This has been one crazy little journey and just when I was at the brink of giving up... and having a breakdown... I finally have a caregiver. Last night I got a return call from a midwife literally as I was on the brink of throwing up my hands and giving up. You know it is really hard to not have a breakdown in front of your kids and I have managed to keep it together regarding the caregiver issue in front of them, but I was holding back the tears and holding on by a thread last night. At one point I told my husband I needed a rescue and needed him to make dinner.... AKA pancakes or something very simple, which midway he decided that hotdogs (bleeeechhhh!) were a better option for his cooking abilities and time limitations. I am just glad they all got fed something, if it is not what I would have fed them. I got to have a long conversation with this midwife and was so surprised she agreed to take my case on.
So, I have written a couple of posts recently on this subject, but to update everyone on why this is such a big deal I will give a quick rundown of the situation. First of all current stats... I am at 27 weeks and my due date is March 16th, 2011. I have had four previous c-sections. My situation is a bit extreme because I have had so many c-sections that is dangerous to continue having c-sections. On the other hand it can be dangerous to attempt a vaginal deliver due to risk of uterine rupture. I am at a crossroads in my life. I never thought I would want to have children, because my completely devoted mother always complained about motherhood. I was convince that was something I never wanted to experience for a long time. At the age of 27 I decided that it was not a part of life I wanted to miss out on with regret and my husband and I decided we would have our American Dream family... two kids and be done. They would be grown by the time we were both 50 years old and then, we would do whatever 50 year olds do when their kids are grown... move on to grandchildren, planning for retirement, etc.... who knows. It was a plan of sorts. Except, we quickly learned that our life is not always going to go according to our well laid out plans.... and THANK GOD FOR THAT! God has had a lot to teach us over the last eleven years. One... things don't have to go our way. Two... our plans need to align with God's plan and the Bible. Three... well, the list goes way beyond three points, but I am going to end it with this one... The world is likely to think you are crazy. ;)
So, here I am seeking out a VBAC delivery (VBAC = Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) for my fifth birth. My motivation is controversial to some and honestly most people do not even believe why I want this. I want the SAFEST option, but most people seem to think that this is about me wanting to have a "natural" vaginal birth. SAFETY is my first priority and I am tired of having surgery, IF it is not necessary. IF it turns out that it is necessary, then I am 100% for surgery. I just do not believe it is and the only way to know is to attempt a VBAC birth and a TOL (trial of labor). So, in the beginning of this pregnancy I contacted a midwife, Diana, that I knew had done a recent delivery for a friend of mine who was a VBA4C. After much consideratin, research, and tested she decided to take on my case with the understanding that the plan could change if she became uncomfortable with the situation and that I knew that the result could end in an emergency c-section. Unfortunately, a terribly tragic string of events have played out over the last 6 weeks that have made it impossible for her to continue with my case. None of these events are directly related to me, but greatly affect her decision that she can not continue with my case (and I totally understand!). About six weeks ago Diana had a VBAC client in labor that started screaming in pain and grabbing her incision site. With any VBAC client there is a risk of uterine rupture and they made the judgement call to transfer to the hospital, which resulted in an emergency c-section. The client did NOT have a rupture, but the fear of losing the mother or the baby was very traumatizing for the midwife. She contacted me to let me know that she needed to reconsider my case and that she was also leaving out of time for the birth of her grandbaby and would be gone for about a month. All was well, but I needed to start thinking through the possibility of a new plan. I wanted to give Diana space and time to be with her family as they prepared for her grandbabies birth, so I was determined not to call unless necessary even though she said to feel free to call. I did call her after about a week because my anxiety about the situation was starting to rise. She told me at that time, if I needed an answer now that the answer was going to have to be know because she did not have peace about it. At that time I decided to start searching for a doctor that would do a VBAC. Some do, but they are rare and most will not even consider my case. I had a couple of possiblities, but in the end... long story short.... the answer was no. Not because it is not possible, but because the doctors do not want the commitment it takes. With VBACs once the patient goes into labor the doctor must stay with the patient until birth is complete. Even if you can find a doctor that is willing to take on this commitment, then you have to consider their On-Call backup doctors. If they won't do it, then you are taking a huge chance since you have no idea of when you will go into natural labor. I had one doctor give me the lowdown on how high the risks of uterine rupture were as he explained why he can not take my case. A few moments later he proceeded to tell me that before hospitals changed their policies he did VBAC deliveries all the time with no problems.... Contradictory. He did not even realize he had killed his own case trying to convince me to c-section. Anyway, in the end I decided to give Diana time to deal with the trauma in hopes that she would decide to continue with my case.
