Final flashback

I meant to continue with the birth story series but squeezed in the mom guilt post because I had to somehow get it off my chest. Writing is cathartic to me and I find it as a release to empty my brain. I have a plan of action now to deal with the daycare settlement issues. Back to where I left the day before.

So yes, for two to three months I was questioning myself all the time why couldn’t I have had a natural vaginal birth, even the second time. Pepper raised this question as to why did I want vbac in the first place. My first pregnancy was with zero complications with what my doc called a textbook pregnancy. I moved to my parents home in a different city in my last trimester and started consulting with another doctor. The day I went overdue, she scared us telling we have to get the baby out as soon as possible without explaining why’s and how’s. No induction, no waiting. Moo wasn’t even breech. The only plausible reason she gave was my water level was slightly low.

When I went to the gynaecologist for Boo, I was asked to submit my previous medical reports related to first pregnancy. My ob-gyn read the report and asked me why I chose elective c-sec for first pregnancy. I didn’t I said. It was an emergency c-sec I replied. She sat me down and explained the difference and let me know that I had no reason not to have tried for atleast an induction. My recovery with first c-sec was very painful and hard. It took me weeks to be able to get up from the bed on my own. Add to that latching issues with Moo meant I had to sit and express which put more pressure on my stitches. And to know that I had a chance to avoid all that if only I had had the knowledge triggered me to deep dive and learn from my midwife all that is there to know about labour and delivery. Every scheduled checkup I would keep asking her questions and she would patiently clarify my doubts – that gave me confidence I could give VBAC a try.

I must be the only mum who has heard nothing but positive vaginal birth stories from friends and family. The fact that you are on your feet within a day sounded wonderful when you have an elder child to take care off as well. Covid had reared his head by February and I wasn’t even sure my parents will be able to make it to Sydney from India. The thought that I might have to leave Moo with friends while Zack and I will be in the hospital used to give me jitters. C-sec meant atleast three nights and it seemed too long to go without meeting my Moo. Lockdowns and restrictions added to my already anxious mind – it wasn’t a good time to be an expectant mum. With so many ifs and buts avoiding a c-sec sounded the best. Now, when I look back, it was a very stressful March/ April 2020.

Things fell into place in such a way that we could go ahead with the decision of going for a c-sec. Moo would be with her grandparents, in home quarantine. Because I was in hospital and Zack went home time and again, we were advised the family shouldn’t venture out to minimise chances of infection.

One fine night while I was wallowing in self pity on the missed chance of a vaginal delivery, particularly after watching the series of videos on successful vbac by an Instagram influencer, a thought came to me. The best thoughts only come at 3am, right? Why am I giving so much importance on from where the baby is born more than the fact that a baby IS born from me? I mean such an incredible task my body has completed, of nurturing and carrying a lively healthy baby to term, and all my mind cares about is where the baby came out from 🙈🥲

That realisation that night ( or day ) was so powerful that it had a profound impact on how I looked at pregnancy and delivery henceforth. It would go down as one of the radical changes in my mindset as an adult. Would you believe I no longer ask a new mum if she had a natural or c sec birth? And I am aghast I asked it first whenever I heard of a new baby being born.

But we all learn slowly, don’t we 🙂

Flashback – 3

Continued from yesterday

I did a double take and yes the waters were slightly green. I answered all the questions by the midwife in a composed voice. She checked my vitals and hooked me to a monitor to keep an eye on the baby. She left me and went to consult with the doctor while Zack was putting away my hospital bag in the checkup room. I was visited by the on duty doctor who advised it is a great idea to get me into the op and take the baby out by c-section. It being an Easter Sunday the hospital was not fully staffed and the morning shift would end in two hours, at 9:30. I asked if the baby is doing well. Yes, she is perfectly fine, they said. Then I would like to continue trying to labor I replied. The doctor was hesitant and said he needs to ask his senior. I agreed and sat on the bed. Here is where I realised a supportive and encouraging midwife is so important during labour. The midwife attending to me was neither and was frustrated as to why I was not listening to her and the doctor. I was hoping her shift ended sooner 😂. She couldn’t even find my vein on the first try to insert the cannula, and the second one which she inserted was scoffed at by the doctor eventually 🤦🏻‍♀️ ( so I had 3 pokes in all 😭)

The duty doctor returned saying the senior doctor gave a go ahead to leave me alone and check on me four hours later. We were allocated a labour room and I changed into a hospital gown and started walking around. They made me wear a wireless monitor so that I can move about and they can see the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions. I was still soaking a pad by the hour and was more irritated by it instead of the labour pain. I called Moo and had a chat with her when I explained we might have the baby out today. Hospital had strict rules that no one apart from the partner should be visiting the mum so Moo couldn’t meet the baby in the hospital. She accepted that but made me promise I will video call her often. My cutie ❤️

At 9:30 I was happy to meet my wonderful new midwife who was exactly what I needed – cheerful, supportive and so encouraging. She made me put at ease and commented on how my scarf and exercise ball ( on which I was bouncing ) were colour coordinated. She came every hour to check my BP and baby’s heartbeat. At 12 the contractions didn’t show any change from the morning. For me it was already painful but apparently not enough. I hated the internal examination which they did to check the dilation because my spine was about to break due to the weight and the gas which they asked me to inhale was of no use. I was 1 cm dilated. What??!! So much pain and only a cm. I was in disbelief.

Before the doctor could say anything I looked at him in the eye and said I want to continue to labour. He said I am very determined and adamant at the same time. I waved him off as a big contraction hit me. For the next three hours I walked, bounced, sat down and breathed through what felt like eternity. The charts still hadn’t budged but the baby was doing well and good. Also, baby Boo’s head wasn’t still fixed in my pelvis.

