the c-section elephant in the room.

where my heart resides-1 Dearest blog readers,

I feel obligated to tell you that I have decided to have another c-section.

Say whaaaaaaaat?

It's true. In case you're relatively new to this blog, here's the short version of my first birth:

I found out at 36 weeks pregnant that Everett was breech. I did everything in my human power to flip him around (picture me lying upside down on an ironing board with frozen fried rice on the top of my stomach and headphones in my underwear). Nothing worked. I even had a painful procedure done where a doctor stood over me and manually tried to turn the baby with her hands. That didn't work either. So, my casual laid-back birth plan of maybe-I'll-use-a-birthing-tub/maybe-I'll-use-a-doula/maybe-I'll-use drugs turned into C-SECTION OR BUST. I had no choice.

And Everett was born healthy as could be and we were all fine.

This past January when I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I had a decision to make: VBAC or repeat c-section. That decision haunted me almost immediately, but I was grateful to have the choice.

And here's where I am going to be totally, perfectly, 100% honest with you. The truth is: I had no desire to do a VBAC.

And nobody was shocked by this more than me.

I remember during my c-section, I explicitly asked the doctor to check out my insides and make sure there was nothing wrong with me. I remember asking that same doctor during my postpartum checkup if I would be a good candidate for a VBAC and feeling a sense of relief when she said yes.

So, what changed?

I have no idea. Time and perspective, I suppose. Looking back, I actually had a wonderful c-section experience. There were a lot of pros. It's nice to know exactly when your baby will be born. It's nice to show up at the hospital showered with clean hair and shaved legs. It's nice to get the baby out of you in 15 minutes while you feel no pain whatsoever, and it's nice to enjoy your first moments with your baby protected by a blue sheet bubble.

(Also, real talk: it's nice to keep your lady parts in tact and not pee every time you sneeze.)

When I think back to my c-section with Everett, I remember it as a magical, wonderful, life-changing experience. I do not feel like I missed out on anything because I didn't go into labor or feel contractions or tear certain things that were not meant to be torn. It was not the birth I had planned on, but it was the birth that I had. And because of that, the bright operating room and sterile environment that once terrified me is now my comfort zone. Meanwhile, the thought of doing a VBAC completely terrifies me. It feels foreign, and strange, and anxiety-inducing. I have a million fears about doing a VBAC, most of which are related to Everett's 95th percentile head size and the possibility of ending up in a c-section anyways. I don't feel confident about it, I don't feel connected to it, and most importantly: I feel no burning desire to do it. 

So that, friends, is where I have landed. I have done the research. I have talked to the doctors and midwives. I have read the stats and gone over the risk factors with both options. There are risk factors with both options. And ultimately, I have chosen the path I believe will be best for my baby and my body and my mind and my soul, and that is to have another scheduled c-section.

Our sweet baby boy will be born on Monday, October 27th. Barring no complications, we should be home in time for Halloween so Everett can go trick-or-treating while I stuff my face with well-earned candy bars.

Here's to all of our birth stories, whether they involve water tubs or hospital beds or the backseats of cars (!) or operating tables. Let us all remember we are blessed to bring babies into this world, no matter how they get here.

when life gives you lemons, or when your baby is breech.

"I just want to do a quick ultrasound to make sure he's head down. I'm not completely sure, and at 36 weeks, I want to be completely sure." I smiled at the midwife nodding my head, all the while thinking, "Score! An ultrasound!"

I hadn't seen my baby since our nineteen week appointment and was eager to see his little body swim around on the screen. She took me into another room and I pulled my shirt up again, ready for jelly. At my last two appointments, the midwives had felt my stomach and told me that our baby was head down. I was sure he was in the right position, but grateful for the extra precaution. The midwife grabbed the probe and placed it on my lower tummy, as I watched her eyes carefully.

"Hmm...." she mumbled.

She moved the probe to the top of my stomach and quickly said, "Well, I'm so glad we did this ultrasound. He's breech."

The words had barely left her mouth when the tears started falling. She flipped the monitor around so I could see but all I could make out were fuzzy black and white spots. How did this happen?

