I should start by saying that I had no idea I'd be typing another grief blog about something completely different a year and a half after my mother died. I've only spoken to two people outside of my home in the last 24 hours, and neither of them had anything to say that I actually needed to hear. When most people think of grief, they think solely of death. It is as though if no one has died, the stages of grief shouldn't be taking place. It actually applies to a myriad of things -- divorce, illness, death, or anything else where a person is let down. When I say, however, "I just need a moment to grieve." People say, "You're still going to have your baby, girl. Stop tripping. You'll be fine."
Yeah, all of that is easy to say when you're not the person going under the knife for a second time. I've read hundreds of women on the internet say, "The doctor cut my bladder trying to get through the scar tissue from my last c-section, so the urologist had to repair. The whole surgery was 2.5 hours." So, no matter how many women say, "Girl, I had five c-sections, and I'm fine." The fact is: that surgeon doesn't know what my last incision looks like until he gets in there. Though I feel slightly powerless, I still have a choice, and I'm choosing not to worry.
I also had serious bonding issues with Mooch after I had him via Cesarean. Plus, I just went through a grieving process that took a lot of work, energy, and therapy. Now I have to go through it again while trying to connect with a new baby. A new baby that I won't be able to hold as soon as she comes out. They won't place her on my chest, so the natural love hormones can flow. They'll be stitching me up, and she'll be across the room some where. I'll be full of drugs. She'll be full of drugs. You'd think after a 3 week long prodromal labor, replete with contractions and everything, I'd just want to get the baby out. I don't. I want my chance. My spiritual path teaches patience. I'd labor for another week to get it! My non-stress tests and biophysical profiles all came back with flying colors. I've been going every 2 days to be checked. There's tons of amniotic fluid, the baby never showed signs of distress, I don't have gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. We're both fine! There are women who went to 43 weeks and 5 days, and had perfectly normal deliveries. If one of us were unhealthy or showing signs of distress, I could understand rushing, but other people are the only ones worried -- mostly about covering their asses legally. If I'd at least gotten a chance to go into labor on my own, give it the old college try, and it just wasn't working, I wouldn't feel so bad. Since my feelings are something that I get to choose. I'm going to choose to feel good about all of the "labor" and patience that I have put in thus far. I'm going to choose joy.
Even when my whole birthing team let me down with cell phones ringing during my labor, loud shouting, a painful unnecessary castor oil induction, and sharing stories during my contractions about their own births (and how quick they were), I still continued. I've been having violent contractions all week. My cervix feels like someone chewed it up and put it back (Men, imagine someone cutting your balls to pieces and putting them back in your scrotum. Ladies, imagine the worst bladder infection you've ever had multiplied by 800.). This is all because of other people's attempts to rush the process -- blue cohosh, castor oil, and black cohosh. All of these herbs are great if labor has actually begun, but when used to induce labor, they can lead to a condition called Irritable Uterus (excruciating irregular contractions that don't dilate the cervix at all). I was told to begin them this past Saturday. It's like I've been in active labor for 48 hours (most people only endure 2-6 hours) knowing that it wasn't going to result in a baby. Each check showed very little dilation. I even went to Mooch’s show Tuesday night while having the ridiculous contractions. I smiled, gritted my teeth, and ignored people's "You're *still* pregnant?" comments. I wanted to do this so badly, but when even the midwife said she couldn't back me past 43 weeks for legal reasons, what else was I to do? I wasn't going to have Hannibal deliver the baby on the kitchen floor unassisted.
So here I am left feeling defeated. I feel like my vagina is only good for one thing. I've gone from, "I don't even want the baby anymore" to "I feel like a failure" to "I can picture us in 10 months happily planning her first birthday party." It's all part of the process. These feelings have all transpired in 48 hours. I've cried more from the loss of the natural experience than I've cried from the contractions. My face is red and puffy. I'd post a pic, but I don't want to scare you. Feelings are real. I have chosen to speed up this emotional process for the baby's sake. By the end of the experience, both of us will have faced so much trauma that the last thing she needs is a mommy who is angry with her. I still have a choice. I won't choose anger.
I haven't slept in two days. When I roll over I have a contraction. When I sneeze I have a contraction. If someone touches my stomach, I have a contraction. When I blink, I have a damn contraction! They are often one minute apart for an entire hour. We're not talking Braxton-Hicks either. Hannibal has been great for the past few days. He's rubbed my lower back literally all night, done all of the phone/email communication, and set up three different sitters for Mooch during our hospital stay. I packed all four of our bags between contractions and limped around clearing the house of anything that reminded me of home birth. I even had Mooch deflate the birthing ball. I ignored my midwife's text messages all day. She was very sweet. I'm not mad at her. She just doesn't really have any answers at this point. I don't even think she'd heard of an irritable uterus until I diagnosed myself online (I'm truly my mother's child. Give me a Merck Manual, and I'll run amok). The midwife just stared at us Tuesday night. Plus, just talking to her reminds me of the loss. As with all things, I have a choice. I'll choose not to blame.
I give birth Friday (Yes, being cut is still giving birth. I give much respect to all of the c-section mamas out there). Later today, I have a pre-op exam, where I get to bank my own blood and discuss how I want things to go. You'd think after three weeks of labor and 8 million contractions, I wouldn't have to fight anymore. Guess again. Now I have to go in and fight Erythromycin (antibiotic eye goop), routine pitocin, and all the other "protocols" that protect hospitals from lawsuits. I figured I've come this far, the least I can do is pick her birthday. I think 1/1/2010 is a cool birthday (update: I didn’t even get to pick her birthday). Plus, now we'll have three January babies in the house if all goes well. Mooch is 1/10 and Hannibal is 1/20. That makes me smile past the pain in my cervix a little. The lessons, at this point, are patience and choice.
Thank you for all of the supportive comments, texts, donations and messages delivered through Hannibal. I get them -- even if I don't respond. He's just my filter. Your love has gotten me through this.