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Compartment 14B

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Returning to human, family planning, and C or VBAC: the right choice for me.

2008-06-15 - 2:37 p.m.

Iím a dozen days post-partum and am finally starting to feel human again. I can do most low-key activities (like sit forward from a semi-reclining position) without visibly wincing. I donít know what my weight is, but (and hereís where you may start to hate me, just a little bit) my shape is becoming less pear-like. Best of all, my skin seems to be shrinking along with my belly, so I donít have that pooched-out smooshy belly I was dreading. I know there are no guarantees it wonít just stop retracting and Iíll end up eating my words, but Iíd like to say that, for now, Iím kind of encouraged. I mean, I wonít be out of maternity clothes in the next couple of days or anything, but I can foresee a time in the not too distant future that I will be. Large and/or stretchy non-maternity clothes to be sure, but non-maternity nonetheless.

When I had Grommet, I remember sitting in the recovery room after a long, nasty labour and then scary, doped-up emergency c-section and declaring to J, ďNext time, Iím not going to wait so long for the epiduralÖĒ A nurse nearby seemed astonished that Iíd be thinking of the next time already and remarked that it usually took awhile for the new moms to be convinced there would even be a next time. At the time I thought, well duh, I want more than one kid and this experience was relatively fleeting in the grand scheme of things, much as it had sucked. I even felt, maybe, a small flash of pride that I was tough enough to be talking about the next time so soon if others in the same situation were daunted.

I have to admit that now, I am on the same page as that nurse. I have a beautiful son and daughter, the c-section recovery is brutal, even if the worst is over in less than 2 weeks, and I cannot imagine going through it all again, particularly since Iím 35 at this point. Maybe if we were in our mid-20s it would be different. Maybe if we had 2 boys Iíd have been willing to try again for a daughter (I confess, not the other way Ďround though Ė I wouldnít trade Biscuit for anything, but Iíve always pictured myself as having daughters so two girls would not have merited trying for a boy in my books). Maybe even if getting pregnant were easy for us, weíd give it some more consideration, but well, the deck is kind of stacked against us on this one, so, barring any unplanned (though not unwelcome) pregnancies, Iím pretty sure weíre done having babies. I can confidently state that weíre not planning on any more trips to the fertility clinic to make it happen, particularly with the attendant risk of multiples from that route.

I will always cherish the memories of my pregnancies though. I loved having the big, round, hard belly that undulated with the movement of the small being growing inside me. I was blessed with relatively easy pregnancies too Ė I had pre-eclampsia in my first pregnancy but I didnít actually feel sick from it, I just had to cut back on my activity and lament the loss of my ankles; heartburn was my biggest problem towards the end of each and thatís not bad in the scheme of things. I escaped morning sickness other than a vague feeling of queasiness, I maintained a fairly high energy level and worked out until the 7th month the first time and up to 8 Ĺ months the second, and I only gained 35 lbs with my first and 31 with my second. The one or two tiny stretch marks I got the first time are hidden in my tattoo and I didnít get any this second time around. If it werenít for my age and my difficulty actually getting the babies out of me, Iíd probably be a good candidate for being a surrogate.

Speaking of trouble birthiní babies, if youíve been following along you know that, towards the end, Iíd been wondering if I made the right choice by going with a planned c-section. Given my dismay to find that the recovery this time wasnít actually any easier, you may think Iíd regret the fact I didnít try for a VBAC: not so my friends. During the section my OB set my mind at ease as to whether Iíd made the right decision or not by remarking, ďIím glad you didnít labour. Your uterus is very thin at the site of the old c-section.Ē In other words, she feels that I would have been in danger of uterine rupture. Iím glad she shared this with me because now, rather than wondering if I missed out on a better option, I feel like I maybe dodged a bit of a bullet.

So, while I wonít say I donít care how Biscuit got here (insert obligatory ďas long as heís healthyĒ), I do feel at peace with it. A c-section may have a long, painful recovery, but at least I know it was the best option for me. And if we do have another baby because, like Marilyn, we manage to have an unplanned, non-Clomid-induced pregnancy, Iíll take the c-section and be grateful that I live in an age when itís an option.

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