First up was dropping Arthur off at his grandma’s while Chris and I went for the 20 week anatomy and gender scan for our next baby. The baby presented very well for the ultrasound tech/midwife… she was able to quickly and easily get all of the baby’s measurements. The baby is measuring perfectly for its gestation. All of the organs, limbs, fingers, and toes are there. Brain development looks normal. Hearbeat is strong and all chambers and the baby’s aorta showed clearly. This baby’s just perfect.
We finally got the gender… and it’s a girl. Her name is Victoria Ann. I am so over the moon—I really wanted a little girl.
There after, I spoke to a specialist about birthing options. The midwives have been treating me with kit gloves a bit since I had a c-section with Arthur. In England, c-sections are not nearly as common as they are in the US—most areas rate 10% or less c-section rate. VBACs overall are preferred and there’s a good rate for VBAC success in England—around 87%. So while I’m not going to have to fight for my VBAC like I did when I was in the US, the specialist was a little doomsday about how their threshold for recommending a c-section is much lower when someone has already had a c-section.
We deliberated over fetal monitoring for quite a while. They of course recommend continuous fetal monitoring for prior c-sections moms to watch for any uterine ruptures. I of course said, that’s rubbish, let’s do intermittent monitoring because no one can show me what the electronic signature for a uterine rupture looks like. How do you tell if there’s a uterine rupture? Pain and bleeding in between contractions. I’ve given birth before… I trust my body will know what its doing and I trust I’ll know when the pain’s not right.
Wearing a fetal monitor won’t change that. I want a warm bath if I need help in managing the pain. I want to be able to walk laps and stairs if my labor stalls out. Don’t make me decide to stay home until I’m stage 2, please.
We also talked a bit about using pitocin if needed. I looked at the specialist sceptically, “won’t that cause more pressure on my c-section scar?” He honestly responded that it would which is why they would have to use it carefully. I asked him if I’d be given other options first, like walking, bouncing on a ball, labouring upright? The specialist resolved that it sounded like I had my mind made up and that those choices were ultimately up to the midwives and OB on duty when I’m in labor.
The culture for birthing in England is very different from the US. The majority of c-sections done here are actually elected c-sections. So often when a woman’s had a c-section, it’s because she elected it and likely wants another one. So I think that the specialist was glad he wouldn’t have to sway me like that (try a VBAC first?), but I don’t think he was ready for the sort of sway he ended up having to do (no intervention please).
I’ll be making up a list of things to do and try during labor for both myself and Chris to refer to that we’ll push for before I’m given the drip or put under the knife again. I’m considering adding to the list not to tell me how far dilated I am so that it doesn’t undermine my confidence.
I also asked about keeping my placenta, which the specialist said I’m absolutely permitted to do. He mentioned encapsulation with a wrinkled nose and then how Muslims often keep theirs to bury and asked out of curiosity, what I would do with mine. I responded jokingly, it’s a Native American thing… he looked astonished and curious at that and I laughed and told him encapsulation. Time to get the food dehydrator on order.
Aquanatal ended up getting cancelled. I’m pretty annoyed with that. I was told that it was for pool maintenance and that it was cancelled next week as well, but phone in a couple of weeks from now to see if it was still on. Seriously? Pool maintenance shouldn’t take two weeks to do. I had been phoning the Wigan Life Centre earlier this week to find out if they were open on Jubilee Tuesday and they didn’t know. So I think its time to pen a letter to management about their scheduling difficulties. I want to take Arthur swimming, but if I’m not able to go check out the facilities first hand, I don’t feel confident taking a toddler where I don’t know what to anticipate.
It was an early night to bed for all of us.