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My Plan B

06/12/2013

Belle

Dr. Shannon got me a last minute consult with an OB, who we will call Dr. Z, this morning. I walked in ready to wage massive war to get what I wanted, and left having only used one Kleenex and with a Plan B that is about as good as they come when you are talking Cesarean birth.*

Dr. Z was kind and incredibly passionate when I explained the long road I traveled to get pregnant, and was understanding when I explained how all I wanted was a natural delivery after a very unnatural conception. When I said I had been reading up on Family Centered Cesarean’s his eyes lit up and he said he has also been watching the videos for about a year now and working on slowly bringing nursing and pediatrics around to the idea. Basically, he will work to meet as many of my demands as he deems safe. My current Plan B looks like this:

– Baby will be allowed to cook until I’m 40 weeks, 3 days to allow for as much lung development as possible. Cesarean is scheduled for July 1 – which happens to be my sweet Oma’s birthday. I can’t think of a better day in the year for my baby to be born! 

– Dr. Z will insure that I receive minimal medication so I am completely lucid during the procedure. He will give me a play-by-play account of what he is doing so my very wild imagine does not run away and I’m able to stay calm. 

– He will use a bikini cut and hand separate my abdominals. 

– He will bring my baby out slowly, allowing him/her to acclimate. 

– Baby will get toweled off and then go straight to my chest where Dr. Shannon will perform all pediatric care. Unless there is a medical emergency, baby will stay with me the entire time. 

– My wishes re: eye ointment and some injections will be respected. 

– The Professor will be allowed to “tag out” if he gets woozy (he is easily nauseated and looked horrified when I said I NEED a play-by-play of what they are doing) and my doula will be scrubbed and ready to tag in so I always have a support person with me. 

– The team will consist of Dr. Z who is very excited about this new method, Nurse Emily who is also very pro family-centered cesarean and Dr. Shannon who, obviously, is on my side. 

– If I am extra determined and recovering well, my stay in the hospital can be as short as two days. 

I forgot to ask about delayed cord clamping, but Dr. Shannon and I just had a text message discussion and she said she will work on that detail. Dr. Z is not keen on dropping the drape so I can see my child “be born” due to a potential infection risk. I’m ok with this, actually. If I weren’t moving to NYC a few weeks postpartum I think I’d fight for it, too, but honestly an infection after cesarean sounds DREADFUL and like it could throw a major wrench into our moving plans.

He was very encouraging about breastfeeding, saying that the biggest thing is to keep at it. He reminded me that UK has great lactation support and that I will be in the hospital for several days where all I need to do is press a button and lactation help will be right at my side, day or night.

He also took a moment to check my diastasis recti, which I thought had gotten pretty bad but has only spread about a centimeter. He said it might spread more, but with diligent work I can still plan on returning to my yoga mat rather quickly.

I think what I am most excited about, though, is that Dr. Z would like to use the Professor, Chicken and I as a test case of why this is a better method and should become standard care. I don’t know if this makes a lot of sense, but I feel SUCH PEACE knowing that my journey through infertility and now breech birth can help improve care for other women. Some days the emails I get from readers telling me that my infertility story gives them hope and strength are truly the only things that keep me moving forward and not crawling into a corner and downing a pint of coconut ice cream, my current vice of choice now that Pinot Noir is not an option! Knowing that my cesarean birth will help other women have a better experience gives me validation and some purpose that I otherwise was struggling to find.

I told Dr. Z that he is welcome to allow residents to view, as long as it does not affect my and baby’s care. I am happy, I said, to help improve birth for women down the line.

Is this my ideal experience? No. Am I still scared of abdominal surgery and mourning the loss of my natural birth experience? Yeah. I am. This is going to be my only child, and the fact that I will never experience the joy of bringing forth life the “natural” way still makes me cry. I am finding my peace, though, and I’m tremendously thankful to have a good team of professionals on my side, all fighting for the same changes in birth and cesarean section.

* A while back a reader corrected me on calling it a c-section vs. a cesarean birth. Her words have haunted me since. I can walk into this experience with negative words and a foul attitude and expect about the same from my doctor in return. Or I can embrace it, open myself to gentler terms and come to peace. I’m choosing the second. It’s no longer “slice and dice” or “c-section. ” This is my cesarean birth and it is going to be as perfect as can be.

