June 27, 2012

Beginnings and Endings

Squishy baby face
As you might recall, ten days ago I was totally exhausted, and totally tired of being pregnant.

Ten days ago, I was doing everything I could think of to get RH out of my uterus and into my arms.

You might recall, things were not exactly going according to plan.  My doctor had started to hint that he thought I was going to be unable to have a VBAC.  That my uterus was... weird.

That was ten days ago.

And ten days ago, I had had enough.

M and I watched a youtube video on accupressure to induce labor.  And we tried it.  We were both dubious, but we figured that moxibustion had worked so well... who knows?

The results were absolutely immediate.  He started squeezing my ankles at around 9pm.  By the time I went to bed, the contractions were 10 minutes apart, lasting for about a minute.  RH was moving CONSTANTLY.  I had gas that would embarrass an eight year old boy.  *Things* were *happening*.  Finally.

I woke up at 5am, still having contractions.  They were more painful.  They were ever so slightly closer together.  They were still regular.  And I promptly lost my mucus plug.

I was thrilled.  I texted my doulas, I double checked my bag for the hospital, and I started snacking.  Strawberries, almonds, cashews, coconut milk.

And the pain kept getting worse.

I'm not talking about the contractions- those were sort of a breeze.  In fact, with my back in as much pain as it was, each contraction was actually a relief.  It took more pressure off of my spine, and I could close my eyes and breathe through it.  I kind of liked the contractions.

The pain, though... that was something different.  It didn't come with the contractions, it came with RH kicking.

Each time she moved, I felt a screaming pain going through my lower abdomen.  And that just got worse.  Stronger.  Sharper.

RH, about fifteen minutes old
I lay down.  I took a nap.

When I woke up, the contractions had stopped.  Completely.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.

But RH was still moving like mad, and the pain from that?

They always ask you to rate your pain from a one to a ten.  Ten being the worst pain you've ever experienced.  I've experienced quite a bit of pain.  I've gone into shock from dislocating my shoulder and breaking half of my fingers.  I've spent forty hours getting tattooed.  I've had five day migraines.  I've been dumped out of a dump truck with two tons (literally) of recycling, and compacted a few vertebrae.

By the time I went to bed, I would have called that pain a seven and a half.  As I tossed and turned for the next two hours, the pain just got worse.  At midnight, I texted my doulas.

I told them something about the pain just didn't seem right.

They told me to call my OB's office.

The doctor on call didn't hesitate.  She told me to go straight to labor and delivery.  She told me not to dawdle.

By the time we were seen in the hospital, the pain was easily an eight.  Maybe eight and a half.

Not quite one day old
RH was totally cooperative about being located and monitored.  She was perfect.  No signs of distress, no signs of danger.  Whatever was going on was entirely my problem.

The doctor listened carefully to my description of the pain, when it hurt, where it hurt...

Then she told me about my rock hard cervix.  My cervix that still had not dilated even one centimeter.

My cervix that was apparently much, much stronger than my previous c-section scar.

What was happening, she said, was probably that my uterus was getting ready to rupture.  That uterus was literally about to explode.  Probably.

She didn't use those words.  She was very, very calm.

She told me we had a window.  She didn't know how long the window was, and this wasn't *really* an emergency, but that I really needed to have a c-section.  Because if I didn't, if I kept having contractions, I was going to be in REAL trouble.

She told me we'd have the c-section in an hour, and we started getting ready.

Of course, there were *real* emergencies in the hospital at two in the morning.  My surgery kept getting pushed back, because there was somebody in genuine distress who needed a c-section first.

And the pain just kept getting worse.

Finally, two and a half hours later, the OB on call came in and told me that my own doctor was on his way.  We'd wait until he arrived, and then we would go into surgery.  That was a little before 4am.  The pain each time RH moved was up to a nine.  It was pushing nine and a half.

Numb from the waist down, but not panicking
My doctor finally walked in, clutching a cup of coffee, bleary eyed and awkward as always.  We went into the OR, and they administered my spinal.

It took FOREVER to take effect.  The anesthesiologist kept telling them to go ahead and get started, even though I wasn't "technically" numb enough.  I started to have a full fledged panic attack.  My doctor kept telling the anesthesiologist to keep waiting, that I would be numb soon enough.

The second the anesthesiologist said I was good to go- which I simply couldn't believe- they put up the blue curtain, rushed M in, and started.

