Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Baby Story

I mentioned a few months ago, when my little sister had her second girl, that my sister Beth was pregnant with her third baby. We didn't know what she was having at that point, but on Thursday, we found out.

Before I tell you what she had, let me tell you the little story behind this birth. Beth has had two C-sections and when she decided to get pregnant a 3rd time, she thought she would just have to schedule another C-section. Fortunately, she had an OB who employed a Mid-Wife. Both believed there was no reason she could not try for a vaginal delivery. This was an exciting option for my sister, who felt like she had been "robbed" of the complete birth experience. I understand this completely.

I've mentioned before that Sonya was a C-section baby, and I was more than upset when I had to have her that way. When I had Lana I was determined to have a VBAC. I managed to have one with her and Georgia. I completely understood where Beth was coming from and supported her 110%. She did a ton of research on line, hired a Doula and read a bunch of birthing books. She would tell me all the information she learned and it was making ME want to get pregnant again, just to try it more naturally, without the drugs. I know that might sound crazy. The bigger problem for me is that I don't really want another baby, so I decided against it.

She did get resistance from people about her decision, but she stuck with it. When the baby was breech for weeks, she did everything she could to get it to turn. From seeing a chiropractor, to homeopathic solutions. She ended up going to the hospital and having what is called an external cephalic version. This is where the doctor turns the baby from the outside. I'm not sure quite how it works, but it did work and the baby was finally in a go position. Now all she had to do was wait for labor. Unfortunately, labor would never come.

Thursday morning I talked to my sister for about 45 minutes, until about 1pm her time. At that point she was completely fine and not complaining of anything unusual. Then around 3pm MY time I got a call from, Kevin her husband, asking me when I had spoken to her that day. I asked him what has going on, and he informed me that she had called him at work to tell him she was in horrible pain and needed him to come home right now. By the time he was pulling into his driveway, there was an ambulance right behind him.

MY SISTER HAD CALLED AN AMBULANCE.

Now, for those of you who don't know Beth, she is NOT the drama queen of the family. That honor is left to me and my youngest sister, Megan. Megan may be slightly more dramatic than I am, but still, we both play our parts. Beth, however, has always been the quiet laid back one, so for her to call 911 means something is seriously wrong.

After a few rounds of calls and updates from her husband, when they got to the hospital, it seemed as though everything looked okay. They were going to keep her in the hospital overnight for observation, and she and the baby were fine. Eventually, Kevin gave me a phone number to call her. Thinking everything was okay, as soon as she answered the phone I joked,

"What, so you want to take over the drama queen role in the family now?"

Silence.

"Beth?" I asked.

"They're giving me a C-section," she said very quietly. "I'm just broken."

I thought I was going to cry. I felt so bad for my younger sister. She had done everything in her power to get the birth she wanted, but no matter how much she planned or tried, God or the Universe or whatever, had much different plans. She had something called placental abruption. This is when the placenta separates from the uterine wall and the effects can be well, disastrous to both mother and baby. There was no other option than to have the C-section. Well, no other option that would keep my sister and the baby alive anyway.

There was nothing I could say to her to make her feel better. I knew the LAST thing she wanted to hear was "Well, the most important thing is a healthy baby." I mean, yes that is the ultimate goal. That is, of course, what she most wanted, but she had tried so hard to give birth the way her body was meant to, and she was losing that. All I could say to her was,

"That just sucks. I'm so sorry."

Lame, I know, but it was all I had. She soon got off the phone with me and went to have her baby. I waited about two hours for the call. My mom was calling me to see if I had heard. Megan was calling me too, but I was waiting just the same as they were. Finally around 6:30, Kevin called to give me the good news. Zach was no longer the lone boy in the family. My sister gave birth to Benjamin Alex on July 1st at 8:30pm.

When I talked to her a while later, she was happy. Her baby boy was here and healthy. Even though she was upset by the C-section, she knew there was nothing she could have done, unlike so many C-sections done today. Hers was a medical necessity. A true life or death situation.

I know the next few weeks will be hard on her physically and emotionally. I hope she can take comfort knowing that she did EVERYTHING she could to achieve a natural birth. So many woman end up with unnecessary C-sections today. So many don't even try for a VBAC after one and after two it's unheard of. A lot of doctors won't even talk about a vaginal birth after a C-section. Sure there is a risk for something to go wrong, but the risk is so small. Anyone having a baby is taking a risk anyway. You have no idea what it will do to your body and there are so many things can go wrong. I'm very proud of my sister for what she did and learned even if she didn't get to follow through. I really wish more woman would look into this option instead of just automatically scheduling a C-Section. For some reason woman think it's easier to get cut open and recover from surgery for two plus weeks than go through a days worth of bad-horrible pain, (depending on your drug option). Sure there is still some pain "down there" afterward, but it's nothing like getting cut open. I can say this with certainty, because I HAVE had it both ways. I would spend a day in labor WITHOUT drugs than ever get another C-Section. So if anyone reading this has gone through a C-section, consider your options the next time. Figure out if a C-section was truly what you needed. Consider finding a doctor who will support a more natural childbirth next time. You'll be happy you did. If nothing else, do it in memory of my sister's girly parts that never got to push a baby out. I still commend her for trying so hard, and admire her for going for something the majority didn't agree with. Sometimes the majority isn't right.

Hold on I have to get off my soap box now, it might take a minute.

Whew!

Anyway, yes Beth had a healthy baby in the end, but let's be honest, the more important thing here is not that she had a healthy baby or had a vaginal birth. The more important thing is that she had a BOY. (A boy she's keeping fully intact too, but that's soapbox for a different day. ) Now Zach doesn't have to play baby dolls and barbies at family reunions. I mean unless he wants to. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Congrats Beth, Kevin, Zach and Grace! Welcome to the (almost) all girl family little Benjamin!










1 comment:

brenda said...

Congratulations and welcome Benjamin!!