So, I’ve been sort of not active on the board lately. I come and check in but I can’t really write much because I’ve been doing A LOT of processing lately about the birth. In other words, I’m not doing very well. I think I’ve been going through the stages of grief in terms of processing my last labor and how it ended (unnecessary c-section). As I have really limited options for my birth where I live, I feel really trapped into the birth I don’t want and I’m having GREAT difficulty with really defeatist, negative-outcome thinking. And I KNOW enough about meditation and positive thinking and I’m trying to do that, but when each afternoon ends up with me sleeping for hours (depression?) or in a crying, drag out discussion with DH, it’s hard to find the time. I feel exhausted and hopeless.
So, my rundown is I’m a VBAC. I’ve had one birth, so I don’t have a “proven pelvis” or anything. My labor last time was basically… drank castor oil (stupid? Maybe. My midwife advised it and I didn’t know any better), when to the hospital too early, was admitted at 1ish centimeters and not fully effaced (they should have sent me home), MW gave me 1 hour and then AROM, checked me 1 hour later and then put me on pitocin (not progressing fast enough), proceeded to check me each 1-1.5 hours for the next ten hours, turning up pit each time because my progress wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t allowed to eat, and at the end of 12 hours, I was sleeping in between each 3 minute artificial contraction, and MW said even if I did manage to continue progressing, at the rate I was going (I was 4.5) that I would be too exhausted to push the baby out. She used scare tactics, saying that if I was on pitiocin and waited to dilate fully, my son would probably (yes, she said probably, not maybe) go into distress, in which case I would be an emergency C and I wouldn’t be able to nurse him or see him right away. So essentially by not having the section I was jeopardizing my nursing relationship. Also, if I decided to have the C right then, the doc from her practice would be there to do it, because he happened to be at the hospital right then, doing a circ (of all things). And wouldn’t I want to know the doc doing the surgery?
This isn’t even covering the trauma of the actual surgery (horrible, horrible time - longest panic attack of my life), the trauma of trying to nurse my son with slow milk (they weighed him each time I nursed, forced me to SNS supplement with formula because he wasn’t gaining weight yet, and had me pump between each feeding), and the trips to the ER for unexplained and terrible post-op pain once out of the hospital (where I stayed for 5 days). Also – well, other crap. I don’t need to go into it, but anyway, you get the picture.
Sigh. Okay, anyway, I was in denial for years. And I couldn’t get pregnant and stay that way for nearly two while we were trying, so it’s been a long road to get here. And now all the reading up that I’m doing (thinking woman’s guide, doula’s guide to birth, ina may, etc…) all just seem to point out everything that went wrong, that could have been fine for me the first time. And I’ve been very angry about that (2nd stage of greif). Like furiously angry. Lots of cussing, blaming my MW, etc. And that all devolved into discussions with DH that always begin “if only…” as in, if only things had been different, if only I had known better, if only they had sent me home, if only I’d been allowed to eat, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now (3rd stage – bargaining).
Right, the position I’m in now. Soooo… in AK, MW’s cannot attend VBAC. Period. My ideal would be a birth center (since we’ll be in the camper, and homebirth in the camper would be… awkward… seeing as we are going to be at an actually campground, with lots of people around… although if I could do a homebirth like they usually look for people in normal homes, I’d much prefer that). But anyway, out of the question because I can’t have a DE MW (or CNM, for that matter) attend me. Has to be an OB. Which means has to be a hospital birth. Or, unassisted in the woods, or fly a traveling MW up to Alaska from the lower 48, which would also be illegal. And I’m not comfortable with UA, or a stranger that I won’t meet until the birth, or the unlicensed MW thing in general. And even if I were, DH is DEFINITELY not. So I’m stuck at the hospital. Which is basically returning to the scene of the crime for me.
DH has actively been working through stuff with me, and he’s trying to take me to the hospital maternity ward at least once a month in the hopes that I will be able to come to terms with the hospital and not freak out about being there during labor. And the nurses seem very nice, they really do, but I’m not anything to them – they have no vested interest in helping me not panic and it doesn’t truly matter to them how my birth goes. It is absolutely meaningless to them if I’m cut open. Besides, the most important thing for them and their job is “procedure” which for me involves constant EFM, saline IV lock, only clear fluids by mouth (no eating) – all of which are BULLSHIT in my opinion. But what I think-feel-research-know-understand doesn’t matter.
And DH keeps reassuring me that my OB told me (which he really did) that I could legitimately refuse anything I don’t want (cervical checks, saline lock, EFM, etc) but that does always come with the scare tactic caveat of “what you are risking (infant and maternal death)” when you deny those kinds of services. But I am welcome to deny them, I guess. I just don’t know that I have the strength of mind to have those kinds of battles over and over during labor, which obviously didn’t go very well in the first place for me. I’ll have DH with me (who secretly blames himself for everything that happened last time, even though I don’t blame or think it’s his fault) and he’ll be much more support and defense than last time, and I’ll have my doula, but still.
I am, however, very lucky that my OB does not do any kind of induction for VBAC – he’s got a policy. No pitocin, no prostaglandins, no nothing. I’m either going to do it myself, or it won’t happen. I don’t know what that means if I go post-dates though. I’m afraid to ask, honestly. And don’t get me started on if I’m group B positive and have to have IV abx every 4 hours in the hospital.
What’s sort of ironic about this whole situation is that I have NO anxiety at all about the birth itself. I have total confidence that it CAN go smoothly – it’s the environment I’m in that changes the dynamic. I have no fear of pain, no fear of tearing, none of that “normal” fear. My single biggest fear is that the hospital will make me feel so unsafe and challenged that I will cease to progress (again) and they will cut me open (again). I don’t even know if I could mentally handle another section, especially another one for “failure to progress” (which, amusingly, I read another midwife call “failure to wait”). Isn’t that what Ina May calls the sphincter law? I mean, if I don’t feel physically or psychologically safe, I’m not going to dilate. End of story.
What do I do? I won’t feel safe homebirthing with an illegal midwife, a stranger I’ve never met. I won’t feel safe at home, by myself. I’m very afraid I won’t feel safe from intervention/negativity in the hospital. And it’s prohibitively expensive to leave the state and give birth somewhere else (not like I can simply cross state lines or anything) not to mention the stranger aspect is there if I do that too.
I feel so trapped and hopeless. Last night while I was crying I literally said I should probably just schedule an RCS because I’m so likely to fail anyhow. How awful/ridiculous is that? I guess it’s the state I’m in now that makes me think I’m going through stages of grief, because I just feel so depressed, and I remember feeling so fired up and angry just a while ago…
I don’t know what I’m looking for. I just had to put it all down somewhere. And I guess, just so you all know I haven’t been ignoring you. Because I’m sure you were all wondering…