If he hadn't been there, I think I would have been screaming the whole time.  But I was basically numb, and M was holding my hand and telling me how everything was going to be just fine.

And then she was there.  Eight pound on the nose.  Twenty one inches long.

Nothing else seemed to matter.  We were all going to be just fine.

The anesthesia took ten times as long to wear off as it should have.  We waited and waited and waited for my legs to start working again, so that we could leave the recovery room and go to sleep.  It took four hours before they decided to just send me up to a room anyway.  Still almost entirely numb from the waist down.

But RH was perfect.  She was bright eyed and beautiful.  She looks like a cross between DD and my Granny.  I was exhausted and overwhelmed and in love.

The next two days were hard.  So, so much harder than my last delivery.  Each time something seemed worse, or harder, or more painful, I would ask a doctor or nurse, "Is it just me, or was this easier last time?" And they'd all say the same thing.  "No, the second c-section is just plain worse."

One week ago today, my OB stood in my hospital room and did what he does best.  He told me the truth.  He didn't sugar coat it.  He didn't mince words.  For all of his flaws, it's this trait of his that has kept me with him through the last few years.

The last baby I'm ever going to have
He told me that my uterus was about to rupture.  That it had thinned severely around the old c-section, and that we needed to operate when we did, or it might have been too late.

Then he told me what to expect if I ever became pregnant again.

What I should expect is for my uterus to split open.

That thin area is still there- still thin, still damaged.  And now there's a new scar.

If I were to ever be pregnant again, we would need to plan on a c-section, and early.  Very early.  Before I could start having contractions, period.

We'd be talking about intentionally delivering a baby prematurely, possibly earlier than the twins were born.  We'd be talking bed rest and "seriously high risk."

Between the pregnancy skin cancer and this...

I'm done.

The baby shop has closed.

One week ago today, I learned that I had just had the last baby I was ever going to have.

My big girls
I didn't know whether I wanted to have more.  I didn't know whether I wanted to be done or not.  It doesn't matter now.  Now it's out of my hands.  I'm done.  That's that.

M is talking vasectomy.  I'm talking Implanon.  We're both thinking... both.

It's strange.  Part of me is totally ambivalent.  We have three babies.  We have three wonderful girls.  What more could I possibly ask for?

At the same time...

One thing I didn't write about doing as we had constant outings and field trips and what-have-yous was the visit M and I paid to our old fertility clinic.  The place were we did IVF to conceive the girls while M was in chemotherapy.

We filled out all the paperwork to dispose of our stored embryos.

Part of me is grieving that.  And now, part of me is grieving my uterus.

My children
There's still time- we had ninety days from the time we filled out our paperwork to change our minds.  I could run in there and scream not to dispose of my embryos, and then I could hold out some crazy hope that someday M and I could afford to get a surrogate or something to gestate another grubling.

But it's not happening.  I need to accept that all of this is over.  That we are done.

I have a ten day old infant.  I have two wonderful almost-three year olds.

This is what I get.

Someday, I still want to adopt.  I still want more children in my family, in my life, in my heart.

I just can't have them in my uterus anymore.

...I am done having kids.

I am not ready for that kind of absolute.


  1. Loved reading this. As far as I'm concerned, anything to do with lady-bits and childbearing, whether you have children or not, is emotional and difficult as hell.

    As of now, the Mister and I plan to stop growing our family after our second baby. Said mister will be getting a vasectomy. But, I have totally projected into the future and thought, man, it's going to be really hard to actually "pull the plug" on everything...even if having more kids isn't right for us.

    Tough stuff.

  2. I have chills right now. I tried for a VBAC for my second and ended with a c-section. While my midwife feared that my scare was thinning, it turns out that it was just fine. I did not feel the pain that you felt. While we are not certain we will try for #3, we still have the choice. I wish you the best, and am so glad that you and your little girl are healthy.

  3. Held my breath through your entire story. Your girls are beautiful - congratulations. I related to the pain during labor and after. No more children in my uterus either, but who knows how else they may come into our lives? Well done!

  4. It is hard when it's absolute. But you are doing what will keep you safe and around for your babies!

    Your little one is darling!

  5. Oh my goodness, what an experience!! Dear goodness. I am in the midst of my third (and last) pregnancy, and the absolute finality of it is still hard to take. I'm so glad everything ended up okay after such a stressful time!!

