Michael’s death last year was ambiguous. All we know is that sometime during my perfect labor, he stressed enough to inhale meconium, and when he was born alive and crying less than ten minutes later, he suffocated on it.
We had an autopsy. We had tests. My doctor and nurses went over the monitor strips from that night with a fine tooth comb, but no answers were to be found outside of God.
They were quick to assure me it wasn’t my fault. How can a woman who has a perfect pregnancy, an easy five-hour labor, and a less-than-ten-minute pushing phase, who did everything right, who was built to have children better than many others be at fault?
I naively thought that since the medical community had decided it wasn’t me, that I’d get another chance: another chance at the labor and delivery experience I wanted, another chance to make it end right like every birth story should…
Instead, I find myself sitting here at 4am, unable to sleep because I feel cornered and tormented like a feral cat.
Let me back up a bit.
This last week (week 38) had an auspicious beginning — my body was busy doing its’ labor and delivery prep thang, and both me and my baby were doing fantastically. Then I found myself being bullied by my then doctor, and come to find out that not only had he decided that HE was in charge of my body (and didn’t care if I hated him for it), but that he’d been lying to me. Oh sure, you can try again, when he had no intention whatsoever of letting me out of my 39 week appointment without a chemical induction or forced surgery to rip this baby out of me.
So I found a new doc, because, be damned if I’m going to be railroaded without a viable medical reason — and not just a paranoid opinion. (Why do doctors always seem to assume the worst instead of assuming the best?) And even though I feel like I’m in better hands (because the new doc is actually up front with me!), I still feel cornered and punished for past events.
What no one tells you is that when you lose a baby so late in the game, that that’s all the time you get. Your obstetrical history from that point forward is flagged, and every subsequent pregnancy is only alotted that much time in the interests of “safety.” In other words, since I went into spontaneous labor at 39 weeks with Michael — and he died — that’s all the time the docs are willing to allow me to give birth on my own, that’s all the chance they feel comfortable letting me have for any other baby I might carry to “term.”
So here I sit, 39 weeks along with a perfectly healthy-thus-far baby, currently NOT in labor, and feeling like I’ve got to pick up my blade and fight my way out of a no-win battle with enemies on every side. Every appointment gets more tense, every appointment packs on the pressure to cave to the medical status quo. I feel cornered, and trapped, and frightened, because I’ve done a crap ton of research, and neither of their presented options (induction or mandated cesarean) appeal to me for the potential risks that are over and above what it might be to just let nature take its’ course in my particular case.
I am weary. Weary of being pregnant, weary of the snarled up ball of emotions, weary of fighting every. step. of. the. way. for a favorable, gentle, healing outcome. I am ready to have this baby happen, and to start that chapter of my life… All I want is to not have to fight for it any more.
Unfortunately, I’m not driving this show boat anymore. My baby is.
And he has less than a week.
God, I hate deadlines.