Giving natural birth a second chance.

20 09 2012

As you know I am the proud mother to a 16 months old toddler, and I am four months pregnant, which explains a lot of the long silence that went on for the first trimester. First trimester is bad. First trimester is nausea, low energy, severe sickness. At least in my case.

When I was pregnant with Ignacio I was so excited! And I was terrified of birth, I was scared of the pain, of the passing a head through the birth channel; I really literally have cried when going in for a pap smear, so passing a child through there scared me silly. We used to joke with my husband that I always had the option of a C-section, but then I also did not want to go through major surgery. I started reading, learning about birth, and a lot of what I read made me more scared, and now I also knew the risks of C-sections, so I was less than happy.

The notion of episiotomy, tearing, scarring, having a baby locked or having his collar bones broken during birth, the possibility of going through hours (days!) of labor for it not to work, scared me so much! I was terrified, so I turned to real women, not the book hard facts, not the statistics, but real women that I knew had delivered their babies. I got their stories of how labor was painful, and yes, the birth was painful too, but in a different way, it was a lot of work but nothing you cannot do and how women really are made for this. It made me really consider that if they could do it, I could too, after all, we all are women, right? Some of them told me about their amazing experiences with no drugs and that got me thinking I needed to learn more about it.

Us two during the cesarean. They gave us a the cutest little burrito! They were still working on me at that moment, and soon after that I started to feel bad.

So I went ahead and bought books, read online forums, blogs, webpages. And I got to the conclusion that I really wanted a drug free birthing experience. I wanted no induction, no epidural, I wanted to labor actively and I wanted to prepare my body to do so. I got me some yoga videos, I had a plan to go jog regularly to keep in shape and to do everything in my power to be a fit mom that could deal with labor on her own. Why? because when you use an epidural you lose the capacity of standing on your legs, which makes you have to assume a laying back position, this goes against gravity, so your body not only has to push a baby out, but also work against the gravitational field. I also react strangely to drugs, not always getting the desired effects, and I would rather not to put anything in me; and of course I would rather my baby to get started in life with no chemicals in his body, if possible. There are other reasons too, that you can read in any book that explains natural birth.

Of course my first trimester I was unable to eat anything but crackers, tea and some broth. And most of what I ate came out by the end of the day, sometimes three times a day, undigested. I was so weak that I could barely work and function through the rest of the day, so exercising was not an option. Then, after the fourth month was well under way I started feeling better. I went for a jog and actually made it, I did some yoga and started taking care of the house, but I would feel this nagging lower abdominal and pelvic pain. I didn’t pay much attention to it, but I mentioned it to the nurse that saw me when I went to my next visit.

After an ultrasound we found out I had complete placenta previa. It was my fifth month and that meant that I was not allowed to do anything physical, I could not work out, no yoga, no swimming, just go to work and remain quiet, because the problem with placenta previa is that your placenta is laying before the baby over your cervix. If you do something that detaches the placenta the consequence can be that you bleed and possibly deprive the baby from oxygen, and if the hemorrhage is too big the mom is also at risk. Bummer. Gone were my dreams of being the fit mom. Worse, gone were my dreams of a natural birth. But my doctors were hopeful and knew from experience that the placenta moves as the uterus grows, and that there were fair chances that I would be OK in the future and we could deliver vaginally.

I was excited about the possibility of delivering vaginally, but now I was anxious too about the reality that I was not preparing myself for it. I was happy that I was still allowed to have a normal life. The problem was that almost by the end of the second trimester, but before the baby had a chance of surviving if things went wrong, I got my first bleeding episode. It was scary. To make things short, the placenta did not move, I ended up in the hospital three times over the remainder of the pregnancy. I was finally put in bed rest and told only to leave the house to go see the doctors and that we had to get the baby out of me as soon as it was considered less risk to have him out than in, which meant that we needed to get him out before I could go into labor. This means a C-section was needed on week 37, because a lot of babies are born on week 38.

The C-section was horrible to me. I had a great team, and they took good care of both my baby and I, and thankfully we both are healthy and well. But it is something I would not want to go through again. I acknowledge that it was needed and because of it we are both alive, my baby has no brain damage because his oxygen supply was good and I did not bleed to death. So it’s all good. I did feel very sick during and after the surgery, I do not react well to drugs. I even felt pain during the cesarean, I knew when they pulled my placenta off and I knew when they were rearranging my organs. It sucked.

.

Now I am pregnant again and because my doctors are so great that they really wanted me to be able to deliver vaginally in subsequent pregnancies, they gave me a low uterine cut, to give me that chance. I still don’t

Happiness is a healthy baby.

know how my placenta is laying, it is too early, but I have higher chances of having a problem again because I had both previa and a C-section in the past. However, I have very good chances that it all will go well and I will be able to have a VBAC. This time I could keep strolling all through the first trimester, even walking briskly, and now that I started to feel better I have jogged a couple of times. I am planning to start the prenatal yoga soon, if everything looks good, and I am really hoping that the next ultrasound shows that everything is normal.

I have talked to my doctor about not being induced, about laboring actively and he is supportive. He is a little afraid of not giving me an epidural in case we need an emergency C-section (There is a slight chance of a uterine rupture because of the scar from the C-section) but he also leaves the decision up to me.

