A Final (?) Update

We had one last OB appointment yesterday afternoon.  She helped clear up the confusion we were feeling after the ultrasound last week, and really it looks like the previa was worse that we thought at first.  So we’re planning on being at Touro for 6am next Friday, the surgery should be around 8 (unless the woman scheduled ahead of me has her baby sooner, then we’ll go in at 7), and should all take about an hour.  Then at least 2-3 days in the hospital, if all is well, and back home again.

Our doctor has been so patient and accommodating, I really do feel blessed that we have been able to work with her.  All the random requests we’ve made she has taken very seriously, and it looks like she’s figured out a way for me to see the birth (usually there is a giant curtain in the way) and my mom will hopefully be able to be present in the OR.  I gave her a copy of this article, compliments of Veronica, and she seemed to find it helpful.  Thanks, V!

Of course, this all depends on our making it to Friday without any more bleeding, because if the bleeding starts again, we go in immediately, and depending on how bad it is, we may or may not have enough time to worry about some of those details.  (Not to mention then Mom may have to stay with the girls instead of come with us, etc.)  So if you’re looking for something to pray for, we really need to not have any bleeding before Friday.  And then of course, you can always pray that the surgery goes well for both of us and that the recovery is speedy.  I’m really not looking forward to that part.

I’m still a little grumpy about the girls not being able to be around for the birth, or very much the first couple of days really, but mostly I’ve come to terms with this whole thing, I think.  Or at least resigned myself to the inevitable, and started focusing on getting ready for the hospital, getting our room cleaned up for the baby, and not doing anything that might cause contractions.  We’ll see how I’m feeling about it all a week from now!

Anybody who has suggestions for preparing for this, or recovering quickly, I’d love to hear them.  I’m thinking along the lines of natural remedies, meditations, stuff I’m likely to want at the hospital that isn’t on the general lists you find on the web…or whatever else you think of.

Thank you again for all the support over the last two months.  We’re almost there!  I promise I’ll get a picture and a few details posted as soon as humanly possible after the birth.  As much as I like being pregnant (I know that sounds crazy to some of you, but I’ve never gotten to the “I can’t wait to get this baby out!” stage), I think I’ll be about ready to meet this baby a week from now.

We’re open to suggestions for names, too!  That is still very much up in the air. : )

January 25, 2010 – Church and State

In the space of an hour tonight, the girls’ imaginative play included two hilarious and touching games.  The first was “Mass”, complete with Goldfish and water intincture for communion, the girls taking turns as priest, and a fantastic version of “Hosanna to Jesus the King” of Lucy’s own creation.

When that was finished, Lucy announced that we were going to do what the man on the computer was doing (Craig was watching the State of the Union): she would stand up and talk, and we would all clap.  The speech sounded roughly like this: “Blah, goobdy-glah, ookie jimbas.”  It was quite hilarious.

Breast-feeding support, from the Beltway!

This is one of the best things I’ve seen come out of the government in a long time.


The Surgeon General has issued a “Call to Action in Support of Breast Feeding”, which (from my quick look) is pretty sweeping in its arguments for giving mothers more breast feeding support and in its suggestions for how to do that.  It’s a long read, and a lot of it is common sense (but apparently somebody has to say it – it’s not happening otherwise!) but there are a couple of parts worth looking at.

I’m particularly excited about pages 43-45, which suggest that formula companies ought to back off with advertising and giving of free samples, and that doctors should clear their offices of advertisements, free samples, pens, and the like which promote formula usage.  What happens when the hospital sends a new mother home with no support and a free sample of formula?  End of breast feeding.  I don’t dare to expect formula companies to stop advertising in “Parenting” magazine and the like, but I sincerely hope these recommendations are put into effect immediately, at least on the part of health care providers.  We have been watching Similac commercials in the OB’s office for the last few weeks, and I would certainly not miss them.  (If only they would do the same with prescription drug advertising, particularly contraceptives…but that’s another long discussion!)

The other exciting part is the call for employers to expand paid maternity leave and opportunities for mothers to nurse or pump at work.  (See pgs. 50-53 of the PDF.)  With as many women working as there are today, this would make a huge difference in how long many of them are able to continue breast feeding.

