Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our Birth Plan & Thoughts on C-Section

I remember one of my pregnancy posts when a L&D nurse commented about birth plans. She said when a patient walks in with a birth plan, they all wink at each other and go ahead and get the OR ready! I remember feeling so offended (probably pregnancy hormones), but it ended up being true in my case. Still, I wanted to share my birth plan to remember for future pregnancies (we are praying about a VBAC) and in case anyone else wants some tips on verbiage. We worked with a Bradley instructor to develop ours & she gave us lots of great tips and feedback on the wording so that medical staff would be receptive to it. She said to keep it to a page, be as concise as possible, and avoid unnecessary and repetitive words.

I don’t have the document saved on my computer, but here is the typed version of our birth plan.

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I was nervous about what the doctors and nurses would think because I heard so many stories about how they pretty much make fun of birth plans, but my midwife and the doctors were pretty cool about it. They just wanted me to understand this was a “best case scenario” and what my ideal labor and delivery would look like. And they reminded me their ultimate goal was HEALTHY baby and HEALTHY mama. True dat!! We had a copy in our file and I brought a few printed copies to the hospital, but never gave them to the nurses. I don’t know why- I just felt really uncomfortable doing that for some reason. They knew I wanted to go natural, that we had prepared, and were super supportive! They let me do whatever I needed & totally had my back on anything I wanted to try. I still probably should have given a copy to them.

They were so right in our Bradley classes- one intervention totally leads to another. I ended up having pretty much every intervention possible by the time Baby Jase arrived!  It all started with breaking my water & was just a downward spiral once after the third rounf of pushing. (The plus side is that nothing was in my system for very long by the time he arrived.) I went through the whole labor process totally unmedicated (other than the antibiotics for GBS)…up until about 10 pm when we decided to do a caesarean section. We just COULDN’T get that cervical lip out of the way, his heart rate was dropping each time I pushed, and the contractions started becoming weaker. It was just not looking good & I didn’t like the idea of an emergency c-section.  I had been “relaxing through” contractions for about 2 days and I was exhausted at this point. Our last option was to try Pitocin without an epidural to get the contractions stronger, but after hearing the horror stories about Pitocin, I was scared to do that. Recently our midwife said she thought she remembered that he was facing the wrong direction when they opened me up (sunny side up), but that she’d have to look in my file. I didn’t remember that…but I think not knowing exactly “why” is part of my lesson in all of it.

If I had it all to do over again I would have definitely done a few things differently, but ultimately, I know God had a plan.

I will say, we worked VERY hard to prepare for childbirth. We weren’t just “hoping” to go natural & wingin’ it. We prepared a TON. And honestly, it all went well. I couldn’t have asked for the majority of the labor to go any smoother. I was dilated to 7 cm before I even made it to the hospital!! I was very much “in the zone” and relaxed, which made contractions bearable without meds. Still, childbirth is a serious deal, every single time, and you just never know how it’s going to turn out. We had so many people praying for us that I know it turned out exactly how God wanted it. Jonathan reminds me of that too. He prayed FERVENTLY for me and the baby and a healthy delivery EVERY day. Constantly. (I know him, and I know he did- and I am so thankful for all of the prayers.) We didn’t pray that everything would happen exactly like we wanted it to; we just prayed for health and safety. And God was faithful.

**I highly recommend these two books.

The c-section went well, I couldn’t have asked for a better recovery, and Baby Jase is the most perfect & healthy baby. Really. We are so BLESSED!! But I will admit I’ve mourned over having a c-section. I trust God, and I know that should be the end of it. But I’m still sad sometimes. Jonathan has to “remind” me often that God had our best interest at heart, even though of course I know that, I’ve had a few come-to-Jesus meetings with God about this. Sometimes I feel guilty because I almost feel like God had to use this to teach me that “HE is in control”….and not me. If I weren’t so prideful, maybe I wouldn’t have had to learn that lesson this way??

The biggest issue is that I want several children. I want as many children as the good Lord wants to bless us with, and that number might be affected because of a c-section. Our hospital/practice said they allow up to 5 and have had several women successfully have five, so that made me feel better. Plus, of course we always have the beautiful option of adoption.

The other issue is the amount of time I am waiting between pregnancies. Because we are considering a VBAC, they want us to wait at least 18 months before getting pregnant again so the internal incisions have plenty of time to heal and there is lesser chance of uterine rupture. Just going to be totally honest, I am ready for another baby NOW. I am enjoying every moment of my Baby Jase, but I am sad I have to wait so long for another.

Like I said, we are praying about VBAC, and if we do, we will definitely go for natural again. This time I will have less people in the room (distractions), I WILL get in the bath tub (I was progressing so quickly we didn’t think I would have time), & I will give the nurses a copy of the birth plan. Guess we will just see what the Lord has in store for us!

C-Section Tips:

  • Have some knowledge about c-sections. I just assumed I would have a vaginal delivery, so I knew absolutely NOTHING about them. No one in my fam has had one. None of my friends who just had babies had one. We went in blind.
  • Find HELP after the baby is born! Recruit your friends and fam. Jonathan went back to work quickly, so my mom came over daily for about 2-3 weeks to help during the day.
  • Begin walking as soon as possible so you don’t stiffen up.
  • Limit hospital visitors. (This was a personal preference for me.)
  • Only take the pain meds if you’re truly in pain. I only took the Motrin & never took anything stronger at all. After about a week or so, I quit taking anything because I didn’t NEED it.
  • FOLLOW the doctor’s directions. When they say don’t lift anything over a certain weight, don’t walk up stairs, don’t drive, etc., DON’T. Allow your body to heal.
  • Use your arms to pull yourself up and get in and out of bed- do NOT use your core. (I was so thankful I’d kept working out, doing pushups, lifting weights, etc. My arms were strong & that helped a lot.)
  • Make pillows your best friend (awesome for propping yourself up).
  • Leave the strips on as long as possible, pat dry & use a hair dryer after showers.
  • Stay hydrated & eat every few hours.
  • Take the Colace.
  • Don’t overdo anything- rest often. (I felt great so I was able to do more than expected, but I’m thankful I didn’t push it.)
  • Have your hubby check on your incision. Keep it clean & dry and let the doctor know about anything out of the ordinary.
  • It’s okay to be sad, to cry, and to be upset. Still, try to focus on the positives. Healthy baby & mama? Praise the Lord! What more could you really ask for?

