Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Finish Line

The good news is that the baby will be in our arms by this time next week, come hell or high water.

The bad news is that it doesn't look likely that he'll arrive in the manner we'd so hoped for.

We trekked out to see my doctor once again yesterday, less than a week after my last appointment. I was officially 41 weeks pregnant, and it was time for a fetal non-stress test. The little guy passed with flying colors, showing off his beautiful heartbeat with no decelerations and enough movement during the test to make the doctor very happy.

It was also time for another progress check, though, and apparently my body thinks "progress" is a dirty word. The baby is still too high up; I'm still not dilated at all; and things just aren't softening up to make way for the wee one.

The doctor we saw yesterday was unhappy that last Thursday's doctor had not scheduled an induction-- not because he thought it was likely to work, but rather just to get it on the books (even if it wasn't scheduled until after I'd reached 42 weeks). He basically gave us three choices: (1) schedule an induction for sometime this week or very early next week; (2) schedule a c-section for anytime this week or early next week; or (3) schedule an induction for next Wednesday or Thursday, but also schedule another non-stress test for Monday.

We talked a lot about induction and how likely it was to work. David and I are familiar with the concept of a Bishop score and which factors indicate that an induction is likely to be successful. My Bishop score right now would be, um, a 3. Or even a 2, if you subtract a point for the fact that I've never delivered a child. In other words, if we were to attempt an induction right now, or before my body and the baby had made some significant progress, the induction would most likely fail. My body has not made a lick of progress in four weeks.

We've been hoping and praying all along to avoid a c-section. But, the thing I want even less than a c-section is an emergency c-section after a failed induction. It's my personal opinion that a woman should only have to endure the pain of labor OR the pain of recovery from a surgical birth-- not both. Every woman I know who has had to go through both says it's absolutely the worst in terms of exhaustion, disappointment, and stress.

For us, this just meant induction was off the table. If my body were already moving in the right direction and were favorably predisposed to be induced, we would feel differently. But we don't want to set ourselves up for failure. And both our doctors and our guts tell us that's what we would be doing if we decided to induce.

Instead, we decided to schedule a c-section for next Tuesday, October 6th. We gave my body another week to get its act together and pushed it all the way back to the 42-week mark, but we now have an end date in sight. By next Tuesday morning, one way or another, we'll get to meet our son.

I'm really trying to be completely okay with our decision. I guess I'm okay with the decision, but I'm still really frustrated with the situation. I never wanted to need to schedule a c-section. I am totally comfortable with choosing a scheduled section over what I truly believe would be a failed induction; that's not the issue. I'm just disappointed that, once again, my body can't seem to do the very things it's supposed to do. I'm disappointed at the thought that I won't get to hold my baby before anyone else. I feel like I'm being robbed of a truly life-changing experience. I'm anxious about how hard the recovery will be and how very, very much I will need to rely on David and on other people for those initial days and weeks at home. I'm worried that a surgical delivery will somehow impact our son's health or my ability to nurse.

Still, I'm trying to look on the bright side. We know what to expect and when to expect it. We'll skip right over labor. The surgery will not be rushed, and there will be no risk that it will need to take place under general anesthesia (a fear I'd had about a planned med-free birth turning into an emergency c-section).

And, of course, the biggest bright side of all: Finally holding our baby, the baby we thought would never come. Surely, surely that bright side can outshine my fears, worries, and disappointment. Right?


mightym said...

UGH. I'm so sorry! And for what it's worth, yay for choosing the c-section. I agree: laboring and pushing for hours only to end up with a c-section sounds like the absolute worst of both worlds. Thinking of you! And hoping it baby Petroni gets a move on!

Tracy said...

That's not a fun decision. I'm glad that baby is doing fine. Here's hoping things start moving for you before that, if he's supposed to arrive in the traditional manner.

Comfort tips for a c/section: hold a pillow against your belly/incision if you need to cough. Colace or other similar product is your friend. And get up and moving once you can - it helps the healing. But do not overdo. If you're breastfeeding - that's all you do. Everything else is for others to do :-).

And be aware that some places still strap your arms to the operating table. The idea of that made me nervous and I asked to NOT have that done. My husband held one hand, and my lovely anesth. doctor kept a hand on the other arm a lot of the time, to remind me not to move them downwards.

And that's the end of my un-asked for advice. C/sections are major surgery, they're not fun, but it wasn't the worst experience of my life either. I think if you're prepared, it helps a lot to have a good birth. And it IS a birth, as much as my other two deliveries were.

May God bless you with a peaceful delivery, however it occurs.

PrinceOfTheWest said...

We'll be praying for major progress within the next 72 hours. God can do anything!

Lisa said...

Oh, I'm sorry it has come to this, but PLEASE don't stress yourself out. Some of the things you mentioned (not being able to hold the baby first, problems with nursing) could happen even with a totally natural birth. Our daughter was born by c-section (she's adopted, and I was in the room with birthmom during surgery), and I'm glad that the nurses took time to towel her down and check her breathing before bringing her over to us. It's what she needed just then. I'll pray that things get started on their own before then, but if not, I'll pray that your recovery is smooth and swift.

sonetka said...

Here's hoping the little guy will decide to make his exit before the surgery, but if you do end up having it, I'd like to second the recommendations of the others; pillows are your friend, definitely. You'll probably be most comfortable nursing with the football hold for the first few weeks and big, bulky pillows helped me a LOT with that (I had a c-section with my first, and if we nursed lying down in the conventional way, he was perfectly positioned to kick my scar - OW).

And you know, I've done a section and I've done a natural birth, and while I'm not going to lie and say that the section was as easy as the natural birth (especially since I had it after labouring quite a while) things like nursing, being able to hold the baby first and so forth were barely issues. I had a slightly harder time nursing my c-section baby, but we're talking about a difference of maybe twelve hours before he was nursing like he'd been doing it for years - plus, that may have been influenced by the fact that I'd never nursed before. I didn't get to hold him first, but they did bring him over for me to touch (and some women do get to hold theirs while on the table), however, my husband was the first to hold him and that was quite an experience for him :). And you'll be pretty wiped out for a while no matter how the baby comes out, so don't feel bad about asking your husband to do things - you'd be asking anyway :). I hope that helps a little!

sonetka said...

So, how's it going? By my calculations, the little guy must be about 48 hours old by now ... anxious to find out :).