My apologies for the delay. Crazy times with two kids.
LBII was born at 1:12 AM March 26th after 48 hours of labor and an additional 4.5 hours of pushing.
I went to the hospital after nearly 30 hours of labor. It wasn't constant. It kept slowing down and becoming ineffective. It was my choice. I was giving up. I believe it was my own lack of confidence in my body (thank you, infertility) and fear of the lack of control that labor and birth brings that stalled my labor. I am very sad about this now as I knew I would be. I wish I would have kept trying, but my rational minds knows I was doing all that I could and made the best decision possible at the time. There is much more to this part of the story - and some amazingly wonderful moments which I hope to share later.
At the hospital, Dr. Wonderful followed my hopes and gave me every chance for a vaginal birth even though he didn't believe I could (he kept encouraging me, but I could tell). He also let me down in a couple of very important ways, but his belief system and I knew that going in. I hope to share more of this story too.
In the end, despite spending most of the pushing phase on my back and pushing uphill (why do they continue to do this in hospitals?!); I pushed out a 8 pound 15 oz, 21.2" baby with very little epidural to the point that I got out of bed at about the 3.5 hour mark to push in a lunge position. Thank God my midwife was around who offered this suggestion because it completely turned things around. I am convinced that it would have been a c-section had we not done the things we did prior to going to the hospital and had my OB not been willing to let me out of bed. That is a victory.
A longer post will come for those who may care to read it and I don't want to give out all the best parts, but I want to thank Leah for sticking it out with Brad and I throughout and for taking some pictures - at great personal cost.
I also want to thank my midwife who was with me for all three failed home births, yet leaned close to me after LBII was born and whispered, "I am so proud of you."
At my midwife's suggestion I did my best to get some rest. It was somewhat successful. I think I dozed for a few minutes here and there between contractions - usually at least 8-10 minutes apart. It is now 6 AM and although I am exhausted, I think it may have been for the best. I don't do as well emotionally at night.
The sun is just coming up and I am having a week moment. I don't feel like doing this right now. I will rally. What choice do I have? As far as it is within my control I am doing this at home. I am thinking of all of you and feeling your energy.
I just posted this, but logging back in to say that I feel better already knowing my fertility-challenged sisters are out there. Whether you have given birth or not, whether you have a child or not; we have all gone through worse than a day of labor.
LB is catching a cold and not sleeping well. I try to nurse her back to sleep and although she keeps signing milk and crying louder and louder she isn't nursing. I offer her some water and when I sit her up I realize her cheek is covered in milk. My milk has come in and her life is changed forever. I hope in the long term for the better, but I feel so bad for her now. Tears are streaming down my face.
Brad is putting her back to sleep and she is calming down. I am feeling terribly guilty, but I can't focus on her right now. It is not soon enough, but still too soon. I need to focus on her little brother or sister. It is 1:30 AM and I am in early labor. Is this what it will be like? Torn between focusing on one or comforting another? I know we will find a way, but right now it is heartbreaking.
Oh, if you are up at this hour, wish me luck. I will update when I can.
No, no baby yet. At least not one I can hold in my arms. Apparently LBII is just too comfortable.
I was very encouraged by the comments in my previous post. Thank you very much.
I have to say I was very bummed when the equinox came and went. I was feeling like my body had let me down again. Maybe I will feel that way again if things don't turn around, but I find I am encouraged again.
Surprisingly I made it to my OB appointment today. I really thought I would have this kid before the equinox but then as it got closer I was sure it would be on the equinox. Now it is two days past, I am 41 weeks and 1 day - the same as when LB was born after I went into labor spontaneously - and still no sign that things are changing.
My OB, a self described 'vaginal birth advocate' is just fine with waiting until 42 weeks before wanting to intervene. We talked about how things might go at that point and a cesarean birth is most likely. If my cervix is favorable we might be able to induce, but I'm not sure if I would want to take that chance. Before my cesarean I always said I would never induce / augment a VBAC. Of course, I could ignore his advice and go longer than 42 weeks, but I'm not sure I would want to make that decision either. The chances of still birth start to go up after 42 weeks per the literature my OB has followed, but I don't know what that means . . . from 1 in 1000 to 2 in 1000? I guess I would have to know more, but even if the chances were small it would be tough to go against his advice on that one.
I am very much hoping we won't get to that point.
The good news is that both my OB and midwife are confident that I will go into labor on my own before the week is out. They both said gestation times are determined by the baby and full siblings tend to go about the same amount of time. I am crossing my fingers. I hope the next post is about labor starting.
I am 40 weeks and 4 days today and although each night for the past week or so I would swear labor is imminent if not already getting started, the next morning I am back to neutral. I think I am just more warn out by the end ot the day so it just seems like things are moving along. I went into labor spontaneously at 41 weeks and a day with LB so I ought to be more patient.
The good and the bad about waiting is that Mach 20th would be the best birth day for LBII. It is the Spring Equinox and since LB was born on the Summer Solstice it would be a great pair. The downside is my buddy who was there for both Ernest's and LB's birth will be leaving town on the 19th for a week. I really want her to be there. She is wonderful support, but I will survive either way.
