"Courage is knowing you're licked before you've begun but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."
- Atticus Finch, "To Kill A Mockingbird"In a way, at the beginning of this pregnancy I did feel licked. Bear's birth had ended in a C-section which made me a VBAC candidate this time around. Our hospital does not perform VBACS thus my current midwifery could not deliver. We temporarily needed to leave them for a VBAC friendly hospital and an OB/GYN practice affiliated with it. I again felt in control of my pregnancy with this switch and was thrilled to have the VBAC option: it meant that no matter how things ended, my body would be able to go into labor naturally, allowing for all those good hormones to surge and do their thing.
In the 35th week of my pregnancy, I received the standard Strep B test and it came back positive. Typical treatment for this involves hospitalization for antibiotics once labor begins or the waters break and none of it bodes well for a VBAC candidate. I called doctors, trolled the Internet and cried- then I came up with a plan. I would only be willing to take the antibiotics if a) my waters were ruptured for 18+ hours b) I went into labor before 38 weeks.
More drama (or shall I say "courage building") came at the tail end of my pregnancy. Long story short: I received news there was a discrepancy over my due date and so I was suddenly considered "late". I could go into a big explanation here, but there's no need because at 3:47am the next day my water broke and the point was moot. Oh how I adored this baby already!
I labored through the day; some of it intense, some not. Eventually Bear was settled in at a friend's house and the clock struck 18 hours. Like it or not, I knew it was time to head to the hospital.
A woman in Laborland doesn't really know what's going on around her besides contractions. Time must have passed; eventually it was evening of the second day. I labored and exhaustion was beginning to creep in, but the baby stayed strong and I was so proud of my body to have come that far. I tried to register each wave of contractions to memory, for this phase was a gift and I knew it.
The morning of the third day came upon us and with the final exam I was told what I already intuitively felt: regardless of the intensity or amount of contractions, my cervix was not dilating appropriately.
"Ace" arrived by C-section on 10/7/11. He was
A week later, we took him to meet the midwives. They oogled and fussed, congratulated me and wiped my uncertain tears as I told them the story. My hands were clasped by one of them and she looked me in the eye and said,
"You had guts to do what you did.
You took the cards you were
dealt and turned them into aces. He's beautiful!"
I tell you this- none of the decisions arrived at on this journey were easy nor lightheartedly made. It could have gone differently- perhaps better, perhaps worse, but I stand by the way it went down and I own each moment. In the end I learned to trust myself further. I gathered my courage around me in time of need and I pulled up to the table with the hand I had. Not enough cards to trump, but an Ace none the less...
and he is indeed beautiful.