  6. Sigh, I'm sorry that this is the uterus' end. I know that there was hope for more. You need to mourn that. You both do. You are incredibly blessed and that will help with the process. A virtual hug for you!

  7. Oh my! It is really hard to wrap your head around news like that. I'm pregnant with my third and final and I haven't really thought much about it. I know that it will be my last, but maybe I haven't come to terms with it yet.
    I'm glad that you and baby are doing good and healthy. Congrats on the new addition!

  8. So glad you are safe and your baby is healthy. I wish I knew what to say that could bring you solace with such heavy news. Life and time will help you figure out what to make of it. In the meantime, love those babies! :)

  9. Hi, just stopping over from Shell's blog. Your story is amazing. I don't know how you stayed so calm! That would be really hard to hear you're done having kids, but you're handling it very well. Thanks for letting me read!

  10. Wow! Its so hard when the decision is out of your control. For me I have decided I am done. My husband and I are both getting "fixed", but when the choice is taken away from you its so much harder.
    By the way your baby is ADORABLE! I just want to smush her cheeks! :) Congrats!

  11. So sorry:(...but she is beautiful!

  12. I totally understand where you are coming from. I will be 26 next week (holy crap!) and with both girls medical issues, and my bodys inability to grow a baby correctly and for said babies to be remotely healthy we are done. H got a vasectomy when M was only 2 months old. But, I find myself wondering if he would reverse it, if I could 'try' again. Maybe 3rd time would be a charm! Maybe it wouldn't require fertility drugs, or 3 appts a week, or bedrest or scary scary stuff.

    But, I have to remind myself it's not worth it for the girls to lose their mother possibly because I wanted to "try again."
    It's hard to accept that you can't have any more children. The fact that H got the vasectomy makes me still feel like i'm not completely 'infertile' even though we dealt with infertility.

    The mind plays very scary tricks and it really all sucks.

    You are so lucky that your doctor's listened to you about your pain being so abnormal.


  13. I'm sorry. I am in a similar situation. My last baby is my last baby, by medical necessity. She is 21 months old and sometime in the past 6 months I accepted that she is my last baby. I am able to be content and happy with my family and see the future for all the fun and joy it will hold. I hope that same acceptance comes quickly for you. And PS- RH is beautiful. Congrats!

  14. I read every single word. Sometimes, I skim, but I was hanging on the everything here. Congratulations on that healthy baby! So precious. Enjoy this tender time with her, and I'm sending prayers for wisdom and peace about everything else. Stopped by from PYHO.

  15. What a story! Can't imagine the pain you must have felt, but happy to see your baby is so beautiful and healthy-looking. She looks like such a happy infant! Sad to hear about your uterus, having the choice taking away from you must be hard. But you have your three lovely little girls to comfort you.

  16. Wow, that is powerful. You have three beautiful, healthy girls. That is a wonderful blessing. The thought of having no more kids is terrifying, in my opinion. We only have one, but I've always wanted a house full of kids. After two miscarriages, I am now pregnant again and we are praying that this baby carries to term to continue to fulfill that dream. I wish you the best. The answers to a big family with come, just give those girls big kisses now while you have them.

  17. Oh mama (((hugs))) It's so hard knowing that you are experiencing the last time. Plum is my last baby. Even though i wanted four or five kids. I get two. About a month ago I began yearning for another. BAD. I had myself half convinced that I had gotten pregnant despite having had a tubal. There is greif for the babies I dreamed of having but there is so much joy in the babies that by the grace of the Universe, I was able to have. I wasn't supposed to be able to carry a baby at all and I got two. The dangers of continuing had to end my baby making days. But I take a lot of comfort in the family that my body created and the pain eases pretty quickly after it comes. I hope that for you too. Your sweet RH is just perfect and beautiful. Congratulations on your sweet gift.


  18. I'm so sorry the decision was taken out of your hands. I am most definitely done after three girls (and three pregnancies), but I came to that decision on my own terms. I'm not as sure I would feel the same way if my hand had been forced. Looks like you've got three keepers, though, so there's that :)

  19. I'm so sorry the decision was taken out of your hands. I am most definitely done after three girls (and three pregnancies), but I came to that decision on my own terms. I'm not as sure I would feel the same way if my hand had been forced. Looks like you've got three keepers, though, so there's that :)



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