So it’s nice to see that somebody in D.C. is doing something that might just be worthwhile.  The hitch, of course, is that most of the actions recommended are voluntary, so there is still a ton of grass-roots work to be done.  But maybe this will open a few eyes to what they could be working on, and it certainly gives mothers a new tool for discussing these issues with their employers and health care providers, who tend to care about these sorts of documents.

Can I ask a favor?

Somebody please disagree with me if this is not you experience.

This is my request.  Please, please, do not tell me that “the only thing that matters is a healthy mom and a healthy baby.”  I’m not saying I don’t want a healthy baby, or that I would rather bleed to death, or that I don’t appreciate that I live in a place where I have the opportunity (not to mention the medical insurance) to allow us to catch a placenta previa and do something “safe” about it.  But what I hear, although I know it is not what it intended, which is why I try not to get upset about it, is, “don’t get so worked up about your birth.  Your experience of it doesn’t matter.  Stop being upset.”

I know that’s not what people who say this mean.  But I also know that I need to mourn the birth I was really, really hoping to have.  And it is mourning.  I am between “denial” and “bargaining” at the moment, and in a way watching myself work through it.

So I know, of course, that the most important thing is a healthy mom and a healthy baby.  Otherwise I would not be signed up for surgery in two weeks.  But it is not the only important thing, by any stretch of the imagination.  And it rings empty to hear it in the midst of the emotional pain that comes with this kind of change of plans.  It strikes me as the rationalization of a society that isn’t comfortable with suffering, that doesn’t want to admit that what it often forces women to do with their bodies is suffering, and that focuses on the ends to the exclusion of the means.  ( I had to throw some psychology and philosophy in here sooner or later, right?)

And I’ve been there, so I know that holding a beautiful, healthy baby does not make the experience of birth go away, no matter what the birth was like.  Particularly when you can’t nurse the baby in your lap because it is too painful, or wear your favorite baby sling for two months, and you are constantly reminded how the birth went.  I do not love Lucy less because she was born by a c-section.  But if I could go back and change the way she came into the world, I think I might.  Of course there are lessons to be learned from every situation, and I do like to think that things happen for a reason, but adding unnecessary suffering to a situation (and a lot of it with Lucy’s birth had to do with the way we were treated, not just the fact it was a c-section rather than a vaginal birth) doesn’t make sense to me.

So even if it’s meant to be comforting, I’d rather not hear about how lucky I am right now.  On the other hand, I am curious if anyone out there did actually, truly, find the “healthy mom, healthy baby” argument comforting.  Particularly at this stage of things.

So I’m really looking forward to meeting this very wiggly baby in two weeks.  And I’m looking forward to enjoying the last two weeks of this pregnancy as much as I can.  But I can’t simplify my feelings (blame it on the hormones if you want) to “thank God things are going to be ok”.  I do, repeatedly.  But I’m stubborn, and I’m an oldest child, and I’m still going to be upset that things didn’t work out “my way”.

Enough ranting.  I should say that I do appreciate all the prayers and well-wishes we’ve gotten over the last couple of weeks.  We certainly need more prayer for the next month or two now.  I’m sorry I’m keeping you all so busy!  But like I said before, it has been a true blessing to know how many people care about our family.  And in looking for a bright side, I certainly find one there – how many people have spent a little more time in prayer these last few weeks than they would have otherwise?  How many people have I reconnected with because they heard one way or another about what was going on and reached out to us?  I don’t think I’ll ever doubt our support system again.

I know there’s reason to all this somewhere.  Our OB thinks maybe she had such disappointing birth experiences so that she would become an advocate for fewer c-sections and interventions, so that more women could have experiences they could remember with more joy, healthier bodies, fewer complications, etc.  And she has been a great blessing to us, especially when I think that some women go to doctors like a couple of them I’ve met over the last few weeks – lacking sympathy, lacking anything that could be called “bed-side manner”, very nearly lacking respect of me as a person (as opposed to a condition).

Apparently I babble when I don’t sleep well.  But since all this is what has been keeping me awake, I thought I might as well record it for posterity.  If you’ve read this far, thank you, and I’m sorry.  I’ll quit now.

February 4

That is the day our C-section has been scheduled.  Apparently the placenta has not budged, and the risk of massive bleeding is too great if I go into labor, so we’re going in at about 38 weeks, which is actually longer than we probably could have hoped to wait if we had any other doctor.

