So the big questions to be answered now are, how did it go? What was the damage? How did my vagina fare?
Pour yourselves a cup of tea and get your Snuggies on, I will spin you a yarn the likes you've never heard before...
Once upon a time I got pregnant in a significantly smaller community than where I got pregnant the first time. This doesn't come into play until we get to the end of my pregnancy (all the vomitous, fainting, double vision, low blood pressure, irregular fetal heart rate, and then boomerang vomit again glamour of it). The entire time I planned on giving birth out here. I loved my OB, I wanted to labour in my own home, I didn't want to have to drive two hours over the highway while screaming profanities at my husband with my two year old and dog in the car, the usual. You get it. And it's a good thing I wanted to give birth out here, as I had a hundred false alarms. I was carrying the baby who cried labour.
Towards the 37th week I started to get antsy. Baby was measuring huge and I could feel that I had a big baby in me. I was sure that I wouldn't make it past 38 weeks, but I did. Then I was sure I wouldn't make it past the weekend of October 18th, which was a full moon, but then that went too. By 40 weeks I would have reached in and hauled the bugger out myself only I couldn't see my lady parts, let alone reach them. It was the second last week of October, I had been pregnant since the previous November (including the baby we lost), and I was OVER being the host to this cozy little creature who wasn't making a move towards my pelvis, let alone the light at the end of the tunnel. That is correct, he hadn't even dropped.
Because I was post dates, I was scheduled an ultrasound for Monday, October 28. I went in and the tech told me that the sucker was measuring to be 11lbs. ELEVEN POUNDS. We both laughed and laughed. Who has an eleven pound baby? Ha ha ha! My first wasn't even eight pounds, there was no way this kid was going to be a whole three pounds bigger. Shut up, ultrasound machine. You are drunk.
However, my OB called me that night and offered me a cesarean, as is her job to do so, because the baby was estimated to be greater than 5000g. I flat out refused. I've had a kid before, I know the statistics about how inaccurate ultrasounds are when it comes to giving weights on babies. Several of my friends were told their babies were going to be huge and they turned out to be 7-8lbs. There was no way I was going to have a surgery and end up with an eight pounder. My OB told me if I wanted to wait and go into labour, that was fine and she supported me 100%, however her only concern was shoulder dystocia. This is when the baby gets stuck at the shoulders in your pelvis.
There are a few things you can do to help "un-stick" your baby if this happens, but generally it's not a nice scene. Either way I was confident that the baby I was carrying couldn't be that big anyway. I hung up from my OB thinking that I wouldn't be calling her back.
Although I planned on letting my body do it's thing, I did inform Brad what was going on as well as my sister who was supposed to be in the room while I was having the baby. I also did a little research myself on what goes on in these situations and learned that if the baby gets stuck, and all efforts to un-stick him don't work, there's generally not a whole lot of time to get in and get him out of there. This paired with the fact that there are only two obstetrics nurses working after hours and weekends (and ever), and no OR staff outside of 8-4 (meaning they would have to be called in, along with the pediatrician, the anesthesiologist, the second doctor, and generally anyone who has anything to do with an operation) started to make me a little nervous. If anything did go wrong, despite the fact that I know first hand how awesome all the staff are in the hospital, there just might not be time for everyone to get there if something should go wrong at 3am. Basically, if it was a scheduled section, we knew exactly what the outcome would be. At the time, that was better than the latter.
After much discussion, a lot of tears, and making peace with it on my own most of all, I agreed to a scheduled cesarean two days after my ultrasound, on October 30, which was my sister's birthday.
The surgery was as good as it possibly could have been. I was in an OR full of people I knew, I had my husband and my sister in with me (after my OB pulled a lot of strings!), our son was born while Pearl Jam was playing as per my husband's request (which we both think was pretty awesome), and luckily for that ultrasound machine, Liam Donald Frederick was a whopping 10lbs and 8.4oz of pure vaginal wreckage. I could not believe I grew such a thing in my womb.
Like I said, the whole experience was as good as it could have been. I'm glad the ultrasound was pretty accurate, because I would have been pissed if I went in for major surgery for an 8.5lb baby, but I do know people who were told their babies were huge and they were not. As crazy as it sounds, I'm sad that I missed out on the birthing process. We only plan on having two children, and I'm sad that I didn't get the excitement that is waiting to go into labour, having my sister and husband there to support me while I was in labour, and being an active participant in the birth of my child. Instead I feel like having Liam was something that happened to me, rather than something I accomplished on my own. I'm also extremely sore from the surgery. I don't think people who don't have sections or who don't know anything about surgery realize that this is a big surgery! Your abdomen is cut open, through your skin, your muscles and into your uterus. It's a long recovery process. I'm three weeks post op and I still cant lift my toddler. If I go to the grocery store I'm sore the next day. It's not nice.
I wouldn't say I regret the way I gave birth. Like I said, he was a big boy. I don't even want to know the damage that could have been done to him or myself if I had delivered vaginally. Best case scenario after passing his 38.5cm head through my vagina, I would have had a serious case of "franken-vag" which is an awesome term I learned from a friend (who I will keep anonymous in the vagina protection program) who learned said term the hard way. Not to say that getting cut open is any better I guess, but I don't plan on using my extremely lower abdomen any time soon, and I hope to use my vagina at least a couple of more times.
All in all, I have a very cute little boy, I had an amazing OB who I feel made a good call and left me with a beautiful incision that only three weeks later looks like a tiny pencil mark, but a cesarean is not something I ever want to go through again. Funny enough, my "birth plan" was to just not be cut open anywhere by anyone. No episiotomy, no sections. Last time I wanted no epidural. If in the off chance there is ever a third, my birth plan will just be to give birth. If there is anything I've learned after having two kids, it's that you can't make a plan.
And in conclusion, if I ever hear anyone ever again say anything remotely sounding like, "Maybe you'll get lucky and have a c-section", I'm going to rip their throats out with my bare hands. I saw it happen on The Walking Dead the other night and I'm confident that I have enough rage built up to do it. So watch yourselves.
The Man-child himself - Liam Donald Frederick
10 lbs 8.4 oz, 54 cm long
And of course the picture is compliments of (who else?) Andrew Smith Photography