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25 Comments

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  1. June 12, 2013

    This all sounds great and I am happy that you seem a little more at ease. ((HUGS))

  2. June 12, 2013

    Yay! This is all absolutely wonderful. I’m glad you have found a provider who is so open to creating such a calm, peaceful environment for Chicken to be born into!

  3. SM #
    June 12, 2013

    This is great! It’s not what you wanted but I can see it turning into an awesome experience anyway. Love it!

  4. June 12, 2013

    Eeeep!!! This sounds like an amazing Plan B! I’m so proud of you for fighting hard and compromising when necessary. You are so inspiring to me. And many women down the road will thank your for your strength. Love you!!

  5. June 12, 2013

    This sounds amazing! I know that plan B was not what you wanted, but to hear that you are now in a situation where the doctors are working with you to achieve you goals for Chicken’s birth makes me think that this could be an amazing experience. That and your change in attitude is equally amazing to watch. Looking forward to more posts on this.

    • Shinara #
      June 12, 2013

      YAY! The reason we read your blog is because we are all going through similar things. Our strengths and weaknesses mirror yours in many ways, and the fact you are willing to reveal your emotions and experiences to us is impressive and brave. I am glad you and your family have found the doctors and nurses who are willing to explore this new birthing experience with you. Like Cristy said, it’s Plan B, but it’s a good plan B. I wish you all the happiness you deserve.

  6. SRB #
    June 12, 2013

    This sounds fantastic. And by that I mean, YOU sound fantastic. You sound confident and peaceful, which makes my heart feel just light as a feather for you! And hey, July 1 is Canada Day so I’ll be thinking of you up here!

  7. June 12, 2013

    You are such a strong woman, Belle! I am so thankful you’ve found your footing again and are re-finding your determined, proactive self in the face of this new challenge. And I’m starting to get really excited about meeting Chicken someday! –love!

  8. Amy #
    June 12, 2013

    This sounds pretty awesome, Belle. It of course doesn’t mean that you can’t feel disappointment or bitterness at not getting the natural birth you’ve worked so hard toward, but the fact that you are helping to advance the standard of care for women to follow is SO COOL. Not only will it make your experience as calm as possible, but talk about paying it forward…you rock.

    Thanks for the clarification on Cesarean birth versus c-section, too. I hadn’t realized that there was an effort to change the terminology going along with the efforts to change how they are done and how baby and mama are treated during and afterward. It’s another great thing, and I hope that it really helps cement that it isn’t only a medical procedure, it’s your baby’s birth and your birth experience. It isn’t how you would do it if you had no restrictions, but it certainly doesn’t mean that it can’t be a beautiful experience and a perfect start to your family of three!

  9. June 12, 2013

    I’m amazed how you are finding options to create YOUR perfect birth! Thank for sharing! I don’t know a lot of this was possible, but I plan to keep it in mind just in case I am ever in the same situation. 🙂

  10. Jennifer #
    June 12, 2013

    That does sound like an awesome Plan B! Is the “better method” you’re talking about the way mom and baby are treated and wishes respected? That should be the standard and I hope it gets to be. I know the bikini-cut cesarean has been done here at DCH for nearly 20 years, but I doubt much attention has been paid to doing what mom and baby ask…despite the fact this is a big occasion and if anyone’s personal requests should be respected in this case, it’s mom’s! I’m excited for you that you do have such a team on your side, though. I know it makes a world of difference. 🙂

  11. June 12, 2013

    Wow, this sounds awesome! I’ve never heard of family-centered cesarean births before, but I’m for sure looking it up and bringing all research possible to my OB if/when the time comes… I think what’s most important is that you have a plan in place, as well as a support team that you trust. And the good thing with planned cesareans is that it’s a lot more rare for things to go off track (which I know you hate). 🙂 July 1st is a fab birthday, too… I’m a first-of-the-month’er and love it.

  12. Kathy #
    June 12, 2013

    Awesome ! There will be fireworks in the sky on July 1st where I live in Canada. I’ll close my eyes and make a special wish for Chicken during the grand finale ! You’ve done so much already to educate people through this process. Your birth team sounds like a dream come true. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are an inspiration !

