Can you believe I made it to 35 weeks of pregnancy without a single VBAC mention? I'm surprised. Especially since I was obsessed with the idea throughout my last pregnancy. It was all I could think about, all I could blog about. I'm still pro-VBAC-for-Margaret and plan on attempting a vaginal delivery in a few weeks, but since I've done it once before the pressure to have a successful VBAC this time around is not quite so intense. At least that's how I felt until my doctor's appointment the other day.
Time for anyone who is not pregnant or marginally interested in VBACs to tune out.
Let me start by saying that I really love my doctor. He has promised me that, for the most part, he'll treat me like any other patient, i.e. one who hasn't had a cesarean before. He supports my decision to have a VBAC and feels confident that I have a good shot. Unlike other pro-VBAC OB/GYNs (who are few and far between), he is willing to let me go past my due date and is even willing to use very small amounts of pitocin if my labor stalls out. The problem is that he can't guarantee that he'll be on call when I deliver. He shares call duty with several other doctors, two of which will not deliver a VBAC under any circumstances. If I happen to go into labor and show up at the hospital with one of those doctors on call, well frankly, I'm not sure what would happen. I know I have the right to refuse a c-section. I think that doctor would have the right to refuse to treat me as their patient. We'd be at a standstill. I'm not sure what would happen at that point. Anyone care to speculate?
I've danced around the subject with my doctor. He suggests laboring at home for as long as I can and coming into the hospital at a point of no return. As in, this baby is coming out vaginally whether you want it to or not. Which scares me. I don't tolerate pain very well. He also suggests calling the hospital when I go into labor to find out exactly who is on call and when the shifts change. It's disheartening that I might have to do this. In an ideal world (one free of petty law suits and crazy Michael Jackson doctors), I'd be able to show up at the hospital ready to have the birth experience of my choosing. I wouldn't have to worry about who's on call, which forms I can and cannot consent to and whether or not a doctor will "dump" me over something his or her malpractice insurance doesn't cover. I'm interested to see what happens.
In the meantime, I've got a few weeks left with the doctor I like. My doctor. The one who refuses to give me his cell phone number and home address. What?!? I can't show up at his house in labor and have him personally deliver me right then and there? Maybe I'll get lucky and he'll be the guy on call and all this worrying will be for naught.
Yesterday, he apologetically asked me to sign that damned informed consent...
Initial here if you understand that I have the option of an elective repeat cesarean or to attempt a vaginal birth after a cesarean (VBAC).
Initial here if you understand that the risk of uterine rupture during VBAC in someone like me who has a prior low transverse incision is around 1%.
Initial here if you understand that VBAC is associated with a higher risk of harm to my baby than to me.
Initial here if you understand the risk of your uterus transforming into a baby consuming alien from outer space resulting in hysterectomy, blood transfusion, infection, injury to internal organs, blood coagulation problems, death and major embarrassment.
After about the 20th initial, you can't help but have some doubts. Especially over that "more harm to the baby than to me" one. That one kills me. But I still feel like it's the right decision for me, for my baby, for my family. It's not right for everyone. I've had friends/family opt for the repeat c-section over a VBAC. I've had friends opt for an elective c-section over the possibility of delivering a large baby. I've had countless friends/family who have had successful inductions. I've had incredible superwoman friends who have opted for drug free deliveries. To each her own. The point is, shouldn't YOU be the one to make an informed decision about your birth experience and not a doctor, particularly not a doctor you've just met for the first time?
If you're someone who has previously had a cesarean, I highly recommend checking out the ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) site. It's not just for potential VBAC candidates. If you're pregnant and expecting to deliver soon, check out some things you can do to avoid an unnecessary cesarean. And if you're still reading at this point, here are a couple of interesting articles about the concept of defensive medicine, one from a doctor and one from a patient. Knowledge is power, ladies. I plan on arming myself with loads of information and a good epidural once labor starts. Hopefully it will be enough to grant me the birth experience I want.
That first trimester exhaustion has returned, my back is killing me, my hands go completely numb at night, I pee all the time, my clothes don't fit, my immune system is shot and my list of complaints goes on and on and on. Just ask Clark. Mostly though, I have this sick feeling of dread. I'm scared.
I hate being a new mom. I'm not looking forward to it at all. It's difficult, it's isolating. Your world is turned upside down for a period of time. Wacky hormones, lack of sleep, leaky orifices. It's awful and there's no avoiding it.
