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.


anna said...

I totally hear ya on the wanting to VBAC topic. I thought of it as a way to take the power back as well... and then, even my singleton just wouldn't arrive on her own so I was stuck with the blasted c-section. So, you're having a boy? I don't think I caught that in previous exciting!!! Also, having carried twins before who were limited in how big they could get in utero, isn't it fun to see how big you can get a singleton to be?! I had this goal to have the fattest baby ever. Everyone laughed at me, but it was totally due to not being able to have big, chunky babies the first time around even though they were full term. Anyhow, so good to hear from you, and I'm excited for the lovely change coming up soon for your family!

Sarah said...

fingers crossed! wow, three kids in a matter of weeks! seems like just yesterday we were bitching about inflatable storks. where has the time gone?

Ms. Planner said...

I REALLY applaud you for sticking to your guns on the VBAC option. And I have my fingers crossed that it works out for you.

Just a suggestion, but you may want to check out the documentary, "The Business of Being Born." You can get it on Net*flix or possibly even download it at this point. Most of the film espouses the midwifery option or the no-drug intervention route - and while that may be a little extreme in approaching a VBAC - the content did teach me a lot about the basics of dilation, and the pros and cons of using "enhancers" such as pitocin and stadol that they often push at the hospital early in labor, etc...all things that might not have been on your radar when you were approaching the stickies' delivery and knew it was going to be a c-section.

I only tell you this because it seems that you and I approach things like this in the same way. Lots of self-education and research makes us feel better :)

Oh, and I also read your last post about the career thing and being torn. I completely understand where you are coming from. Sometimes it is so hard to pass up those opportunities. When I'm feeling that way, I read one of my favorite momma-quotes:

"...if you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much." - Jackie Kennedy O.