VBAC vs. Repeated C-Sec

So, we’re coming up on 36 weeks now and we have a decision to make.  Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) or have a scheduled repeated c-section.  I have never been one of those women who were hell bent on having a baby come out of my hoo-haw.  I figure, whatever is safest for me and baby, that’s what I want to do.  And I always just sort of assumed that a VBAC carries more risk, just from knowing how careful doctors and hospitals are about it and talking to friends and family.  It always seemed like the stars had to align in order for a doctor to be OK with doing a VBAC.  While at this point in the game a VBAC is slightly riskier, repeat c-sections for multiple pregnancies carries even higher risk, and I want more babies!  Well, at least one more.  Or, at least that’s what I’m telling myself right now.  And the reason we have to decide what we want to do, or try to do, right now is because of the cerclage.  If we want to have a scheduled c-section, they keep the cerclage in place and just remove it when they do the c-sec.  Makes sense, extra support to keep the baby in until go-time.  If we want to do the VBAC, they remove the cerclage now, and wait and see what happens.  If we opt to have the cerclage removed, there is still a chance that my body just doesn’t want to have a vaginal birth, although I have this weird fear that the second they remove the stitch, this baby is going to fall out.

Anyway, doing my best Rory Gilmore, I’ve decided to create a pro/con list:

VBAC PROS:

  • Better option if we’re planning on having more kids.  The doc actually said we should consider this if we’re planning on having “several” more kids.  J just shook his head no when the word “several” came up.  Haha. (see C-SECTION CONS below)
  • Easier recovery, or so I hear.  And with an easier recovery  comes the better chance that I may be able to play volleyball right away and not have to miss any games! (My favorite adult rec league sport me and some friends play.  I usually captain when I can, but registrations are now and I feel I’m a little too pre-occupied to take care of it.  I had to miss it the year I was pregnant with Baby Groot.  It was a very sad time.  Season starts mid-end of March)

VBAC CONS:

  • Small risk of uterine rupture.  I guess there’s a chance that the scar from the previous cesarean can rip open.  I have this very horror movie-esque type scenario in my head of what it would be like, blood everywhere kind of thing.  I believe this is the reason why doctors are sometimes hesitant to do it, but I should add that some c-section incisions are more favorable than others to do a VBAC.  I happen to have the favorable one, which is assuring.
  • I may not even be able to push the baby out anyway.  According to the ultrasound, this baby is currently the same size Baby Groot was when he was born (and we’re only at 36 weeks!)  Baby Drogon is measuring “average” but turns out I’m not “average” size (I’m a bit smaller if you don’t know me) so, can a below average size person push an average size baby out of her??  Who knows.
  • Cerclage stays in.  The only reason this is a con is because I have this fear that I will go into labor and  baby will try its darnedest to come out and in turn, everything will be all ripped and torn because that stitch ain’t going anywhere.  I’m not sure what the chances of this actually happening are, but it’s still scary.
  • From what I’ve seen on other mommy blogs, this one is probably actually a deterrent for many parents, but with a vaginal delivery, you’re not in the hospital as long.  J and I loved being in the hospital.  We loved all the help and sending the baby to the nursery when we needed some sleep.  We’ve got that baby for the rest of it’s life, the nurses can watch him for a few hours.
  • Less coverage from Short Term Disability.
  • There’s still a chance things wouldn’t work out and we would just have another cesarean anyway, which in itself is not a bad thing, but something could go wrong causing a rushed emergency c-section (blood pressure issues, cord wrapped around baby, etc.)  Since our first c-section was pretty chill (not planned, but no rush either), I do not know what this would be like and I don’t I really want to find out.

C-SECTION PROS:

  •  If planned, there will be no rush making it less likely that something bad would happen.
  • Cerclage stays in, helping keep baby stay in place (I know this was a CON for my other list, but it makes sense.)
  • Longer hospital stay (yay!)
  • More coverage from Short Term Disability

C-SECTION CONS:

  • It is a major invasive surgery where they cut you open and rip out a human straight from your loins.
  • Longer recovery time (and likely would have to miss the first couple volleyball games)
  • Like I mentioned earlier, with each c-section you have, the higher the risks are.  Since this would only be our second, it’s not really an issue right now, but I guess with each c-section you have, the scar tissue builds up and there’s a chance that the placenta can attach to said scar tissue.  Doc mentioned a patient who apparently had to have a hysterectomy when the baby came out because this happened.  Yikes!