I am really excited about having another chance to experience labor, contractions, of feeling my baby go through me out into the world. And I hope this time I get to do it.

Are you planing to or did you have a natural birth? If so, how did it go?

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13 responses

20 09 2012
Hope

Hey constanza! After my family leaves I’ll try to give you a call to let you know how things went for me. It’s an interesting story!

I do believe that you’d be able to do it. It is difficult but possible. I would highly recommend having a doula (even Jesse would too). She was invaluable.

20 09 2012
Constanza

Thank you, Hope! I am looking forward to having a doula if we end up with a VBCA.

20 09 2012
birminghambell

We had an emergency c section after 7 hours of labor…THAT STINKS! I have a 9 month old and am 3 months pregnant now… I told my dr that I would like a VBAC, but she strongly recommends that I don’t. Reason being, since it hasn’t been too long since I had it, the incision is still weak and is a much higher chance of uterine rupture. She’s leaving me the option, but I can tell that my incision is weak just going to the bathroom so I am about 90% sure we will schedule a c section……even though I hate the thought of the recovery time again with a toddler! I hope you get your dream birth!

20 09 2012
Constanza

I imagine how frustrating it must have been. I had time to mourn because from months five I was getting used to the idea of not having a vaginal birth.
You are a brave woman! I would not have had the courage of getting pregnant that early, we didn’t get to sleep until Ignacio was 10 months, and then he was still waking up twice through the night! But we went for it when he turned one 🙂 I hope you have a great pregnancy!

30 09 2012
birminghambell

Thank you!!! I am just preparing to have a C section because I don’t want to plan anything different since my anxiety has me freaking out from all the risks I’ve read about if you have a VBAC soon after a C section…. I know better than to google that stuff!!! Ours took a REALLY long time to sleep through the night too! At 6 months, the DR was urging me to let her cry when she would wake up at 3-4am screaming……but I never did because it saved my sanity to just hand her a bottle in the crib and go back to sleep! I guess I’ve created a monster that I must tame before baby 2.0 gets here! Did you do something spectacular to get yours to start sleeping the whole night or did it just happen?

30 09 2012
Constanza

I understand, anxiety is really bad, and if you feel more at ease with a C-section, then it is the best for you.

We were told by different doctors to let him cry it out, but it does not work for our family, we never went for it. We believe in a more gentle approach. We woke up as much as needed and soothed him to sleep as much as needed, sometimes it was staying up for hours in the middle of the night, which was draining. But I couldn’t take having my child cry for hours when he barely understood what was going on. We coslept for some time, then sent him to his crib and then to his room. He had no problem with this at all, he still would wake up as much as before though.
There is this issue though, sleeping is a neurological function. A baby is born with an immature neurological system, therefore can’t sleep the same way than adults do. It will mature eventually, that is why a child will start sleeping much better nearing 1 yr. old, and most children stop waking up through the night at all between 2 and 3. Ours would wake up every hour and a half, kind of, during the first ten months, then about 3 times a night. At around 15 months he went through a period of terribly sleeping, then weaned himself, and started sleeping through the night. We just couldn’t believe it!

There are still some bad nights, of course, teething, a cold, etc. But otherwise it’s been awesome! It has only been one and a half months, but it feels like heaven!

Have you tried the No Cry Sleep Solution? There is a book for babies and one for toddlers. I used it when he was about 6 months and it was not magic but it helped a bit, especially to know what are good sleeping habits for each stage, and how a poor schedule totally affects the sleeping cycle of your child.

By the way, I went by your blog and your baby is adorable!

20 09 2012
Ania

I’ll try to e-mail and tell you, since I feel it’s too personal to share on the web 🙂 An in all it was a good experience though.

I second Hope’s notion on a doula though. Mine was also my pre-natal Yoga instructor, so I felt very comfortable with her.

20 09 2012
Constanza

Sounds good!

20 09 2012
Linda Dögg

I am planning as well to have a natural birth. I am due at 3rd of december. My wish is to give birth in water, with my boyfriend in the tub with me for support and the experience :). I had an extra scanning a week ago cause the baby is measuring small, so in one week I will have another ultrasound to check if it has grown in the last two weeks. I really hope that it has, cause otherwise the pregnancy could end up in needing to be induced. I am a little bit worried about that, cause I have heard that it can be a lot harder birth. But if the baby is healthy and will be born healthy then I do not really care of how hard it will be, it will be worth it. 🙂

20 09 2012
Constanza

Lisa, I hope your birth is wonderful and the rest of the pregnancy good. I understand the fears, but it might be that you just have a petit baby. Mine was not big and one of my friend’s measured small, but she was just fine at the end. Best wishes!!!

20 09 2012
ubuntusatyr

I love you wife! : )

30 01 2013
Nursing Ignacio: My battle with breastfeeding I « Sensibly Green

[…] was really busy with all the other stuff that pregnancy brings, worrying about my baby because of a risk pregnancy, and trying to finish all the work I needed to finish before having my C-section, I rather put it […]

1 08 2013
Preparing for a VBAC | Sensibly Green

[…] first child was born via C-section. When talking with the doctors about future children I expressed my wish of having vaginal births […]

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