I don’t think there is a pregnant woman in the world who isn’t wishing for a quick and easy delivery. But, we wanted to share with you a little more why we are asking everyone to pray that this delivery is a by-the-book, smooth, and quick one.
Quick disclaimer… the post will be kept PG, but if you don’t want to read about details of labor and delivery, or if you are uncomfortable with words like placenta, maybe this post is not for you. :)
Isla was born via “emergency C-section” after a pretty difficult labor. I was completely dilated to 10, and pushed for 3 hours, and she would just not be born. The official reason I was sent for a C-section was “failure to progress.”
At the time, we didn’t know any better, but looking back, we do wonder if the surgery was necessary. What if I had been allowed to get off my back (I didn’t move off of my back from the time we checked into the hospital at 11pm through the pushing and into the C-section 13 hours later)? What if I had waited to push when I felt the urge, and not just because the doctor felt it was time? What if when she wasn’t born right away, I’d been permitted to stretch, walk, anything in order to help her turn or shift into a more ideal position? Obviously, we can’t play the what-if game. What’s done is done and we have an amazing 2 year-old to thank for it.
BUT, as we go into the delivery of this next baby, we feel like we are a lot more prepared. For several reasons, we’ve decided to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarean). VBACs are not common at all in Lebanon. The C-section rate is incredibly high in Beirut, and the repeat C-section rate is even higher.
My doctor is actually very supportive… at least in theory. But the more we discuss what labor and delivery will look like for me, the more we realize that it is going to be a major uphill battle.
In order to have the best chances of delivering this baby via VBAC, I have to go into labor on my own. I can’t have any drugs – either for pain or to help labor progress. I need to be free to move as much as possible during both the labor stage and the pushing stage. I need to push when I’m ready not because a timer as been set. These things are totally counter-cultural and very much against hospital policy. But my doctor is willing to let me try… as long as things move quickly and normally.
At least she says she is. But as we were going over the birth plan a few weeks ago, we were talking about fetal monitoring. She said anytime I was in the bed, I would need to be on a fetal monitor. But we had just spent a good ten minutes talking about how I didn’t want to be in the bed at all. And if this is from my supportive doctor (who I really love), the midwives and nursing staff are going to be even less inclined to let me do what I need to do. We are going to have a bit of a fight on our hands.
In addition, there will be lots of pressure for a C-section if…. the baby is big, she is late, she isn’t in perfect position, my labor is long, pushing is long, if I’m having a hard time dealing with the pain… and the list goes on.
Obviously, the goal is a healthy delivery – healthy baby, healthy mama. If a C-section is necessary, by all means that is what we will do. But we need wisdom in knowing what is really necessary, versus cultural (Lebanese culture or hospital culture).
So, we are asking for prayers. That I will go into labor on my own. That labor would progress in a relatively quick and textbook manner. That I can push the baby out in a few pushes. That I can manage the pain well. That the doctors and nurses would truly be supportive in my effort to have this baby naturally. That we would have wisdom when faced with decisions. And ultimately that Isla’s baby sister would arrive safe and healthy, no matter how she is born.
I won’t get into the battles we expect to have over baby care in the hospital (mandatory first three hours of baby’s life away from Mom to “warm up because it’s a cold environment”)… but would appreciate your prayers for that as well.
Thanks so much… and we look forward to announcing this little bug’s arrival soon!!
**updated to add**If you are interested in reading my actual birth plan, you can do so here.**