This is a follow-up to my last post. You may want to read it here. Or not. Whatever.
When Robert and I began trying for another child, I always knew in the back of my mind that chances were strong that I’d have another c-section. I mean, James was 2 days overdue when I was induced and he weighed in at almost 9 lbs. Nobody was really all that surprised that I needed the section considering how big he was, especially for a first child. But I was excited to work with Dr. Awesome. I felt like we could really have a dialogue about the probability of a VBAC. I admit I was a bit hesitant to ask about it, but when I finally asked her opinion on the matter, I got the honesty I was looking for. “I’m not a fan of them, I wouldn’t recommend it. But if it’s what you really want to do, I will let you try. I just want to make sure you know the risks.” That was all I needed to hear before agreeing to proceed with another cesarean.
For me, what it boiled down to was being able to make the choice. I chose what was likely the inevitable, sure, but it was my choice. When I sit and think about the worst thing that happened the day James was born, in reality it wasn’t that I had an emergency c-section. The worst thing about the whole day was how out of control everything was and how I can’t put the puzzle pieces together. Early in my labor, I was given a medication to help me relax and save my energy for the main event. It was not a painkiller. I still felt every last twinge of my induced contractions (and let me tell you…) but I would knock out in between them. I would be awake one moment, in the midst of a contraction, asking my mother for some ice chips or some chap stick, and she would turn around to give it to me and I would be gone. Knocked out. Unconscious for another 3 minutes. And I don’t remember any of this. This is all what I’ve been told by my husband and my mother. I remember waking up at some point later in the afternoon, and my legs felt weird. Or rather, they were numb. I pinched my skin and tugged and scratched and I didn’t feel any of it. When I frantically told Rob I couldn’t feel my legs? He said it was because of the epidural. Wait, what? I didn’t get an epidural, did I? I would surely remember that!!!
I didn’t remember anything. I didn’t remember asking. I didn’t remember receiving. I didn’t remember that it took them nearly 30 minutes just to place it because it kept kinking and popping out every time they would try to lay me back down. Something the anesthesiologist said he’s only seen a handful of times. I have zero recollection of it.
I remember Dr. Phil was on tv when it was finally time for me to push. I remember coming to again and I was wearing an oxygen mask. Why am I wearing an oxygen mask? what the fuck is going on?
I barely even remember meeting my son for the first time.
Ultimately, making the decision to just go ahead and schedule another cesarean was surprisingly easy. My husband supported me, my mother supported me, anybody who was aware of what I went through with James supported me. But I wasn’t prepared for the fact that I’d have to defend my choice to members of the world at large. People would congratulate me on my pregnancy in one breath and chastise me for not trying for a VBAC in the next. As I would stammer out an explanation without getting too in depth, I’d legitimately start wondering if I’d made a mistake. Maybe I was doing the wrong thing. Maybe I was being selfish. Maybe James’ birth day wasn’t as bad as it seemed. I was confused. I didn’t really know what to do.
I felt so defeated. Maybe I really am a dud after all. Maybe the fact that I wasn’t willing to be aggressive in this matter was a plot point for my future parenting skills.
So I did what any woman would do. I asked my mother.
She confirmed that James’ birth day was really as terrible as I suspected.
I asked Robert.
He told me that the day James was born was one of the most emotionally exhausting and terrifying days of his life. And most of that had nothing to do with the fact that he was becoming a father.
It was all I needed to hear.
I thought about the two of them holding my hands, trying to keep me calm while the OR was prepared. I was so scared. At that point I had no pain medication in my body (my epidural catheter was shut off because they thought it was interfering with me knowing when to push). I was in the final stage of labor, my contractions on top of each other, and I’d been instructed to stay calm and don’t push. In other words, go against your instincts no matter how strong they are. My mom was crying. Rob was stone-faced. The 30 minutes it took to prep the OR was the longest 30 minutes of our lives.
I couldn’t put all of us through that again.
How could I even justify taking that risk? How could anyone?
I started to realize that the women who chose to berate me for making my choice had no idea of my personal story. Nor would they really care. I started to remember the lesson I’ve had to learn time and time again. I can’t please everyone. It doesn’t make sense to try. In the end I was able to confirm that I am making the best choice for myself and for my family. And nobody can really tell me otherwise.
Nine weeks from today, I may already be holding my newborn daughter. She’s my light at the end of the tunnel. And I can’t wait to see how brightly she shines.