Fast forward a few weeks as the wait was on for the birth of Diana's precious grandbaby. Finally, the mother went into labor on November 30th, but it ended in tragedy. The baby was stillborn. Horrifying! Obviously, it was not a proper time to contact her about my own dilemma. My dilemma over what to do could and would have to wait. This past Monday I received a call from Diana to discuss my case and little did I know there was so much more to this story. The day her grandbaby was stillborn one of Diana's fellow midwives had attended a funeral for baby that was the result of a uterine rupture. Diana was obviously not going to continue with my case.... and even attending any birth for her would be very difficult.
So, left with few options I began to try to sort through this all in my mind. I felt God was still wanting me to continue with a midwife, but I just did not even know where to begin searching now. Few midwives will even consider a case like mine, but Diana had given me a couple of names to try. I had the support of no one.... no one... not even my husband at this point. Actually, he was not even capable of having a rational conversation about any of this. He has a difficult time dealing with all of my pregnancies... he is a worrying to the extreme. And that is a whole other very long story. My option at this point was to call my preexisting doctor. I had called his office the week that Diana started reconsidering my case and they said they would take me since I was an established preexisting patient there. So, I called and they said they could not take me after all. !!! Seriously, are they kidding me. I actually laughed in hysterics as I told my husband later. ;) There recommendation was that I go to the clinic and schedule a c-section for a hospital in Galveston, TX over two hours away. My first question was, "What do you mean by a clinic?" Hello! Clearly my options were becoming the most limited imaginable. After discussing this with my husband I decided that for now my concern needed to be on getting prenatal care. We both agreed that the idea of going to Galveston for the birth was not an option we were going to consider. Even if I HAD to use a clinic for prenatal care I was not going to schedule a c-section in Galveston. I would just wait until I went into labor and go into the hospital of my choice locally for and emergency and take the Doctor On Call. I have been through that before anyway when I unexpectantly went into labor with Caden. At least there would be some chance I would get my preexisiting doctor who is an excellent surgeon. With that thought in mind I did a few online searches and found listings for midwives that were connected to this clinic they suggested, but apparently these listings were internet errors. While making those calls I was told that at least one branch of these clinics would not even take me at this point in my pregnancy.... Again, I laughed slightly hysterically as I told my husband. Imagine the possibility that not even the clinic would take me.... this is true craziness.
So, Thursday I talked to a friend for the first time about this... I have kept most this to myself other than what I have posted on my blog. She so sweetly listened to me ramble and said she would pray for me (you know who you are.... thank you for listening). On Friday we went to our homeschool co-op meeting and there are some ladies there that have used midwives. My mind was heavy with the thoughts of what to do and I had intended to make a phone call before leaving that day to contact one of the midwives Diana had told me about. I was still quite confused about what to do. I asked one of the ladies about her midwife and then, went in to do my nursery work for co-op. One of the other helpers in the nursery has used a midwife and moved to our area about a year ago. I was talking to her about the situation and confessed that I really had not called all the doctors around and she told me that it would be a waste of time anyway. She had moved here during her 28th week of pregnancy and had called every doctor in this area. She said that no one would take her that late in pregnancy even with prior prenatal care. And that is why I have not made those calls... I know in my heart that it would be the same for me. I have known that for a while, especially if it is for c-section. Their c-section schedules are filled.
So, I came home with the extreme burden of making those midwife phone calls and.... company dropped by. Sometimes you start to wonder if you are ever going to have time for what you need to do. ;) And sometimes you just need to sit and visit, anyway. So, I did. By the time my husband got in from work around 4:PM I was feeling the urgency of making some calls before the weekend. I called the first one... no answer.... left a message. I called another and had a great conversation, but she said no. And another... another great conversation and lots of recommendations and offers for support, but she also said no. That is when I told my husband it was time for a rescue... I rarely ask for a rescue, but I was in need as I was holding back tears of distress. And the phone rang! She probably thought I was crazy because the first thing I said was, "I am so glad you called because I am seriously stressing at this moment." We began to talk and I honestly thought she would also tell me no.... even after over 30 minutes of talking to her. I really thought she was going to offer to handle my prenatal care, but nothing else. Much to my surprise she said she would take my case. She even told me a story about a birth she attended of someone who had a VBA4C in which the baby was over 11 pounds to encourage me that it can be done. So, Sallie will be my new midwife.
And I have to share this because it is so sweet. This is what is so different about midwives. Sallie needs my records from Diana, so I will need to contact Diana in regards to that. She wants to take Diana to lunch and try to be an encouragement to here during this traumatic time. Also, there are always two midwives present at a birth nd she wants to see if Diana will be the second midwife in my case. I just love the compassion that midwives have for their patients and fellow midwives.