 

So, there you have it.  Decisions decisions.  I’ll keep y’all updated on what we do.  Or maybe this baby will decide to come before we’ve even decided what we want to do.  We’ll just have to wait and see…

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Please comment if you’ve been in the same situation and had to decide what to do!

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Turns out the second is a little different than the first…

So, we’re in the home stretch with Baby Drogon and this is my second blog post.  Woops!  It’s not that I love you any less my little fetus, it’s that I have your older toddler brother to take care of while incubating you.  In case you’re wondering what we’re having, please enjoy this short video.  It’s a…

So yeah, things are slightly different after the first.  I was never super crazy about my pregnancy diet (generally stayed away from raw meats and binge drinking) and didn’t really flip out over every little thing my body was doing at the time the first time around.  But I guess I’m even more laid back this time.  “Were those contractions the other night?  Or did I just have to poop??”  “One slice of cold pepperoni isn’t going to kill the baby, right?”  “They’re allowed to do it in Europe!”  (This last one has basically been my motto this pregnancy.)  I obviously blogged more before and took baby bump pictures almost every week.  This, as I have already stated, is my second blog post and I’ve taken 1 baby bump picture this entire time.  Regardless of all that, we are super excited to be welcoming Baby Drogon into our little family.

Quick update on our unique family.  My husband finally, actually lives with us!  Crazy, I know!  We bought the cutest freaking house last March and shortly after moving in, J found a job here in Richmond, and there you have it.  A nuclear family was born.  And as weird as it is to live with your husband and baby daddy, it has been very helpful.  I LOVE our new house, but it’s only 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths, so we will outgrow it eventually if we have more children (I’ve wanted 5 at one time!) and I refuse to live in a house with teenagers and only 1 full bathroom.  Hopefully once it’s time to leave though, we’ll at least be able to stay in our neighborhood.

So, back to the pregnancy.  With Baby Groot, I had a feeling he was pretty content in mommy’s belly, and turns out I was right.  Not even the pitocin could get that guy out of there.  I feel like Baby Drogon is all sorts of ready to meet the world and he may kick his way out if he has to.  This baby does not leave me alone!  It’s also been a whole lot harder to get around.  Everything feels so achy.  I’ve got some weird joint issues.  I wake up in the middle of the night for no reason.  Also, turns out I got the betus again.  Huge bummer.  Found out I had it before Christmas.  Talk about bad timing.  My brother-in-law’s uncle brought the most amazing chocolate chip cookies to Christmas dinner.  They were huge and perfect.  I allowed myself half a cookie.  And a half piece of pie.  And a little bit a cake.  And maybe the rest of the cookie later that night.  And my sugars that night were still under what my limit is supposed to be!  Take that betes!  Even with all that, I’ve also pretty much gained no weight in the last 4 weeks (I lost 2 lbs over Christmas and gained it back I think) so that’s kind of cool.  I told my co-workers that are currently in a weight loss challenge that the joyless way to lose weight was to cut out carbs and sweets.  Seems to work.

I took the test to see if I had GD (gestational diabetes) right before the weekend of our company holiday party and a friend’s birthday celebration.  I had this grand plan about how I was going to basically eat no carbs or sugars the whole week before the test, then indulge all weekend because I knew I wouldn’t get the results back till the following week.  I told J my plan and he responds with “the point isn’t to try to pass the test, it’s to regulate it if you have it.”  Ugh, boys.  What do they know.

So now, I have to take insulin again.  And this time instead of using the handy-dandy insulin pen (it’s this pen looking thing that is already full of insulin, and you just turn a dial to dispense how much you need, and you just replace the little needle tip after each use), I am using a vial and syringes because for some reason, insurance wouldn’t cover the pen this go round.  And for someone with needle anxiety, it’s really a whole production which makes the process that much more agonizing.  I had J give me my first injection again.  It took about 30-40min, mainly of me saying stuff like “OK, I’m ready…WAIT!  NO I’M NOT!” or “OK…Wait!  I didn’t mean ‘OK’ as in ‘Im ready,’ I meant ‘OK, I’m getting ready'” or “why is your hand getting close to me?  I didn’t say I was ready.”  I eventually figured out how to do it myself because turns out it’s even worse when I try to get someone else to do it on my command.

