Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Trying to Keep Perspective

(Warning: this post is angsty and self-indulgent and more than a little whiny. I'm not sleeping much these days, and I was up all night last night with LL, and I'm not having any contractions anymore, and my emotions are all over the place. Can't wait until the real roller coaster sets in post-partum.)

Shocking news: I'm still pregnant.

To be clear, when I say that I'm trying every labor induction technique that I can manage, I'm including all of the following:

- spicy foods
- raspberry leaf tea
- copious sex with S
- stopping of prenatal vitamins
- foot and ankle massage
- acupressure on the spot between thumb and index finger
- nipple manipulation
- bouncing up and down on an exercise ball
- long walks
- driving repeatedly over railroad tracks
- eating basil
- talking calmly to Kermit about how cool it is on the outside
- S leaning over my abdomen and yelling, "Oh for goodness sake, contract already!"
- reverse psychology, where S and I talk loudly about how we're not really ready yet

You'd think that one of those would work, right?

I had my final prenatal appointment yesterday, where Dr. M remarked on how high Kermit is, how he can still see the entire head on ultrasound because he has not dropped at all. I verified with him that all of the home induction attempts were fair game, and he supportively said, "Yeah, sure, whatever you want. I'll see you for the c-section on Friday." Seriously. I thought that I sucked at getting pregnant, but apparently I am equally bad at going into labor.

Even worse, the closer I get to the scheduled c-section, the less okay I feel about it. I am completely at peace with LL's c-section, but this time, it feels really wrong. Too... planned. I feel like I did everything possible to avoid a c-section with LL, and there was ultimately no other way for him to be born. This time, it just feels... too convenient maybe? I asked Dr. M a lot of questions at my appointment yesterday, and in an attempt to make me feel better about it, he finally said, "You'll be amazed at how different this c-section will be than your first one. Your first one followed a long, difficult, exhausting trial of labor, and there was a fair amount of urgency by the time the surgery happened. This time will be very calm, very mellow, very casual." But that just makes me feel worse about it. I kind of feel like the birth of a baby should be accompanied by some drama and fanfare and hard work. There should be exhaustion at the end of it, to show that something significant happened. But just lying down on a table for a while and then being handed a baby, very casual? After months of fertility treatment and months of gestation and a car accident and a wrong diagnosis and careful diet restrictions and ultrasound scares and breech maneuvers and excitement... it just seems anticlimactic.

It isn't helping that there seems to be a general lack of enthusiasm surrounding the birth of this child, at least among our family. S's sister explained her plans to us over the phone yesterday, and despite several detailed conversations with her over the last several weeks, she apparently never actually understood anything about the scheduling of the bris. She asked us exactly when the bris will be happening, and we had to explain (again) that we won't know until the baby is born, since the date will depend on the birthday, and the time will depend on the mohel's schedule. If Kermit is born by c-section on Friday, then the bris will be the following Friday, probably in the morning. At which point she told us that she has tickets to a show next Thursday night, plus she doesn't want to spend any vacation time to visit us, so couldn't we just do the bris over the weekend? Um, no. Religious mandate is going to take precedence over her social calendar for us. Sorry. But she's welcome to visit us and Kermit after the bris instead of trying to attend. But she doesn't want to do that, either, so she probably just won't bother visiting.

Then we talked to S's parents, who informed us that they planned to arrive in time for the bris, but no earlier, which is what we expected. But then they're only staying for maybe 4 days, if that, because they're rather busy this time of year. Really? S's parents are both retired. They hang out with friends and do various hobbies, but they have no scheduled time commitments at all. None. And we have no idea what they mean by "this time of year." The holidays are over; what is there for them to be busy with in the middle of January? We tried to get them to explain what had changed, since we expected them for 10 days, like they did with LL, but they just said, "Eh, we'll see you guys again later in the year." It's very odd, and S and I are both kind of hurt. They were so excited when LL was born, and they adore him, but they have yet to express any emotion at all about Kermit. (Related: S's parents sent out a holiday newsletter. It contained photos and updates about LL, but S and I were not mentioned at all, not even once. They actually wrote, "We will soon be grandparents again, as LL is expecting a baby brother early in 2011." I find it supremely weird that they worded it that way -- why would you talk about the upcoming birth of a child by mentioning the baby's relation to you, and to a sibling, but not even acknowledge that the baby will have parents?)

