Monday, April 28, 2008

Birthing Positions

It was almost a relief when the first doctor said she didn't even want me to try to give birth normally to twins. D1's birth was long and exhausting; D2's birth was short and terrifying. The thought of having a set day, of turning it all over to the doctor, of being relieved of the burden of exercising and rehearsing for a natural delivery, sounded like a blessing in my state of anemic mid-pregnancy exhaustion.

The longer the thought of it brooded in the back of my mind, though, the longer it nagged at me that these were not good reasons. At least not for me. Sure, there are small risks associated with attempting a vaginal birth after a c-section, and those are slightly increased with twins; but then, there are risks (including potentially fatal ones) associated with having a c-section, and they increase each time. The only risk that a scheduled c-section seemed certain to avoid was the risk of having another unscheduled c-section--but scheduling surgery in order to avoid surgery doesn't make a lot of sense.

Truthfully, I simply wanted to dodge responsibility. I was tired; I am tired. Giving birth is a lot of work. I didn't want to fight the doctor or find a new one; I didn't want to deal with the uncertainties of when and how and whether everything would work out. I wanted to just know. And not have to worry about it.

Of course I should have known better. I knew full well that recovering from a c-section is more painful and exhausting than giving birth--only instead of being over when the baby is born, it goes on and on while you should be enjoying the baby. I knew that in life there are no guarantees, no such thing as freedom from risk. But when a doctor is sitting there telling you she'll handle all the risks, it's hard to say no.

Maybe it was the iron pills, but I finally realized that I couldn't just sit back. This is my body and these are my babies and I have to do the best job I can to take care of them: barring a clear indication of genuine complications (not just risk factors), that means trusting my body and theirs to work as God designed them. That means embracing the work it will take to prepare them and me.

At the same time I have to let go of wanting to control the outcome. Nothing could free me from the uncertainty of birth. For all our search for security and guarantees, the doorway to life always comes through the valley of the shadow of death. I was reminded of something a mother of many children told me once, that with every new pregnancy we must pray the prayer of Mary: "Behold, the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." Letting go, giving up control, becoming open: that's what the process of birth is. And it is only the beginning.

So I am doing what I can: we switched to a doctor who actively supports natural birth, we're hiring a doula who's attended twin and VBAC births, I'm doing those exercises. I still don't expect a fairy-tale natural birthing story. I'm still quite concerned that the babies will never move out of their sideways position into one in which a normal birth is even possible. And I still don't like waiting and wondering when and how. But I'm happy to be trying, and I'm trusting that God knows when and how these babies should be born.


CappuccinoLife said...

That's a great place to be in--trusting God. And good for you for putting so much consideration into the decision. Most people would default to scheduled section.

I hope all goes well and those babies move into a good position. :)

Ben, Kyri & Rachelle said...

I wish I were rich and could send you Esther O. to help out too. She helped deliver Kyri and was amazing! But right now all I offer you is the knowledge that I have prayed for you, will be praying and that I think you are very brave.

Devona said...

The OB who oversees my midwives delivered twins vaginally the week before Elise was born. The second was breech.

It was probably very difficult, but it can be done.

I will pray with you.

the Joneses said...

If you can avoid another c-section, do! Otherwise, with two, you're pretty much locked into sections from now on.

However, if you DO have a scheduled section, know that the recovery is WAAYYY better than a labor-and-section recovery. Don't anticipate the same recovery you had with D2, because your body underwent trauma before surgery. No, a scheduled one without labor really isn't bad at all. Don't let the fear of that recovery deter you.

-- SJ

Queen of Carrots said...

I actually had no labor with D2--just the hemorrhage. And since my blood counts were surprisingly high after the surgery, that apparently didn't change that much, either. So I'm not counting on a repeat section being easier to recover from. At least if I do have one and get a spinal headache this time I'll know what it is and ask for help sooner!

Rose said...

It would be sooo much easier if we could pencil it in with a start time and a stop time!!

the Joneses said...

Hm, well, a hemorrhage still sounds pretty traumatic. Anyway, I hope you can find someone who can work with you while still dealing with the risks involved.

-- SJ

Melissa said...

it's great that you're considering your options and seeking what is best for you and your family. I wish you the best for a safe delivery!

New Mommy said...

My sister in-law did the exact same thing with her twins after the ob told her his limited options. She was not VBAC, but after reading Dr. Sears' The Birth Book, she switched practices. She was able to have Baby A with no intervention. She did have an epidural for Baby B, who was breech.

Nicole D said...

Gal - you have a right to HOPE for a fairy tale birth. :o)

Congrats to you! :o)