Mulling

I guess I feel there should be some achievement in making it to the 37 week mark, like something should really start happening, right? Rather, I want it to. There has been an increasing regularity to the tightening and psudo-contractions I have been having. A familiarity with the expected rhythms building up. Maybe that is just the difficulty in waiting. Waiting around for the expected, yet my expectations are perhaps a bit preemptive still. In all reality, I really shouldn’t want to be having this baby before 39 weeks. In the scheme of things, that is only 2 weeks away, not very much time. But too strong is the overwhelming burden fueling the desire to be done and meet this baby. I really would like to go into labor. Now would be nice.

Because in my mind I am so ready to be past that, to get it over with. I am not very focused on the Labor part of Birth at all this time. A little disconcerting and odd, considering never before have we planned a hospital birth, and never before- despite my last two C-sections- have we spent so much time in the clutches of the medicalized birth machine that we had so sought to avoid as home birth parents. Maybe that disconnect is just feeding the it doesn’t matter mindset I have. Maybe there are too many possibilities and scenarios that could play out this time that I can’t focus and wrap my head around them all. The last two times I was so honed in on specific perimeters, though each birth ultimately fell outside of those projected outcomes, I was able to be very focused on a narrow projected path. This time I have two very divergent paths as possibilities, and the situations that will place us on one path or the other are muddy, grey and blurred. I will either have a VBAC or a repeat C-section. Beyond that, there is so much grey, so many unknowns as to what will ultimately dictate one path versus the other. I am first and foremost trying for another VBAC- there is no reason to schedule a C-section, no reason I shouldn’t be able to deliver this baby myself. Well, other than my given history of overwhelmingly long, prolonged, intense, difficult labors and mal-positioning. But I know my chances are not that good. The hardest thing for me is trying to figure out at what point we exit onto the second path. Where during labor do we draw the line?

I am very lucky in that I even have this chance to labor at all. This was our biggest set of choices thus far- to plan a hospital birth right from the start, and to receive care from a high risk obstetrics practice rather than a solo practice lay midwife (as we have had in the past, now impossible) or even a regular OB (who also consider me too high risk to allow much freedom in the perimeters of laboring and attempting another VBAC). I am the healthiest patient in our OB’s practice, opposed to the riskiest, which I think I would have been with many of the other Doctors we interviewed. I am able to try my darndest for a VBAC, so long as there is no risk to me or baby (uterine rupture and baby distress being the big ones). He is unfazed by the prospects of my typically long labors (52 hours and 34 hours with my other girls, respectively). He makes it sound like he will let me go as long as I can endure, though I suspect he doesn’t really see why I would choose to suffer for that long when I can just have the surgical birth, achieving the same result. An easy mindset to fall into seeking to be rescued from the overwhelming rushes and uphill battle that is labor. For me it is in fact a bit too comfortable, too normal, too familiar. With Tallis I got all the way to 9.5 cm, feeling the urges to push, yet couldn’t. I climbed that mountain only to end up with nearly double the recovery from all the work my body did to dilate plus the major abdominal surgery.

My OB just wants me to have a good birth experience, to have it be all happy and easy and decide at any point that I don’t want to labor anymore and it will all be fine and dandy. Yea right, like that is going to happen. Because his advice is coming from a man who simply can’t imagine why anyone would be wanting to push an 8lb mass out of their *** (yea you know). And he’s right- the C-section seems like the easy default solution. The escape from the toil, the hard work, the pain, achieving the same end result of the birth of a new baby. I know in the heat of that moment, the realization of man, this is hard, this hurts, this sucks, as emotions and irrationality begin to rule, of course I am going to be begging to escape that. Seeking a functional savior to pull me out of the pain, begging to be delivered from having to endure the intensity of contractions. Too easy it is to become fatalistic rather than buckle down and run the race. Too many options this time that serve as distractions to putting one foot in front of the other and finding my pace and groove in this slow, long uphill climb of Labor. He thinks I am putting too much pressure on myself and see the C-sections as failure.

