either way — vaginally or via cesarean. I don’t know if the intent was to scare the shit out of me but that is pretty much what happened.
So now I was not only nervous about the possibility of yet another surgery, but also scared shitless about delivering vaginally — which I had never done before. Risks of delivering vaginally after a c-section include things like uterine rupture and possible hysterectomy. Great, so now I’m a big ball of hormones and an emotional wreck just thinking about my baby that is due in three weeks!
Doing things different this time
I didn’t decide until about 7 1/2 – 8 months in that I wanted to attempt a VBAC. The reason I waited so long is because I didn’t have a ton of information about doing VBAC until I was well into my pregnancy, and didn’t realize what all of my options were. Once I researched vaginal birth after cesarean I knew that I had to at least try. I felt it was the safer option for both me and my baby.
Once I made that decision it felt like a relief to actually know what I wanted to do and how I wanted things to go. I made up my birth plan, and made sure my husband knew exactly what I wanted to happen. He was still nervous about doing things this way, and his previous jokes were probably his nerves coming out, but he told me he felt like it was going to all be a huge rush “just like in the movies” which really scared him.
I continued to educate myself on delivering vaginally after a cesarean and tried to get things prepared around the house. I prepped all of our cloth diapers, got the breast pump sterilized and ready to go, washed the baby clothes and put everything away. All we had to do now was wait. And wait. And wait some more. Baby actually didn’t come on my due date so I decided to go ahead and schedule a c-section for 10 days past my due date in case she didn’t come naturally before that time. There was no way I was going to go through an induction like I did with my first, and my research said that use of labor inducing medications increases your risk for a repeat c-section anyway. If that was going to be the likely outcome, I was just going to skip the whole induction part.
Waiting for baby – I’m an emotional mess
With this being my third pregnancy I honestly thought I would go early, or at least by my due date. My husband figured we would make it to our schedule c-section date and all would be right in his world. I really didn’t want to wait that long as it was ten days past my due date and it meant I wouldn’t get to give my body a chance to do what it is supposed to do.
Luckily I didn’t have to wait ten days. Four days past my due date I was still chugging along with my huge pregnant belly. This pregnancy has felt different from the other two in that I’ve never really felt uncomfortable in my pregnant body, and I didn’t have a huge desire for it to be over other than when I started becoming very emotional at the end. In fact this day was a particularly emotional one for me. I started out the day finishing up some blog posts relatively early in the morning. I never work early in the morning but I just got it in my head that if I didn’t do them that morning the posts wouldn’t get done.
After I was done working I got my four and six year old ready to head to town for a birthday party at the children’s museum. One of my daughter’s friends was turning five and we were invited to celebrate. We left a little early as we had to stop and pick up a gift bag from the store and decided to eat lunch out that day. Once we arrived at the children’s museum we spent the next three hours playing and walking around the three floors of the interactive museum.
After the party started to wind down we headed home and I started to get very frustrated with my kids because they were constantly fighting with each other and I wasn’t really in the mood to deal with it. My daughter had also fallen asleep on the way home and was in a really bad mood when I woke her up to come in the house. Normally I would have just carried her into the house and let her sleep, but as I was 41 weeks pregnant that wasn’t going to happen. She literally laid on the floor in the hallway screaming for me to go get her toy off the floor or she would never get up. Never.
I was so frustrated with her that I started to yell at her, which is something I have been working very hard not to do, and at one point even tried to pick her up and put her on the couch. That didn’t go well for either of us as I almost missed the couch, and she just jumped off anyway and lay right back on the floor to resume her fit throwing. I just let her lie there at that point. I couldn’t deal with it. I was spent.
At this point I just wanted to go lock myself in my room and hide from everyone and everything. Which is pretty much what I did as soon as my husband got home from work. I was emotional, crying, and just didn’t want to deal with the world anymore. My daughter stood outside my door and kicked the door non-stop until I let her in. I’m sure many parents can relate. Why do kids always feel the need to be right in your personal space at the moment you need to be alone? I just let her in and had her lay next to me in bed. We talked for a bit and she calmed down as we just spent the next ten or fifteen minutes lying in bed hugging. Eventually we both got out of bed and made our way into the living room to join everyone else.
My husband plays basketball on Saturday nights in a local pick-up game and told the kids they could go with. He was trying to help give me some time to myself. Before they left something in me changed. I can’t explain it, I just knew something was different. I told my husband that tonight was going to be the night. He said he would have his phone on him and call if anything happened. They left the house at about 6:50 so he could be at the gym at 7:00 when the games started.