My family is slightly better, but I have several relatives who have repeated to me their annoyance that they can't plan their attendance at the bris more in advance. Which is ironic, since I have a scheduled c-section, so Kermit's arrival and bris are actually much more predictable than most. But again, that just makes me feel awful, because part of the fun is supposed to be the uncertainty, the excitement of turning to your husband and saying, "Honey, it's time!" I hate being robbed of that. Again.

But honestly, most of this is probably hormones and jitters. I told S about all of these feelings, and he asked if I wanted to call Dr. M and postpone the c-section until next week sometime, to give myself even more time to go into labor naturally. But when I really think about it, I don't want to do that, either. Every indication in the world is that this baby is big and getting bigger. Each day that we wait, the likelihood of my being able to birth him shrinks. What's the point of waiting to go into labor if I'm practically guaranteed a c-section anyway? The whole reason that I chose this Friday for the scheduled c-section was that it seemed to be a tipping point where my odds of a successful VBAC dropped below the potential benefit. And I chose it several weeks ago, when I was much more rational than I am right now, before the discomfort and nesting and hormone roller coasters and sleep deprivation set in. I know, intellectually, that second guessing myself right now is both expected and pointless. I even predicted that it would happen exactly like this -- that I wouldn't go into labor, but that I would start doubting the decision the closer I got to the c-section. And here I am.

So. If I wanted to, I could postpone the c-section. But I don't think that I'm going into labor next week anymore than I'm likely to go into labor tomorrow, so I'll just be in this exact same position, just one week later. Really stupid. I do believe that the c-section on Friday is the "right" call. Ultimately, what I'm upset about is the fact that it's necessary. I hate that I'm not going into labor on my own. And there's really nothing that I can do to make myself feel better about that. Even reminding myself, over and over again, that what really matters in all of this is a happy, healthy outcome. That one way or another, approximately 36 hours from now, I'm going to be holding Kermit in my arms. Which is really the whole point.


  1. I couldn't agree more with your sentiments. It does seem like you've made a good decision medically speaking, but I completely sympathize with your frustration and especially the family response. I really do wonder what it is that allows family members to forget that while the real excitement for them is seeing a squishy new baby, they are also supposed to be supporting a whole family which is about to go through some pretty radical changes (whether it's #2 or more, it's still another whole -person- in the family).

    I also just don't understand the bris issues. I'm presuming that your family members have been invited to, or even possibly attended, plenty of other bris', and while they are annoying schedule-wise, they are meant to be a moment of great celebration, of welcoming a child into the community (which is also why we hosted a huge kiddush for the fusspot because I wanted the same experience for a girl too even though we could have done the naming mid-week). I really hope that you find the help you need, and maybe if your parents are so focused on LL reminding them how much he would appreciate the extra attention while going through this adjustment might help?

    Here's to wishing you a wonderful experience tomorrow meeting Kermit.

  2. How frustrating! All of it! I don't have any advice - you already know anything I could say. :)

    At any rate, I'm excited for you guys and Little Kermit! And hopefully your families will come around when they see the cute pictures?

    Best of luck to you all!

  3. I don't blame you for being anxious. I understand why you are feeling frustrated. It can be really hard to wait for something like this.

    And I don't think you were whiny at all.

  4. As someone who also felt robbed by the c-section I had with my son, and as someone who would have a really hard time deciding to get pregnant again unless I knew I had a chance at VBAC, I completely and totally understand and sympathize with your frustration.

    It does seem so "off" to just lie on a table and then have your baby handed to you. I don't think you're whiny in the slightest bit. I feel jealous every time I hear about someone who gave birth vaginally - like wtf is wrong with me?? And while yes, of course, the birth of a child is amazing and wonderful regardless of HOW it happens, that doesn't change the emotional aspects that accompany the how.

    I'm hoping that you didn't post today because you went into labor and that Kermit is going to surprise you in the end with a safe and easy VBAC. But if not, then I wish you a safe and easy surgery and congratulations!


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