Thursday, January 1, 2009

The beginning of the story

Back in July, shortly after I found out my husband and I were expecting a baby in February, I paid for an online psychic reading to predict the gender of my baby and when he or she would be born. I had also asked her about a miscarriage I'd had in April as well as about my current pregnancy. What she said was:

Well, from the layout of your reading the miscarriage was a boy. And normally I don't get that information without a purpose and seeing as another boy is indicated in just a few months (they show in the reading together) I would feel inclined to tell you that this current pregnancy is also a boy - that same boy.

Even though your EDD shows as the start of February 2009 (as you stated the 10th)...I see the birth by C/S the end of January (around the 30th). There is no darkness or cautions around this birth so rest assure that everything runs smoothly and actually feels very planned out.

I have had one hospital birth, vaginal but as far from natural as you can get, with an OB. One hospital birth with a CNM that was not terrible. One perfect, blissful home waterbirth with a CPM and one slightly scary and complicated home waterbirth with a CPM. I also had a pretty traumatic miscarriage in April that led to a severe hemmorhage, a hospital emergency room visit and a D&C. I've never had a cesarean and honestly thought I never would. So after getting this reading, I laughed! I showed my husband and my friends and blogged about it on MySpace, joking about how silly the idea of me having a cesarean was, a planned one at that, 10 days before my due date.

I brushed it off and went about my business, watching the summer pass into autumn and the leaves start to change color. I hired a homebirth midwife and started to relax about the pregnancy as I started to be able to feel kicks and hear the heartbeat with the fetoscope my midwife had loaned me.

It was a cold and rainy day in early October when we had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound. After having such a terrible miscarriage, and for our own reassurance about having a homebirth we decided we needed to have just one ultrasound to ensure everything was fine.

As it turns out, almost everything was fine. Our little baby boy was growing, healthy and beautiful and right on target for his gestational age, his heart, brain and other vital organs all looked perfect. Just one tiny little thing, a minor issue really. The edge of the placenta was right on the very edge of the inner os of the cervix. It's called a marginal placenta previa, and when found at 20-24 weeks, most of them resolve by term. I came home and called my midwife and she assured me it was very likely it would move up far enough to have a safe homebirth.

I tried to relax about it as much as I could. I did as much reading about it as I could tolerate and found one particular study that said that multiparas (moms who have given birth before) especially those with higher parity are at higher risk for previa and are at higher risk for it not resolving by term. The study also said moms with previous uterine surgery (such as cesarean or D&C) also carried these risks. I mentioned it to the CNMs I was receiving shadow care from and they brushed me off and refused to discuss it with me.

I was scheduled for a follow-up ultrasound at a maternal-fetal medicine clinic where they have the fancy 3D machines. I went in at 28 weeks, 6 weeks after the first ultrasound and was surprised to hear that there had been absolutely no change in the positioning of the placenta. I was told by the perinatologist that I would have another ultrasound in 6 weeks but that she did not expect it to resolve and that I should think about plans for a cesarean.

Again, when I tried to discuss this with the CNMs I was brushed off. My homebirth midwife and I decided there was little hope for a homebirth at that point. I was stuck getting prenatal care from people who didn't know anything about me that wasn't written in my chart, who didn't answer my questions or address my concerns. I pre-registered at the hospital and toured the "family birth center" and went through the motions of preparing for a surgical birth. In my heart I never completely gave up hope.

My 34 week ultrasound was scheduled for the last day of 2008. This was my last chance for resolution. I woke up before dawn and spent some quiet time asking the Universe for strength to get through whatever the day offered. I steeled myself and walked out the door at 7am.

I sat in the waiting room texting my friend, begging for some companionship just to get through the next moments that had the potential to change my life pretty significantly. Finally my name was called and I went back to the ultrasound room. The tech was the same one I'd had before and she remembered the name we'd chosen for our son. She said because of the low-lying placenta she needed to do a growth scan to check for IUGR. She casually said "From here it looks like the placenta has moved a lot. I'll have to do an endovaginal ultrasound to take the exact measurements though." She was really nice and we chatted about our kids, laughed at how much the baby moved against the ultrasound probe and we talked about how awful the weather had been the week of Christmas. After she finished the growth scan and pronounced the baby healthy and growing right on track, she left the room so I could undress and drape with a sheet. She took a few more minutes than I needed, and as I lay there waiting for her I pictured calling my homebirth midwife and telling her the placenta had moved so much I could have my homebirth after all. I tried to think of how quickly I could get a birth kit and a pool. I wanted to call my husband right that moment because I was so elated. I mean, why would the tech say it had moved if she wasn't sure, right?