Speaking of surviving, I feel the need to document - just in case things go terribly wrong - that I am not unaware of the added risk inherent in a planned VBAC homebirth. If my uterus does rupture things are pretty grim for LBII, but wouldn't be much better in a hospital - death is not uncommon. One may argue that the chances of a rupture are higher in a hospital due to the increased chance of intervention. But then, I am sure death is more likely if the rupture happens at home.
In the intervention subject, I did a bit more research after posting on my blog that the chance of a rupture after cesarean was 4 out of 1000. Some readers commented that those did not include augmented and/or induced labor but I found the studies I read (which had around the same odds) did indeed include augmented and/or induced labor. My own OB will induce / augment with a VBAC although he said it needs to be done more gently. I have also found, to my surprise, that there is a chance of rupture with no prior cesareans so we are not even comparing 4 / 1000 to 0 / 1000.
A couple of articles for anyone interested in more. The first is a study about planned homebirths and the second is an article about the NIH recommending a new look about guidelines around a VBAC. Then I read this article which basically says not to believe anything you read because scientists don't understand statistics.
What can you do? For me, I am still hoping for that homebirth VBAC and I am still seeing Dr. Wonderful (my OB) just in case.
I am 39 weeks and 2 days along today. If my OB and midwife are correct, in all likelihood this baby will stay content in his/her current home until closer to the 41 week mark. But of course, we all know that statistics are great when looking at a group, but not so great when it comes down to looking at an individual.
With that in mind, we are doing our best to prepare ourselves and our home. For better or worse, in the Kami and Brad household, that means not a whole lot has been done. LB has transitioned to having Daddy put her to sleep at night and we have a toddler bed along our bed which she has used for 2 - 1/2 nights (waking up and crawling into bed with us in the wee morning hours) and 1 full night. Such a big girl!
Unfortunately, that is the extend of our preparedness. Oh, wait! We ordered the liner for the birthing pool and it has arrived. Diapers? Nope! Nursery? Well, LB never got one so I don't expect to have one for LBII. We also don't have other home birth supplies, or infant clothes / receiving blankets washed. Names picked out? Not yet, but we have time for that. We do have some onsies and such that LB used and Brad, being the romantic that he is, took it upon himself to get one outfit for baby II so that, "he or she can have at least one outfit that his just his or hers." It never occurred to me to do this. That's reason number 342 why I love him so much.
I also had a lovely baby shower (and got some more cute clothes!) which was something I was afraid to do with LB. I didn't want to have to rid my house of too many baby things if she died. I am more willing to risk it this time and I have more faith that it will work out. Not that there are any guarantees.
That leaves mentally preparing for the birth and for having two kids (hopefully) after the birth. The latter is easy in a way because it will work out whether I am ready or not. There are moments when I am looking forward to it and there are moments when I am scared of the impact another infant will have. This 42 year old body is feeling it's age right now. The former sometimes scares me - I want it to work out closer to the way I envisioned the first two births working out so badly. Then there are times I feel I am doing all that I can toward that goal and, again, there are just guarantees, so I am trying to be open to all possible paths.*
I had been feeling like I am in the two week wait from hell (not that it is as bad as the fertility treatment 2 week waits) and then last week I caught a nasty cold / possible sinus infection. Suddenly I can wait for labor because I don't have the energy right now. I need to get over whatever this is first. This is the 9th day and my OB just called in an antibiotic prescription just in case it is a bacterial sinus infection. I am pretty sure I will give it a try. Not too much harm done if it is viral and I would love to feel better and sleep better at night.
If I don't get another post in before labor, I will at least post when that starts. It's crazy to think that I could suddenly find myself birthing our second and final kid and then we will be a family of four.
Oh! That reminds me of a couple stories from my last visit with my therapist. I had booked an appointment in hopes that I could work out any issues that may impede me mentally while in labor with LBII. I was telling KJ (therapist) that I wasn't convinced that LB needed to be born by cesarean - maybe a different mental state could have changed the outcome. Before telling me that I should just let that go - it is what it is and it was likely needed - she had me pretend I was sitting across from myself a few years ago. I was sobbing and nearly convinced I was never going to have a child. The memory carries enough grief that I started crying - nearly sobbing. Then KJ said, "Now tell yourself, 'The next thing you are going to worry about is whether or not you needed that c-section.'" And then I was laughing through my tears. Yeah, I got the baby. It's a wonderful thing and the c-section seems trivial compared to that.
Then, to just illustrate what a thoughtful and compassionate therapist I have, KJ had me sneak out of the office. Really. I quickly ducked into the bathroom across the hall as she greeted her next client - her body blocking any view of mine as she did so. After the client was brought back into the office, I quickly made my way out of the building.
Why the stealthy exit? KJ just remembered she was about to see another infertility patient who desperately wants to be pregnant and didn't want her to see my big belly. Before the subterfuge, I gave KJ a big hug to give to her next client. Not that KJ could tell her that it came from someone else, not that it would really make a difference; but I hoped, somehow, her next client might feel that she is a little less alone.
*Ha! Rereading this I discovered this is a lie. I am really not open to a hospital and/or cesarean birth. Intellectually, I know that can happen, but I am not open to it.