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    And Then There Was Q.

    January 24, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    Sorry. I was hoping to carry the Lemony Snicket allusions in the titles through to the end of this semi-birth story series, but, alas, penultimate means next to the last, and I don’t know if Q. is my next-to-last baby or not. So The Penultimate Peril was out. And The Reptile Room just didn’t seem fitting.

    So And Then There Was Q. it is.

    As I told anyone who would listen, I had contractions with Q. for just under four weeks. Four weeks. They started out pretty mild, but the last two weeks were quite painful. About nine minutes apart most of the time, they only spread out if I was to lay down and fall completely asleep.

    We were ready by December 11th, because E. had been so early, and we had learned our lesson the first time. I thought that this would make me able to enjoy the holidays better. And it would have, if not for the contractions. The contractions meant I was constantly on high alert. Every load of laundry became the possible last load before the baby came. I did approximately 25 “last” loads.

    She was due on Christmas Day. Christmas Eve came. And went. Christmas Day came. And went.

    We had prayed that if attempting a VBAC was a mistake, God would keep us from it. I wanted badly to bring the baby forth without surgery, but we were both well aware that VBACs after two C-sections can be very risky, and largely unsuccessful. I knew from my experience with E. that a long labor before surgery could wear out one’s body and predispose one to infection.

    So we prayed. And God said “no.” In my 41st week of pregnancy, we scheduled the surgery for New Year’s Eve. I prayed and prayed that labor would start on its own before then, but the contractions lessened instead.

    Q. never dropped into the pelvis at all, remaining at -5 station until the very end. I never dilated past two, no matter what I tried to do to help “labor” along. We feel that God closed the door. And though we were disappointed, and I won’t say I didn’t cry about it the night before surgery, I firmly believe that it was for my own protection.

    So it seems that C-sections are now my lot in life. And it also seems that this will eventually limit our family size. But God knows that aspect of it all, too.

    The important part about this C-section is that it was the best I’ve ever had. The CRNA got the spinal block right the very first time, and the multiple shots in the spine were virtually painless. I forgot to mention in A.’s birth story that I could feel part of the surgery because the shot was done improperly. This surgery {for Q.’s birth} was painless for me, which was such a relief.

    I had told Si in advance that I thought this child would have dark hair. I remember feeling the pressure as the doctor pulled the baby out. And then I heard her gentle cry, so distinct from my other two babies. And then Si ran to my side and said, “I don’t know how you knew it, but she has dark hair!” After they cut the cord, they gave her to Si, and he brought her to my side and let me see her. The CRNA took a couple photos for us to memorialize the occasion.

    Unlike moms who birth their babies naturally, I have to wait at least 90 minutes before getting to hold my baby. My husband spends the after-birth alert time with the baby instead of me. Babies are usually sleeping by the time C-section moms see them, and so they don’t get to nurse for the first time until the baby is three or four hours old.

    I think my biggest disappointment has been that, besides missing out on that female rite of passage called delivery, I don’t get to hold and nurse my babies right away. I can’t explain the angst, the overwhelming desire to not be separated from this little life that has been inside me for so many months (almost ten!).

    But in the end, I still have a baby.

    And this baby is the baby that helps me understand what Cindy meant when she said that all her newborns were old friends. E. was a shock because he was early and I was an unprepared first-time mom who felt very insecure about the whole transition I was facing. A. was a shock because I was, for some strange reason, insecure about parenting a girl. But Q. was an old friend indeed. And though she is only a bit over three weeks old, I feel as if she has been a part of this family forever.


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    1 Comment

  • Reply Hayley January 18, 2013 at 5:22 am

    I’m sorry that you didn’t get to hold your baby right away. That happened to me the first time (but not for as long) as I was very disappointed, so I can kind of relate. It is so wonderful how babies, upon their arrival, feel like they have been a part of our family forever- that this is how life has always been. What a blessing.

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