The tech finally came back in and started the ultrasound. After a few moments of looking at the screen, the friendly banter was gone. She went stone faced and didn't say another word. She finished her measurements and told me the perinatologist would be in shortly. She left without another word.

My heart sank. Into the floor and beyond. As I got dressed and waited for the doctor, I KNEW the tech had misspoken. I knew that it was not good news, and she realized it and didn't want to be the one to break it to me.

The doctor came in after a few minutes and he got right to the point. There was insignificant change in the placenta, not anywhere near enough for a safe natural birth and so we were going ahead with a scheduled cesarean.

I have this strange coping mechanism, whenever someone gives me bad news, I get very friendly and smile a lot. I don't know why and a lot of people find it very unnerving. Really, if I showed them what was really going on I would probably cry. Needless to say I was very nice to this doctor and thanked him and walked out of the office smiling.

I made it almost to my car before the tears started to fall. I don't think it would have been such a gut punch if the tech hadn't said it looked like it had moved. If I'd never gotten my hopes up that high. Even the few minutes I was waiting, I had made a lot of plans in my head. I called my husband and texted my friend and drove home in a fugue state.

I found out the hospital I'm familiar with isn't the one I'll be giving birth at, and that my care will be transferred to doctors I've never met. I'm 34 weeks and I have to get to know a new group of doctors and find my way around an unfamiliar hospital. A virtual stranger will be doing my surgery and delivering my baby.

I am taking this one moment at a time right now. It is the most I can expect from myself. Hopefully soon I will be able to meet my new doctors and get some questions answered. I suppose we'll be choosing my baby's birthday and I'll find out if I can have my midwife there for the birth as a doula or if only my husband will be there. I need to find some help for my husband who will be responsible for everything while I recover.

I am blown away that 6 months ago a psychic on the internet predicted this for $6. I never imagined the possibility.


Mandy said...

A fellow MDC mama here, I got here through the link in your siggy. Just read your news regarding your pregnancy and couldn't not comment. Big hugs for you mama, I know this must be so hard for you, and so different from what you imagined and dreamed it would be. But this is your birth story. It is *different* from the others but not *wrong* - you will live it and it will be the story of this child's birth. All the best to you!
-MDC mama Mandy (sn "Chimpmandee")

Stephanie said...

Another MDC mama, and wow. Just wow. I see this is your first post and I'm looking forward to seeing what else you have to say!

I don't suppose you'd give out the location of the $6 internet psychic?!?

Kimberly said...

Another fellow MDC mama here who started the thread on TTC when you have to have c/s.

I am sending you lots of hugs and watching with interest. I have a feeling you will get through this with grace and heart. I am also a 3 time homebirth mama who wants one more but will have to accept a c/s to have one.

Much love,

Yarngoddess said...

WOW! Another MDC momma here, LOL.

What an interesting journey this baby is taking you on. Seems to me that his little fellow is trying to teach you to trust in other's. We gain SO much from each pregnancy,birth,loss and I feel that this baby is REALLY different and is making sure you are out of your 'comfort' level to meet him.

I hope you find the energy you need to open up to these people. Welcome them with big open arms, and an open mind and heart. You may be suprised by the kindess of strangers. You could also look at this situation as this, Your BABY has choosen THESE people, THIS hospital, for what purpose? What are YOU to gain from this experience?

I KNOW how generous of a person you are. Well, how generous you have been to me ;) I know that you are going to embrace this challenge and going to come through this experience with many new things you have learned.

BLESSINGS! Sending you love!

Amber and Lethia said...

An MDC and Triple Dub mom here, holy carp. Can I just say that I'm thinking of you constantly?

Carrie said...

DiD, yet another MDC Mama here from Oct 08 - I've been following you here and there and am so happy for your pregnancy. I just wanted to give you huge hugs and tell you how strong you are. Your post just brought tears to my eyes. You will get through this c/s with grace and strength, and you will be empowered. I look forward to hearing your birth story soon! Though it will be different than you hoped or envisioned in the beginning, it will still be beautiful. GL Mama!