Monday, June 21, 2010

the anti-labor

If you've been reading this blog long, you know that ever since I found out I was was pregnant with Parker that I contemplated having a VBAC as opposed to a repeat C-section. My doctor was always concerned with his size and I was convinced it was just the way I was carrying him. I tried to put it off as long as I could, and I ended up having an ultrasound in mid-May to get a weight estimate. My OB said if he is over 8 pounds that she thought a C-section would be the best choice. Ok, so be it. I valued her opinion. I was prepared for the 'worst'.

Imagine my surprise when the ultrasound technician estimated his weight at 38 weeks to be 7 pounds. Not bad! What was a little alarming though was that his head was already the size of a 40 week old baby. Eck! Nonetheless, doc said if I wanted to go ahead with a VBAC, let's do it. Yeah!

Not long after that appointment I started feeling crampy. I was only 1 cm dilated and 40% effaced so I knew I had a long ways to go. I had contractions the rest of that week, on and off through the weekend and then nothing. They stopped. Then began the mad search for natural ways to induce labor. I was so uncomfortable with hip and back pressure. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't sit for longer than 15 minutes and get up to walk normally. I was so ready to have this baby.

And then another weekend came and went. I met with my doctor again on June 2 - Parker's due date - and we (I) finally made a plan. She shocked me again by saying that she would let me go another 2 weeks on my own if I wanted. I thought she was going to want to cut me open right then and there because I was late. But I didn't want to go that much longer. Morgan's birthday was that Saturday and I didn't want to be in the hospital over the weekend so I decided that I would have a repeat C-section on Monday June 7 if I didn't go into labor on my own before then. I was kind of disappointed, but also very relieved knowing that Monday was going to be it. If not sooner. I figured I still had 5 days to get this little guy out. How late could he possibly be?

Apparently at least 5 days late. That weekend flew by and despite all of my walking and spicy food, baby2 had no intentions of leaving the womb any time soon. So Sunday night, Mark and I packed our bags for our hospital trip Monday morning. I asked him to take Morgan to school that day because I didn't think I'd be able to say good bye without some tears. Mark and I have never been away from her overnight. Ever. At 9:30am, we were out the door to Providence Park Hospital.

The moment we stepped into the maternity unit I knew this surgery and hospital stay was going to be different. The nurses were crazy nice - answering all of my questions and explaining how everything was going to go down in the next few hours. They started me on IV fluids and Mark and I relaxed in our room. I tried watching TV but all I found interest in was the Food Network. Not a good choice when you haven't eaten in 12 hours. My mom and sister arrived. Mark's mom was there. And later, Mark's dad. Nurses and doctors were in and out for the next couple hours and around noon we got the go ahead to start getting ready to move down the hall to the operating room.I'll always remember the time we entered the room. One of the nurses announced 12:17pm as we passed through the double doors. This was so much different than last time. I was alert. And rested. I hadn't gone through 30 hours of labor already. I watched everyone prepare for the surgery - dressing in double layers of scrubs, counting clamps and laying out blankets in the bassinet for our new arrival. I scooted over onto the operating table all on my own. I felt like I was watching from the outside in. They weren't about to slice me open.In came the anesthesiologist and his nurses to give me a spinal. Wow was the weird and so not fun at the same time. The thought of that big needle didn't bother me, but that my legs felt completely paralyzed. That was not a good feeling when I had been experiencing restless legs for most of this pregnancy. I knew my legs were there but I couldn't move them and that was freaky. Necessary, yes, but freaky.

I'm guessing it was about 12:30 by now. Up went the sheet between my head and my chest and the doctors started doing their thing. They started making bets on the size of the baby and I said I hope he's not 10 pounds! HA HA! I asked if they wouldn't tie my arms down to the table this time and my nurse told me as long as I don't move too much that would be okay. Deal! In came Mark. Not long after that, all I heard was "oh my gosh" "wow!" and several other exclamations of shock. All I felt was a lot of pressure and tugging. Were they removing some of my ribs too?

12:47pm - Parker Thomas is born and they say he is huge! Big head, big feet and big hands :) And boy did he have a big cry. My mother-in-law told me later that she could hear him from all the way down the hall in the waiting room. His Apgar scores were 9 and 9. I got to hold him and kiss him almost right away.And the waterworks started up. He was finally here. I still couldn't stop thinking about my legs. And the pressure in my chest (a side effect of the spinal). And the nausea (another side effect). The nurses stayed at my head the whole time and talked to me, mostly about Morgan, trying to keep my mind off of what was going on. They offered me something to calm me down (morphine?) but I refused. I asked if I could see my placenta (yup, seriously! They seemed a little leary - especially because I was already nauseous - but I got to see it. Pretty cool!)

The talking worked and before I knew it, the doctor was on the other side of the sheet talking to me about the surgery while the rest of the team finished cleaning me up. He said Parker's size alone was reason enough for him to believe a Cesarean section was the best choice for us. But also, when he made his incision to see my uterine wall, he said my previous scar was very thin. I knew my risk for uterine rupture during a VBAC was very low, but after hearing that, it's scary to think I could have been that 1%. And could have ended up with another C-section anyways.

In the meantime, Mark was back in our room with Parker and I was back in the room before 2pm. We had our family come in for a bit to see our little guy before we had some alone time to rest and nurse. I am beyond thrilled that he took to it like a champ and has been doing great ever since. Double thumbs up to the nurses and lactation consultant - I did not have this kind of help or support with Morgan. I didn't know what I know now either. Not once did I hear the F word (formula) or that he was losing too much weight and he needed to eat. His blood sugar was great and his weight before we left the hospital was 9 pounds 7 ounces - just a 10 ounce weight loss. Not bad for a 10 pound baby. He was back up to 9 pounds 11 ounces that Friday.

All things considered, I have absolutely no regrets this time in choosing the surgery. I've had a fantastic recovery, a ton of help at home and we were only in the hospital for 2 nights. And he's nursing! I think most of you know what a big deal this is to me :) This time, I don't have any 'what-if's' at all.

Well, this ended up being a lot longer than I intended! If you are still with me, I'll write more again soon about the rest of our day, our visitors and Morgan's reaction to Parker.


  1. I'm SO happy to hear he's nursing well! And that your birth experience was so good! That looks like Dr. Hakim in the photo!

  2. thanks Emily! I'm thrilled too. Yup, that was Dr. Hakim that performed the c-section. He is awesome!

  3. Our surgeries were almost exactly the same, only opposite. My 1st C was scheduled and super easy, while my second was after many hours of labor. I'm glad things went well!