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That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. Any other c-section moms have tips?

12 comments:

Our Little Family said...

Your tips for after a c-section are great! My nurses were shocked that I could stand up straight so quickly. I left the hospital too early. I do advise staying as long as your insurance will allow. I think that it forces you to rest if you are in the hospital.

Andrea said...

Danielle you have some great advice here. I'll be praying for your VBAC! I struggled through an unexpected and traumatic c-section myself and it took a lot of writing, support groups, and crying to deal with those big feelings and come to peace.

I'm starting a new series on my blog and I would love to have you guest post and contribute your story if you are interested. The first story goes live tomorrow (the 30th) on my blog and I would love to have you check it out and get ahold of me if you are interested in contributing your story!

-Andrea www.handandtheheart.com

Cindy said...

I have the EXACT SAME story (except I got the epidural at 6cm. I was 5cm when I got the hospital and was between 6-7 when I got the epidural. I progressed to a 10 within 3 hours, then pushed for an hour and a half, rested an hour, and pushed for another hour and a half, then had a csection. I mourned it every day. With my second, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but she came 10 weeks early and I went from 0-9 in an hour, then pushed for 15 minutes. She was perfectly healthy and came home in 4 weeks. God made that decision for me :) I think I would try a vbac in your case. I have only recently heard of inversions during pregnancy but I think those would have helped in my case, as well as chiropractic care. I think my hips were my issue, but if the cervical lip was your issue, then inversions and chiro may not help...just my 2 cents!

Luisa said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! I am currently pregnant with my first and I just started working on my "birth plan". I know that things don't always go as planned, but it's always nice to be prepared. Again, thank you so much for sharing!

Whitney Kovach said...

Danielle, I feel your pain. Lily was born at 34 week with an emergency c-section and Sawyer was born at 35 weeks by c-section. I had a real difficult pregnancy with Sawyer and the delivery was even worse. Sawyer was 10lbs 11oz. at 35 week that he ripped my bladder. He also went straight to the NICU where he stayed for 9 days. I ended up having to stay for 6 days and 2 rounds of blood transfusions. It was rough. I really want a third child but have been told by doctors that it wouldn't be wise to have anymore. It just breaks my heart.

Kristen Kliethermes said...

If you were to get pregnant before the 18 months, would they not allow you to attempt a VBAC?
I pray that you get your plan at a VBAC. Wouldn't that be a great testimony though!? You also get to say that you have been able to experience both (Even though I know you really didn't want the C-section).
What I find strange is that they didn't tell you that Jase was sunny side up. First time moms have a higher chance of having sunny side up babies. They should have told you during labor, during your C-section, or during a post-partum visit. The only reason why I say that is because there are ways to turn the baby, even if you're fully dilated. Obviously, they don't always work. I know you may not have wanted to hear that, but if your next babies are that way, you know you have choices :)

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you but I needed my pain meds and had no issues taking what was prescribed until I was no longer in pain. You have to control the pain somehow.

Mallory Knight said...

I had a c-section with my little boy. The best advice I an give anyone is to educate yourself!! It never dawned on me that I would end up with a c-section!! I felt like a failure! In the end a c-section is what was best for me and baby! And walk!! That was the first thing my postpartum nurse recommended and she was so right. I've had friends that didn't move for 2 weeks and their recovery was horrible.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry that you are grieving your birth. My mom had a C-section for me because I was breech and she's told me how disappointing it was and how jealous she was when visiting other moms who were up and around just hours after giving birth! I would like to tell you the same thing I tell my mom: You gave up your ideal birth and allowed major abdominal surgery to be performed because you thought it was best for your baby. It is the epitome of unselfishness and a beautiful picture of motherhood! Again I am so sorry you had to had a C-section. I cannot imagine recovering from major surgery while caring for a newborn! But I really think you should be praised for making the best decision you could at the time with the intent of putting your baby's needs first!

Arden said...

I think I got here through Always Learning but anyway, I had my first baby c/s. They said I had a marginal pelvis and prominent bony spine. I thought that was a bunch of hooey and knew I wanted a slew of kids so I went homebirth for my next 5. My last 2 were hospital birth due to some problems I encountered that were specific to each pregnancy. My only advice would be to investigate your options, what is legal in your state and go with someone you trust. If I had to go hospital, I would take a trusted midwife/doula to do what the written birth plan should have done for you. I have had some great nurses but they can be terribly snarky and condescending to even the more experienced mom. I distinctly remember crying on my way to the OR with my first and the nurse telling me to "Get over it." Blah.

Elizabeth said...

I've never had a baby, so I don't speak from experience, but this is what my mom has told me: I was born cesarean because I was breach. My sister was born 5 years later VBAC (no meds) and my mom had a harder time healing *down there* than she did from the cesarean and wishes she would have had my sister cesarean. I don't think there's a right or wrong way to do it as long as everyone is healthy and happy!

Anonymous said...

I appreciated your concise and well thought out list! I like it so much I borrowed heavily from it. I hope you don't mind. :) You've made my 37th week a lot less stressful! Thank you so much!