So I'm a bit of a planner, okay?
And so I'm about ten steps ahead of myself, and worrying about how I will have to choose a medical provider to manage my pregnancy and delivery. You know, when I'm actually pregnant. And I'm not even TTC'ing yet.
But I'm worried about feeling rushed into a decision. And I'm feeling way more anxious about my choice this time around. I was pretty chill about it last time. Interviewed a couple people, got a couple recommendations (one from a friend, one from a midwife who doesn't deliver babies herself anymore), and picked. And it was all mostly fine, until the big day. And then it sucked. Horribly.
And everyone was fine. And I got my gorgeous girl. And I couldn't be happier with our lives together. So it feels awfully whiny to complain.
But if I could, I wish that I could have a more empowering experience the next time around. Whatever that would look like. I have no idea.
So today I called and made an appointment with a woman who teaches group classes for expectant and new parents, and also does one on one counseling. We are meeting in two weeks. She's not actually licensed as, you know, a social worker or therapist or anything. But has a huge reputation. So I'm going to give it a shot. But it's pricey, so I want to go in with established goals and relevant history to share. Hopefully one appointment will be sufficient for now. I may schedule another later on after, you know, I'm actually pregnant and facing an imminent delivery.
I really liked having a solo provider last time. I liked knowing exactly who would be with me on the big day, and having time to build a relationship with her. I can't imagine using a large practice, and getting random person that I've only met once.
So I'd like to replicate that again, if possible. Of course, the potential downside is that she could have another client go into labor, and another midwife might end up with me. This is what happened with my doula. Of course, her back up was fabulous.
So here's a list of things that went wrong. Some of them are no one's fault. But these are the thing that left me with some baggage to work through.
1. My complaints of serious fatigue were brushed off during pregnancy -- I never got that mythical burst of energy in my second trimester because my anemia wasn't diagnosed for such a long time.
2. Time pressure to have the baby before my sister moved to Florida left me seriously stressed out over this giant event I couldn't control.
3. Taking Ambien (recommended by my midwife) to make me sleep after being admitted to the hospital for Cervadil (to ripen the uterus) for 24 hours but before the Pitocin was started.
I took the Ambien and woke up two hours later in active (back labor)... hallucinating. Alone in the dark in a hospital. My labor coach ninety minutes away -- she'd been kicked out because I was in Antepartum, not Labor and Delivery.
What was weird about this one was that the nurses kept questioning the order for the Ambien. They seemed very reluctant to give it to me. Kept saying, "Gosh, usually we give Stadol. Are you sure you want to take this?"
At the time, I just shrugged and said, "Well, I've never taken it before but the midwife thinks it's a good idea."
Hmm. A good reminder that nurses usually know best. But I'm not sure I would've done anything differently. What did I know about Ambien?
My memories of the next few hours are so strange. Blurry and not set in time properly.
4. Epidural not working properly. I had searing pain in my right sacrum for hours. I'm not so traumatized by this now. But it certainly sucked in the moment. I definitely hope this doesn't happen again.
5. Pushing. For four hours.
It felt so violent and scary. Like the frightening force of heaving while vomiting. Over and over and over again. Helpless to slow it down. Pressing on my epidural button over and over again, praying for relief, and getting none. Begging for a C-section, and being laughed at.
Feeling so spent and so frightened. (And after ten weeks of Kegeling every single night, and 41+ weeks of daily workouts, cheated -- weren't all these things supposed to help?)
6. Post partum hemorrhage. Losing 40% of my blood volume. Feeling so terribly dizzy and awful, and being afraid to admit it, for fear that they would take my baby away. Being too weak to make it to the bathroom by myself, even with a nurse practically carrying me. Needing weeks before I could successfully walk a city block without having to stop and rest. Not being able to take care of myself for several weeks.
7. And this. Feeling like my midwife was judging me. And finding me inadequate.
Number seven is the easiest thing to solve, in some ways. I need to find a midwife who is more of a cheerleader. I had two fabulous midwives visit me after Calliope was born, one in the hospital and one at home. They were both amazing. They spent plenty of time with me and seemed unhurried. That meant the world to me.
I haven't been able to find one, but I've located the other. I will meet with her, and tell her that I loved her kind attention, and would be happy to work with her.
Except for the fact that I'm terrified of having another vaginal delivery. And facing number five, the violent pushing. Even though I know it's unlikely that I will have to push for hours again. But my former midwife mentioned that she had a very hard time pushing her second out. And said about herself, "I was such a baby." Ouch. Such judgment.
So I worry about that. And then wonder if a planned C-section wouldn't be just the thing?
Except that I'm scared of going under the knife, too!
Anyway, I feel much more upbeat about all these issues now than I did when Calliope was tiny. I don't actually feel much in the way of trauma anymore. But I'd like to see what I can to make sure that these issues don't rear their ugly heads with round two, if I should be so lucky as to have a round two.
So I'm looking forward to doing a preemptive strike against birth trauma, round 2. I'm curious to see how it goes. Although it may be that I'm too anxious about actually getting pregnant to work ahead this far. I'll give it a few days and decide.