Tuesday, October 01, 2013

the real deal

So there's something that's been on my mind, to say the least. I haven't shared it here because I was hoping the situation would resolve itself and it would no longer be an issue. But the time has come to just spit it out.

I've got placenta previa. Most people I've told this to are like: WTF is that? What it is is when the placenta covers the opening to the cervix. This presents a challenge during birth because ain't nothin' supposed to be blocking the baby's entrance to the outside world. There could be bleeding, everyone could die, blah blah blah. For the last 12 weeks I haven't been allowed to travel, lift heavy stuff, do anything strenuous, have sex -- you get the picture.

The solution is a cesarean.

For people who know what placenta previas are -- at 20 weeks mine was a complete previa, which is the most serious kind (OF COURSE). Most other types of previas resolve themselves by the end of the pregnancy and the lady can go ahead and push that kid out of her sore bits. I'd been told mine was unlikely to resolve, and yesterday we found out that was the case. It's moved enough to now be considered a partial previa, but it's still blocking the cervix. The doctor wants to schedule the c-section for 37 weeks, which OMG BABY IN 30 DAYS.

It has to be 37 weeks to avoid me going into labor or dilating at all, which can cause major bleeding, which equals emergency situation.

We'll check again at 36 weeks to see if that bitchy previa has moved -- it needs to be at least 2 centimeters away from the cervix -- and obviously if not we'll proceed with the c-section and if so, I'll do this shit vaginally.

You may wonder what causes placenta previa. No one knows for certain, but risk factors seem to be:

Being old - check!
Having a funny-shaped uterus - check!
Having miscarriages - check!

It's almost funny.

I have trouble pinpointing exactly how I feel about this whole thing. For starters, I never should have expected an uncomplicated pregnancy. Getting pregnant was anything but, so that should have been a clue. When I learned about the previa, I was really disappointed, and I have to admit I still kind of am. Women are supposed to labor and give birth to their babies, not schedule an appointment, get numbed up and have them sliced out in like 15 minutes. I feel cheated of the birth experience, and I really feel like I'm cheating. Like I didn't put in a full effort if I didn't feel all the pain.

I mean, either way birth is terrifying, but I just wanted to be a normal lady having a normal birth. I know. Boohoo, poor me, what about all the ladies who'd like to just have a baby and can't? I should suck it up.

And truly, when it comes down to it, all I want is this hard-won baby out of me and in my arms. I'd love the nightmares about hemorrhaging to end. I'd love for my vagina to someday not be a no-fly zone. And I'd love to stop worrying that something beyond my control is going to hurt my kid (although I certainly realize the worrying has only just begun).




24 comments:

  1. If it makes you feel any better (which I'm sure it won't) I had previa with Maxine up until 34 weeks. The doctor seemed really surprised but when I researched it on my own it didn't seem ALL that uncommon. She was also breach until 37 weeks which they said could never happen, that she wouldn't move on her own that late. So it's all magical what goes on up in there. It's almost like we have no control...the little monsters inside us are pulling all of the strings! ;)

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    1. Do you know if it was a complete previa? I am feeling better and better about whatever process needs to happen to get this kid out. :)

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  2. Some day I'll figure out this comment "profile" thing...anyway. It's Mindy, not "Anonymous". So...my half cent is that there will be plenty of "pain" in recovering from a C-section for it to "count", honey!!! I understand the desire to "birth" a baby...but it's not over until...well, insert chosen expression here.... pullin' for ya, mama! :)

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    1. I agree there will be plenty of pain in recovery! Ugh.

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  3. If there's ANYTHING I've learned it's that the whole having a baby and birth thing NEVER goes as planned. There's always something that gets effed up, so I'm going to go with the whole "silver lining" aspect here: Your lady bits won't be stretched out/torn/what have you. And your husband won't tell you that things are "uh ... different" down there.

    You still have a birth story, it just won't happen the way you imagined it -- which truly sucks -- but in the end, you'll have your beautiful baby boy. And that's all that will matter. :) xoxo.

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    1. Thank you my dear. Yes, the bright side is my mostly undamaged vag! hahahaah

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  4. Oh man, I get it. I cried for days when my RE told me I had to quit running. Add that to the long list of disappointments - not being able to get pregnant with sex, not being able to allow the sperm to find it's own egg, etc. I wonder what it must be like to have it all line up without incident. If I had ever been pregnant with a viable baby, I would be heartbroken to be forced into a c-section. I am happy for you that you and the baby are healthy and in the end, that's what matters. (((HUGS)))

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    1. Thank you my dear, and that definitely puts it in perspective, too. After all this, I'm just grateful there IS a viable baby.

