I’ve been writing this post in my head for almost a month now, and nothing poetic seems to come so I’m just going for it. The end is near and plans have changed quite a bit. I’ve been quiet about birth plans this pregnancy because I haven’t really been able to put words how I feel. From early on, our plan was for a repeat c-section with a hernia repair performed by another surgeon at the same time. I’m still passionate about natural birth, but even more so… I’m passionate about a woman owning her plans and feeling good about them. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get there this time. So I just stayed quiet, focused on the end result.
I’m so over not being able to sit up in bed, or pull my own kids from their cribs, or wear regular t-shirts that sit against my belly button. However, I’m also not keen on the idea of coming back for another abdominal surgery (if this birth ends in a section), with another anesthesia bill and another bedridden recovery. Ain’t nobody got time for that! It’s also important that the right surgeons be available for this ordeal, so I tried to get used to the idea of a scheduled cesarean around thirty-nine weeks. My OB discussed it with the general surgeon, who agreed to scrub in and repair my poor guts just as soon as the baby was out. And so we went with that… until my OB convinced me to VBAC.
There I sat in his office last month, with a message from the general surgeon that he’d asked me to pass along (we all work together at the hospital). My OB learned that the hernia repair approach wouldn’t involve my c-section incision like he originally thought. An additional incision might need to be made. So he took off his glasses and put his pen down. He turned towards me and said, “I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you this. You’re an excellent candidate for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). A fantastic candidate. I think you’d rock it. And I’d like you to considering trying.”
If you’ve been around long enough, you know that I respect hospital births for the beasts that they are. I acknowledge that I’m on someone else’s turf, and that I’m probably not going to get my every wish granted like I did at my home birth. VBAC moms are put on a clock, and they can’t hang out for hours and hours at the same state of progress. There must be forward movement, and there must be more frequent monitoring. All of the rules and stipulations were what pushed me away from the idea at the beginning. I’ve always had such an unhealthy fear of failure, that sometimes I don’t even want to try.
But something about that discussion made me come alive. For the first time this pregnancy, I began to let myself dream about a vaginal birth. I left his office and immediately called my home birth midwife, who cheered and quickly agreed to attend at the hospital. She repeated pretty much exactly what my OB said. I’m an excellent candidate. They think I can do this.
If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. But by golly, I’m saying it out loud. I’m going to try. I’m going to try to pull this mystery baby out the old-fashioned way, onto my own chest in a few weeks.