One of the things most clearly emblazoned in my mind from the final days before Nell’s birth — when everything (including the baby) suddenly was flipped upside down and thrown into chaos — was the first thing my OB said to me when we confirmed I had a breech baby and would likely be having a c-section. With tears no doubt threatening to spill over at that point, I remember hearing her say to me,
“You can still have a regular delivery next time. This definitely doesn’t rule that out for next time.”
And I remember thinking, who cares? Who is thinking about next time?
She mentioned it again at my six-week postpartum appointment, and again I thought, who cares? It’s done.
Nellie made the decision for me last time, but this time it was up to me, and even now — more than 39 weeks in — I don’t know if I’ve made the right decision, but I made what I think is the best decision for me. In less than twelve hours, I am having a repeat c-section that I scheduled with my OB early on in this pregnancy. The truth is that in a perfect world, I would have gone into labor by now and avoided having another c-section, but that isn’t the case and I am at peace with what’s coming up.
It’s hard for people to understand the seeming hypocrisy — if you want to avoid a c-section, why schedule one? The truth is that I would love a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section), and I know that a successful VBAC is the best possible outcome for mama and baby. I also know that a failed TOLAC (trial of labor after c-section) — one that leads to an emergency c-section — is the worst outcome for mama and baby. And somewhere in between is the elective repeat c-section.
I’m admittedly a good candidate for a VBAC — my size, the baby’s likely size, and the reason for my first c-section all being positive factors; however, for even the best candidates, the chance of a successful TOLAC begins to drop after your due date. Without many options to induce or help labor progress after a c-section (my OB’s office is particularly conservative in this manner), the chances of an unplanned repeat c-section spike after your due date. And THAT was something I knew I would not be okay with.
So I made a compromise with myself and took the middle ground. I would attempt a VBAC to my due date, and if we met the date, I would have an elective c-section.
And here we almost are. The last week or so has been the hardest mentally — the excitement of the prospect of labor and the hope that I would go into labor have threatened to overshadow the decision I made, letting doubt trickle in about what is right or wrong or best or worst. I expected these emotions, though that hasn’t necessarily made them easier, but I know — in part because of why I made this choice, and in part because of how I felt after Nellie’s birth — that come tomorrow afternoon, when I have a baby boy in my arms, the feelings and the doubt I am experiencing today will be cast aside for all of the other emotions that will take priority.
And that will be it. It will be done.
Although the old wives brigade would be mightily proud of all that I did to coax this little boy out ahead of schedule, tomorrow morning is his big day. I’m at 39w and change, and G and I are trying not to think too much about what it was like in the hospital with Nell — no sleep, loud baby crying, and absolute misery come to mind briefly — and thinking instead about how awesome it will be to welcome this little guy into our family and introduce him to his big sister.
Truth me told, I am having a harder time wrapping my head around the idea of a boy in the family than I am a new baby. Babies, got it. Girl stuff, got it. What the hell do I do with a boy?
I guess this is the time to put in my final guesses on size. With Nellie, I guessed 6lb 7oz, 19.5″. She was actually 6lb 12.5oz and a ridiculously short 17″ long. I think baby guy will be bigger, and I am guessing 7lb 5oz and 20″ long.
For consistency’s sake (I know, that hasn’t exactly been my schtick this pregnancy), here is a final pregnancy post with all the deets to compare back to my last thoughts with Nell…
Total weight gain: Definitely more than with Nell. Probably 45lb when all is said and done, though some of that is water weight. Unlike last time, when I didn’t have any swelling at all, I’ve had some puff this time around, especially in the last week.
Sleep: I’ve slept pretty well this pregnancy — at least between our bedtime hours of 10pm and 430am. I’m too tired in general for my body to even think about throwing me some “pregnancy insomnia,” and I’ve had no crazy pregnancy nightmares like last time. I STILL remember some of those dreams, even two years later.
Best moment: For this, I would probably shoot ALL the way back to our elective ultrasound at the very beginning of second tri. It was awesome to be able to bring Mom and share the experience with her, and it was also the surprise of our lives when we realized we weren’t having a little girl as we had expected. I still smile when I think of my shock!
Worst moment: Honestly, not being able to make it through a work lunch (before I told anyone I was pregnant), and puking during the lunch and almost passing out on the walk back from the lunch was pretty much the low point for me. Having never been sick with Nell, this was misery I had not expected.
Movement: This little guy has slowed down a bit as he runs out of room, but he’s been head down and (mostly) pointing the same direction for so long now that his movements are mostly nice consistent reminders that he is hanging out down there. Head and hands down, butt bulging out a bit on the right side of my belly button, and his legs kicking out on my left side. Makes for a nice lopsided stomach.
Food cravings: Egg sandwiches, hot chocolate, and spicy food. Same as with Nell, though honestly, I think these are just foods I like and this has nothing to do with pregnancy at all. I will say that first tri, when the thought of hot chocolate and egg sandwiches made me sick, was a pretty dark phase of life… maybe I should count that as my worst ‘moment’.
Gender: Geez, I hope still a boy given how many times we saw pics of him this pregnancy, but I didn’t cut the tags off his clothes yet (more because I am lazy and want to make sure he fits in newborn), so I guess we’re covered if there was a massive ultrasound fail. Three times.
Belly button in or out? So far out it could type this.
What I miss: My clothes, red wine, beer during football, and sleeping without heartburn. And in the last couple of days, I guess I could also add ‘skinny ankles’ to the list.
What I am looking forward to: The moment when G brings baby guy to me after the c-section and the first time Nell finally meets her little brother.
Milestones: Short of my water breaking upon pressing publish, we’ve hit all of them. Next time you hear from me, we’ll be a family of four.
A couple final shots of the nursery and Nellie hanging out on K’s air mattress, which is set up in baby guy’s room until she moves upstairs to stay with Nellie this weekend.
And a final bump pic. In typical ‘second pregnancy fail,’ the picture is not exactly fancy or posed. It’s just a really big bump on my last day of work.