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  5. I'm sorry to hear it, but I'm glad your health care team is on top of this. I don't know if this will help, but having a c-section scheduled is so much easier on your body than having one at the end of a lengthy and exhausting labor. I mention this because people will doubtless share scary surgery stories with you, but a well-rested body that isn't filled with stress hormones heals more quickly. I had a scheduled section, and I actually found the experience really positive (I did go into labor the day before it was scheduled, but was barely in labor and they just scooted up the birthday). People assume because I'm a doula that I would be disappointed about it, but I wasn't. It's also a bonus to not have to recover from tissue damage in the hoo-ha.

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    1. That's a really good point. And I've been hearing story after story lately of women laboring for hours and then having to have c sections. It sounds awful. Glad to hear you had a good experience!

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  6. Kris speaks truth! I had a c-section after laboring through the night, and I had major issues with my healing afterward.

    Please also know this: once your child is out here with the rest of us, you'll have LOTS and LOTS of things to occupy your mind and emotions. You'll worry. You'll have waking nightmares. You'll anguish over almost all of your decisions. You'll convince yourself you're ruining your child's life.

    I promise you: you're going to be great, and parenting, with all its ups and downs, is what makes you hardcore, not how you push (or someone pulls) the little dude out of you.

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    1. Thanks Diane. I like to think of myself as hardcore. :)

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  7. Scheduled C/S are the way to go!! VIP. you don't lose much sleep like laboring for 30+hours, its not a labor emergency ( we call those "code C's) which is scary and chaotic, and the healing is not bad at all! take your stool softener after... :)

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  8. It is disappointing when you realize things aren't going to go the way you planned. It's just one thing after another with this life, this childbirth, this parenting ... good lord. I'm very sorry you're having to deal with this disappointment. But I'm very excited and hopeful for you that once you hold that beautiful little life in your arms ... it will all be alright with you, no matter how it comes about.

    Thinking good thoughts for you and your cervix!

    Wait. That sounds wrong.

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    1. Thanks Mandy! My cervix feels the love. ;)

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  9. Sorry to hear that things aren't going as you'd hoped. Know that a) while it seems like a big topic of discussion now, I promise you, no one will ask you how you gave birth a year from now. b) Every birth is a natural birth. Every birth that ends with a healthy mom and baby is a natural birth. You don't get a gold star for pushing it out your vag. The angels will still sing ("Aaaaahhhhh!!!) when they hand you the baby, I promise. (Or you could be like me and have the first thing you say to your newborn be: "Holy shit!" c) Non-vag birth = less chance of peeing when you do jumping jacks. That's a great thing in my book. Enough with the secrets and pregnant lady shaming. It's not your fault, it wasn't in your control, shit just happens. You're gonna do great. Your body will do great. Your baby will be great. Now go get yourself a Blizzard and enjoy the "no strenuous activity" orders!

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    1. There IS that whole peeing thing ... good point. :) I really don't want to feel ashamed of how I gave birth and I think that is part of it. Like I'm not as legit, even though that's ridiculous. I totally need a Blizzard. I've never had one!

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  10. I was born c-section and totally loved my mom and thought she was the best and everything, just like a vagina-birthed kid. I know you don't need to hear that, but I heard a c-section-having blogfriend lament that once: "she won't be as close to me as if I'd had her the normal way!" But it don't matter to Baby.

    But seriously, WTF, body? I don't understand how these things work, because I just feel like the baby should be able to reach out and push the placenta aside when it's time. Right?

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    1. I love the visual ("Scusi, can I just scoot by here?"), but the placenta is extremely attached to the uterine wall, and baby still needs it to be, because that's where he will still be getting his oxygen before he makes his way out. It's not mobile, but more like a peel on an orange. Only after the baby is out and breathing air does it detach itself and come out.

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    2. My husband keeps joking that the baby will move the placenta, but yeah, of course it's attached to the uterine wall, as Kris says. I'm not actually worried about the kid not loving me (what's not to love?! ;)) but more of judgment from others. Which is stupid.

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  11. im sorry, erin. that is really hard to have one thing in your head and for it to get switched on you. i had previa too (partial), but when they checked me at 30 weeks it had corrected itself. here's hoping your uterus continues to expand resulting in getting that 2cm clearance you need. anything can happen! and if it doesnt, you will still have the most beautiful birth ever. really.
    big hug!

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    1. Thanks Holly! I love a good success story. :)

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  12. Erin, it's not stupid to grieve the loss of the experience you were so looking forward to. You will be in good company, as one in three women are now birthing via c/s. No one with any heart would judge a woman for having a c/s if the placenta is actually covering her cervix (I am imagining this convo). You are still a legit mama, just one who had things go differently than she wanted them to, and in this you will also be in good company. Also, there is still time for that placenta to migrate! I prayed for you the other day, the first prayer I've sent up with the words "vagina" and "cervix" and "placenta" included in them. So feel special, gurl.

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