"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Friday, February 22, 2013

Prepping for Two Baby: The C-Section

The first thing that I have been preparing for over the past months is my repeat c-section.  Its weird and sad for me to be having a scheduled c-section.  I am totally that person who thinks having a baby in a bathtub in an open field sounds romantic and empowering – a natural, vaginal delivery the way God designed.  That was always my dream.  My husbands not so much.  Nick was very supportive of a natural birth, but was very uncomfortable having Isla anywhere but in a hospital.  That was fine – I figured we would have one successful birth in the hospital and then we would be able to move forward with a home birth with the next one after we had built up our confidence.  I also had a Doctor that was supportive of my birth plan.  Nick and I read book after book, took 18 hours of birthing classes, and most importantly, we prayed.  We prayed, and we prayed, and we prayed for the birth that we wanted.

But we didn’t get it.  Things started to go wrong – my Doctor started pressuring me to induce when Isla didn’t arrive before D-day.  I trusted my Doctor, and I allowed myself to be induced knowing it would increase my chances of needing a c-section.  I had my movement hampered by the IV that I was on because I was strep B positive even though I could still walk the halls and get on my birthing ball and such; it was just annoying.  After 16 hours of labor and only dilating less than one centimeter (I went in at 4 cm and only got to under 5 cm) and laboring with my water broken (which makes for much more intense labor), I broke down and asked for a epidural knowing again that it would raise my chances of needing a c-section.  I had heard a theory that sometimes epidurals help you relax and you dilate more quickly, and I hoped that that would be true in my case.  14 hours later, 10 centimeters dilated – my Doctor recommended a c-section.  He was right.  We had let the epidural wear off.  I was positioned and repositioned to give Isla more room.  The Pitocin drip had been raised to the max to try to force that little girl to engage in my pelvis.  It was all for nothing. She was too big to fit through the birth canal.  She came out quickly but I very strongly remember feeling a lot of pain and pressure as they were stitching me back up and screaming out and trying to move right before the anesthesiologist knocked me out.  It was not fun, but of course completely worth it!  I totally got the baby bliss and momma tiger hormones that I was supposed to get and was so joyfully happy for months after the birth.

I usually try not to share my birth story with Moms-To-Be because I don’t want to scare them.  The only thing that matters is that it was worth every second, and at the end of the day, it’s only one day during two very long lives!  Isla is blessing and no one should ever focus so much on the birth that they forget about the joy that comes afterward.  “Weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5b)

Still there will always be some doubt, and I will always wonder if I had stayed strong and not gotten an epidural to hinder my movement or if I had been strong and not allowed the Doctor to induce would I still have needed a c-section?  I truly never believed that I would have a c-section when I agreed to those things – Doctors do them all the time and women still have a vaginal delivery.  The thought of having a c-section never entered my mind even once before labor and delivery – that was something for other people.  At this point, no Doctor that I have talked to recommends a v-bac, and the truth is, even though I HATE that I am now a c-section person, I just can’t set myself up for failure again.  I’ve always been the type of person that believed that if I prepared enough and worked hard enough I could do anything, so when I put my heart and soul into something and I fail, its pretty devastating.  And then there’s the spiritual component.  I have never prayed so much for something that didn’t happen.  Wondering why God didn’t answer my prayers was the hardest part, and I just don’t know if I can build my faith up enough again to try for a v-bac.

In the past three years since Isla’s birth there has been a lot of grieving.  I know that the most important thing is that I have a healthy baby, but I wanted that amazing birth experience so badly, and I’ve been shocked at how hard its been and how many tears I’ve shed knowing that its been fully denied to me.  Oh and articles like this one and this one only bring on more guilt.  I can only imagine how mothers who wanted to breastfeed and couldn’t feel by all the articles they are constantly bombarded with trying to convince the world that bottle fed babies should practically be labeled second class citizens!  I hate the looks that I get from hardcore natural birth advocates – the judgy stares and the dismay on their faces when they find out that I am c-section all the way.

And then the c-section recovery – GROAN.  That was the worst part.  The swelling, the pain, the scar… gross.  It was a long and difficult recovery. I remember visiting my good friend TWO DAYS post partum from her vaginal delivery and she was already picking up her niece!  I hate that I won’t be able to lift my first baby for six weeks after the delivery of Two Baby.  It’s the recovery that makes me wonder why anyone would ever have an elective c-section – no judgment, promise – I just don’t understand it.  I would love to be up and walking around immediately after the birth of my child instead of feeling like my insides were about to pop out with every cough and sneeze!

Needless to say, I have really been dreading having another c-section, and so I have been praying for a lot of peace around it.  I keep reminding myself that “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of POWER and LOVE and SOUND MIND.” (2 Timothy 1:7), but still their was some fresh grieving and worry that has taken place over the course of this pregnancy.

Thankfully last week I was able to sit down and have a nice long talk with my OBGYN.  She assures me that a scheduled c-section is completely different from a c-section after 30 hours of labor.  She said that there would be very little chance of my epidural wearing off mid surgery like it did last time, and the recovery would be much easier!  I would also not be emotionally spent and out of it like I was the first time.  I’m almost looking forward to it – imagine, looking forward to the birth of your baby, how novel! 

