Hello again, here I am again. Pouring my thoughts like so many bright colors of oozing paint onto a blank canvas, then stepping back to see what will come of it. This canvas has a LOT of paint on it… let me tell you– this post contains a bit of of birth jargon and fun medical mumbo-jumbo. You have been warned. : )
These days have been about distraction, lest we allow ourselves to succumb to madness: Distraction from myself and my headful of thoughts–there’s so much at the end here that’s happening! From this neverending yet certainly ending soon–pregnancy. Distraction from people who mostly, probably, certainly mean well but who occasionally make my head hurt with questions, demands, etc. questioning my ability to be a mother and birth properly.. Hmph…. Distraction from the decisions we will have to make shortly. You see what I’m getting at, I’m sure.
Here are a few upcoming decisions for the Irvins, just to name some: circumcision (ugh, such a hard choice! The AAP is so non-committal about all of it, and most people I talk to base their reason for circumcising on what their husband had done, or what they think is normal… which is all well and good to take into account, but not a solid reason for us to allow a medical procedure, which is irreversible, to be performed on our son… ), medical interventions (to induce, to wait it out…. the pros, the cons?) changing my mind or sticking to our original plan (we’re scheduled to begin induction with Cervidil on Tuesday, but depending on how far along things are, we may call it off).
Everything happened in a flash… We were taken by surprise at my last appointment when we found that I am only at 1 cm dilated, which is where I was at 36 weeks, and a little more than 50% effaced. This is astounding, but there’s nothing I can do to help it along. I’ve been taking all of the things my midwife has given me, Evening Primrose, a special “Labor Induce” tincture, etc… but my body is doing what it’s doing. I will be at 41 weeks tomorrow, and my body is not showing signs of labor. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to go into labor though! But we were sitting there last week, discussing so many ifs, ands, whens… and suddenly we had made an appointment for a tentative.. induction…. That word makes me freak out. I hate it. It makes me feel like I’m going in to have my nails painted because I can. There are lots of inductions, I know, and some more gentle or natural than others, but I just never imagined I’d be here. I guess this is where the advice to “prepare for the unexpected” comes in–so I’m trying to keep my cool and just trust God to know what’s going down, even when I totally don’t.
As of now I am torn, and here’s my predicament: I want as natural a birth as possible–the first medical intervention that occurs leaves many more opportunities for further intervention. Example: Cervidil, the artificial prostaglandin that I may be administered, may (or may not) create contractions that really, really hurt (along with ripening my cervix)… just like Pitocin (an artifical form of oxytocin), and which can put the baby under distress. If contractions get too strong, which they often do with artificial means, the baby does not handle them well and the heart rate may become abnormal.
This process may (so many mights or might-nots!) put me through so much pain that I need pain relief drugs, a narcotic (a nubain cocktail is what my midwife usually uses) or an epidural (my absolute LAST resort, absolutely…) Then… if contractions continue to be very strong, the baby could be critically distressed and –BAM–that’s how the majority of C-Sections happen for mamas and babies… not something I ever want to happen. In fact, my worst nightmare. Of course I know I’ll likely be okay if these things happen, but I really don’t want them to. But, I also see that there are extenuating circumstances. When the baby is at all at risk, all of my natural birth hopes go down the crapper. Nothing is more important than getting baby A here, safely. But there are such toss-ups! I firmly believe that science and OB’s know hardly anything about a pregnant woman’s body. They know hardly anything about pregnancy and what’s “normal.” There IS no normal–but everyone wants to label things in a certain range… humans love to do that for some reason.
Anyhow, I realize I still didn’t get down to what the real toss-up decision is here! Here it is: My body could still spontaneously go into labor, even after another week of being pregnant. At 42 weeks and 2 days I could pop him out! But… there are a lot of risks involved after 41 weeks, many professionals say. The placenta is not meant to last forever, and after 41 weeks it seems to fair more poorly in functioning. The baby has more risk of passing meconium (its first little baby poop) which can be inhaled and cause problems breathing where it must be sucked out of the lungs. Ahem. See what I mean?
There’s also another factor hubs & I have had to consider: I need my midwife. She will not be available certain days and I do not think that’s a good reason for me to do an “elective induction” as this would be called, but I also don’t trust the other providers. The two doctors aren’t really natural-birth minded at all, and the other midwife just didn’t seem to mesh with my personality. My midwife is so calm, so collected. She’s like a gentle giant who I trust with my life. So I really want her there at my baby’s delivery if at all possible. But is this the best thing for my baby? Is this the best thing for my body? God designed it to work properly and there’s no reason it can’t. I’m healthy, baby’s healthy, and yet it’s quite a stab in the dark wondering where the risk increases.
(insert big huge sigh) I need God’s guidance. I need His peace more than anything. I’ve been asking, and there are moments of restfulness when I feel completely confident that we will know what to do when it comes time. But then there are moments of intense panic when I worry that something bad will happen.
I know that I am more educated than many women my age who have labored, and I’m not saying that out of pride–it’s the truth. I was interested in the medicalization of childbirth in America, and the birth process in general, before I was pregnant, so I knew a few things, but I really dove in during pregnancy because I never want to be counted among the uneducated masses who simply listens to a professional because, well, they’re a professional. I have my own rights and decisions, and must do my “due diligence” to learn what I can. But somehow it’s never enough because I must give myself over to God’s grace. I know this. I must give my struggle for control over the unknown to Him, because He is my caring father. He is my provider. He is our savior. See, I do realize I’m struggling with control. I’m not totally in the closet with that, but not totally out either. Ha.
When you’ve educated yourself, prayed hard, and consulted trusted friends…yet cannot seem to get to a good peace of mind, where do you turn?
That’s why distraction has been the name of the game. Modern Family-aholics right here. Art projects. House projects. Taking long walks. Shopping. Stocking up on food. Watching paint dry.. okay, not that one, I was just seeing if you made it through this rambling post.
If you have a moment, friends, I could use your prayers. Much love.