Thursday, December 5, 2013

The 3rd Trimester

There's so much to catch you up on, but I'll try to start from the beginning.  This final stretch of the race was pretty brutal for me.  I started to feel like every weird, embarrassing, uncomfortable pregnancy side effect out there, I had.  Swollen feet?  Carpal Tunnel?  Hemorrhoids?  Yeast Infections?  Heat rashes?  Acne? Sciatica?  Leaking breasts?  Braxton Hicks?  Back pain?  Check, ch-check, check, CHECK.  My issues with my pelvis (SPD) continued to severely limit my movement, and I'll be damned if I didn't get a nosebleed every single day.  And the stretch marks!  Oy vey, the stretch marks.  Some of them even bled.

Here I am at 37 weeks.

However, the babies were doing GREAT.  Both were around the 90th percentile, growth-wise, and my blood pressure, weight, urine, etc. were always right on track.   Zoey, our lower twin or Baby A, continued to hang out head down, and though Dexter (Baby B) was breech, I knew I had a doctor who would deliver the second baby that way.  I had a great meeting with my doula, going over the nitty gritty of all our birth plan questions and options, and we left saying to ourselves once again that we had found the MOST AWESOME doula; she had earned her fee with us long before the big day.  I was practicing my Hypnobabies labor preparation every night, and was feeling so confident, so happy, so eager for my natural birth.

Alas, life had other plans.  Dexter was starting to grow far bigger than Zoey, according to their sonogram estimates, and Dr. G sat me down one day and told me that I should probably start preparing for a c-section.  With his footling breech position (feet down) it was very likely that Zoey's smaller head would not adequately prepare the birth canal for his exit.  He consulted every doctor in his practice, and they all agreed: it would be incredibly risky to attempt, and if his head got stuck, those two minutes of emergency c-section (for which I would have to be knocked out by general anesthesia) might still be too long to save him from permanent brain damage.

I was devastated, both by this hypothetical scenario of horror and by the sudden change in direction.  I've been dreaming of birthing my babies naturally for about as long as I've wanted to get pregnant.  I have read every book on the subject, watched every documentary, listened with rapt attention to every birth story.  I knew it was going to be challenging, but I was so joyfully looking forward to that sacred rite of passage, that unique, enigmatic, controversial side of motherhood that leaves some women shuddering in recollection and others glowing with nostalgia and pride.  I wanted to KNOW, to experience, to be there.  I wanted to physically GIVE BIRTH to my babies, not have them cut out of me.

Now, I don't want to get mired in the politics of medicalized birth.  Some people see every new advance in obstetric care a boon to women, while others view our current model as totally crippled by interdependent interventions.  I strive to be a skeptic: I neither believe that doctors push c-sections for monetary or convenience reasons at the cost of maternal/fetal health, nor do I believe that there is something so wrong with the American female pelvis that one in three births NEED to be surgical.  All this is to say, I was deeply conflicted as to whether I should trust my doctor implicitly or dig into the research and seek another opinion.  My head was swimming with the possibilities and eventualities of every angle.  I didn't know which way was up.  And apparently, neither did my daughter, because the very next week, she turned transverse, sideways, across my cervix.  That pretty much settled that.  A c-section was scheduled for December 3rd.

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