Failure? In what? In all honesty, I don’t feel like a failure, I don’t feel like having another C-section as me failing. Failing would presume I think giving birth normally has anything to do with my own achievement, efforts and control. Labor and Birth are likely the farthest thing from self-actualized achievement and control I have ever experienced. I believe our bodies are imperfect, fallen and in a state of utter chaos in which things go wrong and abnormal. Isn’t that what medicine is all about, anyways? Granted it has far overstepped it’s boundaries and often causes the very things it seeks to fix, and I do need to say that I firmly believe (from a purely statistical standpoint) about 90% of births should be completely unhindered by the medicalized machine that is Obstetrics, but there is that roughly 10% that really do have a need for the interventions that modern medicine has enabled us. The machine runs a bit too rampant in our country, yet I find I myself in that minority statistic of women who really do need the safety net of surgical birth. It would only be failure if I truly held myself up to those unrealistic standards that I could self-actualize myself into a set of perfect birthing circumstances.

Yet, my desire to sort through all the grayness as I prepare for this Labor has exactly to do with circumstances. But not the ones I seek to control or that are going to make me happy. I tend to be logical and compartmentalized about all of this until the overwhelming emotional upheaval takes over in waves of female hormonal irrationality. I really desire to have at least a set outlook and mindset of perimeters before I get to that point of an irrational laboring woman. I want to have set brackets of limitations on which path we will end up walking down and what circumstances will dictate and influence at what point we make those choices. Safety of baby and myself, of course, is foremost. Our OB is looking for extremes- baby in distress, uterine rupture. But there are so many other things to consider as you slide down the scale. At what point do we realize and make the decision that our labor really isn’t going anywhere? How easy would it be to throw in the towel preemptively when my chances of a VBAC are in reality still rather good? The goal is simply to do what I can to have a VBAC given the circumstances line up in such a way that is possible, otherwise baby g.3 will be born via C-section, which will be totally fine too. Yet I am still fearing laboring unnecessarily, letting it go too long for no good reason and subjecting myself to what seems like unnecessary suffering given it will end up being surgical anyways. 

See, now I am out thinking myself, as when it happens and I am in the heat of it, all this will be completely different and possibly irrelevant. I chase down these winding, unending, unanswerable rabbit trails, allowing my mind to manically mull over every side of the dice until I end up unable to sleep and writing a blog post about all this at 4 in the morning. There is a downside to being a detail-oriented person. Good to expend this sort of energy and effort for something, but wasteful and depleting in situations like this given today will be all the more exhausting given the lost hours of sleep. And it urges my desires even more to want to go into labor soon, as the very reason I am up anyways is the discomfort of laying in the same position for long, the campiness in my legs, aching in my pelvis and urge of hunger that hits at about 3:45am. Thank you pregnancy. I guess I am making up for what an easy early pregnancy I had with no morning sickness or other symptoms, because this feel far harder to endure than the ends of my last two. I have to remember what a miracle and emotional roller coaster this little girl is to begin with. To remember to be encouraged by my discomfort because it is a sign that the END, yes indeed, is very near.

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~ by gdesign on August 2, 2008.

2 Responses to “Mulling”

  1. […] bed so I could rest. But I of course didn’t because I got up at 3:45am to eat and write that last blog post, crawling back into bed about 4:45am. Then Matt’s alarm went off at 5:15. Somewhere around 6 […]

  2. Natalie, I know you will find your way through this. Baby girl will be in your arms soon. You know that whatever path she takes to get there will more or less be irrelevant the moment you look into her eyes.

    I had two hospital births that, despite the odds against me, were pretty amazing. After laboring for hours (okay, months) with Asher and feeling like I couldn’t do it on the edge of transition, we had an epidural and were laughing when we discovered his head was coming out before anyone was ready. And little Micah nearly landed in the toilet after nearly 24 hours of labor. Hospitals can be scary, but most nurses and doctors that go through years of school to work with moms and babies really love what they do and are genuinely curious at this miracle of life. I’ll be praying that you have great support during labor and that you can relax and enjoy your daughter’s birth.

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