Thursday, February 01, 2007

this time in 11 days

I'll be having my first post birth nap. Assuming all goes according to the most likely case scenario, which of course it may not.

I've been thinking rather a lot about birthing recently - as you do when it's headed towards you like a freight train. A few people have asked me about the kind of birth I'm expecting and why I have this timeframe so clear in my mind.

I approached Amy's birth with only the haziest of expectations. Perhaps it had to do with my family and their various involvements with the medical world, but I never made assumptions about how things would go. I understood birthing (like reproduction) to be full of unknowns and random occurrences. Probabilities and possibilities. Sure something straightforward would be nice. I hoped for as little pain and intervention as possible because I'm not, you know, like an idiot.

But I was totally realistic that it might not go like that, that there might be times where I'd need to make choices and I probably would not have enough information or functioning brain cells to do that well. I spent a lot of time choosing my obstetrician because I wanted someone I trusted to help me make those choices. Someone with values like mine, who knew what she was doing and had a basis for making good judgements. And - I'll go out on a limb here - someone who had done this trip herslef.

So while the birth didn't go quite like I might have liked, I never felt agrieved about it. I did what seemed like the best thing at the time and I don't know that I would change anything with the benefit of hindsight. I certainly felt like my obstetrician helped me at every step to feel like I owned my choices.

But having been down the endless unproductive labour road I knew that having another baby would present me with different choices than I had the first time around. For a start I knew my chances of ending up with another c-section were very high. I also knew what it was like to give birth in the worst possible way - after days of pain and confusion and uncertainty. To start life with a new infant at your lowest physical ebb.

I also really understood about the 'cascade of interventions' which meant that once you started down the road of trying to make labour happen, or happen faster, your chances increased all the time of needing another intervention and another.

So faced with the conventional wisdom about post c-section births I could choose to plan a c-section on or before my due date, or I could hope to avoid this by going into labour 'naturally' (ie with no medical interventions to induce or hasten) anytime before my due date or perhaps slightly after if I was closely monitored. Of course the two options are not mutually exclusive - a booked date for theatre will not stop labour occurring if that's the way things go, and not going into labour would (at some point) lead to the slice and dice.

So Monday 12th is when it will be happening, if it doesn't happen before. It's a fraction before my due date, less than a week. It's not likely I'll be going past this date (unless the theatre gets overun, or I go into labour but it takes a long time or something else kinks things up). Now don't get me wrong here - I am talking statistics, averages, probabilities. I am not talking absolutes. I can't know what will happen for sure until it happens. And if I felt strongly that I wanted to avoid a c-section, I'd know there are chances to beat the odds.

But the truth is, I don't feel that strongly about it.

Forgive me if this shocks some of you, and don't think it means I don't think others should feel strongly about it. I cried tears of joy for Alison when Pia was born in just the way she wanted it, just like I felt tremendous grief for her and many others who have experienced the birth of their nightmares. If things had been different for me at various junctures I am sure I'd feel differently, but I don't. When it comes to babies and mothering and the whole box and dice there are a lot of things I feel very strongly about, but this isn't one of them.

So the bottom line is, I'll be going with the flow. Amy and I are counting the days off on the calendar and planning her sleep overs and hospital visits, and I think she's liking having a sense of what she's in for. In 11 days time she'll be at kinder having met her new sibling, and anticipating coming back in for another visit before dinner. I might be contemplating my first walk around and perhaps a snack. I might be breastfeeding. I'm not really sure.

But I'm pretty sure I'm going to be feeling a surreal elation. There will be tears. For sure. And some humbling and a lot of joy. And already the getting out bit will be receding into the back of my mind because I'll be looking forward to all that's yet to come.


Blogger Lazy cow said...

Having had a planned c-section the first time (breech baby) followed by a VBAC which was of the cascading-effect kind (chock full of drugs and topped off by a forceps delivery) I think you're making a wise choice. My so-called 'natural' birth seemed so artificial, I actually preferred the c-section, and recovered so much faster, and better. All the best, my thoughts are with you for the birth, whatever happens.

10:37 pm  
Anonymous alice said...

Good for you!
I felt similarly about my c-section with my first child. And the VBAC with the second was just different--BUT in both cases, I felt like we'd won the best prize of all--the baby was finally HERE!Enjoy the baby and the rest of your family when/how s/he comes!

2:08 am  
Blogger nurturedmom said...

Wow, it sounds like you and I had very similar experiences. I has a c-section the first time, too (breech baby, premature) and tried for a VBAC the second time - 28 hours of labour later I ended up with a transverse child and a second c-section, but it was a very quick recovery and we were home in two days (I begged the nurses to let me go).
Thank you for sharing, I enjoy your writing!

10:43 am  

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