Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Homestretch for Baby #2

***A little TMI :D

No I haven't given birth just yet! My doc and I want to keep the bun in the oven still baking for a couple more weeks...

(long post, click on Read more for the whole thing!)

I had an appointment mid-March and yesterday I just had another one. I've moved up to weekly checkups starting next week (baby's almost full term) maybe because I raised concerns about frequent Braxton Hicks contractions that are more than 4x in an hour now (doc said it's an estimate of every 10 minutes, he saw how frequent it was during the checkup). He decided to IE me for the first time but found that I'm still closed so the onset of labor isn't very imminent as we thought. Whew!

But physically, relief is what I want all the time. There is so much pressure in the nether regions and I have symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) which means even the slightest movements could cause me sharp pains. 95% of the time I need to take it slow especially when getting up from bed. I need to hold on to the headboard while doing it. Even turning in bed causes me pain (not to mention those clicky sounds!) Doc witnessed this himself as he saw my gait and how I struggled to get down from the elevated exam table. When I saw him one and a half weeks ago it wasn’t this bad.

I've been having BH since the 2nd trimester and when I reached the 3rd tri it's been crazy more frequent. It only gets relieved by lying down on my side. Sitting is not enough to relieve it, in fact it kind of aggravates it more probably because my uterus is more compressed that way.

So back to my appointment yesterday, it was probably the lengthiest conversation that my husband and I had with my OB so far. As usual, my doctor was awesome. He seemed to be really concerned about me and invested in the conversation. He asked a lot of questions about my previous C-section experience because I hesitated about doing an elective this time. Yes, as crazy as it sounds, I wanna go for a VBAC. Everyone who knows me well enough knows I’m such a wimp when it comes to pain, but not only that.

I had such a horrible time during my c-section recovery I’m thinking an exploded vag might be much better that going through that kind of recovery again. I had a supportive family but my doctors and nurses were so out of reach. The hospital wasn’t the best in the city either, but that’s where my OB was accredited. Generally speaking, the medical team dismissed my post-op pain and I did not have any sort of relationship built with them which made things hard. It took me 2 weeks before I could move around independently (my husband was God-sent). 2 weeks post-partum I was still in pain but thankfully was more independent. It took me a month to recover almost fully though.

Looking back at my unpleasant c-section experience, here are the details if you’re interested (wall of text ahead!) I had an elective c-section because at my last checkup I was 1 cm and “tense”, then the week after I closed back up and was still tense. Placenta was already mature, baby was measuring a little big, and I potentially had CPD (cephalopelvic disproportion). So CS delivery it was. I didn't want to risk going through the pains of labor and risk the baby's life but end up having a CS after all because of all these factors.

Morning of February 6th came. I was wheeled into the OR but only until the doors. I had to walk to the operating table, lie down by myself (no one even assisted this heavily pregnant woman to prevent me from falling or something) and I watched anxiously as they prepared the room. My knees were literally shaking in fear. I knew one of them (college classmate) but she was also busy so basically no one paid close attention to me until the anesthesiologist showed up to check my vitals and administer the drugs. I felt so alone until my sister-in-law came in a little later (she’s a doctor and they knew her so she let her in). The anesthesiologist injected a drug in my IV that made my left arm feel like it was burning from my hands up, and then, nothingness. Nothing was explained to me. I just remember whimpering in pain before I just passed out and I didn’t even know I would be asleep the entire operation. I had no recall of them inserting the spinal anesthesia, no recall of the first cries of my daughter, no tugging sensations during the procedure, no nothing. I was just knocked out. Although, I think I have some recall of quick moments when I was awake, like being turned to my side, seeing people in green scrubs, but it all just felt like a dream. I only had a brief moment when I came to (I remember seeing green drapes everywhere and the OR light) but other than that I think I was just out of it.

