Cooper was huge ... 9 lbs. 13 oz. ... and they say most of the time, subsequent babies are bigger. So at my 10 week appt., they set the stage for a section if it were another big baby, and it didn't go very well. I cried and basically told them I didn't see why I couldn't push out another since I already had and we were both fine.
However, at that point, my hubby told me to calm down and not worry about it yet. I still had six months of pregnancy and we would wait and see what happened. Additionally, my OB was totally on board to wait and see as well - she even noted that her first was almost 9 lbs. while the other two were in the 7s so it was totally possible to have a smaller baby.
Husband told me that, if push came to shove, that he would handle everything for me and be the voice of reason to respect my wishes. At that point, I specifically began praying that if I needed a C-section, it wouldn't be based off of size alone, but that God would make it very clear by making the baby breech or some other medical reason.
I went through the pregnancy thinking I would be like her and have a smaller baby this time around. With Cooper, I measured 2-3 weeks ahead consistently once I hit the third trimester, but I was pretty much on track the entire time with JD. At every appointment when they checked, he was head down and ready to go.
To get a better idea of baby's size, we scheduled an ultrasound at 36 weeks. I totally went in thinking that since I was measuring on track, it would really just be a chance to get to see the baby's face, and I was totally cool with that.
So imagine my surprise when she said the baby was breech. Oh and that the head was like the 90th percentile. Geez.
In between the ultrasound and appointment, my heart kind of sank. It totally wasn't the news I had anticipated. But I also couldn't help but laugh. Here God gave me EXACTLY what I asked for, and who am I to dispute that?
Unfortunately my doctor was out that day, so we met with one of the nurse practitioners. We were essentially told that it was very unlikely the baby would flip on its own at that point, especially since the weight was already about 7.5 lbs. There is a procedure called an external version where they can try to get the baby to flip while still in utero. It has a decent success rate, and you are hooked up to monitors the whole time so if the baby is in distress, you quit and do a C-section. It was our understanding that if we went that route, it would need to be done around 37/38 weeks. If successful, we would go home, if not, the baby would be born that day. Crazy, and a lot to process.
Over the course of the next week, I did a ton of research about the external version, etc. And I just never felt at peace with it and felt that God had spoken very clearly to me that I was meant to have a C-section, which is what I decided I was going to favor when talking to the doctor.
Thankfully, when I saw her at 37 weeks, she came in the room and point blank said that was the best thing, due to baby's positioning and size. I absolutely love this doctor so I was thrilled that we were on the same page. Within 15 minutes, we had a date and time set for two weeks later, at 39 weeks, 1 day. She said it was always possible for baby to flip, which I would feel, and if that happened, we would go back to the drawing board.
Having now experienced both a v@ginal and C-section birth, I can tell you that there are pros and cons of each. Thankfully with mine being scheduled, I knew what was happening and had time to plan and get all my ducks in a row. For instance, I took primarily high-waist maternity pants to the hospital to help hold my binder. We bought a recliner which was the best thing I could have done, considering that it greatly pained me to get in/out of bed.
Here are a few of the other advantages/disadvantages
- Recovery time: Obviously the C-section has been harder and took longer, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. Right now I still have some soreness and inflammation, but it hasn't been too horrible. I began running again at 6 weeks and stopped wearing the band around 9 weeks.
- Labor: Total C-section win here. There's no labor. I had my hair done the day before, did my makeup and felt amazing the whole time. It also takes away the guessing game of when to go to the hospital, to an extent.
- Leave: I had enough time built up to actually take 11 weeks paid and still have some time when I returned. However; you are given 8 weeks recovery for C-section compared to 6. I also ended up with more short-term disability pay per my policy.
- Baby's health: Believe it or not, Jacob was in much better shape that Cooper after birth. Coop's APGAR was a 3, JD's was a 9. Birth was quite traumatic for Coop and it was like 3 hours until I really got to hold him, and honestly I was exhausted and didn't care. We got to keep JD with us pretty much the whole time.
- Hospital stay: Insurance pays 48 hours with a vaginal or 96 hours with a C-section. Since we had hit our out of pocket max either way, we stayed the full time allowed because it was nice to have the extra hands to help, prepared meals, no house to clean, etc.
- The day of: I would push kids out 100 times over to avoid that first time out of the hospital bed post C-section. It was all I could do to roll over and get out of the bed, not to mention walk about 16 feet to the bathroom. That night we went down the hall and I questioned if I would ever walk normal again. I pushed myself too hard and ended up getting hot and dizzy and needing a wheelchair to take me back to the room. Talk about embarrassing! However, after a good night's sleep, I felt 10 times better and moved with much more ease the following day.
Reading this, it looks like I would prefer a C-section but seriously, I would push out 10 kids to having one C-section. However, the most important part is that my baby and I are both healthy. How he got here doesn't matter, it's that he is here.