It’s been an emotional couple of days over here in pregnancy land.
Six weeks ago, at my 22-week ultrasound, I was diagnosed with placenta previa. Most placentas attach high up on the uterus, but mine (and about 1 out of every 200 pregnant women) decided to attach low down. This causes problems when it comes time to deliver baby, because the placenta is blocking baby’s path–and leads to dangerous bleeding.
Our sonographer breezily told us that most of the time the placenta moves up as the uterus grows, and not to worry about it. My midwife told us the same thing. But then a few weeks later our midwife had a chance to look at my ultrasound, and told me that my placenta was covering so much of the cervix that it may not move, and I needed to be prepared for the eventuality that I’d need a C-section.
A C-section definitely wasn’t a part of my plan: I’ve been dreaming of a natural birth for a long time, and even before I became pregnant I did all the research about it. I’ve read all the books, listened to all the podcasts, and felt so ready for it! I’ve been doing all the crunchy things to prepare for the birth from drinking my red raspberry tea to sitting on a yoga ball every day to learning meditations.
I really, really didn’t want to have a C-section. All my crunchy beliefs aside, C-sections terrify me.
So I prayed, googled, and hoped.
We found out at my 28-week ultrasound this past Friday that I still have placenta previa, and that my stubborn placenta hasn’t moved an iota since my 22-week scan.
This means three things for me:
- I will have restrictions for the rest of my pregnancy, including not lifting anything (no grocery shopping, no moving furniture, no taking out the trash, nothing strenuous), no exercise, and taking it as easy as possible so as to try to avoid premature labor.
- I will constantly have to be watching for signs of bleeding, which is common with placenta previa, and if that should happen, and they couldn’t stop the bleeding, then I’d need to deliver early.
- I will need to plan on a C-section, a few weeks before my due date so as to avoid me going into labor.
My sonographer was great, she was so sweet–and reminded me that this wasn’t the end of the world: “I see so many people in here who get upset because their baby is breech, and they won’t be able to have a natural birth–but you know what? I see babies that have major heart defects, and babies that suddenly stop growing. Your baby is healthy, you are so lucky. This isn’t a huge deal.”
My midwife, too, wasn’t going to let me leave until she had cheered me up. She was over the top with enthusiasm about everything from VBACs (“just because you have a c-section this time, doesn’t mean you’ll have to the next time!”) to the color of my urine (“you are so well hydrated!!”), she was really stretching, but I could tell that she was just trying hard to boost my spirits. In about twenty minutes she went over what it is like to have a C-section, why the hospital I am delivering at is great at gentle caesarean births, that if the placenta did somehow move what my natural birth might be like, about how important it is that I follow all my restrictions (especially the no lifting, and drinking tons of water to avoid contractions), and what to watch for in the case of a bleed.
Three days later, I am still remembering things she said, because my head was in such a daze.
The past few days I’ve stuck pretty close to home. I’ve talked to a few trusted people. Cried a lot. And done absolutely no research. Going from a natural birth with a due date of August 29th to a caesarean birth with an as of yet undecided due date has me feeling extremely overwhelmed. I honestly feel like I have a ticking time bomb inside of me, and I’m not sure when it will go off.
Suddenly, this pregnancy feels extremely weighty. I am anxious to make it to 35-weeks so that baby won’t have to spend time in the NICU. I am second guessing all my daily activities, and every night that I can mark another day off on the calendar, I breathe a sigh of relief.
I need to find a way to regain my pregnancy chutzpah, to once again take this pregnancy by storm, and do all the research that I know will make the type-A part of me happy. But for now, I am just processing, putting my hands on my belly, and repeating the words to baby that my husband has been telling me every day: we are going to be okay.