I also know that this time I won’t be afraid to ask my Doctor for more pain medication if I need it.  I ran out while I was still feeling a lot of pain the first time, but I didn’t want to ask for more. This time, I say bring on the pain medication and I know my Doctor will give it to me!  I have a toddler to watch.  Also because I had such a hard time during the stitch up part of the first c-section, my Doctor told me that I would have the chance to be given some anti-anxiety medication after the baby was delivered… umm, ok, yes please!!!! I think I am going to take my anesthesiologist up on that one!  She assures me that I won’t be given anything to hinder nursing and given that I was able to successfully nurse after my first delivery, I am not too worried.

There are some things that can’t be changed – its still a c-section.  I will still have to be on an epidural for a day or two and not be able to walk after the birth.  I will still need more help than I would like in taking care of Isla.  I hate delegating her care to other people, I am her Mama!  But I am feeling a lot better about things, and I am really getting excited about Monday! 

I can’t wait to welcome our littlest Wann!


  1. Lots of prayers being sent your way for this upcoming birth. I will say that having two scheduled c-sections due to both of them being breached, it is much easier when you have the time to prepare and wrap your mind and emotions around it. AND it was so much easier for me the second time around. My pain management was easier, I was walking quicker and I felt overall much better the second time around. Be careful to not do too much and take your time as it is harder when you are feeling better and you have your older child that you want to care for and love on. Looking forward to seeing pictures of baby #2 and finding out the gender! We will be praying over you, Nick and precious Isla, your doctors and nurses and for all your fears and for a healthy and safe delivery for you and baby!

  2. I feel you. You know that I know how you feel. I lost so many nights of sleep worrying Calvin would be breech and then he was. So, I will say that I think the recovery is better if you have a c section like I did without the 30 hours of labor. Still, I question myself and wonder if I should have asked for them to try to flip him before the c section. But then, his heart rate was dipping as they were getting me ready and they rushed me in. So, the end result would probably have been the same. Ugh. I am sorry that you can't have a vbac. The doc who did my c section told me after he finished stitching me up that I could do a vbac, and I am sorry that option is not open to you. I sense that part of you is considering trying for a vaginal birth. I wish I had a time machine and could tell you all the answers! I guess the part of me that totally understands you says, "Give it a shot! The worst that can happen is another c section!" But I hear what you are saying about faith and failure. Damn that rock and a hard place. Because I am just reading this from my couch it is really easy for me to say this, and it is way harder from your shoes. I say that you are strong and smart and whatever you decide will be the right thing. I have faith in you, my dear.

  3. I am scheduled to have a c-section with number two this June. I understand a lot of your worry and anxiety. I am 100% not looking forward to the surgery. I guess I would just offer a different perspective. I had a very long (43 hour) labor with my first, and at the end of the day, I did NOT have a c-section. I had a vaginal delivery that went very wrong and was on an epidural for more than a day after Maddie was born. I had more stitches than any typical c-section, and a broken tailbone. I say all of that to say - even as someone who has total surgery anxiety and does not want to have a c-section in the least, a vaginal birth is not always the best option. My recovery was many many months and with this pregnancy I am already having sciatica (at 5 months) likely because of the way the broken tailbone healed. I've just come to the conclusion there is no perfect way to birth a baby. The way that gets you a healthy baby and a healthy mama is best. And it is different for every single birth. I will be praying and hoping for a safe, uneventful, calm delivery for your little one and for you!

  4. Che - thank you for the advice and the prayers! I am definitely looking forward to an easier recovery the second time. I've heard the same thing from several moms.

    Meg - At this point I am at peace. After talking to several Doctors, I feel fine about it. My first Doctor who I really loved and trusted and who was a regional expert in V-BACs sat down and talked to me about why he didn't recommend it. I know he pressured me to induce, but other than that, he was the most supportive, non pushy Doctor ever and I loved him and fully trusted him. Even with all the planning and preparation and prayer (did not mean for that to be alliterative) that Nick and I did, we knew that above all else we had picked an excellent Doctor and we were going to trust his judgement. There's just something about having a Doctor that has deliver over 5000 babies tell you he's not comfortable letting you go much longer because of x, y, and z with real distress on his face that convinces you. Plus, we had just had a close friends niece die at 42 weeks in the womb in Germany because they so strongly push for all natural births and wouldn't induce. That definitely influenced us. Also - this might sound terrible, but since Nick can only be in the states a finite amount of time for the the baby, its been kind of nice to schedule it. From what I understand of V-BACs you have to go into labor on your own. I will be completely cheering you on in your V-BAC though!

  5. Kristy - it doesn't sound like there is anything elective about your c-section. I am so sorry that you had such a tough time on your first delivery. Definitely they save lives and thank goodness for them! People should trust their Doctors first and foremost.

    I think for me, I just so badly wanted a vaginal birth, and I was told that having an epidural or being induced beforehand would increase my chances of needing a c-section, and I caved and gave in anyway. That will always cause some doubt for me that if I had been stronger then maybe I could have had the birth I wanted. No question vaginal births are not always ideal - I have two friend and also my sister that had very, very difficult vaginal births, but all three had such easy second deliveries - that was always my worst case scenario! I never, ever dreamed that I would have a c-section, in my scariest nightmare I caved and need Pitocin and and an epidural the first time and then the second would be easier and natural, so I was completely unprepared for the c-section.
    Anyway, good luck with yours. I will definitely be praying for your second pregnancy and your sciatica pain, ouch! :(

  6. Praying for you all! Good luck tomorrow and so excited to read and learn more about two baby . . . and hopefully meet two baby someday!


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