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space and time

March 17th, 2008

Today Casey was a guest lecturer at the Naval Academy (something he’s done a few times before) so I tagged along to one of the classes to see him in action.   The professor of the class is a good friend of ours, and his wife offered to watch Kenny for a few hours so I could go.

Ok, until today, I still kind of thought of myself as young.

As I sat in the hall waiting for the classroom to open, I watched the eighteen and nineteen-year-olds stream by and realized that I was not one of them.   It’s been thirteen years since I was in a college classroom and it feels like yesterday!   Ah, but time has a way of flying.

Speaking of flying time, I spent the last half hour looking at pictures from Kenny’s first few days.   I can hardly believe that another squishy little baby is about to descend on our little lives.   I looked at the crazy infant-acne, the circles under my eyes (actually, those still haven’t really gone away) and the gummy grins and suddenly it’s getting more real and less theory that we’re having another one.   Then I looked at Kenny, tangled up in the sheets and stuffed animals in his bed, and I can hardly believe that he’s getting so big.   I feel like I just had him, and now he’s over half my height!

Tomorrow I hit 25 weeks on the pregnancy calendar.   Fourteen to go – my c-section is scheduled for a week before my due date.   It’s a little strange, knowing that I most likely won’t go into labor this time, that there is no guessing the baby’s birth date at a baby shower.   Kenny was an emergency section.   I was adamantly against it.   I was against the epidural, too (mostly for the reason that it can slow down labor and actually increase chances of a c-section), but after nearly 15 hours of labor and no progression, I gave in.   Actually, I think Casey said at that point that one of us needed drugs, and the nurses picked me…

It was another 9 hours (of groggy sleepy disorientation – I’d been up for 24 hours at that point) of un-felt labor before the OB on call woke me up to tell me that she felt that a section was eminent.   I was terrified but at that point so exhausted, most of my fight was gone.   I was running a fever and was still not dilated, and the contractions were less than a minute apart.

It turns out that Kenny was nearly two pounds bigger than they thought he was going to be – and with my small frame, the doctors assured me that I did the right thing in agreeing to the surgery.   This time around, I wasn’t given much of an option.   With two miscarriages and a laparoscopic surgery this year, and given Kenny’s size and the chances that number two will be bigger, my OB said that a VBAC was really too risky for me.   I can’t say that I’m relishing the thought of being carved open like a prize turkey again, but with all we’ve been through this year, I’ve got to trust the good doctor.

It is frustrating, though, to read all the articles in pregnancy and parenting mags out there about the high percentage of unnecessary c-sections in the US, and about the “cop-out” of opting for repeat sections, without trying a VBAC.   I was totally on board with all of that three years ago, but when you’re lying on the table and the one in charge says that for the baby’s safety you need to consent to a surgery, there really isn’t any other choice.

Have any of you out there tried a VBAC for a second (or third) baby?   Opted for a repeat c-section?   Were you given a choice?   Let me hear your story.


  1. Beachmom says

    I hear you on “thinking you are young” thing! I had that stark realization last spring when we took our 10 year old to the lacrosse championships at the Naval Academy and I looked around and realized that these college kids weren’t my peers (I know, I know, who was I kidding!!) Fortunately, beachboy has no concept of age, and kept asking whether I knew any of the college kids since I had gone to college in the state of Maryland. Oh, I just love the innocence of youth!

    As for your VBAC dilemma, I can’t help at all since I was never in that boat … I agree with you, however, and would probably go with the doc’s opinion. The mommy magazines and editorials are hard to digest, but I always had to remind myself that they just don’t know my particular situation. Best of luck as your date gets closer and closer!!

    March 18th, 2008 | #

  2. C. Lou says

    Hi! This will be my first baby and from what I’ve learned so far a C section is better for women in the long run. And I also heard that if the first baby was by C section then it is better for the mommy to have a C section again because there can be MAJOR complications if she tries to have the baby the ol’ fashioned way.(damaged organs etc)
    Plus, remember this is your body… not the parenting magazines, not the doctors, your own. If it is better for the baby, who cares what the rest of the world is saying!

    Hope everything goes well during delivery! I know I can’t wait to get to hold my bundle of joy!!!

    March 18th, 2008 | #

  3. Kimmie says

    Having a c-section or a repeat c-section is NOT a cop-out! Birth, no matter how it is given, is a miracle given to us. How you raise your child and how much you love your child do not change b/c of the way they came out of you. Either way, they are a blessing entrusted to us on this earth. Oh, and quit reading those silly magazines!!!

