Welcome Baby #2

So a lot has happened since I last posted.  I had a NST (non-stress test) done on November 17th because (at that point) I was over due.  Turns out that I had low amniotic fluid, so I was sent to labor and delivery because today was going to be the day!  Half prepared (I had my stuff packed, Dan had most of his stuff packed), we nervously and excitedly crossed the street to labor and delivery.  In triage they checked again to see if there were any pockets of fluid missed during the NST.  Apparently a lot of things can shift and change, but the counts were still low.  So it was time for induction!

We got a really nice labor room–a corner room with a very lovely view of SF.  Because I was trying for a VBAC, they had to insert a foley bulb in my cervix instead of artificial hormonal cervix ripeners (they can cause uterine rupture).  A foley bulb is basically a catheter they fill with saline solution to inflate to manually open my cervix to 3 cm.  In the process of getting that inserted, the OB thought my water broke.  Two inconclusive litmus tests (one was basic and another was acidic), a microscopic slide, and an hour later the foley bulb went in.  It was probably the most uncomfortable thing I have ever endured.  You have this thing in your bits that’s stretching your cervix, which they occasionally have to keep pulling on to make sure there is tension (like every 2 hours).  Every time they created more tension, an influx of hormones rushed through my body on top of uncomfortable pain and contractions.  I was sweating like crazy, felt incredibly nauseous (they had a bag there for me to vomit in), I was walking very gingerly to not create more tension, and moaning/crying in pain every few minutes because of contractions and my hips felt like they were going to fall apart.  Just when things would settle, in comes a nurse to add more tension (GREAT!).  What was suppose to be an all night affair with the foley bulb turned out to be a quick 8ish hours of craziness.  The foley bulb  was out and I was 3cm dilated!  Yippee!!!

Then things started to turn sour.  They started a low dose of pitocin to help strengthen the contractions I already was having.  I was contracting on my own, but not steadily enough and not nearly strong enough (if I were to walk into L&D in that state they would tell me to go home).  So the pitocin was needed.  Unfortunately, after an hour my labor was becoming like my son’s.  No matter what position I was in the baby’s heart rate would not recover fast enough during contractions.  The head of the department, as well as a midwife, my nurse, a resident, and another OB came in to tell me the bad news that I knew was coming–I needed to have another c-section.  I was still only 3cm dilated.  If I were further along, they would have let me labor longer.  But the conclusion that the head of the department told Dan and I was that the outcome for the baby would not be good if she were have to endure hours of labor (I still had another 7cm to go and go through the pushing stage, and there was no way of telling how long that would take).  Everyone left my room for 5 minutes to let me have a cry because I was truly disappointed with the outcome.  I signed paperwork for the c-section and then I was rushed into the operating room down the hall.  30 minutes later, Samantha was born.

sammy

While I was, and still am disappointed about how my labor went, I am overjoyed with the outcome.  A friend told me that she was sad for me that my VBAC didn’t happen, which made me angry.  Why should there be any sadness?  No one died; everyone is healthy.  What is there to be sad about?  How a baby comes into the world, whether naturally, with drugs, or via c-section, isn’t the be all, end all.  It is merely a blimp in the radar in your journey to parenting.  Even my doula reminded me that my priority that I listed first in my birth plan was a healthy baby.  Yes, I’m disappointed.  I worked hard and did a lot more than I did with my son to help with the VBAC.  But sad?  No, because I have a little baby girl who I am over the moon in love with.

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Doula

So I have managed to secure a doula, all for the price of free!!!  This is great, especially since we live in San Francisco where the average rate for a doula is a $1,000.  Yes, you read that right–$1,000!!!  And because I’m a SAHM, our budget is very limited especially with the out-of-pocket cost for this pregnancy.  There’s no way we could fit a doula in our already tight budget.

Wondering how I found my free doula?  I contacted the local trainer for DONA International.  They are the international governing body who certifies doulas around the world.  Part of becoming a DONA certified doula is attending three births after you are done with your coursework.  Usually, these doulas-in-training have a hard time charging for their services initially because they aren’t certified and don’t have any births under their belts.  So most, not all, are willing to offer their help for free as long as you are ok with someone with little to no experience.

