Annnnd…I’m back (at least sporadically, depending on how often Luke “allows” me to post) from a month hiatus!!! Today I wanted to share Luke’s Birth Story – and how apropos on Luke’s 1-Month birthday, no less.
As you may remember, the “birth plan” we had for Luke was if Luke had not come on his own by 5pm on August 24, his due date, then I would get a C-section. (No laboring, just straight to a C-section). Tommy, my OB, and I settled on this approach after many conversations based upon my desire to try to do a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section – since Ava was an unplanned C-Section) if I could. I had been told and advised throughout my pregnancy early on and midway that I was an ideal candidate for a VBAC.
During the later stages of my pregnancy this prediction stayed the same, but as we got more sonograms to track his growth, we discovered that he was going to be bigger than Ava and I was also alerted to the fact that I had a small pelvis. None of these things were deal breakers, just facts. In order for my chances of having a VBAC to be most likely, given his size (they predicted at least 7 pounds, maybe 7.5 pounds), his due date was the target for a vaginal delivery. Anything passed his due date would most likely mean he would be bigger than his estimated birth weight and, thus his chances of passing through my pelvis would decrease, increasing the likelihood of a C-Section birth. So we scheduled a C-section for the last slot on August 24. While I was completely fine with doing another C-Section if I needed to, I was more curious than anything to have a different experience with Luke’s delivery vs. Ava’s for comparison purposes.
I started laboring early on Friday, August 24th. I noticed and felt my contractions getting more intense, though still spread apart. I felt nauseated and threw up a bit (which apparently is very normal). I passed my mucus plug. We called my OB in the early afternoon to alert her of this and she responded it definitely sounded like early labor. She instructed us to still be at the hospital by 3pm as scheduled for my C-Section, but before anything, they would do a vaginal exam to see how far I progressed and would take it from there on our plan of action.
The final decision was to go ahead with a C-Section. I was definitely in the early labor stage, but since I hadn’t yet dilated to 3 centimeters, if I wanted to try for a VBAC, my OB was going to send us back home so my labor could progress a bit more before admitting me. She also gave us her true gut-feeling on how this birth story would end. Given that Luke hadn’t “dropped yet”, his estimated weight, and my pelvis size, she was fairly certain that I would end up having another C-Section, despite my attempts at laboring and trying for a vaginal birth. These two factors strongly influenced our decision to just go ahead with a C-Section. Quite frankly, the thought of going back home and undoing all of our care preparations for Ava and Violet, and realizing that I could have the repeat experience of laboring for hours and ending up with a C-Section after all, wasn’t appealing to me.
Fast way forward to Luke being born, it’s a darn good thing we went with our decision. Luke ended up being much bigger than originally thought (7.9!) and would never have passed through my pelvis. He was also much higher in my uterus than thought. (Our OB actually accidentally nicked him on the back of his head, as she didn’t expect him to be that high during the operation). His umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice – which most likely explains why he hadn’t “dropped” yet. It was without a doubt that we would have had to have a C-Section even if I had tried laboring first.
Without going into too many gory details of the actual surgery, I will share this: one of the things I was told about a planned C-Section vs. an unplanned C-Section, was that recovery would probably be a bit easier and smoother with a planned C-Section since I wouldn’t have gone through hours of labor beforehand, getting Pitocin, and other medications. As for my planned C-Section with Luke, I will never know this comparison since I lost a lot of blood during the operation. So much that I had to get 2 blood transfusions the next day. The short explanation for this blood loss was since Luke was so high in my uterus, instead of the typical approach of going down and getting the baby out of my uterus, our OB had to start up in my uterus and bring him down to get him out safely. In doing this, she had to navigate through a lot of blood vessels in my uterus.
Most C-Section mamas are able to slowly start recovering from their operation the next day – the catheter is removed and they can walk very short distances with assistance to start getting feeling back in their lower body, especially their legs. I was not able to do that this time around, as I was in no shape to even get out of my bed until late the next day. In terms of my recovery progress right now, I am happy to report that I am healing just fine and feel stronger every day. While I can’t say this with certainty, I think this C-Section is pretty similar to my C-Section recovery experience that I had with Ava. I just experienced different obstacles, if you will. Perhaps the experience itself was a tad worse with Luke than Ava, given the amount of blood loss and the fact that I was bed ridden for a day longer.
I am proud of Luke’s birth story and have absolutely no issue or regret that I had to have another C-Section with him. All that matters is that he is here and is 100% healthy and happy. My only thought on this is I will always be curious of how the experience of a vaginal birth vs. a C-Section birth differs in the recovery process. I will never know what it’s like to not be in pain post-surgery for several days, even weeks. I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a recovery process after a vaginal birth, I know there is, but there certainly is a difference in the duration of the recovery process and the limitations a C-Section recovery imposes on a mom. Things such as not being able to lift anything heavier than your baby for at least 6 weeks (especially challenging if you have an older child), not being advised to walk up and down stairs for 3+ weeks (especially if you live in a multi-level home), and being sore in your abdomen while still having to do all the normal “newborn duties” expected of moms, like breastfeeding, changing diapers, enduring sleepless nights, taking your baby to numerous routine pediatrician appointments, etc.
But, in the end, all that truly matters is the pure joy that Luke has brought to me and my family. We love you so, Luke. You complete our family.