Monday, January 16, 2012
Regrets (If I could do it all over again)
First of all I'd like to say that I really don't have any real regrets in life. I truly believe that everything in life happens for a reason, and even though I believe I have made many mistakes in my life, I'm not sure I really regret it. My mistakes have shaped me into the woman I am today... and for that I am thankful.
That being said, if I had the opportunity to do it all over again, start fresh... go back to when I first became a Mom, there would be a few things I would do differently. I wanted to share some of them with you all. When I first started on this journey and even considered trying for a VBA3C, my first thought was that it was crazy! I didn't think any Doctor would even consider me as an option for a VBAC, so why even think about it? As I began to dig a little bit further, and learned that it was a possibility, I was more than thrilled! When I began to pray about it and seek the Lord's wisdom in pursuing it, I sort of made a pact with God. I told Him if He gave me the opportunity to go down this path, I would make the most of this special gift. That is when I decided I would most definitely start a blog and share my experience with others. I realize this was a risk, considering I still don't even know if this VBAC would be successful. But I strongly believe that my story can and will have an impact on others, whether I end up successful or not. I especially have a heart to reach those first time Moms out there who are just starting out with their first baby. There are so many things I wish I would have known, wish I would have done differently. So that is what this post is all about!
1. I wish I had done my research. I was shocked when I first learned I was pregnant. Steve and I had only been married 6 months. I was on birth control at first, and my birth control had just run out right before Christmas. My OB at the time wouldn't just refill my prescription without me scheduling my annual exam. Since it was Christmas, and I was very busy with Church stuff going on, I decided to wait until the first of the year to schedule something. Well, I was a little bit too late! I learned late January, that we were expecting our first child! I didn't really know what to expect, and I didn't really take the time to figure things out for myself. I didn't read any books, and I certainly didn't look into the options of birthing.
To those of you newly pregnant, I highly recommend that you read as many books as possible! And please don't just read "What to expect when you are expecting!" It's an okay enough book, but you need to read all different sides of birthing possibilities. Don't just go into this birth thinking that you know how you want things to go, and expect that it will all just fall into place. Be aware, be informed. I have mentioned it before, but I highly recommend Henci Goer's "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth." It is a must read for every first time Mom. Yes, it is very pro-natural birth, but it is very informative when it comes to understanding what really goes on behind the scenes of a birth.
2. I wish I had chosen a hospital and OB more wisely. Let me just start by saying that I did ask around a lot for recommendations on an OB. But I didn't know what to really ask about. I finally settled on Dr. R. because she was recommended by a friend and the hospital was very close to my work. I figured it would be convenient with my many Doctor visits, and the hospital was supposed to be one of the best in the Dallas area. Yes, it is, but I didn't know to find out things such as: what is the hospital's c-section rate? What is my OB's c-section rate? To this day, I'm really not certain of Dr. R's c-section rate, but I would suspect it is pretty high. I learned after the fact (3 babies later) that my hospital's c-section rate was one of the highest in the DFW area (if not the highest) at around 28% as of 2009, and climbing! This is unacceptable, considering the World Health Organization states that there is no reason that any hospital should have more than a 10-15% c-section rate.
If you are a first time Mom, I promise you do not want to end up with a c-section unless it is a medical necessity! You can read more about the risks of a c-section on the following site:
3. I wish I would have listened to my Mom! When I first talked to my Mom about my pregnancy, she often would remind me that she had two natural births and encouraged me to consider it! I laughed, saying, "I don't have a high pain tolerance Mom. Besides, you don't get an award for delivering naturally!" Funny, I cringe when people say that to me today. My Mom was right. I should have considered it! The thought never even crossed my mind to consider it! Why would I go through all that pain if I didn't have to? Before giving birth to my first child, we took a class at the hospital. They taught us how to diaper a baby and some of the basics... but nothing about birthing. They asked for a show of hands who was planning on having an epidural, and every single woman in that room raised her hand! Let's face it, the majority of women today choose the epidural. I'm not saying that the epidural is always bad, but I do believe we should be more informed of the possible things that can go wrong with the epidural. For me, I truly believe that having the epidural was one of my biggest down falls. Epidurals are known to slow down the labor process. I had an epidural for 12 hours while I labored... and then once it came time to push, I truly believe it stalled my labor even more. I couldn't push, because I couldn't feel anything! It doesn't happen this way for every woman, but I do believe it happens often! Just consider it... God designed our bodies for birth. Pain can be manageable without the epidural. I realize I haven't experienced it yet, and I may chicken out in the end. I hope I don't! I will have my husband and doula by my side the whole time encouraging me to keep going... I do believe it is definitely possible to have a beautiful and wonderful birth, without the help of an epidural.
4. I wish I would have never agreed to being induced with my first child! This is hands down my biggest mistake. Please, please, please... if this is your first child, ride it out. You won't be pregnant forever, I promise! Unless there is a medical necessity, just wait! A "suspected" big baby, is not a medical necessity. Most of the time, ultrasounds are wrong on weight. Even if it is right, many women birth 10 lb babies without any problems at all! I was induced 3 days before my due date for several reasons: swelling and slightly high blood pressure, PUPPS rash and a suspected large baby. Carter was only 8 lbs 6 oz, hardly big at all. I could have managed through the swelling and rash. I should never have said yes! Who knows, if I had been given the opportunity, maybe Carter would have come on his own even within the next few days! He just wasn't ready yet.
5. I wish I had done more research on VBACs after conceiving my 2nd child. I really wanted to try a VBAC with Sydney, but I really didn't give it the very best chance. My OB certainly didn't either. I should have hired a doula, taken Bradley classes, read all the books and most definitely should have switched providers! If you are considering a VBAC, please ask your OB the hard questions. Ask their success rate with VBACs. I never asked my OB this. She told me she would support me in a VBAC, but she pulled the plug on me way too quickly. If you want a real opportunity to have a VBAC, you need to have all the support you can get, which starts with having a supportive provider.
This week at my appointment with Dr. C., I mentioned to him that I have been having some real contractions. I laughed, saying it's pretty funny that this is my 4th child and this is the first time I have experienced real contractions! He said to me, "Well you were never given the opportunity before." He is so right. Please get the support you need when trying for a VBAC! You will never regret it. Otherwise, you will just be on an uphill battle the entire pregnancy and delivery!
Again, this is just a "what if" post. I believe this all happened for a reason, and I am thankful for the opportunity to experience this! I just hope that first time Moms out there can benefit from some of the mistakes I made and make more informed decisions!