    March 18th, 2008 | #

  4. Crisanne says

    My sister had to have a c-section with her first because her placenta was attached in an unusual place and they didn’t want her to go to full term incase it became detached. It turned out that her umbilical cord was extremely short (something like 6″) so it was a blessing that they’d scheduled it. It was one of those moments when everyone in the OR crowds around, mouths open wide, exclaiming how they’d never seen anything like that. When she was pregnant with her second, she considered a VBAC but she has too much scar tissue so her doctor advised against it. They are the ones with all the experience.

    Also, J wanted me to share with you that even though you (and many other pregnant women) may have been told that epidurals can slow down labor, recent studies refute that. In fact, there are several studies that have shown just the opposite. As well, if you do have to have an emergent section, it is WAY safer with an epidural already in place (which they can dose up to above the navel) than if they have to put you to sleep. A pregnant woman should only be put to sleep if absolutely necessary.

    He started to write the comment himself but he was afraid he might sound like he was putting you down when he just wanted correct information out there. 🙂

    March 18th, 2008 | #

  5. kristjana says

    Thanks for the information, Crisanne! For those of you who don’t already read her awesome blog, Depeche Mom, Crisanne’s husband J is a doctor. Hearing from a real doc (instead of a popular magazine) does make me feel a whole lot better about the issue.

    March 18th, 2008 | #

  6. Jerseygirl89 says

    I didn’t want to have a c-section either. But about ten days before my due date, my oldest still hadn’t turned. I had so much fluid that my 8 pound, 10 ouncer was floating around, basically. And my doctor didn’t think we’d have a successful VB so I did it. I basically didn’t want to go through all the labor and then have a c-section anyway. And when I was pregnant with the second one, I just wanted to do what already knew, you know? And it turned out that his head was so big that even though I was in the early stages of labor when I went in for my c-section he was basically bashing into my pelvic bone and NEVER could have come out the other way. This time there’s no question.

    March 18th, 2008 | #

  7. Melissa says

    I enjoy reading your blog and congratulations on the nomination!
    I am 36 weeks along with our 3rd (yes…3rd) girl. This will be my 3rd c-section. I had a similar experience. Small frame, big…big…big baby, and labored for 18 hours. The section was the choice for a safe delivery. My OB does not attempt VBAC, so I have basically accepted the fact that each baby will be c-section. Perhaps I would have liked to deliver a baby vaginally, but I’d much rather stick with the safest option for myself and baby.
    Just a little FYI…the second section was so much better. I hope you have an easier time this time around.

    March 19th, 2008 | #

  8. Sarah says

    Hi there,

    I had an emergency c-sect the first go around and have a VBAC planned for my second. My only suggestion would be to do your research and trust your instincts. I am going with a certified homebirth midwife this go around as it is my only hope for an intervention free birth. All of the fear mongering that goes on can be overwhelming and of course in the heat of the moment someone says “for the safety of the baby” and like any mom that is all you need to hear! However, many of the “risks” are not exactly what you would think when you research them. For instance, the old “uterine rupture” risk really came from times prior to 1999 when the drug cytotec was being used during labor and you had an astronomical rate of uterine rupture in mom’s who had previous c-sect. In 1999 the use of that drug was outlawed and now you do not see that like you did. Not to say a VBAC does not carry any risk, but I do truly believe it is over inflated. The best advice I can give you is simply to watch the documentary “the business of being born” by Ricki Lake. FANTASTIC. I too was on the fence and now there is no question I will do a home birth VBAC. I have already researched the midwives in the area which to me a midwife is the best route for birth anyways. Doctors are trained to look for pathology whereas the midwife will trust your body and trust the baby and that what has been done for centuries will be done successfully again. Either way, it is a personal decision and as so many women learn, the birth process truly delivers them and not the other way around. If you do nothing else before birth…def. watch the documentary. It is such a great summation of fact versus all of the fiction that can get over inflated out there! Many blessings to you on your journey towards birth whatever you decide!

    March 19th, 2008 | #

  9. Faith says

    I had the same thing happen as you with my first… Twenty hours of hard labor with no drugs (my hubby and I were hardcore about Bradley method) and then I got stuck in transition for three hours and he would NOT drop. As I was laying on the operating table, they told me he was 10lb, 5oz and I am a small person! I was given the option of VBAC for my second, but told that I may have a large baby again and could not be induced early since you can’t induce with a VBAC. Well, we scheduled the second for a week before my due date and she was still 8lb, 5oz. They told me if I had waited to go into labor she may very well have been the size of her brother. I was relieved that I opted for another section. It is much, much different the second time around when you know you are getting a C-section. I think you worry more about the spinal and the recovery and all the possible complications since you have time to research them, but I found it wasn’t nearly that scary. The spinal didn’t hurt at all last time (I don’t remember the first, I was screaming and it took four nurses and the doctor to hold me down to get the spinal in my back), and it’s much calmer going in. We’re going to be having a third and I’m glad to have another scheduled C-Section! Hope that helps. I’ll be praying for you!