We were told to make a decision at 4 whether we wanted to continue labouring or go for c-section. The doctor explained how meconium when inhaled would need the baby to spend days in NICU. And since I hadn’t laboured during my first pregnancy my body was treating this as my first labour and if at all dilated progresses it will be one cm per hour. I asked them if I can eat anything, since I was getting drained by hearing the pain. A resounding NO was there reply by the doctor and the midwife. I could need an emergency c sec anytime they said. Zack and I decided to agree for the c section.

But here comes the catch – the operation theatre was occupied by some emergency surgery and I would have to wait for three more hours. Zack went home to shower and eat something and I laboured alone. At 6 in the evening, we were told the emergency surgery got into complications and we will be waiting for a couple of hours more. My contractions peaked like anything and the pain which the doctors wanted to see me in finally arrived. I couldn’t string two words together at a time and was crushing Zacks fingers when I was labouring in an upright position. At 7pm, the doctor asked the midwife to check me again and I was almost 5cm dilated. This is when the doctor told its still up to me if I want to labour more or go for a c section. He could give me an epidural which could give me some rest. Can I eat something, I asked. He smiled pitifully and said no. So even if I am 10cms dilated I won’t have any energy to push isn’t that right I asked. Both the midwife and doctor smiled and said – the baby is doing well and good but you are not. It’s for your and baby’s safety that we suggest the operation. At that moment, it became clear I am not going to have a VBAC.

I had signed the papers consenting for c section ( yes they made me sign in between contractions) and was thinking if I can bear the pain till the operation. Upright was so much better than lying down, which I had too, for being wheeled into another wing of the hospital. By 8pm, I was waiting outside the op for the full sanitisation ( covid rules) of the theatre room and was in so much pain that if I was checked I would be 10 cms already. The nurses must be made of steel because I crushed their hands while trying to stay still for the spinal injection to make me numb. Baby Boo came out with a loud wail and Zack clicked as many pictures as he could. I kept thinking if should have not given up and said no to a c section. But then another reality hit me – I am a mum to two little girls. What!!? Zack was delirious, I had never seen him so animated, whatever I could see from the PPE mask he was wearing that is. Boo went with her dad to get checked while I was stitched up and was sent to Recovery. I held my newest doll an hour later and soaked in her warmth. Zack had already made all the video calls meanwhile.

To be honest, the guilt stayed with me for two to three months that I caved in too soon. I should have stood my ground that I wanted to try for a VBAC. I’ll tell you tomorrow what changed my perspective, thanks for reading along ❤️

Flashback – 2

Continued from here

I got up from my power nap and proceeded to make a complicated dish ( for me ) for dinner. On the menu was freshly made veggie patty inside store bought burger buns and assembled with green leaves and coriander chutney. A deconstructed version for Moo, who has a strange affinity towards lettuce, but did not like to bite the whole burger when assembled. I would say the dinner came together pretty well and I ate more than I should because I woke twice during the night due to reflux. Moo used to sleep on a mattress on the floor right next to our bed, so as to not kick me in sleep and she held my hands and went to sleep that night. I clicked a picture that night because it felt so poignant that my little girl is not so little any more.

The next morning at 6am sharp I felt a tug in my tummy and I heard a popping sound. My gut instinct told my waters had broken but I couldn’t sit up from my bed fast enough. Also I had to navigate a sleeping Moo on the floor and cross the mattress to reach the ensuite on the other end. Luckily I was able to hold myself together and was quick enough to reach inside the bathroom for the big gush. I didn’t have the hospital emergency number saved into my phone and contemplated how to find my way out to reach the hospital bag kept in living room and be back without flooding the carpet. The gush is no joke – I never knew I held so much amniotic fluid inside my uterus. I managed to wear a pad, get the number from the living room and be back inside the bathroom to dial emergency. The nurse on the call was very calm and asked me to have breakfast and come to the hospital for a triage. ‘But how do I stop myself from leaking? I can’t stand without soaking through two pads’, I asked the nurse. ‘Keep a thick towel between your legs and come to the hospital. Don’t forget to eat’. 🤷‍♀️

A little background – my parents had flown in the night before the international borders were shut, they were in home quarantine and had just finished the 14 day isolation mandated by the officials. They didn’t go out at all even after that period because I was in the vulnerable category.

When I came out and said my waters broke, my dad forgot everything, changed into a formal dress and stood by the door to get me to the hospital. Meanwhile Zack got ready and I wolfed down my cereal for brekkie as I didn’t want to stand leaking in my kitchen. Mum was making poha for my proper breakfast, she thought the baby is coming in few hours 😂. No matter how many times I told my dad that due to covid the hospital is allowing only partner visits, he won’t listen and said he would stand outside the hospital gate while I am in. It was cute and exasperating at the same time. Finally I told him in a strict voice that Moo needs her grandparents more than ever now. I was calm but didn’t know to walk with a towel to the lift, car and then hospital.

Once I reach in the hospital ( 90 minutes later) , the on duty midwife who took my call earlier berated me as to why I didn’t tell her my first pregnancy was a c section. Errm, you should have asked I said. Or read my notes in my file, I said in my head. She said she will go check with the doctor and arrange the operation theatre. I was experiencing pain but it was very mild and very much manageable. I was still calm and said I wanted to try VBAC as per my original plan. She gave me a large hospital grade maternity pad to soak my waters. She did a double take when she was helping me change.

Your waters are green! Baby has passed meconium. How long has it been since your waters broke first?’