Monday the 30th marked my 41 week appointment (41+2) I knew I would be needing to make some decisions about whether we should schedule a csection or try to wait a couple more days. I actually had a few real contractions on the 1.5 hour drive to the appointment, and while walking around the mall until it was time to go in. They weren't intense at all, in fact I was the one doing the driving. They were, though, completely different from the Braxton Hicks I had been feeling off and on for the past month. With those, I would first start feeling a chest tightening, like a panic attack, and then my spine would feel a bit like it was getting an electric shock. If my uterus decided to get in on the game, I could only feel it in the uppermost part. (Either way I could feel my uterus tighten up. With the real contractions, there was no chest tightening or spinal shocks, just a cramping tightening feeling in the bottom of my uterus. I *tried* not to let it get my hopes up that I might actually have a shot at things working out.
At the appointment, I had finally had a tiny bit of progress-only 1 cm, but it made me more hopeful. The doctor wanted me to decide what to do (c section or wait until Thursday and see if more progress has been made.) If I wanted to wait, the next step would be seeing what baby's fluid levels were like. We told him there was no point in deciding to wait if we wouldn't be able to, so we should go get fluid measured and have all information before making our decision. I was concerned about fluid anyway since Toddles had basically no fluid. Sure enough, Wiggles did great on the NST, heartrate and movements were good, but when It was time to check fluid levels our doctor tried but ultimately found next to none.
He also called ahead to L&D so we could have a tour of the hospital since we'd never been on one. We asked the nurse giving us a tour about some of the things we wanted and she okay'd just about everything. Most of the things we wanted come standard at that hospital, and some things were just a slight change.They usually do skin-to-skin for a minute after birth then let dad take the baby to the recovery while the mom is getting sewn up. I told them I'd like to keep holding baby until my surgery was done, and even carry him with me to recovery if possible. The only answers she couldn't give us would depend on the anesthesiologist.
Basically at every step people could have told us no, but instead worked with us and with each other. The anesthesiologist ok'd lifting my head, and while my hands were literally tied down during my first c section, that is not something they do here. I got to see his head be lifted up, (didn't get to see him being pulled out of me) but they tried.. anesthesiologist lifted my head and they lowered the drapes, just not quite enough to get a clear view. However, this is not something they are used to doing, so I was very thankful.
It's worth mentioning that Wiggles came out 8lbs 8oz, a full pound heavier than I was expecting, and was not stained with meconium and not particularly scaly! (His overdue brother was both.) Him weighing a pound and three ounces more than his brother is probably why I felt so ridiculously full of baby at the end -- I was basically more pregnant this time around!
I got skin to skin moments after birth, lasting about 30 minutes until I was sewn up and ready for transfer. He even managed a bit of breastfeeding while I was still being sewn up. At that point hubby took baby to the recovery room, and I joined him in just a few minutes. (They had to do a transfer back from the operating table to a bed, which is always a little rough, so couldn't hold baby during that.) I got to continue skin to skin while baby was checked and even while he was given his shots. I was able to nurse him during his shots as well, so his pain/frustration was minimized. Also worth noting they didn't second guess or try to bull us about not getting erythromycin. (Seriously, am I missing something? I don't know why this is even offered to C-Section babies.) All in all I had baby on me for about 8 of the first 9 hours. It was wonderful.
When Wiggles was given his first bath and footprints were taken, I asked the nurse if we could possibly get another set for the baby book, and she brought back two inking pages, for hands AND feet. Later we mentioned we cloth diaper, and the nurse in the room said if we brought any they could use those and it wouldn't be a problem. We explained that we would be using disposables for meconium and going to cloth afterwards, but the offer was appreciated.
Everyone was comforting, pleasant, and willing to accommodate us. I feel they all went above and beyond their duties, and I will be forever grateful! Basically, I feel like the factor that differed between our previous experience and this was was respect for us and our decisions. Ultimately, we chose this hospital 1.5 hours from home not only for the chance to VBAC, but because if I did have to have a CSection their policies were more aligned with what I wanted. Even though I'm sure I'll keep mourning my lack of VBAC experience, am very pleased with how things turned out.
Toddles has been adjusting well, he is generally affectionate towards little brother, even though we are still working on being gentle. Wiggles just had his two week checkup and is doing wonderfully. We have so far managed to exclusively breastfeed, which I had very much hoped for with Toddles, but the first few days of his life were basically a checklist of everything you can do to completely wreck that. Other than the new experience of cluster feeding, things are generally easier this time around. He's a great sleeper, so once he is down I can usually get at least one segment of 3-4 hours a night of solid sleep (He'd probably sleep longer but I set an alarm to wake him to be sure he feeds.)
We are excited about and getting ready for the next big change in our life, where we will be moving to a new city to run a new property currently under construction. I'm sure many interesting changes will be occurring shortly!