Thursday, September 5, 2013

Waiting is Painful. {Part 2}

Yesterday I left off half way through sharing the hardest parts of my second pregnancy -- emotionally, as I waited for a VBAC.

39 Weeks. On Jasmine's 2nd Birthday.

So today I'm just gonna dive right in and finish it up.


  • Through my pregnancy, well at least once we moved, I swam laps for exercise. I loved it. But it was a love hate relationship. Because every time I went I felt like I was fighting for it --- fighting for the ability to VBAC. And so I had to face my fears and myself every day in that pool. Usually about half of my 30 mins was spent talking myself down from a place of worry about something, and then those sweet endorphins would kick in and for the rest I was able to just glide and forget. I was so grateful. Those workouts were one of the only things that kept me sane during my pregnancy. But there was one day where I was just so full of deep, deep need to "win" (win what? Win back what I lost I guess. I wasn't sure. But it was strong.) that I couldn't calm down like I was used to half way through. I just stayed tense and mad. So that day I swam like I've never swam before or since. Just full speed. Like my life depended on it. Pulling my body down the lane with every single fiber of the muscles in my arms, while my legs furiously fumed at the monsters behind me. I went until I thought my heart might just explode, and I kinda considered how that might be bad for the baby, but I knew I had to do something in the pool that day. I didn't quite know what it was, but I was going to do it. I spent the rest of my lap time doing that, until I finally felt like I swam fast enough to leave what ever monster was behind me, behind me. And I left the pool feeling accomplished but worn clean out. That feeling comes back to me sort of regularly. The memory of all that.

Why it turned out ok:
Well I did a couple posts (1 & 2) on why working out while you are pregnant is a good thing. And I am so sold on that after my experiences. I'm so glad I did those work outs. They were so important to my hormonal emotional stability that Blake would tell me to make sure I got those work outs in because he could see me starting to crack when I would miss them. And doing all that hard work really did pay off. I did not gain as much pregnancy weight, I looked better and felt better, and I was much more able to keep up with labor this time.

  • The next hard thing was this trip to the doctor. For insurance coverage on chiropractic care, I had to go to our college health center. (Blake's not a student any more, but the system is dumb and gives him student insurance.) Where doctor, a non-OBGYN doctor, told me about how scary and deadly birth is and how since I've had a c-section I would need another one. And I had to sit through that so I could get a tiny bit of insurance reimbursement for chiropractic treatment. (Which he lamely told me would not make my pelvis bigger. That's when I almost rampaged. But instead, I just nearly-yelled how I didn't want my pelvis any bigger I wanted proper alignment.)
Why it turned out ok: It was the only reason I ended up going to an ICAN meeting. Which I got an immense amount of healing and help and support from. AND I got to prove that guy really really wrong. And I never had to see him again.




  • Nearly everything else hard was about food. I had sworn off sugar. I had it in my head that if I did every single thing I possibly could to make sure I could be the best candidate for a VBAC there ever was, that even if I ended up with a c-section, I could not blame myself this time.

So I swore off sugar because I was going to make sure I could never be told it was because my baby was too big.  I had many a break down because I didn't know what to eat any more. I got a pretty messed up view of food during that pregnancy. I'm still working that out. (I jumped off the deep end of the sugar pool the day after Ruby was born, and I'm having a hard time getting out of there. Not good. But I'm working on it.)
Besides the actual difficulty in carrying out this strict diet. People usually didn't encourage me in this food venture. Usually they just tried the "Just eat the cookie" line on me. I was way too resolved for that. It just hurt my feelings because it sounded like they didn't care about me. I didn't feel like they tried to stop and understand what I was saying and doing. And that if they did, they should be been more supportive.

Why it worked out: Ruby was only 8 pounds 4 ounces when she was born, which in my book, for being born 2 weeks late is a lovely size. And I felt very pleased with that after all my eating-well-efforts.

  • Towards the end it started getting hard to hear other people had their baby, because I started to feel broken since I hadn't gone into labor on my own last time, and so far hadn't this time either. I had big pity parties over this. I crawled into deep mental holes over this.
Turned out ok because: I DID go into labor! Took forever, but I did!


