I've got the title of a draft post sitting waiting. It's called "Too posh to push, or too nice to slice?" and in it I was going to wonder about how this next baby is going to make his appearance into the world.
I've got form for both, after all.
L was born vaginally*, without drugs, intervention or tearing, at 41 weeks and 4 days, after about seven hours of labour (although I've never actually worked out when you start counting from, so it might be more (or less) than that). B and I were alone for most of it, which I know some women would have hated, but which felt right, and in fact the midwife wasn't in the room until L started crowning, and I panicked (having totally, despite both NHS and NCT ante-natal classes, not at all realised that what I was doing was pushing, and also somehow forgotten that the whole point of the exercise was to get the baby out) and pressed the call button. She was born, with me on my feet, about two pushes later. We were home in less than twelve hours.
S and A, on the other hand, were a planned c-section at 36 weeks. I realise this isn't the norm at all hospitals, but where we were we were flatly told that this was the safest for our babies, due to the added risks of delivering twins with a shared placenta. I wasn't enormously keen on the idea at first, particularly given the good experience I had with L and the quick recovery, and the fact that I knew it was possible, as my sister-in-law had delivered her girls (also with a shared placenta) vaginally (although she did give herself two black eyes, she pushed so hard), but when the third consultant tells you that yes, they really do think this is the right thing, we went with it.
It was utterly different and equally wonderful. It was the day after my mum's birthday, so she and my dad came up the night before and cooked us a meal. We had a glass of champagne and an early night and at 7 a.m. the next morning, with a kiss at L's door as we went past, we headed off to the hospital. The scariest bit was the epidural, but otherwise I felt nothing worse than as though I was being poked through a very thick blanket. The girls were born within a minute of each other, and came out screaming. I fed them both in theatre, possibly in specific defiance of the doula who had told me, when I enquired about her helping us after their arrival, that if I had a c-section not only would I not bond with them, but I'd also never be able to breast feed. On the advice of friends I refused the codeine based painkillers (apparently the resulting constipation is worse than labour) and was up and about the same day, and out of hospital two days after that, although with strict instructions (vociferously enforced by my husband and father-in-law) not to drive or pick up anything heavier than the babies for six weeks.
I am, obviously, incredibly lucky to have had two such great experiences, but when thinking about what I wanted to happen this time (having had a previous c-section, they had assumed I might prefer another), I realised that the practicalities of another operation have to, for me, make aiming for another vaginal delivery the preferred option. If I can't lift anything heavier than the baby, how am I going to get S and A out of their cots, or into the swings at the park, or push all four of them up to the nursery? If I can't drive, now that we are no longer within easy reach of public transport, how are we going to get anywhere? We'd cope, I'm sure we'd cope, but it'd be tricky.
So we'd decided. We would hope, realising again how lucky we were, for a repeat of L's arrival. This all depends of course, on the position of my scar. So we had it checked out: looks fine, we'll check again at 30 weeks. Then we were told that the placenta was low: it'll probably move, we'll check again at 30 weeks.
I'm now (nearly, the consultant is on holiday next week) 30 weeks. The scar is fine. The placenta has moved.
But the baby is breech.
They won't try to turn him externally because of the scar (much to my relief, as I've heard lots of anecdotal evidence about how much it hurts and none at all about how it works), and they certainly won't let me try a vaginal delivery for the same reason.
So we're left with waiting, and hoping he'll turn over of his own accord, and me spending a lot of time on all fours wiggling my bottom. Which if nothing else is amusing B.
But the irritating thing of course, is that I can't stop thinking about it. Every time I feel a kick or a movement, I'm trying to work out what it is that's poking at me, and to extrapolate from that which way up he is. And, again of course, it's perfectly possible that at 30 weeks L was also breech, we just never knew.
So we wait. And wiggle. And do anything else that anyone else thinks will work....?
*I realise that's quite an in your face sort of word, but I just don't like the implication in saying "natural", that there's something "unnatural" about the way that S and A arrived. Sorry.
Oh, and I know I've posted that picture of A's arrival several times before, but I just think it's awesome.
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