Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Waiting is Painful. {Part 1}

I really don't know why this just won't leave my head. I don't know if its some residual emotional healing I need to undergo or if maybe this post might encourage or prepare someone else.  But I just CANNOT get it out of my head.
I haven't had time to sit down and do it but my thoughts are starting to just overtake me.  So I'm gonna start typing.  It's gonna be long.
(So for that reason I split it in two parts.)
I'm not sure who's gonna wanna read it but I'm putting it out there!  Have at it!

I'm gonna share the hardest parts of my second pregnancy -- emotionally -- all regarding the fact that I REALLY wanted to VBAC and was really scared I wouldn't be able to, because of maybe physical stuff like pelvis shape, baby size & position and that kinda stuff, as well as things like labor stamina sans epidural and such.

39 Weeks. On Jasmine's 2 year old Birthday.

Much of the time I didn't feel like I had the emotional control to make it to the end of my pregnancy without needing to see professional help.  And likely it would have been a good idea, but I didn't know where to turn.  The few times I attempted seeking some, I didn't get anywhere.

Like I said, I don't know why I need to do this post.  So I'm not totally sure the angle I'm gonna take, so hold on to your hats as you ride this one with me.  I'm not gonna pretty it up, or hide my crazy, or the emotions I'm embarrassed I had.  I feel like I need to write them out.

 I'm not really gonna go into the before-I-got-pregnant-with-my-second-baby emotional stuff.  Cause, well, that was just a big pile of both strength and fear, both excitement and anxiety, both hope and dread.  And a WHOLE LOT of reading.  Reading everything on why I had the c-section.  Learning words like asynclinic.  And wrapping my mind around what really happened and what I could do about it next time.

So once I was actually pregnant again:

  • The first emotionally-difficult thing that happened once I was pregnant was my first pregnancy office visit.  

Why was it hard?  Well, when I was pregnant with Jasmine, my first baby (c-section), I saw a group of eight midwives.  When I came in for my first visit with Ruby (VBAC) -- well, I didn't know it was Ruby yet -- I saw my favorite of the eight midwives.  She had been so sweet and supportive while I was pregnant the first time.  But now, at this visit, she was very brief and very matter-of-fact.  She was not going to say anything encouraging about a VBAC.  She was going to state statistic-y type tidbits and maybes.  I assume this is a legal thing but it sucked.  It felt like a slap in the face.  I had really been looking forward to seeing her and she made me feel broken.  She also informed me that because I had a c-section I would need a pelvic exam to make sure my pelvis wasn't misshapen.
This statement struck me as very odd because I would assume if this kind of thing really mattered, they should have done this to me the first time I came in with my first baby.
She did the exam, felt ALL around in there, and came to the conclusion that it did feel normal.  I forget what she said now.  She kinda mentioned something about it shape and threw in that that my pubic bone seemed a bit more boney (What does that even really mean?  I don't know.), but that it was a variation of normal.  BUT then she followed all that up with... she couldn't tell if the top of my pelvis was okay, no one can, "you just can't check that."
This struck me as more than odd.  It struck me as both as the worst and most stupid thing she could have gone and said.  If you can't check that, really, what was the point of checking me.  She was never going to convince me that made any sense in my case because my baby got suck at my pubic bone -- in my mind, the top of my pelvis is just fine if she could get that low.  But the biggest thing I felt in that moment was just how unnecessary and insensitive that small bit of information was.  If I was cut open because my baby wasn't coming out after two hours of pushing, I didn't need any "just in case, for legal purposes" type comments on how I might not VBAC.  I was VERY well aware it might not happen -- I'd already had it not happen once.  Why make me feel potentially malformed by saying she can't prove I'm well-formed.  (She can't prove I'm malformed either then!  Just leave it off the table.  Geesh.)

