We did it. We stuck to our guns and told the sonographer that we did not wish to find out the gender of our third child. We dutifully turned our heads away when she asked and we didn’t try to sneak peeks. For the first time, we have a genuine surprise on our hands. The scan was amazing. Said surprise baby complied perfectly and all measurements were spot on for a healthy, well developing foetus. Such a relief. I wish I could say the same for the consultant appointment which followed.
I had an appointment to see my consultant, since I am ‘high risk’ and because they wanted to discuss my birth options. My midwife had already told me that my options were limited, which was fine by me. I want a planned section so if that is my option, no problem. As always, my blood pressure and wee sample were both fine. I am in good health, feeling fine and with no concerns over my own or my baby’s health. The scan was straight forward and the baby is growing well. High Risk? Pffff.
I didn’t see my consultant. A registrar was sent instead, just as they had during my ‘consultant’ appointment in my last pregnancy. Ok, people are busy. The registrar had limited English and spoke with a heavy accent so communication was stilted. Again, not a real problem. Except that I was there to make my case for a planned section.
The registrar spent ages telling me about the pros and cons of a c-section. I know that recovery takes longer than with a natural birth. I know that I will be unable to drive afterwards. I was told that I would have three scars following the surgery, at which point I asked why they wouldn’t cut along one of my existing scars. The tally of scars was hastily amended to two once more. Fine. Moving on.
The registrar then told me that I was at an increased risk of the placenta attaching to the scar tissue in the uterus and that removing it could pose a problem during the section. The worse case scenario would be heavy blood loss, resulting in a transfusion and hysterectomy.
The bottom fell out of my confidence and smashed on the floor.
I didn’t want to be told that this is the last child I will ever have. I wanted to make that decision myself. I don’t want to risk losing my ability to be a mother. I don’t want a hysterectomy. I am only 33. I want them to be able to save my life, obviously. But a hysterectomy? The finalisation of it all. No more babies. No more hope. No.
I held it together. If I don’t have a section? Apparently a natural birth is the preferred option. For who? Not for me. I tried that twice already, have two visible scars to prove it, plus a million hidden scars too. A natural birth holds risks too, apparently. The possibility of the scars rupturing is what makes me high risk. I have two scars so the risk is further increased. My husband wants facts and figures.
There is a 40% chance of a natural birth ending up as an emergency section.
I can’t do it. But I can’t risk the complications of another section either. Or can I?
My registrar then chose to peruse my notes once more. She found that during my scan, my placenta was noted as posterior. These means it is behind the baby, well away from the scar tissue. Will it stay there? Oh, yes. So how will it attach itself to the scar tissue? Um, it won’t. The possibility of this and the resulting blood loss etc does not apply to me as am fortunate enough to have a posterior placenta.
Did my registrar need to tell me of the risks involved with an anterior placenta (this is where the placenta is positioned at the front of the baby)? I understand that I need to have all the facts before I can make an informed decision, but do I really need to know the risks of another patient here?
My request for a planned section has been recorded. I am to go back at 28 weeks for monitoring. The decision as to whether or not I can have a planned section will be made at 36 weeks, as it was with my son. I now face 15 weeks of wondering whether or not I am to go through the same process once more. I now face 15 weeks of dreading each twinge in-case it is the early onset of labour. I now face 15 weeks of waiting before I am able to state my case and put my foot down. I face 15 weeks of growing anxiety.
Ok, so a natural birth may not end up in an emergency section. There is a 60% chance that it won’t. There was an even bigger chance the last two times. I have heard people say that sections should be agreed to on purely medical reasons, which I have to disagree with. Even if medical reasons definitively defied my reasons for wanting a planned section, doesn’t a patient’s emotions and psychological state have to also be considered? If I had been counselled through my fear or granted my wish for a planned section ls time, perhaps we would be in a different place right now. As it is, I feel like I am back at square one again. The only difference is that this time I will fight with all I have to make sure I get the birth I deserve.