It’s been a hard few days. Today is my due date. The last couple of weeks, I have woken up every morning thinking that today is the day. And then I went to bed every night disappointed that I wasn’t in labor yet, but hopeful that maybe something would happen while I was sleeping. I would wake up disappointed, but then think that surely, today must be the day. But it hasn’t been the day. It hasn’t been the night. And nothing is changing, at least that I can tell, to make me think that the day is on its way.
I really thought I was comfortable with the idea of a c-section, since if I have one this time, it will definitely be different. I’m going to have my doula with me no matter what, and I’m delivering at a hospital that is starting to allow some aspects of a gentle cesarean. I’ve spent the last nine months telling myself that if I have to have a c-section, the possibility of skin-to-skin in the OR and not being separated from my baby and not being put to sleep is going to make all the difference, and that it will be just as good as a vaginal birth if I can end up with a cesarean that keeps me present and involved. But the last few days of thinking more and more that a repeat cesarean is a real possibility has made me very aware that I’m not okay with it. For me, they are not the same. And it’s hard to get my brain to accept that having another cesarean could be a good experience, because my only experience with one has been traumatic. My brain doesn’t know what else to do besides panic. Logically, I know what’s up, but my brain has flipped the NOPE switch.
Tuesday, I spent most of the day in tears and terrified. I couldn’t stop thinking how scared I was to not go into labor on my own. My doula suggested that I go in to talk to one of my midwives to try to calm down, since the amount of fear I was experiencing could be keeping me from going into labor. Adam needed to come home to take me because I was in no state to drive at that point. Talking to the midwife helped, and I was able to reason enough to understand that scheduling a c-section at this point might be a good thing. Because an emergency c-section is the real and true thing I want to avoid at all costs. An emergency c-section doesn’t have much of a prayer at any aspect of a gentle c-section. And scheduling a cesarean now will hopefully give me time to get used to the idea and accept it. So I’m operating in this place now where a spontaneous vaginal birth is better than an induction with a favorable Bishop score and an induction with a favorable Bishop score is better than a scheduled c-section and a scheduled c-section is better than an emergency c-section after a failed induction.
Some of my fears were calmed by my midwife. I was afraid of this being my last shot at a vaginal birth, but this hospital attempts VBA2C. I was afraid that the number of children I want to have would be limited from having c-sections. I’m not looking to go toe to toe with the Duggars, but we want to have three or four kids. I didn’t want to be cut-off at three if I still wanted four. I want to be the one who decides it’s time to stop. My midwife informed me that they don’t necessarily cut you off at three. They might say I should probably stop at four, but I’m fine with that because I don’t have much faith in my ability to handle many more children than Hugh Hefner has girlfriends. And my fears about not being able to bond with the baby and going through postpartum depression again were calmed slightly. Preemptively treating me for PPD is going to be part of the plan, and it’s not like I’m going to be separated from the baby and knocked out and then wake up drugged out of my mind to have some nurse lay what feels like some random baby on me because I can’t even move my arms properly.
Yesterday morning, I had a meeting with one of the OBs, and it was really, really great. Since August’s birth, I’ve been weary of OBs in general. After being under the care of someone that repeatedly lied to me and was far more concerned with her bottom line and schedule than the well being of her patient, I don’t trust them. But this meeting was a completely different experience. He was open and honest with me about what the possible outcomes were. Concessions that I thought I would have to fight for, he gave without hesitation. The most important thing to me was trying to get a few extra days after 41 weeks to go into labor on my own. My original due date was May 17, and it was moved to May 14 based on an early ultrasound. I feel like if I can get those days, then I can maybe feel like I waited as long as I could. He gave them to me and even called in some favors because it’s not a day he would be working normally. And barring complications or some unforeseeable ridiculousness, I will be able to get the parts of a gentle cesarean that are most important to me. I’m going to get to remember my baby when they’re born. I’m going to get to touch and smell and hold my baby like I would with a vaginal delivery. I’m going to be part of my baby’s first moments.
After this appointment, I felt over the moon. I have over a week to still go into labor. But if I don’t, and this is as good as it gets, it’s still pretty damn good. But the more time I’ve had to sit on this, I feel myself slipping backwards. Because yes, this type of c-section is ideal in terms of c-sections. But it doesn’t change the fact that I still don’t want a c-section. Yes, I understand that there are situations where c-sections are necessary and save lives and that some women even prefer them and that a healthy baby is the main important thing here. But I don’t have to be skipping rope through a field of daisies over major abdominal surgery. I do not have to be happy that to me, it still feels like my body is broken. I can acknowledge that for me, this would be a win but also a very big loss. Many people have told me since August was born that this experience is going to be different and that giving birth is what my body was made to do. But what if that’s not totally true? What if giving birth (in the way that I’ve come to expect it) isn’t something I’m going to get to experience? What if my body is made to do this, and just… doesn’t?
Accepting and preparing for the possibility of a cesarean is probably very important and good for me. And it’s only been a day. Maybe by 41 weeks, I will be totally on board and so excited. But right now I’m doubtful, and I’m not very hopeful. Part of planning for a cesarean involves planning to not have a VBAC, and I’m starting to mourn that loss now because I am less and less confident that it’s going to happen for me.
There isn’t a real purpose to me posting this here, other than to explain why I may not be writing here for a little while. I’ll come back after the baby is born, but I don’t think I’ll have much more to say between now and then. I’m not looking for a bunch of You can do it! comments or to hear about everyone’s successful births. I just wanted a space to write about this in this moment, and to organize how this is all feeling to me.