On Wednesday I picked up a jar at of yogurt at the grocery store and squealed in delight. The expiration date said 10/22. Surely by that time, 6 days past my 41-week French due date, little Bonbon will have arrived. I will have a baby before this yogurt goes bad,
I thought, smiling like a loon in the middle of Monoprix. How exciting!
12 weeks vs. 39 weeks - taken last Saturday
The next day we went to our Midwife, Mrs. M, for our last appointment before the birth. I asked her if she could try to determine Bonbon's position, which I assumed was still breech. I lay on her table as she felt around and confirmed that, yes, she is still head up. Mrs. M told me that she actually thinks Bonbon is laying on her side and is definitely not at all engaged in my pelvis. Two things I was not thrilled to hear. I asked her if, in her professional opinion, she thought that the baby would turn. She said, No. At this point, I didn't really think she would either so I wasn't too surprised or discouraged. Just worried.
As I lay on the table, Bonbon started to make that funny square shape I told you all about last week. "Look!" I said to Mrs. M, "doesn't she turn my stomach into the funniest shapes?" Mrs. M smiled knowingly at me and said, "Actually Natalie, that's your uterus contracting."
"IT IS?!" I cried out. How strange! She'd been "making the square" on and off for the last few weeks and yes, it felt a little weird, but I had never thought that they could be Braxton Hicks contractions. I barely felt them. Michael and I laughed as Bonbon continued to "make the square" throughout the rest of the appointment.
We talked with Mrs. M a lot about cord prolapse - something that, while we know is quite rare, we've been super paranoid about ever since we were told last week that the baby is breech and high. The perfect storm of circumstances needs to occur for this to happen, but the risk is slightly higher when the baby is in the position that the Bonbon's in and the waters break with a gush. Again, a perfect storm of circumstances, but having never been through this before, Michael and I have been anxious about it. Mrs. M assured us that cord prolapse is unlikely, but we all agreed that I should head to the hospital as soon as my water breaks, no matter what.
We went home and Bonbon seemed to be making her square shape a lot more than she ever had before. I decided to start timing them to see if there was a pattern, and sure enough, the contractions took place every 8-10 minutes for the rest of the day. Actually, for the next 24 hours. But they didn't really hurt at all, just felt like a squeeze. And I was able to sleep through them just fine. We weren't sure if these were Braxton Hicks or early labor or what (the square had never appeared with such frequency before!), but it made us get all paranoid about how this was all going to go down. What if my water broke suddenly? What if I could feel the cord? What if we couldn't get to the hospital on time? What if her head got stuck during the delivery? Worry, worry, worry.
Dr. B told us last week that she'll be in Paris for a conference on the 12th and 13th, which of course made me think that that's when Bonbon will decide to arrive. Dr. B has told us that no matter if Bonbon is breech or tranverse, we can still try for a vaginal birth because she's experienced and comfortable in such scenarios, but she can't say the same about whatever doctor will be on duty during the time while she's gone. I felt really discouraged by that, especially since the whole reason we decided to go to the private clinic
was to ensure that the baby would be delivered by our doctor and not a midwife, and we had chosen Dr. B because of her reputation of supporting natural birth. But with all this cord paranoia running rampant in our minds, the regular contractions, and the idea of being stuck with a different doctor on delivery day, I began to wonder if maybe we should schedule an appointment with Dr. B before her trip to discuss options.
It's no secret that I've been hoping for an unmedicated birth, but I'm absolutely not
against having a C-section if Dr. B feels that is the safest way to deliver Bonbon. However, if Dr. B agrees with a regular birth, I really want to try to avoid having a C-section for several personal reasons. I'd like to avoid having major abdominal surgery and everything that goes along with that, unless it's medically necessary. My sister had a lot of complications recovering from her emergency C-section, so I've seen firsthand some of the struggles that moms can go through. If it's not medically necessary for me and Bonbon to go through that, I'd rather we didn't. We also found out last month that in the case of a C-section here in France, no one
is allowed in the room during the procedure except for the surgical staff and the mother. That means no Michael. It absolutely breaks my heart to think that he would not be there when our daughter is born, that we would not get to have our first look at her together. It's also scary to think about having that surgery all by myself. I have cried a lot
over it, but I am working to keep it in perspective
. As long as Bonbon arrives safely and is healthy, that is all that matters, and that is the most important factor. It's not about me and what I want, it's about what's best for her. Period.
So this morning, we saw Dr. B. She agreed that the baby probably would not turn, but assured us that if I went into labor before or after her trip, that she would be there and we could try for a natural birth. But again, she could not say the same for her colleagues. We asked her a lot of questions about cord prolapse and the possible complications with the delivery and finally she said, "It's really better for you not to worry. If you want, maybe the best thing is to schedule a C-section for before my trip. If you go into labor before then that's great, but if not, we can do the surgery before I leave and you don't have to worry about having the surgery with a different doctor while I'm gone." I thought this sounded reasonable and so I agreed. We scheduled the surgery for next Wednesday, 10/10 at 2pm, with the hopes that maybe I'll go into spontaneous labor before then. It felt good to have a plan. Michael was visibly relieved as well and on the way home, he confessed that the idea of a C-section without all the worry about the water breaking, and the cord, and a mad dash to the hospital also made him feel a lot better. We were excited. We had a plan and, no matter what, by this time next week, Bonbon would be born.
This feeling lasted for about 2 hours.
Then I really started to second guess myself. A scheduled C-section was not
what I wanted. This is not how I wanted everything to go down. Dr. B felt comfortable enough with a regular delivery and she was not worried about the cord prolapse, so why was I? Why couldn't I just wait for things to happen naturally and if I had to have a C-section with a different doctor next weekend, then so be it. At least I would have waited to see if it was really, truly necessary. And anyway, if a complication was going to happen, it was going to happen. I still had 5 days before the scheduled surgery and was already having contractions, so it could happen between now and then anyway! BRAIN OVERLOAD.
I called my mom and cried and cried that I didn't know what to do. (Can you tell that the hormones have really gotten their hold on me this trimester?) She said, "well I know that a C-section is something that you would not choose to do unless your doctor feels you need to," and I said, "you're right, and isn't that exactly what I'm doing
in this scenario?" I felt discouraged again. I needed to turn off my brain and calm down. Dr. B, who doesn't have the best handle on the English language, often tells me to "Be Quiet" when I'm worried about something. It always makes me giggle, because she's only trying to tell me to relax and doesn't realize the tone of that phrase, but she says it all the time. Be Quiet.
I needed to listen to her advice.
So Fig and I took a nap.
When I woke up I decided that I will take the weekend to see what happens. Maybe these contractions will pick up and turn into the real thing. Maybe we will have the baby this weekend. Maybe I'll decide that the C-section really is the best option for us. Or maybe I'll decide to trust nature, and cancel the surgery. I'm not sure yet.
But I'm going to try my best to Be Quiet until I decide.
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