In case I haven’t mentioned it, I’m pregnant. Currently 37 weeks, 4 days pregnant. This is baby number eight and this pregnancy has required an incredible amount of faith.
In September of 2016, I was attempting a second VBAC (babies 1-4 all born vaginally, 5 born by (likely) unnecessary cesarean due to breech positioning, 6 VBAC). Labour was dragging on and I finally went in to see if possibly baby was not in the perfect position to be born. He wasn’t – his head was diagonally down but that meant no pressure on my cervix to help with dilation. I was around 1 cm when the obstetrician moved him externally and broke my water, which was heavily stained with meconium. I then spent a few hours labouring before being put on Pitocin to move things along. I was coping well, chatting with my daughter and husband and amazing the nurses with how calm I was. After some time, the nursing staff noticed decelerations in baby’s heart rate and would need me to move positions to get it to come back up to normal. It returned to normal every time but continued to happen in various positions. This, along with the meconium in the amniotic fluid and very slow dilation – I seemed to stall around 6 cm – made them concerned. Finally, close to midnight, the OB came in and decided that this pattern was not indicative of anything positive and we agreed to another cesarean. I was told later that his heart rate was plummeting because he was totally wrapped up in his umbilical cord. I had a hard first day in the hospital and after two nights, when being discharged, I asked the OB how things looked and what his opinion was of my having more children. This was likely a mistake. He had an almost emotional/angry reaction, mentioned a “paper thin uterus” and placenta accreta – a very serious condition that I was completely unaware I had until then, two days after birth. I was crushed. Mike wasn’t with me when this happened, making it even harder to process.
We talked, prayed, cried, talked some more and after a few months decided that we still didn’t feel right about birth control, sterilization, etc. and that we would just trust that if I ever got pregnant again, I would be able to safely carry a child to term. We agreed that it might mean early delivery by c-section, a hysterectomy, etc. but that we were okay with all of that if it came to it. And then we went on with life.
In May of this year, I had a few sudden and unexpected symptoms that led me to believe that I might be pregnant. Trying to avoid being asked if I was pregnant and forced to either tell sooner than I was ready or lie, I didn’t even take a test until I was nine weeks pregnant. By then, it was a formality. We waited until I was thirteen weeks to tell our kids – only three of my friends knew prior to that. I was blessed by an incredibly easy pregnancy through the first and second trimesters and only started to feel *pregnant* close to the third. All through it, I had doctors who thought my chances at VBA2C (vaginal birth after two cesareans) were great. My ultrasound and other things looked totally normal. They treated me just like any other pregnant woman but about two months ago, I was told that hospital policy was being changed to disallow VBA2C in our hospital. Initially I was told that we may be able to go to a hospital two and a half hours away. A month after that, I was told that wouldn’t work, either. So we found an obstetrician in Edmonton – seven hours away from home – who would see me. Two weeks ago, Mike and I flew there on our own for my appointment and a brief kid-free holiday. The appointment was great, we had an ultrasound to look at scar thickness and even got to see a 3D view of our baby’s face. The OB could see no contraindications for me to VBAC again and was very happy with everything he could see. It was a very nice time for us and we came home refreshed and with instructions to come back at 38 weeks.
As of right now, our plan involves staying here and praying hard that this baby will come too quickly for intervention and will be born locally. We have one week for this to happen. If it does not, we will drive to Edmonton on the 2nd of January (a few days after 38 weeks) and stay in a guest house for eight days. If baby doesn’t come by then, we’ll find somewhere else to stay if needed. The OB there is comfortable giving me until 42 weeks which means we could be there for four weeks. This is not at all what we want so we continue to pray for early delivery. But if it takes all of that, it will be worth it. There are many complications that come from repeat cesareans and we have no intention of changing our lifestyle or convictions to prevent future pregnancies. Every day requires faith and the situation honestly feels like a choose your own adventure that we are a part of but not in control of. I have felt a conviction to leave things alone and not do anything to try to induce labour, mess with baby’s position, etc. which requires even more faith.
Every day we give the baby a pep talk and encourage it to come, we pray for delivery to come soon, and I pray for relief from the symptoms of late pregnancy that have made movement, sleep, etc. difficult for me lately. And we remind ourselves not to lean on our own understanding but to look to God to sustain us and make straight our path. We know He will do this and that the outcome will be His plan for us.