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As far as the cerclage goes, seems like that has been all fine.  I should be getting it taken out soon.  I have this weird fear that the baby is just going to fall out as soon as the doc removes it though.  Hope that doesn’t happen.  I thought we were done with the high risk guys after the cerclage was put in, but turns out I had something called marginal cord insertion, so they wanted to keep seeing me to monitor it.  Basically, the cord is attached to the side of the placenta instead of the middle, like normal.  Sounds like not a big deal, but I guess one of the complications that could happen is the baby might not be getting all the nutrients it could be getting, or something.  But so far, so good.  Just another weirdo thing to add to our Adventures in Pregnancy.

Now, because of the GD, I have to see the high risk guys as well as my OB every week and have an ultrasound and stress monitoring with the high risk guys.  Which really isn’t all that bad because the stress monitoring is pretty much 20 minutes of relaxing “me time.”  One of the high risk doctors also told me that because of the GD, we may deliver at 39 weeks instead of 40.

So, I feel like we’re still a little unprepared for this new baby.  The house is kind of a mess still, none of the baby’s stuff has been put away and organized, but he does have a place to sleep and some diapers, so at least we have that going for us.  My parents are supposed to come down to help once baby is born, but they’ll be out of the country right up till the due date and who knows when this baby will actually come, and what the heck are we going to do with Baby Groot while we’re in the hospital??  Well, he is pretty independent and the dog is pretty responsible, so maybe they can just take care of each other for the time being…

Ready for round number 2…

Hey everyone!  I know I’ve been gone for quite awhile, and I’m sure everyone has missed my updates on Baby Groot.  Well, I’m here to say that Groot is doing GREAT!  He’s toddling now, loves to dance, talk (in his own language of course), eat, and sleep…and he’s going to be a big brother!  That’s right, J and I are expecting Baby #2 (whom we are affectionately calling “Drogon”) in February.  Honestly, I was hoping for a Drogon due date in January to ensure that I would be able to play volleyball this spring, but what can you do.

Before I get into any specifics on how round #2 is going, let me fill you in a little more on Baby Groot’s adventures.  Here are some pics:

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Here is Baby Groot when he was learning how to army crawl.  He could only really go backwards at the time.  I left him in the living room while I went to the kitchen for a second, and when I got back, he was crying because he had almost completely scooted under the couch.  I did my parental duty and took a picture before I rescued him, of course.

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This is us at Awesome-Con back in May with Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)!  Baby Groot is the TARDIS.  Very proud nerd-mom moment.

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Family vacation to Cape Cod, here we are on Nantucket in front of a windmill.

Needless to say, I love that kid more than I could have ever imagined loving another human being!  (Even if he runs away from me when I pick him up from daycare or tries to hold onto daddy a little longer when daddy is trying to give him to me 😦 )The older he gets, the more personality he gets, and the cooler he gets.  But the older he gets, the more I want to smack him a little sometimes.  I mean, really?  If you didn’t want the sippy cup or the food, you could simply leave it on the tray and not eat instead of throw it everywhere.  Or, instead of screaming as loud as you can at the restaurant to show your excitement for food, maybe clap and smile or something.  (I actually love when he screams in excitement, but it can get a little embarrassing depending on where we are out in public.)

He’s in a throwing phase right now, which me and J are trying to figure out a way to hone in this skill to something cool, like maybe “Baby that can throw a spiral 50 yards.” (Stay tuned for a viral video.)

He currently loves Gilmore Girls and Law and Order: SVU.  Well, he loves the beginning credits.  Anytime either of those beginning credits and song comes on the TV, he’ll stop whatever it is he’s doing and just stare until it’s over.  It’s kind of amazing really because neither of us taught him to love those songs or anything.

He seems to be doing well in daycare still (he started a new one in June) and we’re just in awe of how much the little guy is growing.

