Leaves

Leaves make me sad.  Things tend to go to hell in a handbasket (or more) in the Fall.  I’ve NEVER liked Fall.  Even when I like Fall, I’m wary of Fall.  And for good reason.

Do you see this picture?  I suppose I look happy.  I’m not.

By this time in 2007 I had suffered two consecutive miscarriages.  I was starting to panic.  I was starting to lose it.

This photo also reminds me of our last good day with Alfred, the first dog my hubby & I had together.  We were playing in the leaves that day and with our baby girl.  Life seemed complicated then, but things were good and we knew it.  Alfred died soon after.

Leaves surround me now and make me remember the wonderful things I’ve lost this time of year.  And I’m thinking of a student (and friend) with two young daughters who just lost her husband.  Another loss in the Fall.

These losses also remind me of the many blessings of my life.  I prayed and prayed for another baby . . . and lo and behold I have had 3 more!

Silver linings abound.  Blue skies lurk behind the grey menacing clouds.  If i were more of an optimist, I’d always be looking for those silver linings and blue skies.  However, the wicked past has taught me that the grey menacing clouds return, perhaps more frequently than I would like.  Does the blue and silver merely tease me?  Or does the grey remind me to be thankful for the brilliance of the others?

I continue to ponder this . . . this chiaroscuro that is life.

 

Pissed! but Accepting?

Wednesday was a banner shite day.  My midwife had been encouraging me to maintain a relationship with an OB, and I knew this necessitated a change.  Friends and L&D nurses urged me to try this one doc, Dr. A (we shall call him), stating that if anyone was going to give me a chance at VBA2C, it would be him.

So, I naively went to my 9:50am interview/appointment with Dr. A.  I was nervous – didn’t really sleep the night before – but hopeful.  The staff was very nice; the nurse was nice.  (I had previously talked with her.)  I had previously met this doc, so at least I wasn’t worried about that.

He was interested to know why I was there since obviously I had been seeing another OB for the 1st three-quarters of my pregnancy.  I told him I had 4 reasons:

  1. I am very motivated for a VBA2C

He interrupts . . . “Don’t do it.”  Shaking head.  Patronizing tone.

I cry.

The rest of the appointment was him trying to scare me out of it, and by the time I told him I’d been diagnosed with a thin lower uterine segment (LUS) during the RCS, he was certain that I am a nut.  Actually, he recognized that I had done a lot of thinking and researching, but he didn’t think I had given enough thought to permanent damage to the baby and permanent damage to me.  (Like, DUH!  What else have I been thinking about the past 7 months.  FFS!!!!!!!)

What was scary is that he’s familiar with the same research I’ve studied.  He mentioned the Cochrane library.  He refuted the opinion of the NIH VBAC Consensus Panel (because most of them don’t deliver babies).  The research doesn’t point to maternal death from uterine rupture but he’s seen it.  Fetal demise begins within 8 minutes of the onset of bradycardia associated with rupture which is too short a time to get a cesarean performed.  Yada yada.

Terrifying.  And I’ve done my research.  I’ve been researching this since 2007.  I have a PhD.  I have fantastic research and analytical skills.  And I was still terrified.  And I still doubted myself, my support system, everything.  And I resented my baby.

And I freaked the hell out.  Couldn’t go to work. 

So, you probably see the “pissed” part.

Here’s the “accepting” part.

Of course he’s going to do “his job” and dissuade me from VBA2C.  In his experience, it’s too  risky to justify.  He’s not going to understand why I disagree.  I’ll never be able to “educate” him here either.  When I don’t rupture and have this baby at home without incident, he’ll assume I got lucky.  I accept that he views birth with a completely different lense.

However, he’s agreed to take me and said he won’t drop me either even if I go forward with the VBAC.  He’d rather babysit me through this poor choice than turn me away.  I’ll have to sign an AMA (against medical advice) waiver just to cover his butt.  Fine; whatever.  So, for now . . . I’m planning to continue my concurrent care with him.  If it becomes a regular thing for him to try and terrorize me, then I’ll drop him.

Although he really shook me to the core on Wednesday, thanks to the amazing support of ICAN and Birth After Cesarean, I’m back on track and actually feeling more solid about my birth plans.  I just don’t “see” the hospital figuring into this experience.  Perhaps God or my baby or some 6th sense will change things, but for now, I’m back to planning a peaceful birth at home.

Excited and then NOT

It’s amazing the span of emotion I have experienced this past week regarding my pregnancy.  I love being pregnant – LOVE. IT.  No bones about it.  There is something just so special about carrying a little baby so close to your heart, blossoming over the weeks and months, and feeling those kicks and twists.  I love it all minus the intense pelvic discomfort thanks to SPD.

This week has been bizarre.  Or maybe the last two weeks have been tough.  You’re dealing with stressed out students, stressed out colleagues, too many performances and events to attend, too much grading, and your own life on top of it all.  Then you hit finals week and performance juries, and you’re dealing with stressed out students and being tied down for hours on end, not getting your grading done.

