Thursday, July 29, 2010

Moving on and VBACs

I officially took my name out of the running for the job yesterday, which was a relief. It's stressful to think about something that you're torn about like that. Now, the decision is done, so I can just move forward.

In other news, I'm 34w5d today. When did that happen, you ask? Yeah, not quite sure.

Everything has been mercifully uneventful. He's huge, though--measuring about 4 weeks ahead. On some level, that makes me feel better because I swear I feel full term! I'm hoping it means he'll come just a little early, but in the end don't care as long as everything is fine.

I'm still planning to VBAC. Researching it has been really interesting, actually. I didn't realize just how rare they were. More than 90% of women who've had a c-section have a repeat c-section. I knew the number was high, but wow. That's really high. I ended up switching hospitals and practices for a more VBAC-friendly place. In the end, while I'm fully aware of the possibility of another c-section, I really want to increase my chances of success with a vaginal birth.

It's funny, at first my desire to VBAC was mostly driven by the desire to avoid surgery. Not that the c-section was horrific. (It wasn't.) But, I hate the idea of surgery and would prefer to avoid that kind of recovery again, particularly since I'll have two 2.5 year olds back at home.

As time has marched on, though, my emotions have moved from a simple "I don't want surgery" to a more intense, "I actually WANT a vaginal birth." (You know, as much as you ever want that sort of thing.)

I think it's related to a bunch of things--one, that I really feel like I can do it. Like it would be a real accomplishment.

But even more than that, it's more natural. So much of my reproductive history has now been driven by man-made intervention--IVF, c-sections, etc. When given the chance to let my body do what's it's supposed to, I start feeling...empowered.

I felt similarly about breastfeeding. I was hell-bent on breastfeeding the stickies for a year. And I did, even though for a while I had to pump every two hours to ensure I got them what they needed. But there was something that felt empowering to me about it. Like, *finally* my body was doing what it was "supposed" to.

And, the more I talk to (some) doctors, the more worked up I get about the pressure to do a repeat c-section. I know there is some risk to the VBAC, but it's really not so big that more than NINETY percent of women should be avoiding it like the plague. And, in a moment of rare doctor clarity, my ob explained that VBAC avoidance was really driven by a desire to avoid being sued. "You'll never get sued for doing a c-section," he explained quite candidly.

Isn't that MADDENING!?! That major abdominal surgery has become the norm because of a fear of LITIGATION, rather than because of medical necessity??

Anyhow, all of this makes me very happy to be delivering at a hospital that's committed to reducing the c-section rate. It's a big, reputable, university hospital, but they've publicly come out in support of reducing the c-section rate from 30% of all births--the current national average--to 15%. So they and my new doctor's office are very supportive of my decision to VBAC. (That's in part because I'm a "good candidate." Since I just never went into labor with the stickies, they have no reason to believe it won't be an uneventful delivery.)

Of course, the fact that I appear to be carrying a beast does raise some eyebrows. They're having me go in for another growth ultrasound on August 10 to see how big he's gotten. I don't really know why, to be honest. He was tracking at the 97th percentile. I just assume that's going to be where he ends up. Most of the babies in my family are enormous. I was 10lbs. My brother was more than 8lbs and has the record of the smallest baby in the family--of everyone (cousins, etc.). And we were all pushed out. So, I believe in my heart of hearts I can do it.

Of course, this is one of the reasons I love one of my midwives. At my last appointment, I asked her about his size and she said: "Yup, he's in the 97th percentile. That's big. But, so are you!" (I'm nearly 5'10".)

It struck me as a pretty good point. Also, we don't know how long he is. Let's say he's 10lbs at birth. Well, 10lbs and 19 inches and 10lbs and 22 inches look a lot different, no?

Anyhow. Here's hoping I go into labor naturally, and ideally before my due date. But most of all, that this little guy arrives healthy, happy, and without incident.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Timing is everything in life

I'm at a crossroads.

I think I mentioned before that hubby is in the process of launching a national organization, and that he needs to decide whether to headquarter it in DC or NYC. We've been torn about whether to stay or go for all sorts of reasons that I won't even go into. Instead, I'll tell you about the additional wrinkle that just came up about two weeks ago.

In short, a good friend of mine is trying to get me to take a pretty high-ranking job in NJ. In theory, I could take it and we could move to NJ and hubby could headquarter his organization in NYC.

But, it would mean that we would both have really tough, time-consuming jobs. We'd be moving farther away from family. We'd be leaving the kids' school--a place where they thrive and that we like. And we'd be leaving a nanny we love as well (who it looks like may actually commit to us for a third year, which is big for all kinds of reasons I'll get into later). And we'd have to do all of this within, say, 6-12 weeks of having our third baby.

Of course, the job itself is a G-R-E-A-T opportunity. If I were 27 or 30 or 32 and either unattached or kidless, I'd jump at it. It's possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Maybe not, but I have to assume it is because things like this just don't come up that often.

But I'm not 30. I'm not unattached. We have a family. We have responsibilities and two (soon three) little people that count on us for everything and who want nothing more than to spend as much time with us as they can. And I recently scaled back so that I can work part time from home, and it's working out great.

And the thing is, I love all of that. I love that I get to spend leisurely mornings with the kiddos without rushing out to work at 8am or earlier. And I love that this past school year, I was able to pick them up at lunch and got to be the one who put them down for their naps everyday.

So obviously, I have to pull my name out of the running for this NJ job. Uprooting the family so soon after the little bear arrives and making the transition for MG and SP to "big sister" and "big-brother" hood that much more complicated just isn't a viable option.

But, I can't lie to you; I'm so torn. I've never felt exactly like this. Even when I left my last job to take the work from home job I have now, the decision was easier. I had been at that job for five years and had extracted all that I think I was going to.

But now? Now I really feel like I'm at a crossroads. There are two paths in front of me. One heads in the direction of a lot of the career-related things I've been working towards since I graduated from college.

The other is focused on my family.

I guess I just never thought I'd have such a deliberate and distinct choice to make. I guess I just always thought that life paths were decided by the sum total of a million tiny little decisions that added up to one direction or another. And, while I'm sure thats also true, this is definitely a bigger, "road not taken" kind of decision.

I know it's the right one, of course. I know all of the cliches that tell me that, when I'm 80, this is the decision I won't regret. And I know how much I love spending more time with the kiddos now and having flexibility.

But it's still hard. It's hard to close the door on something I've worked so hard for.

I guess I just need to let myself mourn the loss and accept the unpleasant reality that, as an adult, the right decisions, while sometimes clear, are rarely easy.