  • At 37 weeks I got sick and thought I was in labor, and I might have gone into sick-labor if left alone. But I was sick. And so I was both sad that I was sick and sad that I was hurting, and sad it was all for not in regards to getting the baby out. I started my usual this is never going to work, mind track when Sheryl told me I can't do a home birth if I have a fever. That I would need to go to a hospital. I essentially heard, "Sorry you are going to need a c-section." I think she saw me starting to spin out of control and told me something like, "Don't worry this isn't a cut off, you aren't in labor now. You have time to get better." But I left that day, sick and tired and worried and pouty. And uncomfortably contracting. I was one heck of a crabby pregnant lady.
It turned out ok because: Sheryl took great care of me. I got better. I did get to have a home birth with her. I had to step out in more faith. And the meds I took for that cured my Group B Strep in time for labor! Win-Win.


  • After that I had a hard time trusting God. (Not that this was new. It just kept getting harder.) REALLY questioning if he was gonna pull me through. REALLY questioning if I would go into labor.

That turned out ok because, well... he did and I did. But I had to wait till one day short of 42 weeks. And after a long time of working out stuff (and continuing to work things out) in my heart (long after my VBAC) I'm really starting to feel my faith and trust in Him. And he patiently waited it out with me.


  • Jasmine's Birthday (I used to call her "J" on the blog): that may have been the roughest day there was. (I was 39 weeks) I basically had post traumatic stress syndrome kick in around her birthday both years up until that point. And I seriously struggled to celebrate it for her that year. 

I had been really hoping that Ruby would be born that same day as a sort of redemption thing. And so as the day went on the stress of that hope, and watching it slide out of reach, was crushing, on top of the flashbacks and whole body aching nausea I was having in regards to the post traumatic stress.
I also had mom guilt over it all. I hated not wanting to be out of bed on her special day. I hated how tense I was, how close I felt to snapping, and how easily I could have just slid down onto the floor crying in front of my two year and not gotten back up until the next day. I hated wanting to be in labor during all of that. I couldn't have been happier to have gone to bed that night.
I also didn't want to make her a cake because, I didn't want to eat it. I didn't want the sugar. I felt really guilty about that. But in hindsight, I actually think she liked what I did more than if I had made a cake. She's allergic to dairy (amongst other things) so I couldn't just go grab a cupcake or something. So I bought jelly beans. And you know what she LOVED them. And I've since learned she does not love cake. So I should not have been so hard on myself for my choice.
So I guess that's part of why it worked out.
It also worked out because the girls get to have their own birthdays, which I am assured by many a person is a better thing than sharing.
And we also got really nice pictures of the day, despite me feeling crazy for it.
And I actually did feel a lot better on her third birthday. No real post traumatic stress. A tiny sting of regret, but nothing like year two.


  • After that the really hard thing is pretty hilarious. (But I was a hormonal terrified women, what more do you expect? We can be hilarious to everyone but ourself.) Blake's parents and grandpa wanted to give us a car. And I was very grateful. But they wanted to bring us the car when I was at my due date or later. I had it in my head that I NEEDED to be "cocooned" away from EVERYONE and EVERYTHING until I had the baby. I felt there was nothing that could change my mind about that. (I mean a car plus a million dollars likely wouldn't have changed my mind on them bringing it now. VBAC or nothing!) I was terrified that one wrong word would keep my body out of Labor land. I just wanted to be alone in my end of pregnancy, to either rot  away in an un-laboring stupor, or to eventually start laboring. And so I just wanted to have them wait to bring the car till the baby was here. 

I was really inconveniencing them with this. And they really didn't understand my insanity. But I cried and pouted enough to Blake, that he talked with them till they relented and we stayed a one car family until our Ruby got here. (I remember going to the gym to walk the 4 miles a day I was trying to do to get that girl out, just fuming over this all, because I was sure it would equate to a c-section. And I remember talking to Blake on the phone once I was done hearing him tell me they would wait and I felt myself melt into relief and joy.)
So it worked out because I didn't have anything to hold against anyone. (I was worried if I didn't go into labor I would have to hate that car forever and be insanely mad that they couldn't wait. So that wasn't on the table and I was happier for it.) AND we were really blessed to get a second car. It just took me giving birth to understand how nice a gift that was!