I think I tend to accumulate other people’s stress . . . as if I’m not prone to carrying around plenty of my own?!  And then the doubts start sneaking in.

WHAT IN THE WORLD am I doing having another baby?

If I think I”m stressed out NOW, think about how bad it will be this time NEXT YEAR?

Where are we going to put all of these children, and how are we going to provide for them?

If something is wrong with this pregnancy, it’ll be a blessing in disguise!  (I’m actually disgusted with myself for ever thinking this, especially everything I’ve been through in the past years.)

I’ve been reading blogs and birth stories this morning, and I’ve found my excitement again.  Thank goodness for that.

I have an OB appointment tomorrow, and I’m counting on hearing a beautiful strong heartbeat.  My husband can’t go with me, so I’m a bit nervous.  Until I start feeling movement, I just have to trust that everything is ok.  That’s tough, especially when you’ve had a late loss.

I’ll have an update tomorrow, I’m sure.

Flashbacks

2007 – 2008 were really tough years.  I suffered three consecutive pregnancy losses.  I nearly lost myself.  I look back on those years and shudder.

I was driving down the road the other day and couldn’t get these losses out of my mind.  I gave birth to twin girls in August 2009, but this doesn’t mean that I don’t still grieve for those lost souls.  Ugh, I don’t like thinking about it.

Perhaps these losses are on my mind because I had that evil Mirena IUD taken out last month.  My cycle has returned.  I had my first real menses since 2008.  The blood reminds me of all I have lost and all I have gained.

I’ve just ovulated.  The lovely CM and pains of mittelschmerz remind me of all I could lose and all I could gain.

My heart craves another child.  My body begs to be useful . . . and to be complete . . . and to bring my childbearing years full circle in the comfort of my own home with my husband and perhaps a midwife or doula.

Stressed: Woulda Shoulda Coulda

Shoulda:  One of my strongest feelings from DD’s birth in 2004 is that I shouldn’t have gone to the hospital.  When my husband started to nag me about getting to the hospital (I was severely dehydrated, and he wanted to take me in to get that treated), I thought, “I couldn’t possibly leave my house right now.”  Somehow I did get in the car and didn’t puke or poop myself on the way to the hospital.  The minute I got there, I *needed* a wheelchair.  I was sick. 

I wasn’t treated for illness.  I was treated for childbirth.

I should have hired a doula.  I thought I was “safe” because I was being attended by a CNM.  I should have reminded her that my birth plan stated no artificial rupture of membranes.  I should have insisted on changing positions even though I was peeing out my butt.  What shouldas are ahead?

Coulda:  I could have told my DH no, I suppose.  I certainly could have told my CNM to go jump when she suggested breaking my water.  What sorts of couldas are ahead?

Woulda:  Had I a “do over,” I’d have stayed put.  Or I would have refused AROM.  I would have changed positions while laboring and for pushing.  I would not have purple pushed.  Not gonna do that again.  Thinking too much about future wouldas is overwhelming.  Let’s not go there.

Woulda shoulda coulda is that much more stressful when you aren’t given options.  I’m not supposed to give birth to twins at home.  That’s risky.  I’m supposed to want to give birth at the hospital.  That’s safe.  Yeah, hospital birth is so safe for American women and their babies that our infant mortality rate ties Poland and Slovakia.

Think of Me: Post-Op Ultrasound

I’m a bit of a wreck today.  I seem to get pretty antsy and stressed out before OB visits anymore.  Hmm, wonder why.  Anyway, I have an ultrasound scheduled tomorrow to check on my healing from the hysteroscopic myomectomy that was performed in August.  The myomectomy was supposed to remove a fibroid from the uterus and uterine muscle.  However, the surgeon found NOT a fibroid but an adenomyoma, endometrium growing in the muscle layer.  He’s not sure how much he was able to remove.

I must admit that I’m not feeling terribly confident.  I think I’m feeling less discomfort during ovulation from before, but that’s the only noticeable positive change.  I had one ok period followed by a horrific one in September where I was bleeding and clotting so heavily, and of course, I was busy at a conference at that time.  This last cycle only lasted 22-24 days.  I started spotting on the 22nd day and started heavy flow on the 24th day.  Bummer.  My progesterone must really suck.

I suppose the two possible outcomes for tomorrow are: (1) things look healed, so go for it, or (2) things don’t look so great.  I wonder how distorted my uterus still is?  I wonder if the myoma really had anything to do with my losses?  If things don’t look great, will that mean another surgery?  Or will it just mean more agonizing waiting?

And then what?  I can’t hardly remember any more.  I think I’m supposed to start on antibiotics and low-dose aspirin the cycle before conception.  Then I’ll have HCG shots during my luteal phase and progesterone shots once I get a ++.  My husband and I are both itching for another baby.  It’s crazy, really.  However, we don’t feel like our family is “done.”

What would I do if I lost another baby . . . God forbid.

Please keep me in your thoughts over the next 24 hours.  Thank you!