Why it turned out okay:
First of all, since that moment I've read all over the place that there is no test to prove a pelvis other than birth.  So that whole ordeal for me was just an exercise in emotional stamina.
AND... guess what?  My unproven pelvis later pushed a baby out in a couple light pushes followed by about 5 mins of hard pushes.  So it was okay.

  • The next hard thing was getting a call from a nurse telling me about my first initial tests.

I was at my mom's.  Blake was out of town and I was trying to get Jasmine to sleep.  I was still nursing her at that point and nursing while pregnant is much less comfortable that non-pregnant nursing.  She was in a bad mood.  I was nauseous.  And I was homesick for Blake and a feeling of normal.
The nurse put on a fake super happy voice and said, "I was just calling to let you know your Group-B Strep came back positive... something something something."  At this point I'm already emotionally out of control.  I didn't have Group B strep the first time with Jasmine, and I never really got told what it was then.  And this nurse was just saying it like "So hey, your hair is brown isn't that great, have a good day!  Bye."  All I knew was that it meant an IV in labor.  And I had had my fill of IVs in labor with my induction last time.  (I took a small drop of consolation that after a c-section they weren't gonna do that to me again -- no more inductions.  So I thought no more IVs.)  The idea of an IV was enough to send me on my usual course of thought -- which started with nothing is going to work and ended with the world ending.
So in an emotional panic I cut her off from whatever she was saying, which I think was her trying to get off the phone ASAP.  And I started trying to make her tell me what Group B Strep was.  But she didn't tell me anything other than "Well it's probably just yours to have now.  Have a good day.  Bye."
I had no idea how to process it because she was not going to explain anything to me.  And I didn't know who to ask.  And all I could hear at that point was Jasmine crying her head off as I needed to nurse her (and that was the last thing I felt capable of at that moment) and my thoughts screaming "It's already over.  You can't do this.  You are gonna go through everything just the same and have nothing good come out of it."  (Please disregard my obliviousness to the fact that one obvious good thing would be my baby.  I was not sane at the moment -- or many of my pregnant moments for that matter.)

Why it turned out okay:
I moved and met my fantastic midwife Sheryl, who explained anything and everything I ever asked her with full confidence that I could comprehend what she was saying.  She was very thorough and true.  She also was ok with treating my Group B Strep with oral antibiotics. Meaning no IV for me in Labor!

  • Strangely, the next thing that was hard was our sonogram.  Our hospital gave us one sonogram right around 18 weeks for each of my pregnancies.  For my first one I was beside myself with joy and excitement and basically melted into a puddle of wow watching my baby move around.  And I couldn't WAIT to find out the gender.  It was so much good!  In the waiting room beforehand I was just giddy.  

But for my second baby's first sonogram I was a bundle of nerves.  I was a sweaty, fidgety, trembling, could-maybe-pass-out mess.  I had to fan myself profusely to slightly alleviate the feeling of my head swirling around.  I kept telling Blake weird things.  I didn't even really know why I was scared, but I was terrified.  One thing I knew was that it would be "bad" if the placenta had attached to my scar.  Once again -- a terrible explanation had been given to me.  "Bad."  I had no idea what that meant.  It could mean anything.  And leave me with an "anything" in this type of situation and I'm going worst-worst-worst case scenario.  So I knew I had that much to look out for -- and potentially more.  I literally felt like I was waiting to hear something like "you and your baby have 6 months to live."
(I told you I wasn't sane for most of my pregnancy.)

Why it turned out ok:
My sonogram went fine, and the placenta wasn't on the scar (I still don't know what happens if it is.) and we found out we were having a girl.  After that I started to calm down and fall in love.

  • Then came Christmas.  And questions.  Everyone around the table, asking me where I would deliver the baby, and explaining why none of my options would work.  And I was left to feel irritated because I never got to finish what I was saying before they cut me off to tell me "that won't work", or told me a scary story to imply it won't work.  And I was like "Well hey... guess what?  She's coming out somehow, some way.  So one, or all, of you are wrong.  And I just might be right."  