Welcoming baby No. 3 – My birth story
After my husband and the kids left for the gym I sat on the couch thinking I was just going to relax for the next hour, maybe take a shower, and enjoy spending some time alone. About 15 minutes after everyone left it happened.
7:10 pm I felt a huge gush of some liquid leaking out. Vaginal discharge wasn’t anything new for me for this pregnancy, I’ve had some discharge throughout my entire pregnancy but this was different. This was a lot. The pad I was wearing was soaked through and that has never happened before. There was also a little blood with the discharge.
The blood had me a little nervous. If it was just a clear discharge I probably wouldn’t even raised a flag, but because there was also blood I thought something must have changed. The only thing that didn’t make sense is that I wasn’t really having any contractions. I’d have a few here and there (like one every few hours or so), but nothing significant.
Since I’ve never actually been in labor before I decided to call my mom. She has never actually experienced it either since she had two c-sections, so she wasn’t sure what to tell me and suggested I call the nurse. So after I hung up with her what did I do? Nothing. Yep, I decided I would just wait and see. I went online and googled “how do I know if my water broke” and really couldn’t find much that helped me figure it out, but every time I stood up more liquid gushed out.
At this point I figured my water must have broke and I should probably be checked out. I called my husband to tell him my water broke — he didn’t answer. I had to leave him a message!
I decided that while I waited for him to call me back I would call labor and delivery and see what they had to say. The nurse said the only way to tell was to come in and be tested but it certainly sounded like my water broke. I asked her if there was any way to test at home since the drive to the hospital would take us at least an hour, but she said there wasn’t any way to do that. Looked like we would be making the trek to the hospital after all.
Just as I was finishing up my call with the nurse my husband called back and said he was on his way. He was going to try to drop the kids off at his mom’s house on the way.
7:30 pm My husband arrives home — with the kids. His mom wasn’t home so we were taking them with us. He immediately went into panic mode running around like he didn’t know what to do. I already had my bag all packed and was ready to go, I just had to wait on him to shower and get his stuff ready. He really didn’t think I would go into labor so he had nothing packed and ready to go. Nothing.
Once he finished showering and we had the car packed we headed to the hospital on a snowy night in December. I made him stop at the gas station and get some food and gum since he hadn’t eaten, plus I wasn’t having contractions so I was in no rush.
9:00 pm We arrived at the hospital and were admitted into labor and delivery. The nurse checked me and confirmed my water had broke so I would be staying. Then the fun began.
For the first hour nothing exciting really happened, I was having contractions but few and far between. The resident on duty checked me and I had not dilated at all, plus my cervix was still way back (I guess it moves forward as you progress?).
The kids were in the room checking out the pullout bed, the water-birth tub, and everything else in the room. My husband finally got in touch with his mom and they said they would come out to the hospital and pick up the kids.
10:30 pm The resident, nurse, and I discussed what the plan of action was going to be since my water had already broke. They told me the risk for infection is greater once your water breaks so we need to decide how we want to proceed. He was also concerned that I wasn’t have contractions, but I told him they were starting to come regularly now and were getting stronger. I really didn’t want to make any decisions at this point, I just wanted to let my body have a chance to do what it was supposed to do. He decided that he would check back with me at 12:30 am and we would discuss options at that point.
The contractions were picking up at this point and becoming more regular, and a little stronger. They weren’t horrible — yet. I was also still able to eat my beloved ice chips. I love eating ice chips and have done so throughout my whole pregnancy.
12:30 am The nurse came and talked to me and said the resident was unavailable right now so we were just going to wait a couple more hours and see what happened. That was actually perfectly fine by me. The contractions were getting a bit stronger at this point and I was optimistic changes were happening.
1:30 am I still haven’t talked to the resident but the nurse decided to check my progress herself. She said she really couldn’t tell and wanted the doctor to come in and check me to see where I was at. These contractions are really coming now — wow they can be painful!
2:30 am I was finally checked by the doctor on call and she said that my cervix had moved forward but I still wasn’t dilating much. She wanted to discuss possibly using pitocin to move things along, or see how I felt about just going ahead with the repeat c-section. Neither of those options really sounded appealing to me and I think they could see in my face how much I detested both choices. She said that we could just wait a few more hours and see how I was progressing since my contractions were really strong at this point. I agreed that this was a good idea and we decided that at 6:30 am she would check me again. They also told me no more ice chips. Ugh… I need my ice chips!
