28 November 2007

a misunderstanding? faulty reading?

Hello dear readers. I definitely need to clear up an issue: I did not at any point say or indicate that I would refuse to have a Cesarean. I said I was disappointed that it appeared it was going to be necessary.

Please, do not send any more comments about how I must choose the health of my baby over my own wishes. I can't even begin to understand how anyone who has been reading this blog would think I would do anything other than choose for my child's well-being and health. And for heaven's sake, please keep horror stories about births gone wrong to yourself! I've lost two babies in the past 2 years and I really and truly do not want to read about other people's horror stories at this point!

27 November 2007


Sometimes life just really will not cooperate with our plans.

I had all three of my kids the natural way - no pain relief and as little medical intervention as possible. Max (who had shoulder dystocia) and Rowen (who was occiput posterior, or face-up)were born at home with a midwife present; Nicky had to be induced in the hospital because my water broke but labor didn't ensue within 72 hours, but the GYN basically only 'caught' him and left the rest of it up to Niek and me. We knew when we found out we were having twins that this time would be different, and I've constantly had to shift my boundaries of how much interference is acceptable. Today we found out that it's nearly a certainty that Arden will have to be born via a Cesarean. There are a number of factors involved: he's continuing to grow too fast and too much and very soon his ear-to-ear measurement will surpass 10 centimters (those familiar with childbirth know that 10 centimeters is the width of the 'exit'), he is stubbornly staying in a sort of upside-down transverse position (as in the illustration, except his back is on top and his feet & hands below), and the placenta is in front (making manual manipulation too dangerous due to the possibility of tearing it loose). The doctor also told me that it was extremely likely that the birth, one way or another, would occur before Christmas simply because there are now so many factors in play.

Dr. Schmitz said that although Nicky flipped over right before birth (he was in a classic breech position), it is extremely unlikely that Arden will perform a similiar trick. Even if he were in a classic breech, he could still be born vaginally, unless his head has become too large. And basically, if his head grows any more at all, it will be too big to fit.

When she was explaining everything, I really thought I was pretty much okay with it. I have an absolute horror of hospitals and of surgery, and I have extremely strong feelings about the benefits of a natural birth for both mother and child, but if your baby is in danger that fact simply takes precedence over everything else. But during the 10 or 15 minutes I was waiting to have blood drawn after talking to her, I began to feel like I was going to be ill. It's just such a shock, on top of so many other shocks .... I have to admit that I feel like hiding up in my bedroom and just crying. And when I told someone very close to me about the doctor's prognosis, the response I got, "just schedule the damned C-section and get it over with!" left me literally gasping for breath.

I know that loads of women go through Cesareans, either by choice or by necessity, and I am not interested in a debate of one childbirth method over another one ... so please, if that is your response, I must ask you to keep it to yourself. This entry is almost as difficult to write as when I had to talk about losing Arden's twin. Not that losing a baby is comparable to having a C-section, but because it's an issue that I know is likely to bring up conflicts and responses that I have a hard time dealing with. But when I decided to keep this blog open, it was to write about the bad as well as the good.

Decisions will be made at my next, and possibly last, prenatal appointment on December 11th.

12 November 2007

stubborn boys!

Today's check-up, though much less detailed than usual due to the recent trip to the EMC, seems to indicate that everything is going as it should - except that Arden is 'standing up' rather than in the head-down position required for a normal delivery. Nicky did this too, stubbornly remaining 'upside down' until the Grand Arrival. Dr. Schmitz said that in 2 weeks, at our next appointment, we'll discuss manual manipulation if he hasn't flipped over. And in case you're wondering, that is just as unpleasant as it sounds. I'm hoping he'll flip over on his own, as Nicky did. All my kids have had their little quirks - Max was two weeks late, and only decided to arrive with the help of an acupuncture treatment to jumpstart labor. Nicky was two weeks early. Rowen decided she wasn't going to miss a thing, so she stayed face-up. Strong little personalities, each one of them!

At my haptonomy appointment this morning, Andrea said that it was obvious I was still trying to be 'too brave' about everything - basically continuing to deny my emotions by insisting that everything is 'fine' and will be 'fine' when it's clear that is not at all how I really feel. Of course she's right, but it's kind of spooky to be confronted with it when you're sure you're putting on a really good show of everything being ... well, fine. She said that during the relaxation exercises, which are supposed to link body and mind, that I need to be honest about my emotions - crying when I feel like I need to - to avoid being totally overcome during the actual birth. Then she said something that really hit home. She said that it wasn't just Arden being born, but that the two babies I've lost (Arden's twin and the baby last year) would also be there, looking on. She said it better than I have. I just find this thought so incredibly comforting - all of us being together.

01 November 2007

oh, thank heavens!

Yesterday the hospital called to ask me to come in earlier, so the doctor and lab tech would have more time to do today's testing. Scared? You betcha'! But we made additional arrangements with our neighbor so we could take the boys over at 7:30 and she would take them to school at 8:15. Thank heavens for wonderful neighbors! Rowen went with us, as we had no one to take care of her. She was a very good girl during the long exam.

Before I go any further, I want to tip my hat to the truly wonderful ultrasound technicians and doctors at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. This was our second lengthy ultrasound there, and if you can believe it, they remembered us from our last appointment - and the doctor who conducted the scan was truly saddened by our loss and conducted today's scan in an extremely considerate manner. She left nothing to chance, doing all measurements at least twice, and explaining everything in detail.

First off, the polyhydramnion, or excessive amniotic fluid, was indeed due to faulty measurements. No blame to attach to our usual ultrasound tech at IJsselland - the membrane separating the twins is extremely thin and difficult to see. She had been measuring the fluid for both babies. Arden's environment is spot-on for the correct amount of amniotic fluid so we don't need to worry about the complications associated with that condition. Phew!

Secondly, although Arden's head is large, it still falls very much within the realm of what's considered normal. Our regular ultrasound tech had said during the 'scary' measurement that there was a chance that she was measuring from an angle rather than straight-on, but it's hard to know for sure. That wee bit of an angle added on enough millimeters to cause his measurements to fall outside the norm ... but fortunately it was 'just' a case of a shadow or an angle being off. His head measures at slightly larger than 34 weeks (while we are 30 wks/6dys), but that is still considered to be within normal fluctuations. Yay!

They also checked for fluid build up in his head, neck, and spinal column - there was nothing unusual - and checked all visible organs for size, location, and functioning. Everything looks absolutely normal. Thank heavens!!!

Thank you very, very much to the friends and family who have contacted me. Your support has helped me through a very scary period. I can't say thank you enough. And to parents, family and friends of children who have problems - you are true heroes. I'm humbled by the strength and love you give of so generously.