Alex is working (in town - thank goodness) all weekend, so I had every intention of putting together Quick Takes tonight, but by the way the afternoon went, that's just not going to happen. Instead, announcement time............. (Warning: This post is super long.)
Baby will be here...on Tuesday (if not before)!
How do we know this? Well, it's a little thing called a scheduled cesarean. Yeah, definitely not what I want or planned, but it's probably best and well at this point it's done.
Let me back up a little...Doctor has been warning us for a while, baby has measured big as far back as what was supposed to be our last ultrasound in late December. At the time, it measured in the 78th percentile and predicted to be at least 8 pounds. I'm a short person (5 ft even), so there isn't a lot of space inside for baby to grow and/or deliver naturally.
As a result of this estimate, doctor encouraged us to do another growth ultrasound at 37 weeks to see how things were looking. She said, though, that nothing could or would be scheduled intervention-wise before the 39th week unless it were to be an emergency. At that scan (9 days ago), the ultrasound tech confirmed that we were still looking at a baby that could be upwards of 9 pounds (now measuring at the 85th percentile), but this time noticed the head was positioned sideways, basically as though it would deliver ear-first if it were to come in its current state. Obviously, ear-first doesn't work for delivery, soooooooo doctor encouraged us to do another ultrasound (seventh total!) at 39 weeks - that's today.
For today's scan, I tried stay calm and kept hoping we'd get good news about the head moving into a better position, because I long ago gave up on size being a non-issue at this point. At first, the tech seemed to think the head had moved, but she took her time and very thoroughly looked from all angles, changing my position and trying to see as much as possible. Unfortunately, baby is now measuring 8.5 pounds (giver or take half a pound) and above the 90th percentile for size. The head is also in the same position as before, and even more concerning today was the presence of the umbilical cord that is either near or around the neck (I can't remember exactly how she said it). It's her opinion that the cord may be what's interfering with baby positioning itself properly, and with the combination of the two, a) probably will not change before birth, and b) could result in some serious distress if I were to go into labor naturally.
After a couple of stressful hours going back and forth with the ultrasound tech, a nurse, and then finally speaking with the doctor, a decision was made to schedule the cesarean for Tuesday at Noon. It was all very confusing because the tech was very confident in her findings and prepared us for that conversation, but the nurse instead was incredibly vague and said she couldn't recommend any decision over another, that it was totally up to us but I needed to decide today or there wouldn't be a spot on the schedule for the following week. For a time, I felt very (anxiously) unprepared to be making such a big decision without fresh input from the doctor, and I was thiiiis close to declining a scheduled intervention with the understanding that I'd see doctor on Monday and talk about it in person with her then.
But then. Doctor called. I can't tell you how relieved I felt just to hear her voice on the other end of the line. I knew I'd get real input and hoped I'd feel more confident in whatever decision after our conversation. And in the end, all of the above. Doctor repeated the information the ultrasound tech had shared, consistent in facts and opinions of the situation. She said there's no viable way to deliver with the head in its current position and given the other factors it seems incredibly unlikely that this would change. She said she always goes into decisions thinking about what she would recommend for her sister or for herself and in this situation she predicted a 99% chance that even if I tried to labor it would result in a cesarean. She didn't recommend the risk of attempting induction or natural labor for the 1% chance it would have positive results.
A big concern for me is extended recovery time (remember, I wanted to be independent postpartum), and negative effects for future pregnancies. There's not much anyone can do about the recovery, but doctor reassured me that she is very willing to do VBACs (though upfront, wanted me to be aware that those cannot be induced whatsoever, only another c-section can be used if in an emergency situation) and she has experience doing cesareans for women who have had as many as eight children. She told me it wouldn't limit the number of future children I could have (huuuge concern given the contraceptive society we live in), and that she didn't see any reason it would be a problem down the road. Can we say HUGE weight lifted off my mind???
So then the issue of what to share with my family (who, remember, wants to be present ASAP) given my desire to have a very private birth experience. I was finally able to put into words exactly what made me anxious about all of that - a) having people in my space while laboring, thinking I'd feel claustrophobic and just plain over stimulated by the presence of others, and b) feeling pressure to speed things along knowing there are others "waiting" on me. ...But the thing about a cesarean is that a) only one other person is allowed to be present (YAY HUSBAND) and b) it's a 20 minute deal, so the waiting part is pretty much nonexistent. Realizing my fears about having others around wouldn't be so much of an issue with a cesarean, we decided to be honest about the situation and share the plans with my family.
Although I'm not certain my father won't be awake at 4 a.m. trying to drag my mother out the house, I spent a great deal of time telling my mother NOT to get on the road any earlier than necessary and to take.their.time. getting here. My father, on the other hand, asked to come on Monday night...to which I quickly corrected him about traveling the following morning, ha. I still really don't want people waiting around, especially knowing I want that magic hour of just the three of us together after baby is born and the thought of having people in the waiting room at that point still stresses me out. And then of course, it will be my grandmother in addition to my parents, and possibly my brother too. AHH, people!
The plan is for family to arrive sometime around midday on Tuesday and leave Thursdayish, since my daddy will go on call Thursday evening. (Of course, my daddy is talking about switching his call and not leaving on Thursday as he would have to...EEK, Father!!!) I'm *hoping* things go well enough to be discharged on Friday and have our family of three home together for the weekend and following week. My mother/grandmother want to come back and stay when Alex goes back to work, but I'm not agreeing to anything just yet. Then, Alex's mom will be flying in Saturday, March 5th and leaving on Friday, March 11th. We'll see what I think about that in about two weeks...yikes.
And...all of these details could totally derail if baby decides it wants to arrive before the 16th. So, we'll see!
As always, prayers greatly appreciated.
P.S. Someone I know had her baby today, and gave it the same name we picked out (yes I'm being intentionally vague in case someone puts two and two together)!! Now I have this complex that she'll think I stole her baby's name, even though neither of us talked names AT ALL beforehand. ...I sent her an email that surely sounds like crazy talk about how I'm so sorry we picked the same name. Go ahead, laugh...you deserve it after sticking around through this post!
P.P.S. I know for some this type of post can be uncomfortable, difficult, or just plain painful. Please know that we recognize this and pray for those of you who may struggle with infertility (any variation thereof) and/or infant loss. Our hearts go out to families affected by these struggles each and every day.