Thursday, October 4, 2012

In Which We Choose Our Baby's Birthday

Remember that growth ultrasound I had last week?

First of all- BC and I somehow 'misheard' the stats. We were sure the ultrasound doc had said our little lady was measuring in the 8th percentile.

On Monday my regular doc- Dr. Campaigne from Nurture OBGYN- called me to discuss the ultrasound. She told us that the overall measurements were in the 17th percentile! Still a little lady, but not quite AS small. Her head was actually in the 40th percentile (curse of the BC head!), and everything together came out at 17%. These measurements were all based on the November 24th due date- which is calculated by my LMP (last menstrual period- they 'assume' you ovulate 14 days after the LMP). However, based on our known conception date my due date would be November 29th (as I know exactly when I ovulated- it is usually cycle day 20 or 21), meaning her percents would be even higher for babies at her age.

All great news!

Then it was time to talk about Franny (my fibroid).

At the ultrasound, the u/s doc had indicated Franny had NOT moved out of the way of the birth canal at all, and that he thought it was highly likely we'd need a c-section. He did say he's seen "miracles happen,' but he wasn't very hopeful.

Which brings us back to my talk with Dr. Campaigne. A little background here about Nurture OBGYN: this is a small boutique practice with one holistic OB and one midwife who are VERY much into natural childbirth and seeing pregnancy as a normal healthy event. They boast & celebrate a low 10% c-section rate, and also have very low stats with other interventions like pitocin.

So when I spoke with Dr. Campaigne earlier this week and she told me that based on what the ultrasound doc's notes recommended and what she saw in the report that she thought a planned c-section was the path we needed to go, I didn't question it. Of any doctor who would come to this conclusion, I fully trusted her that this was the only option given our situation.

Was I disappointed? Of course. But I am also someone that doesn't look back- when a decision needs to be made and I commit to something it is full speed ahead. My questions to her went like this:

Knowing that our due date is November 24th, when would you schedule me for a c-section?
-We like to do them in the 39th week, so probably around November 19th or 20th

What are your thoughts on letting me go into labor naturally- THEN doing the c-section?
-Honestly, we feel like that puts a lot of undue stress on yours and the baby's body, so don't recommend it

I know you take pride in your surgery skills- what will the incision be like?
-I don't want to brag, but yes! Aesthetics are VERY important to me and I do take great pride in making sure it is as small of an incision as possible that heals well

So then I was left that afternoon ruminating on all of this and waiting to share the news with BC. When I told him, I could tell he was a bit disappointed, but mostly he had a few questions of his own. He had been under the impression from the ultrasound doc that they would continue to monitor my fibroid before making a final call, and wanted to know why the call was being made now? (Granted somehow we must have misheard a lot of things at that ultrasound appointment, including our little ones' measurements!). I promised BC I would ask that question of Dr. Campaigne when I met with her next week, but that I did trust her judgement very much- so felt like this was the way it was going to be.

Part of my 'coping' with this big news was to come up with a list of PROS for a planned c-section, to include:

1. My lady parts would be completely preserved- no tearing, no bladder problems, no healing needed.

2. We could better plan ahead with our work schedules & family visits (unless of course the little one throws everyone for a loop and comes early!)

3. We don't have to attend any more birth classes (I already cancelled our "Yoga for Birth" workshop and we likely won't attend any more hypno-birthing classes).

4. This child will definitely be a Scorpio now, just like me (God help BC!) Not sure if that is a definite "pro," but I like it. : )

5. I won't have to feel any pains of labor.

6. Our baby will have a 'gentler' entrance into the world- no squishing & squeezing through the birth canal, so no funny head shapes or bruising.


1. The magic of going into labor and wondering when our little one's birthday will be has been taken away. I have been wrestling with bouts of grief surrounding this, feeling like part of my womanhood has been somehow stripped away. I will not experience labor, I will not experience giving birth the way it was meant to be done... my body won't automatically be releasing the right laboring or birth hormones.

2. Having a major surgery and dealing with the recovery. I will now be much more compromised physically following her birth, and have to be on pain meds as the incisions heal.

3. My body may take longer to 'kick in' the right hormones to help out with breastfeeding, given the surgery & meds I will be on.

