I wish this post was about whether I wanted our local delivery guy to leave my expensive parcel on the doorstep or in the bin (since he doesn’t seem to like knocking on the door 🤷♀️) but it’s not. This post is about choosing how I would like our new baby to enter the world and exit my body. So if that makes you squeamish then please read no further!
A lot of people are faxed with challenging options in the lead up to labour. Whether it’s a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean), where to have the baby or whether or not they want to try and forego pain relief.
Basically I have to decide whether or not have an elective caesarean.
I’m all for patient choice, but this is one of those occasions where I wish someone with actual medical training would just tell me what to do. Instead everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is being so sweet and supportive and that is not helping me at all.
I’ve never shared my second birth story. Beth was born quite easily with no pain relief and barely a graze. She was a dinky little thing, induced 11 days after her due date and without major incident. Giving birth to Beth was so easy that I actually wondered why other women made such a fuss.
Oh the smugness! And oh how I was punished for it the second time around.
I don’t want to go in to too much detail about Dorothy’s birth. Not least because I don’t want to frighten any pregnant people who might be reading and ought to be able to approach their due date with joy and excitement. But suffice to say my second delivery (officially described as ‘traumatic’) was very different to my first.
Who knew that one could tear from left to right as well as front to back eh? Skills! Rest assured that the body part briefly but lovingly referred to (by me) as Frankenfanny, has healed well and no longer resembles the Bayeux Tapestry. But other incidents of my second delivery have left deeper scars. So deep that I’ve been offered the option of a caesarean ‘if I’d prefer one’ for my third delivery.
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, something which may or may not have contributed to the complications I experienced last time. This also plays a factor in the offer and in the decision I have to make. People with Ehlers Danlos tend to respond less favourably to anaesthetic, are at higher risk of surgical complications and will have a significantly longer recovery period than those without EDS. But having narrowly avoided an emergency caesarean last time, I may have to face the prospect of surgery, even if I decide to opt for a vaginal delivery.
Before I met with my consultant a couple of weeks ago, I had all but decided to opt for the certainty of a planned caesarean. But then she said something interesting that gave me pause for thought and some comfort. And if you’re pregnant and reading this it’s something that you should consider.
She said that just as my second delivery had now taught me that not all labours are easy, I should remember what my first taught me – that not all labours are difficult.
Giving birth is a natural but unpredictable experience and so there’s no real way for me to know what’s the best choice to make. Perhaps I’ll flip a coin or run an Instagram poll eh? Or perhaps I did the right thing the first and second time, when I approached delivery full of hope and excitement and belief that when the time came, I’d know what to do.
Or I could just continue to completely freak out about the whole thing? I’ll probably opt for completely freaking out.
love Rachel (and bump) ❤️