adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

Knocked Up Abroad: Be Quiet

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." Say whaaaaaaat????? "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.  

32 Responses to “Knocked Up Abroad: Be Quiet”

  1. Julia says:

    Oh the stress! Natty – everything will fall into place EXACTLY how it’s meant to. Baby will be here safe and sound and happy HOWEVER she comes into this world. My gut tells me that you’ll be in real labor before your doctor leaves town. Sending you a HUGE HUG from Chi Town. I love you!! XOXOX

  2. Laura says:

    Most of my friends’ birth plans went awry in some way but they were happy at the end of the day with the new baby. Can’t wait to see pix!

  3. This was a real wake-up post for me. I always thought I would do it the usual way, but maybe I should prepare myself for both!

    • Natalie says:

      Yes, this breech thing has really thrown me for a loop! Honestly, it’s not something I ever thought I would have to worry about. That being said, it’s a pretty minor “complication” to worry about, so I am lucky in a lot of ways! I need to stop being such a high anxiety head case :)

    • Buffee says:

      So Mark, instead of trying to make this about me, stay focused. Pbrain compared the candidates and issues in the upcoming elections to those this nation faced in 1776. I say it’s hyperbole. How do you feel aout it.As to the name calling, the moniker Pbrain stays. If he do1&#sn82e7;t like it, too bad.. He should have thought about that when Pbrain dredged up an issue from my past that had nothing to do with the subject at hand. He mocked me even though my position on the long past issue was the same as his. The difference was that I took action, he merely flaps his yap. By definition the guy is a Pbrain

  4. marq says:

    Wow, that is a tough set of circumstances to deal with. Sit quietly with Bonbon I guess and let things unfold how they need to. I look forward to seeing you’re 3 smiling faces on the other side!

    Dawn and I were discussing this, and I do not think i could handle being in the room for a C section….I can barely handle Grey’s Anatomy.

  5. jillian says:

    Thinking of you daily and sending you lots of love, calm, and quiet vibes. I love you and know that the universe will provide. ETB sister!! xoxoxox

    • Natalie says:

      ETB!!! Michael said that to me yesterday – “remember what Jillian says!” I need to focus my energy on ETB and not being paranoid! xoxo

  6. Greer says:

    I am so excited to meet the little girl. Everything will work out how it’s ment to be and I also have a feeling bonbon will decide to show up before Dr. B leaves :) Sending love and positive thoughts to you, Michael, and baby! Love you!

  7. Jill says:

    Everything will be okay! Trust your instincts, that is the best advice now and the best advice when you become a mom. And FYI – I can almost guarantee it will not go down how you picture it, it definitely didn’t in my case, partly because, at the end of the day, you don’t know really what to expect with your first child. So nothing went as I pictured with Dez, I had 29 hours of labor, 2.5 hours of pushing and Aaron wasn’t even in the room when I finally had my c-section because he got emotional and they swooped him out because they thought he would faint….But you know what, I can’t pass Kaiser hospital without smiling about the most wonderful day of my life, cause that’s the only part I remember. xoxo

    • Natalie says:

      Jill, I don’t think I knew that story! But I loved how you ended it :) I hope that, no matter how this all goes down, that is the only part that I remember too!!

  8. Kathryn says:

    Trust Jill when she says trust your instincts, my dear. If it weren’t for my instincts (and Jay Watson’s phone call with hospital ER docs),I would have had an unnecessary procedure that would have resulted in the end of my pregnancy with Annie. Trust yourself, trust your body, trust that little voice in your head, trust you momma, trust Michael, trust God, and trust that your sweet baby girl will be delivered safely and beautifully into this world!
    We love you!

    • Natalie says:

      Thanks Kathryn! I am really hoping to be led to the right decision, or that it will be put in front of me! I need to get in touch with my “mother’s intuition” :)

      We love you too!

  9. Jennifer Byrne says:

    What a post! We are keeping you in our prayers and know that everything will be okay. Can’t wait to met your baby girl. Thank you for the blog posts they are so much fun to read. I love the picture as well. I have enjoyed seeing your belly grow and am amazed how much your black outfit stretched! =). Good luck and have a calm/quiet weekend.

    • Natalie says:

      Thank you Jenny! The pants are maternity leggings, but I’m pretty sure that tank top is ruined – ha!

      I am thinking of you all today. I know Amanda is watching over me, Michael, and Bonbon and I don’t need to be scared :)


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  10. Erin says:

    So stressful! My first baby was breech and high (and early) and my water broke in a gush and there were no complications with the cord. Of course, there was a c-section due to the breech position (like I mentioned in one your earlier posts, I’d never heard of hospitals delivering breech babies vaginally in the last 30 years). Mostly, I say this to reassure you that the cord was not an issue for us.

    Hang in there. My advice would be to wait and see, since it wouldn’t be the end of the world if another doctor had to do a c/s (if you labor while your doctor is gone). And if your doctor’s in town, then you hope for a natural birth. And remember, chances are very good you’ll have baby at the end of it all, no matter how the day goes!

    • Natalie says:

      Thanks, Erin – that actually does make me feel a lot better. Hope you are feeling good – you’re getting so close too!

  11. Tracy says:

    Aww Nat, I’m so sorry everything isn’t working out as you planned. At the end of it all, you’ll have a beautiful baby and it won’t matter how she got here. I had 2 c-sections – the first an emergency, the second scheduled. It was never part of my plan, in fact, I never really thought much about it when preparing for my labor. You’ll want whatever is best for the baby at the time – and you’ll figure that out. You’re her mama, no one knows better than you what is best for her!

  12. Nickie says:

    Oh Nat. I just had to read today cuz I’ve been thinking of you every morning on my way to work, wondering if she’s here yet. First of all, remember how brave you are for doing this so far from “home” and cut yourself some slack for feeling this way. You’re almost there! And in just a few days, one way or another, you’ll be a mom so enjoy the time you and Michael have now. And just breathe. Whatever decision you make will be the right one, there’s no wrong answer. Sending you support and hugs from SF. Love you guys!

  13. Sabbio says:

    So sorry to read this post Natalie. I wish I could do something to help!
    I can understand why you’re troubled and feeling lost but yes maybe listening to your deep self during the week-end will help you!!!
    My only advice is really to do the best you can, respecting you and your sweet baby to come… the rest is the “universe”, life, nature to decide!
    Sending lots of love, support and positivity!

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