  • When I was 40 weeks (my due date got changed around so the due date got iffy at the end, but I know I was 40 weeks at that point) we tried castor oil. My mom came from Illinois to be with Jasmine while I was supposed to be in labor from it. It did not work. I did not have the baby. I just had interesting bathroom adventures all day long. (But I'll tell you right here and now I do not regret it one bit and I'd do it all over again. And I'd gladly do castor oil a bunch of times over before signing up for an induction.) So that day didn't really upset me. The only thing that did was....I had been telling Blake all along I wanted to eat an entire cake-sized-chocolate-chip-cookie after Ruby was born. I was dead set on it after swearing off sugar and dreaming about carbs all day long. So he had mom my pick one up that day. And they showed it to me... despite me not having given birth. That sucked. It said congratulations on it. And it felt like, "Congratulations, you NEVER go into labor." (I had to be induced at 42 weeks last time. I REALLY didn't know if I could go into labor.)
It worked out because we put it in the freezer for almost two weeks and then I ate it to my hearts content. But seriously, it was really frustrating to wait. (For more reasons than a cookie.)

  • After that day though, every day got more trying. (And eating got more emotional. I didn't want to eat anymore because I was terrified of having a huge baby -- Jasmine had been 9 pounds. And yet Sheryl told me not being well nourished will keep you out of labor. But she also had told me the baby seems big. I was just a mess.) 

I had contractions all the time, decent ones I could time...but it was never labor.
My mom would ask me if I was feeling anything all the time and I just started saying no most the time to avoid conversations. Eventually one time when we were walking around the mall with Jasmine she asked me and I just kinda vented, "I feel stuff all the time, but it never means anything. I'm like a car engine that can't turn over."

It worked out because: I had an excellent labor that felt incredibly manageable and fast but not too fast. I think the pre-labor contractions helped things be in a good starting place.


  • My mom sent Blake and I out on a 4th of July date and nothing went my way, I just got so pouty it was ridiculous.

This day made me so mad at Iowa. (Iowa did NOT endear me during my pregnancy. They started out with a massive deficit on my books, because our town did not allow VBAC, only repeat c-sections. There is no way for them to win in my pregnant mind on any subject, birth or not.) We tried to go see "Snow White and the Huntsmen" at a tiny theater in a nearby town. Their website listed the times for the day. But when we got there it was locked with no sign saying closed for the fourth. I was really mad.
Then we tried to find somewhere to eat. And I was being SOOO picky about what I could eat. (And more and more paranoid about it now that I'm past my due date and baby is getting bigger and bigger.) Plus I hated food at this point (emotionally.) So I didn't even want to eat, but I am starving. So I say Panera so I can have a nice salad. And we drive back from that town to our town to find out Panera is closed. What? I didn't think it closed for stuff like that! So we had to go next door to Perkins. A sad not as good stand in. (And my food was seriously lack luster. Like cheapest-salad-in-a-bag I could have made myself, lack luster. It was hard to swallow. Kinda bitter. Like me.) And while we are there we see this girl from church, who is in her twenties and single. She's tried to talk to us a bunch at church before. She is really outgoing. But I have nothing in common with her, and have nothing to say to anyone in my mental condition, and  so its always kinda weird between us.
I don't know if she saw us or not, because I tried to keep our presence a secret. (Remember how I don't want to see anyone anymore?) (We had run into her at another store weeks ago (pre-due date) and she did the "You haven't had the baby yet?" thing already then -- DID NOT WANT THAT NOW!) But I could hear her talking to her friend. And they were talking idealized-life-plans about when they get married (despite not having a boyfriend), and when they have kids. I had those same talks with friends in my single-twenties days. But it was driving me crazy, because it was so goofy to hear in the face of where I was. It was so not real, shallow, impossible, and laughable. (But I couldn't laugh because I was sad that it wasn't real. And because like I said, I had those same talks once.)
So after all that, the fireworks were so much later (because we had no movie to go to) that we didn't even bother going out for them. I was too pouty. I thought I'd have a baby by now. I had grand (likely impossible) visions of taking Jasmine AND Ruby to see fireworks. I wasn't happy to watch them with her inside. I came home a pouty mess. But sorta tried to suck it up again for my mom who had baby sat for us, and was spending her fourth of July cooped up in our tiny duplex in central Iowa.

