The C-Section that Wasn’t
The picture we took before going to the hospital for the C-section. (Brandt was miserable with a fever that day.)
Gwendolyn’s due date (3/21) came and went. I hadn’t felt a single contraction–not even Braxton-Hicks. At my 40-week OB appointment, I was dilated 2 cm, small progress from the 1 cm I’d held steady at for the prior three weeks. So I resigned myself to the C-section that I had scheduled but hoped to avoid.
(I think I mentioned this on the blog at some point, but in case I didn’t: my prior C-section meant induction put me at higher risk of rupture, so my options were either to go into labor on my own or to have a repeat Caesarean.)
On Monday, March 26, we went to the hospital for the C-section as planned. During the drive there, I felt what I thought might be a contraction or two–no pain, but a general tightening across my belly. Once I got hooked up to the monitors in pre-op, the tightening sensations continued and I could see peaks charted with each one. I had decided to ask the nurse about it, when my doctor walked in, glanced at the monitor, and said, “Looks like you’re contracting!”
“I wondered!” I said. “What does that mean?”
She offered to check my progress. I had dilated to 4cm, but there was no real change in effacement or baby’s station.
“I don’t think you’re in true labor yet,” she said. “But what do you want to do? Do you want to go ahead with the C-section, or do you want to wait to see what happens?”
We discussed the options with her. If we decided to wait, I would have to go home; my pre-labor signs didn’t justify staying in the hospital. As much as I wanted to avoid a C-section, I was so keyed up to finally meet my baby girl that I didn’t like the thought of postponing even a day. Aaron and I talked briefly and then told the doctor we would carry on with the C-section as planned. She left to get the surgical team and the operating room ready.
And then I had second thoughts.
I started to think beyond this pregnancy. Yes, I eagerly wanted to hold my baby girl in my arms. And yes, it seemed silly to get all ready in pre-op and then to disconnect the monitors and IVs and walk out the door. It felt so anticlimactic to go to the hospital to have a baby, and then to tell everyone, “Nevermind!” But if I had the second C-section, that would leave no option but to have C-sections for any future pregnancies, and that would potentially limit the number of children that would be wise for me to have. (Who knows what’s in store for us, but we like the idea of having more children if we can.) And I really wanted to experience labor and delivery, to know what my body could do. If I went forward with the C-section, I would always wonder, “What if I had just given it one more day? What if I could have had a VBAC if only I waited a bit more?”
The doctor came back in.
“I changed my mind,” I said. “I want to go home and see if I go into labor.”
Part 2 coming soon-ish…