baby #2: weeks 29-32
(I wrote this, and then everything quickly changed. So I’m going to post anyways, but see the next post for the latest in pregnancy news from yours truly.)
I’ve been dragging my feet writing pregnancy reports here because I’m still having very mixed feelings about how this pregnancy will end. Our week 32 ultrasound showed that the placenta hasn’t moved — I still have a complete previa. And so, I’ll be having a planned c-section at 37 weeks.
I am not enthusiastic about surgical removal of the baby (have I mentioned that a zillion times already?). Major abdominal surgery doesn’t sound easy, recovery sounds worse. I worry about baby needing additional medical assistance because of an early birth. I worry about how breastfeeding will go, how my recovery from surgery will impact not only the oh-so-important initial days of bonding with my baby, but the relationship that the baby and I will have with Lilly in the days when mama can’t do much of anything other than attend to the baby while recovering from surgery. I worry about how this might effect subsequent pregnancies since c-sections put more risk on future pregnancies and deliveries (or, hey, maybe after all this drama, I am done having babies). I am mourning the loss of what I expected this birth to be. Birth stories are so very important — they’ll be told over and over in coming years, and I think that they begin the parenting experience in a very important way. I feel incredibly sad that our birth story will be the doc told us when to show up, we followed directions, they cut you out of mama, the end.
I know that we are lucky to have a healthy baby, and that I am lucky to have no other complications besides this pesky placenta. I am so glad to not be on bedrest for these final weeks. I am so very fortunate to have help and support from both my family and Jason’s family both before AND after the baby is born. I feel grateful to know quite a few mamas who have had c-sections and will share their experiences, provide tips for healing/coping, and will just listen to my thoughts and concerns. I am lucky to have a two year old who seems VERY enthusiastic and interested in the baby in mama’s tum. I am glad that we have access to a good medical team, an OB that I trust, a family-friendly hospital with a NICU and many resources that should help us survive this. I’m glad we have good insurance coverage.
My sister texted me that she was sorry I wouldn’t get the birth experience that I wanted, but she was glad that baby and I would be taken care of.
That’s probably the best thing anyone has said to me — she not only made me feel supported in my sadness but also reminded me what a lifelong gift this baby will be to his/her older sister like my siblings have been to me! I think that I have to acknowledge that things are not going to go my way, but remember that baby and I will most likely survive this. That’s cause for celebration, because without the c-section, baby would likely not survive, and I’d be at incredible risk, too.
I also can’t help but feel a bit guilty for any of these complaints. I know quite a few women that would be happy to have a c-section if it would mean that they could have a baby in their arms afterwards. I’m so sorry.
And I’ve decided recently that many of these concerns would be at the back of my mind even in a completely complication-free pregnancy. Recovery from vaginal birth wasn’t exactly awesome, I’d still be sore and tired for days afterwards, trying to care for a newborn and provide love and support to a toddler who still needs her mama. There would be the uncertainty of when the baby would arrive and what we’d do with Lilly while our family makes the trip to our house. And the tricky days of figuring out how the baby fits within our family, and how our family rhythm will change after the baby arrives are concerns that would be on my mind no matter how and when baby arrives. This having-a-baby business isn’t as glamorous as it initially seems, but I know that it will be absolutely worth it.
And if you’ve made it this far, perhaps I should talk some about the actual baby and less about myself… Baby has HAIR!, which the ultrasound tech pointed out to us again in our 32 week ultrasound. We didn’t get ANY pictures of baby because it was in exactly the wrong position, but to be honest, I can’t really tell what’s going on in the ultrasound pics so I’m not too heartbroken about it. Baby is on track growth-wise and is healthy. Within the past week or two, baby has started having hiccups! Baby is most active in the morning and at night, and as far as I can tell, he/she keeps flip flopping around – head in my ribs, head in my side, head in my pelvis, repeat. (Not that it matters for a c-section, but for some reason, I’d really feel better if baby positioned itself head down before birth – you know, like it was actually prepared for the adventure that awaits it).
I’m having third trimester insomnia, so a few nights/week I lay on the couch and watch How I Met Your Mother reruns on Netflix at 2-3 am. Usually I can fall back asleep for an hour or two around 5-6 before it’s time to start the day. This happened with Lilly, too, so I’m not too concerned. I often have slight heartburn at night, which is uncomfortable but not unmanageable. I’m feeling large and in charge these days, and hand washing dishes isn’t really an option since I have to position myself at an awkward distance from the sink. It’s a chore I’m happy to assign to Jason. 🙂 I’m still doing yoga once/week and it’s still amazing. Totally stretches out my back and gives me a chance to just relax, which will be good practice for the c-section.
So from here on out, my plan of attack is to write a birth plan, practice relaxation, learn as much as I possibly can about c-sections (if any of you have c-section advice/tips/support/etc, I’d be so grateful if you’d share it in the comments!), and work on mentally re-writing baby’s birth story in my head to acknowledge that we are at serious risk and that modern medicine is what will save this little miracle inside of me. That sounds much more positive. 🙂