The doctor who did our ultrasound was very lacking in bedside manner, to say the least.  (Although he claims he “knows how I feel” – and I’m sure as many babies as he has carried for nine months and birthed he does – ha!)  That whole part of the day was pretty upsetting.  Our OB was very sympathetic, however (she does know how I feel – she told us some of her birth stories and they are much worse than what I’ve had to deal with!) and she is ready to bend over backwards to make the experience as good as possible.

The good news is, if we had never looked into having a home birth, and because of that switched OBs, we’d be going through all this with Oschner in Baton Rouge, which would be a real nightmare.  And I’ll still be able to try and VBAC for another baby, assuming that there are no complications like this again.  And our kids will have birthdays on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th of their respective months.  And mom will finally get to be here for the birth, instead of driving in while it’s going on.

So the next two weeks are going to be hard, waiting for something I really don’t want to happen.   I’m not ready for this pregnancy to end, but after two more weeks of bed rest I may be more than ready!  But at the same time I’m trying to be very thankful that we caught this and can hopefully avoid such a serious risk.  This pregnancy has been a roller coaster – midwifes in Baton Rouge, to home birth, to hospital, to C-section…  So it’s more bed rest, and trying to avoid any more bleeding, because that would mean delivering immediately.

And despite the flurry of ultrasounds, we still don’t know the gender.  And we want you all to be surprised with us! : )

Counting down the minutes

I have to say I’ve been pretty overwhelmed by all the notes we’ve gotten saying that we are in people’s prayers.  Thank you all so much!!  No matter how things end up going, it has been a great blessing for me to know how many people care about me and our family.

The ultra sound appointment is set for 2:40 this afternoon, then it’s straight to the OB’s office to discuss where we stand, and then if there is time, we’re meeting with the midwife while we’re uptown.  And then I’m hoping for a celebratory dinner somewhere…  So I’ll update as soon as I can, but it probably won’t be until this evening.

The girls went with Taylor to visit her family in Bunkie (Tay has been here helping us out since Sunday – she’s better at getting the girls to sleep than I am!) so the house is quiet, maybe for one of the last times for a while.  Please pray for their safe journey, also, and that the Newtons survive our little bundles of energy!

Samantha says…

These are the reasons we risk our lives and have children.

Samantha: Want more pickle!

Me: I know pickles taste good, but they won’t make you grow big and strong.

Samantha: I strong enough!

I had no answer for that.  Grandma just laughed.

And then,

Samantha, holding the “Bible Storybook: This book heavy because lots of God in it.

And every time she stands on something tall, she says, “I big!”.  And when she can’t do something she wants to, she hangs her head sadly and says, “I too little”.  And we all giggle.

She also says anything that Lucy says, very much like an echo.

An Update from the Baker Hospital

This is attempt number three for this post.  Craig’s computer has eaten it twice now.  But we had a doctor’s appointment last Monday (most of the delay is actually due to my laziness, not his computer, sadly) and here is the jist of things.
The placenta is in between the baby and its way out, so unless it moves, I’ll have to have another C-section.  The problem is that if the placenta detaches too soon, the baby loses oxygen, and if it gets damaged in the birthing process, there can be a lot of bleeding.  So what needs to happen for me to stay out of surgery is for the placenta to move up a little less (or more would be great!) than two centimeters, according to the ultrasound.
The good news is, it only has to move a little to remove most of the danger.  The other good news is that it’s not over the scar from my last C-section, so that eliminates a whole raft of other possible complications.
So on January 20 (which is roughly 36 weeks into the pregnancy) I’ll go back to Touro and have another ultrasound, and if it has moved, then we can pretend none of this ever happened and go on like any normal pregnancy, and if it hasn’t moved they’ll schedule a C-section for sometime that week.
So, clearly, what I need is for you to pray that the placenta moves up, and the more the better.  It’s not impossible, but there isn’t a lot of time and space for it to happen, so it’s not super likely either.
In the meantime, I get to stay on bed rest, the nice part of which is that my mom is coming to stay with us to help out, and then when she has to go home for a while Taylor is coming to stay.  So it’s not all bad.
But, maybe because someone thought I needed to be kept from getting too active, the girls and I all have head colds and pink eye right now.  So that’s been fun.  And Craig starts work again tomorrow.  And that’s the update.