I tried to listen as the midwife comforted me. I heard her say something like 3% of babies at this stage are breech. THREE PERCENT? I AM IN THE THREE PERCENT?!! How can that be? Everything has been so normal. So...easy. Every prenatal appointment the midwives and nurses have said things like, "Great blood pressure!" and "Amazing heartbeat!" and "Oh my gosh, your belly looks perfect!"

I couldn't make sense of it. What had I done wrong? Is there something wrong with him? Why won't he turn his head down?? I left the birth center sobbing, and cried the whole way home. My sweet sweet boy....we've made it all this way without one complication and now three weeks before your due date, THIS?

Brett came home from work to console me, and within an hour, I had pulled myself together and was ready for action. After reading a pamphlet from the birth center and doing some research online, we had a plan in place. I was going to flip that baby around if I had to stand on my head all night. We decided to combine every home remedy into one, for the maximum potential for success. It looked a little something like this....

Me, lying upside down on an ironing board, holding a bag of Trader Joe's frozen fried rice on the top of my stomach with a heating pad on my pubic bone and headphones securely fastened inside the top of my underwear. Meanwhile, Brett sat next to me shining a flashlight below my belly button, holding an empty toilet paper roll to my lower stomach saying things like "Baby, it's your father....come down here.....you know you want to....step into the light."

We repeated this process three times last night, in between forward inversions, cat-cow exercises, and a bath to help my body relax. I stepped into the tub and immediately burst out laughing. Brett had taped a picture above the faucet of a baby in the head down position with the caption, "C'mon baby! You can do it!!!"

When I wasn't propped up on an ironing board or pillows, I sat very tall with headphones in my pants and a flashlight below my belly button. I talked to the baby. I prayed. I e-mailed my best prayer warriors and asked them to pray. If I couldn't get the baby to turn in 24 hours, the midwife had suggested we come back for an external cephalic version procedure, which I was desperately trying to avoid.

At 4:30pm today, I was feeling equally defeated and optimistic. The baby had moved a LOT with our home tricks, but I hadn't felt a complete turn. I was still holding onto hope that the version would work. There was a 50/50 chance.

We were at the birth center for two and a half hours. The doctor, God bless her, pushed as hard as she could. I closed my eyes and breathed through the pain, saying "turn baby turn" in my head with each exhale. It was painful. Brett held my hand and told me over and over again how good I was doing. After five minutes of the doctor pushing and twisting my stomach, I asked her if it was working. I could tell it wasn't. I could feel the tears coming but refused to give up. God, please make the baby turn. PLEASE.

Twenty minutes later, the doctor stopped, and I knew it was over. He hadn't turned, and wasn't going to anytime soon. He was being stubborn, just like his momma.

The tears were falling again, and the doctor started discussing our options. After measuring the baby's head size, she told us a vaginal breech birth would be very risky. She nonchalantly recommended a scheduled c-section at 39 weeks, and offered to put a date on the calendar right then and there.

Somehow in 48 hours my entire birth plan, which was pretty damn flexible to begin with, had been turned upside down. A c-section was never part of the plan. It was part of the if-there-is-an-emergency plan, but not part of the REAL plan. The plan that consisted of laboring at home and a water tub and a doula and possibly drugs if I needed them. All of that was suddenly gone. We politely declined her offer to schedule a c-section, and told her we'd prefer to wait until our next appointment on Wednesday, to see if the baby turns by then. She agreed that would be fine, and left the room.

Brett and I walked to the car, hand in hand. I was scared, disheartened, frustrated, and incredibly discouraged. I tried not to cry anymore. We made a quick plan for the night to take our minds off of everything: Chipotle, frozen yogurt, and Thursday night TV. It helped a little, but not much. My stomach is sore and bruised. I feel like I've been beaten up, physically and emotionally.

So, that's where we're at. I'm still holding onto hope for a miraculous turn, but I'm also trying to be realistic and prepare myself mentally for a scheduled c-section. It's not how I ever thought I would bring a baby into this world, but if that's what it takes to get him here, that's what I will do. I told God before the version appointment that I trusted Him, and now it's time to walk the walk.

My birth plan is in His hands now.

And really, there's no better place for it to be.