I'm sitting here on a Sunday morning, now two weeks past my due date. A lot of women go past their due dates, so this wouldn't be such a big deal if I wasn't attempting to have a VBAC. Even my midwives agree that I shouldn't go past 42 weeks for one of those.
In the past few weeks I have tried everything you can imagine to get this labor started. I hired a doula who taught me a bunch of "spinning babies" exercises. This is a technique that supposedly gets the baby into the best position for birth. One of the exercises even involved me doing an inversion off of the couch. I should have taped it.
I've eaten spicy food, curb-walked, seen a chiropractor that specializes in inducing labor, taken more brisk walks in this Florida heat than you can possibly imagine, drank thyme tea, ate pineapple, had anyone that would massage pressure points on my body - and even tried meditating this baby out of me. Nothing has worked.
Now, you may think that I am one of those women who wants the opportunity to wear the badge of honor for a natural childbirth. I'm not. It's true, I would have refused any pain killers, but only because I have been told that they potentially slow your labor and are not conducive to succeeding with a VBAC. I have tried all of this stuff - argued with hospital staff, endured "you must be crazy" looks from my family, and driven myself half-crazy because I am terrified of having a c-section again.
Also, I just can't believe that my body won't just do this.
I spent a whole day in labor and delivery last week because my daughter decided to take a nap during a routine ultrasound. This led to less movement, and a worry amongst doctors that she may not be doing okay in there. Of course she started jumping around as soon as the ultrasound was over - but not soon enough to save me from six hours of observation.
I was hooked up to fetal monitors. Her heart rate was amazing and her movements were great. The nurses kept talking about "how happy she was in there," in between their other comments about how big she was, how they couldn't believe I wanted to do this without pain meds, and insisting that they didn't think the doctor would "let me" even try.
Nurse: Everything looks great.
Me: Good. Can I go home now?
N: The doctor has to tell you about all the risks associated with VBAC first. You are overdue and you probably shouldn't leave.
M: I thought you said everything looked great. I still have almost a week until I'm at 42 weeks.
N: Just wait for the doctor.
So I wait. And wait. An hour later, I catch a nurse in the hall and remind her that it is six p.m. I've been in testing since 9:30 in the morning, I haven't eaten, and I really want to go home. She informs me that he is in "back-to-back" c-sections, and it will probably be a couple more hours.
"I really just want to give my body a few more days to see if it will happen on its own. I'm not consenting to a c-section tonight. I want to leave this hospital right now. Are you telling me that I can't do that - legally?"
She looks at me like I have just told her there is a purple unicorn in my bed. She simply doesn't seem to believe that I am questioning anything.
"Fine," she says, and returns minutes later with a form that says "consent to leave against medical orders." I'm totally ready to sign it, but am saved by another nurse who says the doctor has given me the okay to leave. They all give me a look that says, "you're pretty much probably going to die now," and I finally leave the hospital.
Why go through all of this, you may be thinking? The memories of the birth of my first child -- also a c-section -- are so traumatic for me. I can't believe I have to go through this procedure again. This time, I know exactly what I am in for and it scares me even more. How am I going to care for a newborn and a toddler while recovering from major surgery? Of course, there is always the fear that I am going to drop dead on the operating table and leave my children motherless. I know this isn't productive thinking but this is what is happening right now.
The whole thing really makes me understand why women are terrified of childbirth. I know many women who are so afraid of the pain that they would rather have a c-section just to get it over with. I wish I was one of them.
So, I have another few hours and then I'll have to surrender to the operating room. I'm not happy about it but it's time. I have a baby in there that is still comfortable, happy and healthy and I need to get her out while that is still the case. I have to admit that I am really sad that I couldn't do this. I really am. But it's time to be a big girl, face my fears and head to the hospital. I can't even tell you how much all of your words of encouragement, your tips and even our arguments have helped me through this pregnancy. Time to finally meet this child!
(photo: LesPalenik / Shutterstock)