4. No birth classes. It was a 'pro' in lightening up our schedule, but I was really looking forward to sharing in those with BC.

5. As much as it is a 'pro' that the baby will have a gentler entrance into the world, it will be gentle and a bit shocking, in that we won't be able to have a dimly lit, quiet, tranquil space for her to enter. She will emerge into bright overhead lights and doctors with masks on.

6. No immediate skin to skin contact with our little one. I asked if there was ANY way this could still happen- and b/c the surgery room is kept freezing cold, it is most important to bundle baby right away to keep her warm. She will be given to me to see/hold for a short time before going to the nursery- and I will want BC to accompany her there so she has someone familiar with her while they put me back together. My doctor says we should all be reunited pretty quickly- within an hour- so hopefully that time will go by quickly.

7. Being responsible for choosing her birthday! This was one of the main sticking points I hoped I wouldn't have to face. And if you know anything about me by reading this blog, it will come as NO surprise that a couple of the first calls I made after getting the news of the c-section were to my psychic friend Cristy and to my friend Dianne who does astrological charts. I figured if the doctor was aiming for November 19th or 20th, then the 15th and 16th (of the week before) would probably be fair game too (weekend dates are unfortunately out- I like the look of November 18th, but given it is a Sunday it would be a no-go).

I have had the 15th in my head for awhile with this little one, as has my mom. BC said he liked the way the 20th looked. When Dianne ran the astrology around all those dates, she highly recommended focusing on the 18th-20th (morning of the 20th only). Cristy seems to think this little one will come sooner and choose for herself, possibly starting her journey with the November 13th new moon.

So basically we will be choosing an "on or before" date for our little one. One thing for sure? She'll definitely be here by Thanksgiving! Holy sheet. I meet again with the Nurture ladies on Monday, and hope to talk further about dates then.

I've also spoken a few times with our fabulous doula- wondering if we would still need her services. Ultimately we've decided to do a 'revised' doula package where she has one prenatal appointment with us to help prepare us on what to expect with a planned c-section, and then I will still have her there supporting me on the actual day with all the before, during, & after events of surgery. She can be there in the operating room with me when BC goes to the nursery with the baby, and can also help me get started with breastfeeding. And she writes a personal birth story, which I love! What ultimately convinced me was reading another 'planned c-section' birth story on her blog. I won't be passing up her offering me foot & head massages throughout our birth day!

There are still a lot of emotions to deal with surrounding this recent turn of events. This definitely isn't the way I'd hoped things would go down, but it is our new reality. I am feeling waves of sorrow every time my hips ache or the Braxton Hicks come on... my body is preparing to birth naturally, and I feel like in a way I am cheating it. Ultimately, I just have to trust in my caregivers and know that the end result will be a healthy baby girl.

In closing, I bring you an adorable photo of my niece Magnolia who came in from Seattle for our baby shower. She is 3.5 months old- and has a super unique and cute way of self soothing herself to sleep. Apparently there is even an ultrasound picture of her in utero doing this! Too cute.

Sweet Maggie, I just may have used this move when I got the c-section news.
We all need a little soothing sometimes.


  1. My recovery time from my c-section was less than some people who had traumatic (to the lady parts) births, the pain medication wasn't so bad, and you can still get bladder issues with a section.

    Knowing I was going to have a c-section, I had a lot of these thoughts, especially about having "chosen" the babies' birth day. I didn't want to choose their birth day, I wanted them to choose it. It just felt weird. I chose their names, which was hard enough! In the end, they chose their own birth day, so it worked out, although I wish they had waited a week or two!

    1. Oops I meant to say, you can still get bladder issues from a section, but they are different, I think. Although I did notice that somehow my pelvic muscles seemed weaker than before, even though they weren't used at all! I've been kegeling like crazy to fix it, I have no idea how that happened!

  2. Hey Jules,
    I'm sorry you're not able to have the vaginal birth experience you'd hoped for. On the other hand, I have no doubt you can have a conscious birth experience even with surgery. Maybe have a special song to play as baby emerges from womb to world, one you and BC sing to her? One you sing even now while she's in the womb?


    PS. btw, the word verification setting for submitting a comment on your site is a giant PIA and a big barrier to my responding. I go through five or more attempts every time I try to comment, and don't even bother if I'm reading on my phone.