So, now a little about Baby Drogon.  He/she is about 18 weeks along.  So far so good.  I had a prophylactic cerclage (you remember, the structural cervical support I needed done with Baby Groot…funny name though, right??) put in a couple weeks ago.  Nothing was wrong this time, it was a JIC thing.  Actually, when we first talked to the specialist this time, I had decided to wait and see and not just get the thing put in.  I mean, why do something that involves a GIANT needle in your spine if you don’t NEED to??  But then we talked to the OB and she was all “weeellllllll, I’m not telling you what to do, buuuuuut, there’s a chance if you do the ‘wait and see’ approach, if something does happen, it might be too late to do the rescue cerclage” as in, the baby might already be trying to drop out and you can’t just push that sucker back in.  So, I decided to suck it up and just do it.

It’s weird, I knew exactly what to expect this time, which I’m not sure if that made it better or worse.  I cried like a baby again both times they tried to put the IV in my arm (my blood vessels were basically like “no.” the first time), and of course again when they did the spinal block.  God bless the sweet nurses that were trying to calm me down, but when they kept asking me about my dog and talked about their’s while the anesthesiologist was cleaning my back and getting ready to stab me, all I could think was “please stop talking and let me suffer in silence.”

I asked if I could take headphones in this time and they said I could, or they could play music over speakers in  the OR.  So, I asked them to play the Ben Folds Pandora station.  I’m glad they did that because I think it calmed me a little.  Also, it was pretty freaking awesome when it played Still from supersunnyspeedgraphic and at the end of the song, we got over a minute of Ben just singing “’cause bitches can’t hang with the streets.”

So, everything went well and since my cervix was OK this time and not about to disappear, they said I’m allowed to lift things and run and whatever other fun things active people like to do.  Awesome because I don’t have to worry about carrying Baby Groot or bags of dog food, but now I can’t use it as an excuse to make J do everything 🙂

Our next appointment is next week for our 20 week scan, the “big deal” scan from what I understand.  We’ll make sure he’s got all his limbs and organs and things.  And I think we’re going to find out the gender this time, which is exciting.  I LOVED not knowing Baby Groot’s gender, but for preparedness this time, I think we’re going to find out.

Stay tuned…

Pregnancy update and cerclage removal

So, I woke up this morning slightly terrified.  Today was the day they were removing the cerclage.  Before i get into that though, let me update on a few other little pregnancy things…

About 2 weeks ago (35ish weeks along) it was as if I all of a sudden became pregnant.  I started  to have to pee more frequently, I started to gain a pound or 2 (there was a month there where I actually lost a pound), my feet swelled up like marshmallows (it was gross and like memory foam – if you pushed on the skin, it would just stay indented for a minute or so), my leg started to give out on my randomly while walking (doctor said it was maybe sciatica, but I didn’t have any sharp pains), I basically had (and still don’t have) no grip in my right or left hands due to carpal tunnel or something.  It was weird, but still not horrible.  But then last week, after updating my endocrinologist on my blood sugar levels, and letting her know my OB’s concerns with my fasting levels, she decided to put me on insulin.  Have I mentioned how much I hate needles???  The first night I had to take it, my husband was here and so I made him give me my first injection.  It took a good 20 minutes before I would even let him near me!  I leaned against my bed grabbing a hunk of skin and fat while he knelt down in front of me and would ask “are you ready?” to which I would reply “NO!  Give me a second!!!” and I would deep breathe for a minute and defensively ask why his hand with the needle was getting closer to my stomach.  The doc said shots only in the stomach, which sucks.  It’s supposed to be injected into your fat, and I by no means am saying I’m not fat, but the fat gets thinned out a bit when you’re stomach is the size of a small watermelon.  So, relaxing enough to grab some nice flabby skin and fat get kind of hard.  I’ve since been able to stab myself though (once at night and once in the morning) with only about 5 minutes of deep breathing before the injection.  Just a few more weeks and no more needles but ALL the cake, cookies, pie, and pasta.

