This story is begging to be written. I need to get it on "paper" and out of my head. The weeks of wonder and sadness need to be closed. I hesitate to write because just a generation ago this issue would not be discussed with the closest of friends let alone on digital "paper." I'm choosing to share what has happened in my heart because answers have been acquired and the decision has been made.
This is the rest of my birth experience from the last 7 weeks:
Not long after Anna was delivered, my surgeon (who is not my primary doctor) said, "Carla, I strongly recommend that you not get pregnant again." I immediately started coaching myself not to cry. I knew I couldn't look at Jeremy. I turned my head away and looked out the high windows at the gray sky and watched the occasional bird fly past. The surgeon briefly explained that because scar tissue does not heal as strongly as muscle I had a "window", a very thin area in the uterus. This "window" caused the surgeon to fear a uterine rupture should I have another pregnancy. She said she would attempt to repair that area. Nothing else was said during the procedure.
I was left with my thoughts and dreams. I went to recovery and finally got to hold my baby. I kept it together while Mom and Dad met Anna. There was a moment that I got my Mom's attention. She came to me and I told her and started to sob. To my surprise, she already knew. Jeremy had told our parents which told me that it was heavy on his mind and heart. He and I shared our disappointment later in the afternoon. We were not ready or prepared for this to be our last baby.
My surgeon was the doctor who saw me the day I was discharged and I took the opportunity to ask her how the repair went. She explained what she did. I told her how sad Jeremy and I were as we had planned to have another baby. She looked very slightly sheepish and said that we could have another pregnancy. That the group of doctors would all be comfortable if I got pregnant, they would watch closely and deliver early so as to avoid contractions. That was nice to hear, but why would she have made such a wild statement in the OR? She is a fine surgeon, but I had lost some confidence in her by then. Jeremy wasn't with me for this conversation and I knew I could not have another pregnancy with only this information.
I needed to wait for my 6 week follow up appointment for some answers. In the meantime, I cried. My heart was sad. The tears came in floods. I held Anna and tried to be ok that she was my last. I imagined our family with 3 children. I was a little angry at medicine that determined I had to have 3 c-sections which seemingly ruined my womb. I started grieving the little not-yet-conceived person that already had a spot in my heart and in my dreams.
I'm not trying to be dramatic. This is really how deeply I felt this. I even felt guilty for not being able to easily walk away from my child bearing years with 3 healthy children. And I couldn't talk about it. This verbal processor had to be quiet!
Last Friday that 6 week appointment finally came. Jeremy and I were able to have a conversation with my primary doctor. In her office. She took a lot of time with us and we left confident. After reading the surgery report and listening to what the surgeon had spoken to me she didn't hesitate....if you want another baby, have another baby. Really?? She had to convince me a little despite my happiness. She explained uterine rupture, uterine window and what steps would be taken to make sure I don't have contractions. People with higher risk of uterine rupture than me are told they can have another pregnancy. My doctor said that I did not have a true uterine window because the doctor had to use a scapel to get to the baby. My uterus looked like she would expect a laboring uterus to look. (Well, I did have contractions for 6 hours before the c-section. Not that anyone really cared about that when I was being monitored.) I would deliver another baby between 36 and 38 weeks to avoid any contractions.
My prayer was that I would have a solid answer. That prayer has been answered and I am so thankful. My sorrow has turned to joy.
Now it is time to enjoy not being pregnant! Anna started smiling and is delighting me with her little coos and happy noises. I am feeling very good. It is great to be able to lift Josiah or bend down to pick up toys without discomfort or thinking twice.