I managed to find one who also happens to be a massage therapist by trade!  Score!!!  She said she would be able to help my husband do some massage techniques to help with the pain of labor.  We definitely lucked out with this find, and I’m so grateful.

You must be wondering why I want a doula to attend my birth after having said I am by no means a crunchy mom in my previous post.  So there are two reasons I’ve decided to find a doula.

First, I’m worried that we will be in the lurch if I go into labor and can’t find someone to watch my son, even if it’s for a few hours.  So rather than having me left alone in the hospital, it would be nice to have a doula there to help me if my husband has to be away to make sure our son has some where safe to go for a bit.  Right now my parents are planning on coming out from the East Coast for my due date, but any parent knows labor is never on a schedule.  So it is nice to have that extra piece of mind.

Lastly, I think we would benefit from the extra support to have a vaginal delivery.  Like I said previously, I would like to have a successful VBAC.  I want to make sure that I recover quickly so that I can immediately return to being a mother to my son and new baby.  If the doula can give both my husband and I that extra push and confidence to achieve VBAC, then why not have her there?  She knows my story, and knows that above all else I want a healthy baby.  And contrary to popular belief, doulas aren’t necessarily there to push natural child birthing.  This doula was very sympathetic and open to epidurals, and never pushing any of her agenda or what she thinks birthing should be like.  So I’m very happy with that and I feel like she knows what is important to us and our birth.  I’m hoping that her skills and knowledge will help us.

So yay for free doulas!!!  🙂

VBAC Update #2

So since my last update I decided to switch hospitals and OBs.  Crazy, I know since I’m 22 weeks right now.  But the hospital I was originally planning on delivering at has very stringent rules about VBACs, which in turn governs how my OB practices.  Basically my OB was not allowing me to go beyond my due date–she had me schedule a repeat c-section for my due date in case I don’t go into labor beforehand.  Despite her reassurances that I would go into labor before my due date, I still found her confidence in at least attempting to labor so false after her absolute insistence on scheduling a c-section for my due date.  As any mother knows, it’s absolutely impossible to know exactly when a baby will arrive.  The 40 weeks medicine uses is just the average gestational period–it is not a clear marker of when the baby is ready.  And the 40 weeks are just estimates, at best, based on size and last menstrual period.  The range is 37-42 weeks.  Plus my due date was actually adjusted 4 days, so theoretically I could go into labor 4 days after my actual due date just because the size of the baby wasn’t accurate for dating.  So I decided to switch up the hospital and OB because I at least want to try to go into labor when the baby is ready to come out–not when a doctor thinks it’s best.

My new practice and hospital is one of the best medical universities in the country.  Because of this they have great facilities and practices that aren’t as conservative as my previous hospital and OB.  I’ll be seeing a midwife initially, which I’m a bit hesitant about.  But it has gotten a rousing endorsement from many moms in the neighborhood I live in that have undergone VBAC, and successfully.  So my care begins on Thursdays when I have my first appointment.

Ultimately, I just want to make sure this baby comes out healthy.  And I believe that part of that is allowing me to labor, even if it is just for a little bit.  I would love to experience a vaginal birth, just because the recovery time will be so much better than having a c-section.  But the baby’s health comes first, and I believe the new hospital and practice are inline with my philosophy.

VBAC

So today my OB and I decided that I make a good candidate for VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).  I’m actually a bit nervous about VBAC.  I know that the risk of uterine rupture is very low, but it still exists.  The hospital where I am delivering at also has a very low uterine rupture rate, which is a bit relieving.  I have always been a firm believer of doing what is best for the baby, which some of the most ardent natural birthers attribute to me going down the road of c-section with my first child.  I don’t regret the decision to do the c-section.  My OB at the time was very supportive of me having a vaginal birth.  But we clearly saw that my son was going into distress–there was no hiding that.  I did what I had to do as a mother to have a healthy baby.  I’m prepared to do the same with this baby girl.  But I do hope that I will have a successful VBAC.