    March 19th, 2008 | #

  10. LeAnne says


    I don’t have a problem with C-Sections myself when there is a physical condition going on either with the mom or the baby. With my first son, the dr didn’t really monitor me well. After I’d been in the delivery room a while, they had me start pushing at 1pm. I quit about 4:00pm because Joshua’s head was big and wouldn’t cone. By that time, it was too late for a C-Section. THey had to use some contraption to pull him out. I had a 4th degree tear. If I’d been monitored closely, they may have encouraged a C-Section.

    With my second son, my new dr monitored me QUITE well because he didn’t want the same thing to happen to me that happened the first time. If I had to have a C-Section, then I’d just have to have it, but it all worked out where I didn’t have to.

    My preference is to have a baby w/o a C-Section if possible, but if a dr told me I needed one because of certain condtions, then I’m all for it.

    March 20th, 2008 | #

  11. Andrea says

    Anyway a woman can safely deliver a baby is the best way to have a baby. I for one am grateful for c-sections because they have kept some of my closest friends and their babies healthy and safe. Hundreds of years ago that might not have been the case!

    March 20th, 2008 | #

  12. Kortney says

    Hello! I was just searching for a “mommy outlet” and stumbled upon your blog website. My son turned one yesterday, and remembering his birth brings back both amazingly loving memories and trauma. I’m so glad your doctors did provide a C-section for your with your first-born, even though it was on an emergency basis. My husband and I were completely into the hypnobirthing concept, no epidural, all natural… what no one realized was that my size 4 frame was giving birth to a 9 pound baby boy. Hypnobirthing helped me stay calm throughout the entire 22 hours of labor and 2 hours of hardcore pushing, but I had a face-up baby and the epidural had to be administered twice to take effect. I do find it hard sometimes, knowing that my reality for any future baby will be a scheduled C-section, but the alternative for some mommies is just TOO MUCH! I had a fourth degree tear, five silver nitrate treatments, two surgeries, and wayyyy too many specialists and nurses looking at my parts for 10 months after my son was born. He is the most beautiful little guy, and isn’t even 21 pounds now at one year, but wow, it would have been easier on all of us – VERY patient husband included – had I just had a scheduled delivery. Hang in there! I hope your newest addition has a wonderful journey into the world.

    March 21st, 2008 | #

  13. Serena says

    I had an emegency c-section with #1 and it was not at all what I had planned of course! Non-eventful pregnancy, average sized baby–average sized baby that didn’t like contractions as it turned out and after 22 hrs of trying to have a normal delivery (I got to the point where I was pushing and it was making things worse), he was delivered 4 minutes after the doctors said “c-section” and whisked off to the NICU.

    With #2, I scheduled a c-section thinking I’d avoid any repeat of #1. As it turned out, the day I went to meet with the surgeon (I go to a 1/2 midwife 1/2 ob/gyn practice and see the midwives), I was already dilated and he advised me to try for a vbac. My husband and I were shocked as traditionally it seems as most surgeons love being in surgery, I guess the practice I go to only has a 13% c-section rate and he didn’t feel comfortable performing a c-section unless it was absolutely necessary.

    That night I went into labor, but alas baby #2 had other plans for me other than the vbac. His head got stuck on the way down and so he was a 2nd emergency c-section–definitely not close to the drama of #1 but I was crushed nonetheless when they told me. This time, it was a very different experience and I got to nurse him in recovery in keep him in my room. (#1 was in the NICU for 11 days). When I got to hold him, I realized it didn’t matter how he arrived, he was fine, I was fine and that was all that mattered.

    In talking to the doctors after, including the one who had talked me out of the scheduled, there was no avoiding either c-section as they were both emergent, unplanned at the 11th hour. A vbac would have been great the 2nd time around but it didn’t happen that way and now as I watch my almost 3 year old and now 1 year old boys tumble around, I know that how I delivered has absolutely no bearing on me as a mother or a female.

    We’re debating a 3rd–this time and I’ve been told, they won’t risk a vbac after 2 c-sections which is fine with me. As long as the result is the same, a healthy baby and a healthy recovery for me.

    March 24th, 2008 | #

  14. Becky R says

    I just came across your blog and I love it! You have a real skill at this. I think our due dates are close as I’m pregnant with #4 and due July 3rd. My scheduled c-section (4th) is June 27th. I would agree with your doctors about having the second c-section. I think the worst part, besides the recovery time is the anticipation because you know what to expect this time. However, it’s much better than experiencing the anxiety of a labor that will not progress. I have three daughters; 8, 6 1/2 and 2. We are having our first boy and I’m nervous just like I was with my first because it will all be so new and DIFFFERENT but so exciting at the same time. I look forward to checking out your blog in the weeks to come!

    March 26th, 2008 | #

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