  13. APE #
    June 12, 2013

    My mom gave me that adivce once when I was a kid. We were going on a vacation and I was being a little shit, so my mom says “You can change your attitude and make this fun for everyone, or you can keep acting the way you are and have a horrible time. It’s up to you!” I have followed this advice ever since because she was right and it’s true! I am glad that you have adopted this attitude! Also, I had a cesarean and have always called it a c-section. I never thought of it as a negative term, just a shortened way to say it. Learn something new every day. Hmmm.

    • June 12, 2013

      I think C-section is not always a negative term. For me, though, c-section is the dehumanizing emergency situation my friends have experienced. C-section is a surgical procedure that is done to me. A Cesarean birth is how I am bringing my child into the world with the help of my birth team. I don’t know… it’s all in spin and sometimes a little change of language can help you make a big mental leap. And your mom is a very wise woman 🙂

      • APE #
        June 13, 2013

        Absolutely! It’s all in how you perceive it! I just never knew anyone ever thought of it as a negative term. I just learned something new and a new thing to be sensitive to.

  14. June 12, 2013

    this is such a happy post. I can feel you are at some peace with the situation, which is wonderful. july 1st! coming right up…

    and, as a little bit of a research nut, i’m so happy your doc is using your birth as a case study for future women. very encouraging!

  15. Arbrefleur #
    June 12, 2013

    HUGE congratulations to you, Belle. You are such an inspiration! I am going to show this post to my doula and OB so that we can use it as our blueprint (if you don’t mind 😉 ! So, take it from me, you are already helping people on this point due to your tenacity and strength. p.s. July 1st is such a beautiful, happy birthday!

  16. Amy #
    June 12, 2013

    I’m so happy to hear the joy in this post! It will be a wonderful day & I’m excited to read all about it!!

  17. June 12, 2013

    My friend calls it “having the baby out the sun roof”….glad you have options…we had a similar plan, those kind of cesareans are becoming quite common in Australia. It was really nice going into birth feeling I’d be ok with whichever way we went.

    • June 13, 2013

      HAHAHAHAHA! This is fantastic 🙂 And yes, having the backup plan B I think is so important for even the most low-risk, normal pregnancy. We never know what might happen so we might as well be prepared!

  18. June 12, 2013

    That doctor sounds fabulous. Here’s hoping chicken will flip but if not plan B sounds about as nice as it can be for you all things considered.

  19. Melissa #
    June 13, 2013

    Girl. You’re giving me anxiety attacks with all of the waiting. When I found out that I had to have a c-section (due to placenta previa) the bright spot (if there was one, because I too wanted a vaginal delivery) was that I got to delivery my baby as soon as she was fully cooked 37 weeks, 2 days. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I kept having anxiety attacks about the possibility of a cord accident (happened to my aunt’s baby), so I opted to deliver as soon as I could, but I also had the added rawness of losing my daughter 2 years earlier when she was 2 days old. All I wanted was to get my rainbow baby out and safely in my arms. I am not trying to scare you, just sharing my personal experience.

    I do hope that your little chicken arrives safely and my fingers are crossed in hopes that he will flip. You are definitely the most patient person I know. Looking forward to your updates 🙂

    • June 13, 2013

      Oh, if I could afford to have baby delivered sooner I certainly would! Honestly, though, we desperately need these last few weeks of may pay. I’m also an asthmatic and have it in my brain that Chicken’s lungs need all the time they can get to mature. Not at all an evidence-based worry, but one I have regardless. Now I will spend the next 2.5 weeks squeezing my knees together and hoping labor does not start sooner!

  20. jak #
    June 13, 2013

    wow, this is great news. can’t believe dr. shannon is actually going to be able to be there for you as well. so cool. i can’t imagine this going any better. glad you’ve had the space and peace to plan this calmly and rationally and that you knew about it ahead of time and can face it confidently.

    just tell professor husband not to look past the curtain, hehehehe, i’m sure he’ll be fine. (aside – my uncle passed out when he saw the docs hold my aunt’s uterus up higher than the curtain while washing it off to stitch, hahaha!)

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