29 weeks + 1 day pregnant
So after a lot of research and deliberation, I have finally settled on the option an elective cesarian section as my birth choice. I was initially worried that my consultant would see this as me taking the ‘soft option’ and that I would face opposition for unnecessarily using up medical resources but I found the medical professionals in charge of my care to be nothing but supportive and understanding.
I like the idea of having a fixed date; a date to work towards, to prepare for. Having experienced so much anxiety throughout this pregnancy, I imagined the birth to be the climax of that apprehension. Natural childbirth carries no guarantees; you can prepare yourself to an extent but there are a whole host of factors which can influence the experience. The associated worries and concerns I have over the process feel suffocating when added to the daily stuggles and strains I already endure throughout this pregnancy, so the choice feels like a relief.
By no means do I believe a c-section is an easier option but the risk factors feel known rather than unknown and that brings me some level of comfort. When I sat down with my consultant to discuss the procedure he was very thorough in explaining the risks. Although it was an alarmingly long list, I was comforted by the fact that the majority of the risks were to my health rather than baby’s. Any level of pain, discomfort or suffering that I have to endure is worth it to get my baby here safely and healthily.
The consultant asked me which day of the week suited me best and the concept felt totally bizarre. I had images of families scheduling c sections around family holidays or events or choosing dates which fit in best with the school year or the astrological calendar.
This birth option feels so far from the ideas I had about childbirth only a year ago. Last year I dreamed of a birth that was as natural as possible. Low lighting, essential oils, deep breathing techniques, calming music. These ideas feel such a far cry from the bright lights of the operating theatre where my baby will make his entrance. But what does it matter? All that matters is that Sprocket makes it here safely. My views have changed. The experience doesn’t need to be beautiful, It just needs to ensure his safety. Nothing else matters.
I will deliver Sprocket at 38 weeks. That feels like a very bold statement to make. As the weeks of this pregnancy progress and I find myself counting down instead of up, I hear myself speak of a future with Sprocket in it. I feel torn between wanting to put my faith in this pregnancy and this baby and being terrified to dare to think he will come home. Whenever I feel an ounce of belief or confidence that things will be ok, a little voice in my head whispers “Well, you thought that last time.” And I’m brought straight back to a place of anxiety and high alert. I clutch at my kick counter and I vow never to take my eye off the ball, not even for a second.
The closer we get to the delivery date, I find my anxiety increasing rather than decreasing. We are now two weeks away from the gestation at which we lost Nieve and that feels terrifying, like I’m a ticking time bomb which will go off at the exact same stage in this pregnancy. I know in my heart that doesn’t make sense but rationale isn’t my strong point at the moment.
We were given the option to deliver Sprocket at 37 weeks, but after reading about the risks to babies respiration when delivered at this gestation, we decided that waiting until 38 weeks was the safer option. However, this has now brought about an unforeseen predicament… Sprocket is due to be delivered on the day before the one year anniversary of Nieve’s birth. I always knew that the two dates would be close, but it feels like fate has decided to space them almost exactly a year apart. It feels symbolic of the link that the two of them will always have.
My greatest concern is being able to adequately mark Nieve’s anniversary and I’m going to have to think of creative ways in which to do this since I will still be in hospital recovering and finding my feet with a newborn baby.( Even as I type that, the voice in my ear tells me not to be so optimistic.. The battle continues. )
I envisage a future where we juggle birthday parties for Sprocket with commemorations for Nieve. Happiness mixed with sadness. But maybe that isn’t such a bad thing; the sadness of what we lost diluted by the happiness of what we gained. That is indeed why they coin the child that arrives after loss the rainbow baby.