I’M STILL PREGNANT. I officially get text messages and calls every day, checking in to see if the baby has arrived. I’m currently 40 weeks and 2 days preggers. While I am loving all the contact from my favorite people, I really love that I will be able to finally say in a few more days–yes, the baby is here! Because as of this morning, we have a cut off.
Here’s some side by side sweetness of me 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant with Isla (the day she arrived), and then 40 and 2 days with this bambino.
Last week when I went to the doctor, I was officially told I cannot be induced. Since my last pregnancy resulted in a csection and there is only about 15 months between deliveries, I am not eligible. The midwife I saw also told me if the baby doesn’t come on its own by 41 weeks, it probably won’t without some help. And since that’s not an option, and now that I’m overdue, I had to pick an end date. My options were next Tuesday (41 weeks, 2 days) or this Friday (40 weeks and 5 days). Next week would be a surgery with a doctor I’ve never met and after much discussion with Chris, we chose Friday as our cut off.
This is not a decision I made without a lot of thought, and tears. Since I cannot be induced, if this baby doesn’t come on its own, the end of the line is another csection and I’m trying not to feel guilty about this decision. Ultimately, I think it would be nice to have the “natural” birth experience, but as with all things motherhood, a lot of the decision making is out of our control. You’d think I’d be used to this by now.
Initially the decision of VBAC or csection was made for me. The baby was breech like Isla and I had mentally prepared myself for another surgery. However, when they checked the baby’s position at 34 weeks and told me it was head down, I was disappointed that I now needed to decide. I immediately scheduled a csection just in case the baby moved again. And because I wasn’t prepared to think about a natural delivery at that point.
That csection was supposed to be last Wednesday and I didn’t cancel it until a week before. At that point, the head was way down (it still is), I was starting to efface and dilate. It took me forever to decide, but after making multiple pros and cons lists, I knew I had to at least try for the VBAC for my own peace of mind.
Making this choice, I considered two major parts. The physical side and the emotional side.
Physically, having gone through a csection already, I think it would (maybe) be easier to care for Isla after a VBAC vs. repeat csection. But I know we’ll make it through either way. My doctor told me weeks ago he thought my recovery would be easier after a repeat csection if I had one. This is because they will be cutting through the same incision site. I also hope this is because I won’t lose as much blood. With my last csection they removed endometriosis they found. I lost a lot more blood than they thought and I went home recovering my iron stores for weeks. This meant I would literally have to sit down at the top of the stairs just because I would start to black out and be out of breath. I wasn’t out of shape. I just didn’t have the iron my body needed.
That being said, even so exhausted, I was doing some slow hiking by 3 weeks postpartum, while baby wearing. So, I can’t really complain. The first two weeks after any kind of birth is tough, but I know I’ll be back to feeling more like myself no matter how this baby arrives. And I have to find solace in that. If this baby is going to come out via surgery, at least it’s the best kind of surgery I can have. The kind that results in a baby. Michele’s reminder: there’s a BABY at the end of the journey!
I know that last part is so obvious (see photo above), but sometimes I seriously forget I’m pregnant. I have Isla keeping me so busy and I often feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. This time around I haven’t had strong pregnancy cravings, I haven’t felt extremely limited physically, and I’ve now had two full term pregnancies in two years–that’s a lot of time that I’ve spent pregnant! I guess some days, it just feels like a new kind of normal to me. Though truth: by the end of every day in the last couple weeks, I normally want to cry because I feel so huge and uncomfortable. Thank you full belly and achy, tired joints, oh–and hormones. Haha. That final look in the mirror while brushing my teeth is a slap in the face reminder screaming, Hello! Yes, you’re pregnant! And then next: I won’t be forever. Sometimes Chris is the one that reminds me of that second part. Initiate eye roll now.
Emotionally, I made this decision for myself with no judgement for the same decision so many other women have had to make. The decision of VBAC or csection is an extremely personal one. When you have a csection you can always opt for another automatic csection. Or, if your doctor okays it, you can try for a vaginal delivery.
In the last several weeks, as I’ve been mulling this over, I feel like I’ve been drafting two blog posts with all of these women in mind. One is titled, “I had a repeat csection, so what?” and the other, “I had a VBAC, so what?”. I know this decision is often a tough one for many moms. After much Googling and talking with other women, I also know it’s a decision a lot of moms are judged for. When I personally tell people I might have a repeat csection, I’ve have actually had people say they’re sorry. Like they feel sorry for me. And people repeatedly tell me they hope I can have a natural birth. On the other side, some moms who have VBACed have told me not to do it while others have told me their experience was blissful. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the subject and I can only say from firsthand experience, it takes a lot of strength and courage to make the decision that is right for yourself and your family. Ultimately, it shouldn’t matter.
After being instructed to pick an end date, I went so far as to say during a family walk around the block this past weekend that I felt like my body is failing me in another way again. First I couldn’t get pregnant on my own for years, then I couldn’t stay pregnant, and now it doesn’t seem to want to deliver babies. Chris literally stopped me in my tracks and told me to look at Isla. He said, “Look at her. Shes’s beautiful. And it doesn’t matter how she got here.” And he’s exactly right. We have this beautiful daughter and it doesn’t matter how she got here. And soon enough we’ll have another baby adding to the joy we experience every day and it doesn’t matter how this baby arrives either. As long as we’re all healthy we are so fortunate to have the ability to deliver these babies using whatever means available. It’s that kind of thinking that’s seeing me through my choice.
So yeah, we’re having a baby by the end of the week! We’re not totally sure how the baby will arrive, but we have an end game plan in place. And I’m finally feeling comfortable with that.
Now that I’ve poured out so much info about VBAC vs. csection, I will share that I’ve still been trying all I can to not be pregnant forever and induce labor naturally. Today’s trick, some “labor inducing cookies.”
A friend shared this recipe this morning and after dropping Isla off at day care, I bought the few ingredients I didn’t have in my pantry to make a batch. I didn’t even try to health-ify the recipe. Something I definitely do almost 100% of the time. I stuck to the full butter, full sugar, spicy cookies. No stranger to spicy foods (my favorite hot sauce is a habanero hot sauce from Belize and I’ve been eating lots of it lately), who knows if they’ll work, but I will say they’re not too bad. They’re like a gingersnap with a spicy finish. Regardless of the outcome, I think I can safely say I’ve tried every wive’s tale possible. There’s nothing like being 40+ weeks pregnant to make you do lots of desperate and crazy things! If they work, I’ll let you all know. But for now, just hold on for a baby update by sometime next week. WILD!
Have you induced labor naturally before? What are your favorite tips and tricks? Share in the comments below.