Monday, March 31, 2008

One of these days, the baby will have to come OUT.

This fact has been bothering me since the baby first got IN. The baby has to come out, and I have to decide where I want to be when that happens. At home with a midwife? At the hospital with a doctor and an anesthesiologist? The fact that my attempted home birth last time was just that - attempted - was a strong push in favor of the hospital. (Ha - I just re-read that - no pun intended!) The thought of trying again, and failing again; dealing with that kind of pain while transporting in the car - saints and angels preserve me from such a fate (and I mean that in all seriousness.) It's enough to make a girl want to check in and get an epidural BEFORE labor starts.

On the other hand, I've now had two truly lovely awful hospital births. An unexpected, frightening, and (in retrospect) unnecessary cesarean with Jonathan, and a bedside yelling match with a doctor over a repeat cesarean with Thomas - these are not experiences that give me warm fuzzy safe feelings when I think about birthing in hospitals.

Gabe and I have talked about it extensively. He has been pro-home-birth the whole time, although absolutely willing to let me choose the hospital if that was where I'd feel more comfortable. I have oscillated back and forth many times.

Last week I went to a two hour appointment with an obstetrician. I had high hopes for being able to work with this group of doctors, because I'd had a fantastic encounter with another doctor in their group. Unfortunately, he isn't doing OB care right now, and apparently the other doctors in the group don't all share his views. I walked away from the appointment realizing that I just don't think like these people. And I don't think that I can think like these people. And we are not going to be able to work together.

They consider birth to be a disaster just waiting to happen. So the concept of walking around during labor after my water breaks? Not remotely a possibility. Never mind the fact that this eases and speeds up labor. You have to be on a monitor so that every blip in the baby's heart rate (often caused by, oh, the mother lying on her back!) can be analyzed and worried over. If lying down causes labor to stop progressing, well, they'll be happy to speed things up with Pitocin (never mind that the use of Pitocin makes the risk of uterine rupture in a VBAC labor 4-7 times more likely). There is always the operating room down the hall if that happens.

The fact is that we just aren't ever going to see birth the same way. What I think is reasonable, doctors think is dangerous. What I think is dangerous, doctors see as "managing labor". Such a relationship can't work.

So I called Sue (our midwife). I should have called Sue first, because after a twenty minute conversation I went from being worried to feeling the return of confidence. I'd forgotten how good she is at helping you remember to be confident! The fact is that I've already had a successful VBAC, under seriously less-than-ideal circumstances. I'm considered the very best candidate for another successful VBAC - even obstetricians agree on that. All the reasons why we previously chose home birth and believed it to be the safest and best option are still true. And my body has delivered a baby now, so it knows what it is doing now. The likelihood of a repeat of my last labor is very, very slim.

I'm going to be ok. This baby will come out, and it will be ok. I'm going to spend the next five or six months working on believing that it will not only be ok, it will be beautiful and joyous and good. Hard, yes. But good.

I can do this. I can.


Ma Torg said...

I am so happy for you!!!! Sue is great, isn't she? I remember how soothing she was during my 42 hour marathon with Lucy Rose. A real gem.

There are books (and people) who deal with psychological birth issues prior to labor. It is a good idea to work through fears such as this because they can be inhibiting in labor. I struggled a lot during my pregancy with MS becuase of how long and awful Lucy's labor was and can sympathize. Anyhow, if you're interested in a book, I can compile a list. I haven't read one myself but my doula training books mention a few.

Amber said...

Yes, you certainly can!! :-) And spending the next six months or so thinking that rather than thinking the opposite has definitely got to help. And yes, it definitely can work, and it can even be wonderful. (Although I'm currently trying not to get my hopes set too high, given how wonderfully Gregory's birth went... I have the opposite situation, I had such a great birth with him that I have to prepare myself at least a little bit for the possibility that things may not go so smoothly and well this time!)

I agree with you - there isn't much of a point to trying to work with doctors who fundamentally see things differently than you do. That whole round peg - square hole thing.

I'll be praying for you!

mhcowen said...

I think there are natural anxieties surrounding a birth, regardless of what you choose. Isn't it amazing that you know the ONE who created the whole process and that you trust in HIM for your strength, hence you are not alone! I wish you well!

ruth said...

One of my friends had a pretty bad VBAC experience. I would be cautious. That you have already done it is encouraging, though. I wish you all the best as you search out the very best answer. At the end, one way or another, you will have a beautiful baby.

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Ruth, I am cautious. I'm so cautious that I think I've read nearly every study available on the risks and dangers of vbac at home, and vbac in the hospital, and repeat cesareans. I'm so not kidding - I spent my last pregnancy researching it to death. :) I am utterly convinced that a vbac is the safest choice.

Rebecca said...

Well, since you already know what I think, I'll leave that be... suffice it to say that I'm praying for a smooth and safe delivery!