Scars remind us where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blog Harder

Deep breath.

I am diving back into the world of blogging after a pretty dismal showing with my first blog attempt--a blog dedicated to my first son's life.  That hasn't been updated since he was about 18 months....he will be 3 in May. But it was my journey through his pregnancy and birth, and my journey to and through his brother's birth in December of this past year that led me here.  Two births--same method of delivery--with vastly different outcomes in terms of the lasting effect on me both physically and emotionally.

My first son's story was pretty typical--failed induction resulting in a cesarean around 39 weeks.  My second son's story was a triumphant and empowering HBAC turned CBAC.  I cherish both births for the lessons they've taught me--without either of them, I wouldn't be the woman I am today.  But, still, I yearn to know the feeling of birthing a baby vaginally. This blog will be dedicated to my journey through another pregnancy and home birth attempt when we are blessed with our third child.

I know what you're thinking.  This girl has a not even 3 month old baby at home and she's already thinking about her next pregnancy and birth. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a planner.  Well, that's not exactly true.  After my first birth, I became a planner.  You see, even though my first story is a typical "cascade of interventions," I was not blameless in that situation.  I take ownership of my role in the birth, as I think it is important to acknowledge how one can improve yourself before casting blame on others.  I really had no business getting pregnant when and how I did.  Basically, I just flushed my birth control pills down the toilet and said "Have at it!"  Well, not exactly, but you get the picture....What I should have done is gotten in the best physical condition I could have, which for me, would have included losing a pretty good amount of weight and ensuring that my blood pressure (which is pretty much my nemesis) was in check.  I also should have done way more research on pregnancy and childbirth so that I could have been an advocate for myself. Instead, I placed blind faith in a birthing center who dropped me like a hot potato around 19 weeks when my blood pressure started creeping up and then in an OB whose name I randomly picked off my insurance's list of covered providers.  About the only thing I did "right" that pregnancy was hire a doula.  It would be really nice if women could count on their care providers to be totally up front and honest with them, but the sad fact of the matter is that isn't the case.  And even if our culture were more "birth friendly," so to speak, it is still a good idea for a woman to be educated about birth so that she can make informed decisions about her body and her baby.  Anyway, I digress....

So, first pregnancy, no planning or preparation--cesarean section. Second pregnancy I prepared the hell out of.  I lost 50 pounds before becoming pregnant and I started looking for home birth midwives a good 9 or 10 months before we even conceived.  I knew what happened in hospitals and dammit, that wasn't happening to me again.  That pregnancy ended in the OR as well, but left me feeling victorious instead of defeated.  So what was different?  It turns out that what was so devastating for me the first time around was feeling unsupported and railroaded into a cesarean.  My second birth I had an entire birth team that believed in me and stuck with me through the end.  And I had a say in every single thing that happened to me.

I think my births have had pretty clear lessons.  My first was about finding my voice.  My second was about learning to trust--my care providers, my body, and birth.  I think my third will be about surrender. And I think the process of surrender will start a long time before I even get pregnant.  I am going to have to work through the fear of having a third cesarean--not fear of the surgery itself, but the emotions that may come after.  Even though I know that I can have a wonderful, amazing, and totally incredible cesarean birth experience, I still have this primal desire to birth a baby the good ol' fashioned way.  And, truth be told, I worry that I will feel defeated if I have another cesarean.  So, before I get pregnant, I am going to have to sit with that for a long while. Then, when I am in labor with our third, I am going to have to surrender to the overwhelming physicality of birth. During the transition phase of my labor with my second son, I had this feeling of overwhelming panic--it bubbled in my throat and I could taste it trying to crawl out of me.  I am scared that will happen again and I need to get to a point where I can surrender to the sensation of birth.  That may not happen until I am in the moment, but I know I need to do it. And I need to surrender to the idea that this birth may be totally out of my control.  One of my midwives told me something that is so true: I can't read or study my way to my VBAC.  I was all about gathering facts and statistics on VBAC versus elective repeat cesarean during my last pregnancy.  I am going to have to really get out of my head and just BE--as cheesy as that sounds, that is the only way I am going to get my HBA2C.  And that is going to be so hard.  So I'm starting early :)


  1. Hey Melek - Its Leanne

    I totally agree with you regarding providers. Its so important to have one whose practices match your feelings. I did so much research, my doctor was great, we felt the same way about all of the important things. The only time I was upset with her was when I was 39 weeks pregnant and begging them to get something started because I was desperate [i was at the time kidding - sort of] I even offered my husband for yard work. LOL

    She has the lowest C section rates in NH, which is what really kept me there, because it says a lot about her philosophy towards birth.

    All your postings are very informative! keep on posting :)

  2. Hey, Leanne, thanks so much for the comment! I remember all too well the desperation that can often occur at the end of pregnancy, having gone to 41+2 before my waters started leaking with my second son.

    Out of curiosity, and if you are comfortable answering, did your doctor do anything after you asked (membrane sweep or anything like that)?

    And yes! A low cesarean rate is an indicator of an above average doctor, in my experience :) Also, I think it is important to find out the cesarean rate of the hospital in which they deliver as this can also impact your birth although you may not even realize it!