The Body changes that take place after having a baby can be shoved to the side as mothers poor over their new little one. But, there are big change that take place in our bodies that can last for years to come. Learn about what to expect is a step toward healing both physically and emotionally.Read More
Aviva Woman | blog
So, nothing was posted at 39 weeks because there was no change to report. Boo. I couldn't help but feel disappointed because I thought I had been progressing at such a good pace. It was a conscious effort to remind myself that the baby still had a full week to cook before my due date and that, at least, I was unlikely to be 10 days late like the past two baby's were. The day before my due date I had a full sweep of the membranes. Ouch! I certainly felt that! I thought, I may go to the hospital later that day but nothing consistent developed in terms of contractions. Until, the morning of the 20th. Today, is when all the action took place. Contractions were getting uncomfortable, like bad cramps and the tightness in my abdomen. they were off and on every 3-6 minutes. I felt like it was time to head to the hospital. I'll not go into detail about all the laboring as the purpose of this is more about the journey to recovery. But I will say a little note about the different types of deliveries, as I have experienced them all now, and how I feel about each one.
Baby One. This was a traditional vaginal delivery. I was trying to go unmedicated (no epidural) but my body stopped progressing because I simply couldn't relax. I got the epidural and had a real struggle to push out my son because he was faced up instead of down. It just makes pushing a little more difficult. They ended up sucking him out and he had a lovely suction mark on his head that went away after a few days.
Baby Two. I labored at home until my contractions were pretty close together, 2-3 minutes apart. When the crampy feeling became pretty intense I went to the hospital. Everything seemed to by fine until the nurse broke my water only to realize that the baby's head was not in the birth canal or engaged. The baby was sideways. The nurse told me not to push (why do they say that? Contractions are automatic!) and with each push I could potentially be breaking my baby's back and/or my pelvis. I was wheeled in for an emergency c-section. BUT it was midnight with only one surgeon on hand. We were waiting for the other doctor to run to the hospital but my baby's heart rate started dropping. So, the doctor reached up in there (like elbow deep!) and grabbed her by the jaw and pulled her out. I was in a gas mask and didn't know what was happening so when I finally came round again I was confused about why I couldn't feel my c-section scar. The confusion still lingered as they placed a little wrapped bundle into my arms.
Baby Three. The plan was to go natural, which went well all the way up to a 10. My husband was a champion in helping me through the laborious work. Everything was going smoothly and according to plan. The baby's head was still a little high so before having them break my water the doctor had me push through a couple contractions to lower the baby deeper into the birth canal. They broke my water and out came the umbilical cord, prolapsed cord is the technical term. Its supposed to be really uncommon but luck would have it happen to me. Before you know it, I was being wheeled to the surgery room with the doctor riding at the foot of the bed holding my little treasure back up in the birth canal off the life support of the umbilical cord. I was put completely under as I was not hooked to an epidural drip (unmedicated/going natural). That was scary. It took me about 90 minutes to regain full consciousness. If we didn't have any videos of those first few hours I wouldn't be able to tell you much about it.
Baby Four. The goal was to have a VBAC, vaginal birth after cesarean. But I wanted to make sure that if I ended up needing a c-section I would not need to be put completely to sleep. To avoid this, I opted for an epidural right away. Baby number 4 was a dream delivery. Labor was uneventful with not complications to report. Delivery was pretty standard and out came my little sweetheart. I was able to do skin to skin and had a lovely bonding moment after they sucked the poop out of his lungs...I guess that was the only thing not great. The baby pooped in the water sac and may have breathed some in.
C-Section. The Pros +++ and Cons ---
Under Carriage was still in tact. No Wincing on the toilet. +++
Could plan and schedule a c-section so its not an emergency. +++
Less trauma to the baby. +++
Risk to the mother, especially if you are put under. ---
Battle Wound Scar. One piece swimsuits for me. ---
Long Recovery. 6 weeks low energy. ---
Felt like my organs took a year to get back in place. ---
4-5 days at the hospital. Not much sleep to be had. ---
Vaginal Delivery and VBAC. The Pros +++ and Cons ---
The Under Carriage....not the same and wincing at the toilet. ---
Left the hospital after 24 hours! +++
Back on my feet in a few days. +++
Still tired but noticeably more energy compared to the c-section. +++
Baby squeezing through a tight space! ---
Have more questions? Comment below!
I'd like to share my journey on what to expect after expecting. My name is Suzi Sands, Founder and CEO of Aviva Woman. This is my 4th and last pregnancy. I've had 2 vaginal deliveries, 1 C-Section, and a hopeful VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). Since there is plenty of information about being pregnant but little about what happens to our bodies after delivery, we are going to start just a couple weeks before the anticipated delivery date of September 20.
My 37 week check up gave me some great news. I was dilated to a 3 and 70% effaced. Here is link that explains what dilation and effacement are. Being this far along at week 37 is major for me. I am usually 10 days past my due date and perhaps a 3 dilation when I get to the hospital in labor.
I elected to have my membranes striped, which basically means my provider used his finger to gently separate the bag of water (amniotic sac) from the side of the uterus near the cervix. (I see Dr. Watts at St. Marks OBGYN Women's Clinic, the same clinic that provided care during my 3rd pregnancy.) After my check-up I headed back to work. I felt relatively fine that day but did notice a lot more bleeding and mucous. This is normal as a result of the membrane sweep. **I highly recommend using panty liners all day long especially during the last few weeks of pregnancy. It keeps me feeling fresh and clean from all that 'stuff'.
The next day of having my membranes striped or swept, I noticed more contractions. I kept track of when they would occur and how long. It's crazy, because you would think that after doing this pregnancy thing a few times I might recognize a thing or to about labor, but it is still all a guessing game at this point. My contractions were pretty irregular going from every 10 minutes to 15 minutes, then skipping an hour and picking back up again throughout the day. They felt tight and I had a little cramping but nothing major to report on. However, I really thought to myself, "Tonight is the night." And I wasn't sure I was quite ready for the baby to arrive even if my body was terribly uncomfortable. Sitting. Standing. Laying down. It all feels miserable. Right?!
Well, the weekend came and the new week started. Still pregnant. My husband had a work trip planned on Tuesday through Thursday. He was pretty anxious on whether to stay or go. I told him to go and work while he can. I can handle this. Plus, he stayed at a hotel near the airport in California, which is only a short flight. I highly doubted I would go into labor....until my 38 week check up.