Why it worked out:
We went to see "Snow White and the Huntsmen" at the cheap theater in town the next week and I went into labor that same night! Saved money, had a baby! Wah-bam.
And I took Jasmine and Ruby to see fireworks the next year. :)

After all that, anyone looking for my birth story? {Birth Story Here}

So these were the biggest ones that stick out in my mind.
The ones I've continued to land back on over the year since Ruby's been born.
There was of course more. And I can't really express the overall angst and sadness that pervaded every day because of the impossibility of fully conveying it to anyone but someone else who's morned a c-section of their own -- and then they just know.
It was a grueling 42 weeks.
During them, I agonized over the idea of this being my last pregnancy. Blake and I talked about having more, but this was so hard in the moment I didn't think I could do it ever again. But I also didn't want my last pregnancy to feel this horrible. I was stuck in that hole till I gave birth -- and knew I could handle birth any way it came in the future. (Then I got in another hole of can I take care of more than two children?...I seem to like holes. ;) )

Like I said, I'm not sure why I needed to write this.
Maybe somehow it helped you.
Maybe if you are facing a waiting for VBAC scenario, this will give you the gumption to not let the things that feel hard bowl you over.

But I think I'm already seeing how it helped me.

"Waiting is Painful. Forgetting is Painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering." -- Paulo Coelho

Sometimes you just need to say something.
Sometimes you are ready to put it to rest.
.
.
.
And there are some things you don't want to forget.
Sometimes you need to raise an ebenezer.

4 comments:

  1. I wish the chiropractor in your college health center specialized in pregnancy care. He probably knows that your adjustments doesn't really mean that you'll have bigger pelvis, but you'll have proper alignment for the delivery of your baby. How are you now? Did you consult other chiropractors?

    #USHealthWorks.com/Modesto-II-Center.html

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    1. Oh Thank you Yevette! I'm doing great now. My VBAC baby is a year old and we are all doing really well. Actually that wasn't a chiropractor who said that to me. It was a strange scenario for insurance purposes. I had to see a general practice doctor who works at the college to get a referral to go to see anyone else for anything -- I assume he mainly sees, colds, sports injuries, and STD cases (that was based on all the literature I saw around the room on the subject.) I doubt he had seen a very pregnant women in years. And he didn't see to know anything about chiropractic care. I couldn't believe he would actually think I thought it would make my pelvis bigger. AND I was irritated that he would implying and assuming my pelvis size was the reason for my c-section. That is actually a very rare syndrome anymore. I saw an EXCELLENT prenatal chiropractor recommended by my midwife. (I was in that other office getting a referral for her.) She was a fantastic chiropractor as well as an entirely endearing human being. Plus she always told me exactly how the baby was laying in my womb -- that was so cool. I was very blessed to spend time with her. And her adjustments made my labor and delivery awesome! (I did a post on Chiropractic care in pregnancy here: http://walkingwithdancers.blogspot.com/2012/05/seeing-chiropractor-in-pregnancy.html )

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  2. Hi, I stumbled onto your blog while researching VBACs. This post (parts I & II) sound so much like what I've gone through, I just wanted to thank you and let you know you aren't really crazy. Well, at least not as crazy as you feel ;) I had my son via c section just over a year ago, and I'm about halfway done cooking baby #2 and hoping for a VBAC. Throughout both pregnancies, I had/am having similar experiences to yours. Which made reading about yours make me feel so much better. Thanks so much for helping me see the humor in situations that seem just "end-of-the-world"-ish. :)

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  3. New Diet Taps into Pioneering Concept to Help Dieters Get Rid Of 20 Pounds in Only 21 Days!

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