Why it turned out okay:
They are family and we love each other.  And we all were just worried about one another. (And I was right.) ;p

  • After that a friend of mine from college lost her baby in the womb at 38 weeks.  I was heartbroken for her.  

After that sunk in a bit, it became terrifying for me. I suddenly became aware of the possibly of losing my baby at any moment in my pregnancy so that continued until I held my daughter outside my body.  The worst part was, and I almost don't want to share this with you because it is so shameful, but my terribly demented mind couldn't get over the fact that if I had the same thing happen to me, not only would I lose my baby, but I would need another c-section too.  And the c-section was always stressed more in my mind because it would destine any other babies to be c-section babies too.  (Most likely... it's hard to find a doctor to do a VBAC after two c-sections, despite recommendations otherwise.)  And that would ruin me for life.  And so I would be mad at my baby for dying.  I'm still ashamed of how I thought that, and how many times I let that play out in my mind.  I know if it had happened the c-section would not ultimately be what was worse.  But I was on a rampage of c-section fear -- fear was not playing fair and was taking any opportunity it could take.

Turned out okay?
No.  Because my friend still misses her baby.  And I still ache for her all the time.  But I am blessed to have my Ruby here with me.

  • Right around here is when we moved from Illinois to Iowa.  Away from everyone and everything I knew.  That's when going to a new church started crushing my soul.  

We tried going to a big church.  I felt very lost and alone there.  We tried sitting in the "family section" because we liked to bring Jasmine into the service for the worship music before taking her to her sunday school class.  The church had a strange setup with this family section.  I guess before it existed you weren't allowed to bring small children in.  (I learned this like a year after we went there.)  And someone fought to create this section where you could bring them in.  But they had people on guard there handing out pamphlets on how your child cannot make any noise at all or you will need to take them out of the service.
I mean, generally this is expected of people in any large group setting.  But the intensity with which they addressed it was fierce, and it made me feel very unwelcome.  What's more, every week when we came, before they handed us the pamphlet they asked us if we had sat here before.  After months of going there, having the same women ask me this every week started to make me feel very unloved.  Yes, actually I have sat here before and had about a 8 sentence conversation with you, which I remember, but clearly you don't.
I was really struggling with God and his love after my c-section.  I know it sounds small and petty.  But to me it was huge.  I felt like if He could tell me my c-section was coming, why couldn't he have instead done a miracle and got me out of it?  I couldn't process it.  And I wanted to.  But I didn't know how.  I tried to find some help at that church, and they did try, but they sent a doula over who talked to me about ways to get labor going.  And I wanted to talk to a pastor or counselor about why God did in fact love me and why I could trust that he is indeed good.
Going to church started ripping me apart.  I started crying to Blake about how I couldn't do any of this for a good hour after every church service while Jasmine took her nap.
If someone did try to talk to me at church I was so emotionally unstable that I felt on the verge of tears.  It was really hard because they always talked to me about being pregnant (because what else to you talk about to a woman with a belly that you don't know?) and I didn't want to talk about it because it was too scary.  And I didn't want to say, "Nice to meet you.  I'm freaking out.  You won't understand that I actually mean this, but I think I want to check myself into a mental hospital.  Thanks for asking, how are you today?"  But that's really what I needed to say.  So inside that mental mess, I started to take everything wrong.  I thought people were lying to me when they said "Oh how nice you will have two girls."  I thought they secretly wanted to say, "Too bad for you you aren't having one of each." and so I wanted to beat them up.  I started to almost cry walking into the doors.  And I felt that way until maybe Tuesday or Wednesday.  (Here's a blog post from around that time -- skip to the "Feeling" section and go down a pinch.)

Why it turned out okay:
Eventually Blake and I sought out another church and we LOVE it.  I've never loved church more.  It's what we are going to miss most about Iowa.