I woke up in the recovery room without any idea how much time has passed (it felt like 15 minutes but I'm sure it was a couple of hours or more) but I remember the first thing I wanted to do was ask the nurses if my daughter was "complete." Silly question, but I really wanted to hear she was a healthy baby. And she was. “Well baby” is what they called her. I still couldn’t feel my legs and I was falling in and out of consciousness, but I didn’t care about myself at that point. They showed me my baby and for the first time, I kissed her. They took her back to the nursery and I was again left alone until it was time to take me back to my room. By that time, the anesthesia was already starting to wear off. The hospital had no elevators so I had to endure all the bumps and turns of the hospital ramps on the way there (the orderly weren’t very careful handling me). By the time I reached my room I was crying in pain I also felt bad for not having real skin-to-skin contact with my daughter at all, I didn’t have enough time to appreciate her features, how loudly she cried, or just simply touch her skin. I was robbed of that first few moments of a bonding experience. I spent the next 2 days in the hospital without seeing my baby and could only look at her through photos.

It was all new to me that time and I had to deal with all of that, so for this pregnancy I promised myself that things need to change: different hospital, different OB-GYN, different anesthesiologist, just different circumstances really. I was just grateful that for that operation I didn’t have to pay for my OB’s PF which we are still very thankful for.

So yesterday after my sonogram (baby is approximately weighing 6++ lbs right now, everything looks good) I made sure that my doctor heard me out and thankfully he addressed a lot of my concerns and questions so I felt better after that appointment. I asked about the possibility of my husband being there with me in the OR if I would have a CS (although my sister will be for sure because she’s a nurse and she works there), if I would be awake or asleep, how the post-op pain would be managed… Basically, all of the things that almost went wrong in my first c-section experience. I also made him discuss the success rate of VBACs in general, what to expect during labor, the ever so famous epidural, and what to expect if the labor won’t progress at all. By the way, he wants the epidural administered at 6-7 cm, which I think it too far along in the labor for me given how much of a weakling I am when it comes to pain, but he doesn’t want me to just lay there and wait for hours and hours to deliver. This I understand, because I’m at risk for uterine rupture anyway which is a-whole-nother scary possibility.

The verdict: we will be waiting it out to see if I’ll go through labor at all before my due date, and if not, it’s back to the OR for me.

It’s a lot of details to take in right now and we are considering several factors, but at the end of the day it will be painful anyway no matter how I would be delivering this baby. I’ve been stressing about labor and delivery for days now though... Just the thought of going through that pain again seriously keeps me awake at night. I’ve also developed a habit to read birth stories—the good and bad—because I really want to prepare myself for what could happen. If there’s anything I’ve learned from reading these women’s experiences is that no matter how much you want to plan your child’s birth, you just don’t know how it’s gonna turn out.

All I want is for my child to be born healthy, the both of us not having any complications. How he would be brought into this world doesn’t matter now—NSD or CS.

To all of you expecting moms who are reading this right now—here are the things I’d like you to take away from this post:

* It’s important that you build a relationship with your healthcare providers. Talk to them. Be honest. Ask questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question! Remember, this is your life and your baby’s life. Also you just don’t know which of your worries are valid so ask away. Being properly informed would help you prepare for the delivery a whole lot if there is clear communication. It will most likely turn out to be a better experience even before you actually deliver.

* Start shopping for baby stuff during the 2nd trimester when it’s easier to be mobile. Also you’d be surprised how time flies. I’m just a couple of weeks away from delivery but I still have some stuff left to buy for the baby!

* Do your research. Think about the pros and cons of the birthing facility where you’d like to deliver. Ask about admitting requirements and their admitting policies, think about yours and your family’s convenience during your hospital stay (eg. hospital layout, room type), analyze if the details of your birthing plan are actually feasible, how much does birth usually cost in that facility, what are their policies around labor/NSD vs CS deliveries, nursery policies, visiting hours, etc.

* Listen to your body. I asked my employer if I could work from home 2 weeks before my maternity leave (I was just lucky that my boss bumped it up to 3 weeks) because I just knew that by the end of March my body wouldn’t be able to handle traveling for hours. And whaddayaknow, I was just ordered by my doctor to be on bed rest this week because of the frequent BH contractions.

I will probably post an update after my next doctor’s appointment. Until then, join me in praying that I won’t go into labor just yet!
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