The nurse offered me pain medication at this point but I didn’t think I needed/wanted it. But holy shit were these contractions getting strong. I made my husband give me his hand whenever they came and I really squeezed the crap out of it each time. Squeezing his hand seemed to help a little, but the pain was really really intense. I had him apply some pressure to my back a few times too and he told me he could feel my back spasm during one of my contractions.
The contractions continued to get stronger and closer together as the hours wore on, and they were steadily coming about 1-2 minutes apart now. I seriously have never felt such pain in my life. At this point I was starting to re-think this whole natural birth thing because oh my lord the pain. Plus the contractions were so close I never really got a break to relax in between. I decided to go ahead with the IV pain meds at this point.
3:30 am The nurse told me I could have medication every two hours, so I got my first dose at about 3:30 am and it literally lasted for about 4-5 contractions before it didn’t seem to have any effect any more. It did dull the pain a little, but I could still feel those insanely painful contractions — EVERY ONE OF THEM.
Not much changed between this first dose and the second other than my husband going to sleep on the pull-out, and I think I did actually fall asleep for a bit after the nurse gave me the second dose at about 5:30 am. I surely didn’t sleep long though as those IV pain meds do not last long.
6:30 am The doctor came in again and checked my progress. I still hadn’t changed much. I was so disappointed that after all night and all those contractions my body still hadn’t made any progress. I was certain that it was doing what it was supposed to be doing, and I would be able to deliver this baby vaginally. I was pretty much crushed at this point because I didn’t see my body changing much, even if we did decide to do pitocin. At this point I decided it would be best for me and my baby to go ahead with the repeat c-section and bring our baby girl into the world.
7:00 am They started prepping me for surgery, I talked to the anesthesiologist, the new nurse who would be taking care of me (shift change was at 7:00), and several of the doctors. The nurses shaved me in the area the incision would be placed, got my IV fluids started, and got everything ready to go.
The only thing we had to wait for was the room to be ready and for the doctor to check on a few other patients who also needed c-sections. As long as they were stable I would be going first since I had been there the longest.
7:40 am (approx) I was walked down to the surgery room and given my spinal injection to numb me from the chest down. It actually took a few tries as the first couple attempts I could feel when they stuck the needle in my skin and I would move. After the numbing agents finally kicked in and we waited for a contraction to end, they injection was given and started to take effect pretty fast.
As they were continuing to prep me I was talking to the anesthesiologist who was actually a great conversationalist and I was really grateful he was in the room (my husband wasn’t in the room yet). He pretty much talked to me the whole time the surgical team was prepping me, and throughout the surgery.
My husband was let in after a few minutes and he started taking pictures. They allowed us to have a camera in the room so we have some really great pictures of baby being born. During this time I was still just chatting it up with the anesthesiologist. The next thing I knew he told me she was almost out. Almost out! I didn’t even know they had started yet. Seriously…I thought they were still prepping me and here they were well along and my baby was almost born!
8:06 am Our beautiful baby girl was delivered via c-section and immediately started screaming. All of my kids have been criers, which is a good thing. It is such a relief to hear a huge scream come from your baby and you know they are okay. The nurses took her and cleaned her up, handed her to daddy and I was able to see her right away. Then the pediatrician and daddy left to go finish cleaning her up and check her out. They returned a few minutes later and daddy was able to stay in the room with baby by my side. It was a really nice experience as they never allowed that in my previous surgeries.
After a bit they left the room as I was getting stitched up. It didn’t take too long (about an hour) and I was back in my room with my newborn baby girl. She was so sweet and perfect. I got to feed her, then I had breakfast myself. I was so hungry since I hadn’t eaten anything but a couple pieces of my kids’ hot dog the night before. (My husband thinks this picture is hilarious — I don’t know why, I was hungry!)
Would I do things differently?
If I had known that my trial of labor (TOLAC – Trial of Labor After Cesarean) would end up in a repeat c-section of course I would have just opted to have the surgery right away. But not knowing — I would do the same thing all over again. I still believe it is the best option for me and baby, and even though it didn’t work out for me to deliver vaginally (and the pain was the most horrendous thing I’ve ever felt in my life) I would try to do so again if the chance ever presented itself.
I do not plan on having any more children but by some miracle should I end up with another child, I would go the same route. VBAC may not be the best choice for everyone, but for me it was the only choice.