So, back to the cerclage.  We go to the office for our appointment.  First the ultrasound (when you have gestational diabetes, you apparently have to get ultrasounds every week to make sure you don’t have a giant baby, or something like that).  Little guy (and I mean “guy” in that non-gender kind of way) is measuring at 6lbs 2ozs, give or take a pound.  I think that’s how much I weighed when I was born!  Then we meet with the doc.  Turns out general anesthesia is unneeded for cerclage removal 😦  At least my husband was in the room this time, unlike when I had it put in.  Being able to hold/cut off all circulation in his hand during the ordeal really helped a lot.  Because it hurt.  A lot.  I read on one of those baby message boards other womens’ experiences with getting them removed.  Some said it was painful.  Some said they just felt some tugging but wasn’t particularly painful (bitches), most said they didn’t deliver till 39 or 40+ weeks, and one lady said that an hour or so after hers was removed, she was fully dilated.  Ummmm, wha?!?!  Luckily, that hasn’t happened.  I’m currently sitting at my desk at work, baby still where he/she should be.  But afterwords, as I was laying on the table trying to relax and recover, I look at my husband and say “I don’t think I can have this baby.”  Seriously.  That was bad and all that happened was a string was removed from my hoo-ha.  I guess an epidural is in my future.

So, now it’s kind of weird knowing the reinforcement it out.  In my mind, it’s like nothing is holding the baby in anymore and he/she can come at any time now!  But I suppose the reality is that my cervix got a little stronger with the cerclage in place so it should be ok.  Basically they removed the reinforcing steel, but there’s still unreinforced concrete there.  Which is good because  I’d rather have Baby Groot cook just a little longer while we finish preparing for him/her (and so we can watch Jurassic World in the theaters this weekend still.)

Turns out size does matter: Part 2.

wine ecardJason (the husband) and I went to the doctor yesterday for our weekly check up with the specialist, and I’m sad to say the rating of my cervix went down to a 2 (remember the bridge rating thing from the last post??).  It went from 1cm long to 6mm long and had started dilating.  Turns out the meds (or “chemical magic” as I like to call it) weren’t working like they thought they would. So, we decided to go ahead and get the cerclage (the tying like a drawstring thing).

They got us in for the surgery at 1pm.  So, what we thought was going to be a normal appointment turned into a day at the hospital.  I’ve got to say though, it was kind of nice being there.  The bed was comfy enough and it electronically reclined, cable TV, you got to eat while in bed, you push a little button and somebody comes right away to help you out if you need it, drugs administered right through the IV.  The only thing missing was Bastion laying by my side.  I haven’t talked about Bastion yet.  This is him:

10410996_10103210635073433_7853535170383576220_nHe’s my heart.  He can be the subject of another post though.

So, the hospital itself was nice, but it was still a hospital and I was still going to have surgery done, so it was still a little scary.  The worst parts were the needles.  The nurse was getting ready to put the needle in for the IV and before she even started cleaning the area, I started freaking out, squeezing Jason’s hands and laughing uncontrollably.  I call it “anticipation pain.”  But the worst of the worst was the shot in the back.  When it was time, Nurse Ashley walked me over to the O.R. where I sat on the table and hunched over so the anesthesiologist could give me my spinal.  Thank goodness for Nurse Ashely.  She let me sqeeze her hands during anticipation pain and real pain, and wiped my tears and snotty nose when I started freaking out a little.  So, with anesthesia in place, I lie down on the table and they stick my legs in these stirrup things.  My feet are basically in the air at this point.  It was a little awkward (ok, more than a little awkward) but I was too scared to care at that point.  So there I am, just lying there while everyone is getting ready to do their thing, and all I can think is “hmmm, I probably should’ve shaved or something.”  I remember Jason saying that with the spinal I wouldn’t be able to feel my legs at all, so when I realize I can move my feet a little, I start freaking out thinking I’ll be able to feel everything!  But, they started doing their thing and thankfully I only felt some tugging.  I only wish I had some headphones in or they had a TV on the ceiling.  That would have made the whole ordeal a little better. So, if anyone has to go through this, I suggest asking if you can take in some music and headphones.

Everything turned out good.  No complications and I was out of there by 7:30pm.  To be honest, I would have been OK with staying overnight (did I mention they had cable?) but I felt well enough to leave by around 7.  There was some real crappy pain during recovery, but it finally went away.

So after some structural repairs, I can now confidently rate my cervix a 6.  We’re still not totally in the clear (possible surgical complications, normal pregnancy risks, etc.), but at least a baby isn’t falling out anytime soon.