Since getting back from vacation, I can no longer avoid the reality that faces me. I've got baby clothes to sort and wash, a nursery to put together and a house to clean top to bottom. And somewhere in there, I need to prepare emotionally for that scary new mom phase.
But before all that happens, I had the opportunity to recharge.
Last weekend, some of my best girlfriends flew into Phoenix from Boston, Austin and Provo/Orem. We spent the weekend at a hotel in Tucson doing... absolutely nothing. It was heaven. I was totally off duty as wife/mother. In fact, when Clark and I pulled into our driveway at 10 o'clock at night after having spent the day in Sedona, I refused to even come into the house. I got straight into Clark's car and drove off to join my girlfriends at the hotel. I was serious about being off duty. Although I did take one call from my friend Danielle who was watching my kids. Booker had one of his monthly migraines at her house and turned into a screaming demon child in a matter of seconds, threw up all over her carpet and promptly passed out on the floor. Good timing, buddy. I owe you one, Danielle! Seriously. I owe you big time. No one should have to deal with Booker when he's like that.
Anyways, it was a fabulous weekend of chatting, sleeping, eating and basking in the sun. Glorious! And much needed. Sure, I had just returned from a three week vacation overseas, but I really needed a vacation from that vacation and this weekend was the perfect fix.
We hiked around Sabino Canyon.
I use the term hiking loosely since two of us are pregnant.
Ate Sonoran dogs at El Guero Canelo.
Consumed obscene amounts of calories at Cheesecake Factory.
And just enjoyed the great company. I've known Jen, Julia and Carly since junior year at Belmont High (is that 11 years, now?) And we all met Mel our freshmen year at BYU while living in David John Hall.
One of my favorites aspects of the weekend was being able to talk "pregnant" with Jen and Carly. The three of us are just weeks apart, so naturally we had much to discuss. In order of due dates- me with baby boy #3, Carly with baby girl #2 and Jen with baby boy #1. I can't wait for April/May when the text messages start rolling in. I want weekly cervical updates, ladies!
Thank you, girls for the fabulous weekend. And a big thank you to Clark for holding down the fort and for the clean house I returned to. There is nothing like a weekend escape with your girlfriends to help you get reenergized and prepared for the hard times to come, even if that escape is still in the neighborhood. How about Raleigh, NC in two years time?
Since we were already dressed up and the camera was out, we took a couple of unsuccessful family photos up in Sedona with the tripod and remote clicker. I considered photoshopping out the grass stains, but why bother. I'm going to be a mom to three boys... if I spend my time photoshopping out life's grass stains, I'll drive myself nuts.
Lessons learned? 1) Fat girls should stay away from bright, bold patterns and 2) Don't give the remote clicker to your kids and expect a single photo to turn out.
Last week my sister got married up in beautiful Sedona, AZ. I can't believe I made my dad wait this long for photosfrom that day (sorry dad!).It was a beautiful and intimate ceremony with just family and a couple of close friends. I think every wedding should be that small and low key. Kyle's dad is a pastor and flew out from Oklahoma to perform the ceremony. Thanks to Skype, Marie and Kyle were able to say hi to my dad in Cairo and my mom and brothers in Provo. I'm really glad I was able to be there for their big day. We're so happy for you, Marie, Kyle & Amara. We love you guys!
I can't figure out how to get the slideshow how to play in the correct order. Oh well, use your imagination.
Given our success with combining touring with seeing animals (feeding pigeons, petting stray dogs, etc), we thought the boys would enjoy a trip to Galata Bridge where local fishermen gather to... well, to fish. Booker was opposed at first, but quickly changed his mind once he saw the jellyfish in the water, the little bait fish in buckets and the bigger fish getting hauled in.
The bridge has two levels- fishermen on the top, fish restaurants on the bottom.
Fishing boat restaurants.
Those little jellyfish look just like the ones that used to sting us when we lived in Kuwait. They may look harmless...
If only I liked seafood...
There were fishing lines everywhere. I think I walked into someone's in this shot.
After the Suleymaniye Mosque, we headed towards the water to try and get to the Galata Bridge. On our way, we passed the New Mosque and the Rustem Pasha...
We needed to cross this street...
So we used the underground tunnel. We had used it once before (on a Friday afternoon) and if you can imagine, it was even more crowded on that occasion. It was horribly packed, slow moving and people try and sell you stuff. But it got us where we wanted to be.