"Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself"
Today was the third and final meeting with our dream team: our perinatologist. This particular OB has been practicing longer than Brian and I have been alive and, most importantly, he treated us like people and not like patients. So much of the past two weeks have been focused on our child, but I appreciated that this doctor was very much focused on me, my health, and our wishes as a couple on how we envisioned our labor and delivery, while still ensuring that plan coincided with what was best for the baby.
We discussed a few key topics.
First, the doctor confirmed that I wasn't "old". I'm not sure what made him bring this up, but I couldn't help but chuckle. During our first meeting with a doctor at UIC way back in February, I was told that I was considered a "geriatric" pregnancy because I'm 36 - yes, those exact words were used to my face. This meeting is what solidified my intention to work with a midwife instead of a doctor. I think that his intention was to establish that this wasn't my fault - nothing about who I was or what I'd done caused this situation. Then he lightened the mood with a story of a 60 year old woman who opted to be a surrogate for her daughter and wanted to have a natural labor and delivery. Prior to the birth, his nurse casually mentioned that if her son-in-law was present for the delivery it would change Thanksgiving dinner forever. She ended up having a c-section (awkward visual avoided).
Second, the doctor moved my due date back from November 3rd to October 29th. This was my original due date, but my previous provider pushed it forward after ultrasound measurements. The doctor explained that ultrasound isn't always the best tool to determine a due date and he was confident that our baby's gestational age was older than currently thought. Therefore, I jumped from being 37 weeks and 3 days to 38 weeks and 1 day. This is important because, as mentioned in a previous entry, we were told that they would likely want the baby to arrive around week 39.
Next, Brian and I were both curious if a c-section would be beneficial to increase the medical team's level of "control". Up until two weeks ago, a c-section was my nightmare. I spent months preparing myself mentally and physically to engage in a right of passage that my body was literally created to do: bring a child into this world. Everyone has a right to their own opinion when it comes to their beliefs on this topic, but I wanted to a) experience childbirth naturally with little to no medical intervention and b) avoid major abdominal surgery. However, when the health of my little peanut became the topic of every conversation, all well intended plans were off the table. If the medical staff concluded that a c-section was the best option to compliment neonatology's plans, then I would do whatever it took. However, this doctor echoed what the pediatric surgeon and the neonatologist expressed; there was no medical reason to justify a c-section unless the baby was in distress. I know that I'm not anywhere close to a physician, but I was under the impression from a lot of research that there are many major benefits to a vaginal labor and delivery. It was refreshing to have this doctor reiterate this impression.
Finally, we discussed our next appointment in a week (39 weeks and 1 day). If at that point my body and the baby are showing signs that labor is approaching, induction will likely be in our best interest to give the medical team a more accurate window of time to anticipate the baby's arrival. However, he did ask Brian and I to think about this plan and encouraged us to bring questions for our next meeting along with our opinions regarding induction; if we wanted to wait for a completely natural labor, they would take this opinion into consideration when finalizing our care plan. If I'm showing no signs of labor, we'll need to take it a couple days at a time. So, ultimately, we will wait one more week before any further decisions are made... unless the baby opts to come earlier. It's as if we are hearing the final clicks up the first big hill on a roller coaster - the initial drop is going to be gut-wrenching and we don't know what the rest of the ride will be like, but the anticipation is just as brutal.
To add another twist to our current world, Brian has been in a cast for the last three weeks due to a stress fracture in his left foot caused by marathon training. He met with his ortho today and, unfortunately, it was decided that he needed another three weeks in a cast. Again, while this wasn't the news that we wanted to hear, we will get through this bump in the road, too. His old cast was florescent green and when they removed it, he asked the nurse to cut out my name. For those of you know about the famous green cast from 6th grade, today brought us full circle...she couldn't manage a heart, but I still didn't tear this one up ;)
"Just keep swimming."