  • About a month later, my mom took me and Jasmine to get a 3D sonogram of the baby.  She had taken us to get one with Jasmine so she wanted to get one of Ruby too.  

This should have been fun.
But the sonogram tech started by placing the wand down on my belly and seriously within 2 seconds of that she said "She's breech."
You don't say that to doesn't-want-another-c-section-Lydia.
I heard those words as "Lay back, this won't hurt a bit, I'm slicing you open right here, right now."  To which my immediate carnal reaction was to take both hands and push that sonogram tech down, at the shoulders, as hard and as fast as I could and run away -- second grade playground style, while I shouted "LIAR!"  I refused to believe her for about 2 minutes.  My midwife, Sheryl, had just told me she was head down at my last appointment.  There was NO WAY she was breech.  This lady had to be an idiot.  She couldn't be right.  I sort of said that to her -- in a less offensive manner -- and she proceeded to prove that Ruby WAS breech and 'Oh look she's using her placenta as a little pillow!  Isn't that cute."
Okay now I was dying.  A pillow?  She's never going to move.  Why would she ever go head down if she has a sweet adorable cute little pillow to nuzzle up to?
During this appointment Ruby was tired and didn't want to show her face to the 3D camera.  So I had to do all the acrobatics to rearrange her.  I didn't feel like doing any of it.  I felt like running outside, throwing myself on the ground and weeping.
Oh yeah and this tech also annoyed me by initially agreeing with my stance on food (not overeating, eating healthy and not having sugar) and baby size, but then going on about how it was probably just genetics that were making this baby smaller. (Which felt essentially like her saying to me, "You are wasting your time crazy lady.")
So when we left I had to try to not show my full hand of crazy cards to my mom -- I drive her nuts when I do that.  So I tried to reign it in.  I'm sure she didn't think I did, but I tried.  And I know it wasn't nice of me to be upset after she spent a chunk of money so I could see my sweet baby's face.  But I was scared poop-less after that and I didn't know how to get over it.
Well, I remained in a state of craziness over breech for weeks (or longer?  Don't remember now.)  I'm embarrassed about it but during this stage I was constantly mad at my baby.  Anytime she moved I fumed about how she was going to ruin everything.  Blake was so sweet.  Every time I cried during this stage, and I told him that he would say things like "You aren't really mad at the baby.  You are nicer and kinder than that."  Maybe in some way he was right.  Deep down I was just flat out terrified.  But I would challenge him every time with "Oh yes I am.  And I am a terrible person because of it!"

Why it turned out okay:
There was one point where I thought Ruby was breach.  I was in the living room.  Jasmine was by me.  I was desperate.  But I felt sort of calm. I decided to pray. I gotta be honest with you. I didn't do a lot of normal praying while pregnant with Ruby. I was way too ify on God. I occasionally did a random freak out prayer, but that's about it. But today I ask Jasmine if she would pray with me. She said yes. (Well a "I'm not quite two yet kinda" of yes.) And I held her hand to my belly and we prayed that sister would put her head down so she could be born. I did an inversion until I felt like I would pass out. I got down and sat sit, and I felt Ruby turn down. I was shocked senseless and towards just a bit of faith.

A few days later, Ruby seemed head up again to me. I was in bed. By myself. So I put my hands on my belly myself and prayed. And I felt her flip down again. And that was the last time she was ever head-up until she was laid on top of my belly.

{I couldn't feel it in the moment, I just felt scared. But God's hands were constantly on me, leading and guiding me through (both) pregnancies. Shepherding me through the valley (of the shadow of death?...probably...without a c-section the first time?... ya know? Not great odds in my favor) to green pasture beside still waters. (And I don't just mean a VBAC. I mean a sort of pasture and water of the soul and heart.)}

So that is just the first half of my pregnancy. I have a whole lot more crazy coming your way in the {Part 2} Post! Stay Tuned.


  1. Bless you for sharing. Gramma

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