I have been hemming and hahing about writing this post all week. Yes, all of a week, but I thought maybe it would provide some hope.
So, we were hoping for a VBAC. We were really hoping. And our doctor was great, she was supportive and patient against all expectation (I can’t even count how often I went to an appointment prepped for war where she just reassured us) and gave me as much time to try as a gynae can. She let me go to almost 41 weeks and says if my previous doctor hadn’t done a C, she’d have let it go to 42 comfortably, as that seems to be where our timer is at. She was honest at our last appointment that waiting longer would open her to legal action and we scheduled our second C. I was at peace. We’d tried as long as an OB-GYN could let us and it was too late to call a midwife.
So in we went on Tuesday, expecting a 16:30 surgery that got moved up to 15:30. And as I lay in prep, alone while hubby ran to let my mom know, I lost my nerve. I was ready to bolt. I remembered how cold and clinical my daughter’s birth was. How I was discussed like a training cadaver, despite being alive, awake and right f*&^ing there. Recovery blew, the drugs were constant, the sleep was non-existent and breastfeeding was hell. I could wait. I didn’t want to be butchered again.
And then it happened. A little village started assembling around me. Our friend pitched up at my side to wait with me, as she’d be photographing. Our anaesthetist came to check on me, crack a joke and put me at ease. Hubby got arrived. The assisting surgeon came to introduce himself and chat a bit, then a nurse, then our doctor, our paediatrician. They were all smiling and at ease and comforting.
This time, being wheeled into theater was a very different experience. Where before, all was sterile and clinical, including the staff attitudes, this time was clean, friendly and … joyful. I know, odd choice of word. But this time, there was a team assembled who all clearly enjoy working together and, despite my being their umpteenth surgery of the day, were excited about helping us bring our son into the world. This time, I was spoken too, never about. I was treated as a participant instead of a specimen. My husband was involved, teased, reassured. We ALL delivered a baby together. And when the little shit decided to introduce himself by peeing in my face, we all laughed together.
Am I sad that this isn’t a beautiful VBAC story? Yes, absolutely. Do I regret this C-section at all? No, not for a second. If I had chosen a midwife from day 1, I may have had that VBAC, but I chose a doctor I felt I could trust and every time I had an appointment, she proved worthy of that trust, both in her actions toward me and in the stories happily exchanged in her waiting rooms. And I am eternally grateful to her for the wonderful pregnancy (where treatment is concerned) and birth journey I had.
Not all unplanned (unwanted) C-sections need to be thoroughly unpleasant, as a surgical team has proven to me, but the experts guiding you through the process do all need to be the right people.
As a side note, I also had better ward nurses this time around. Go figure!