This time it was a little more heart-wrenching.
I wasn’t worrying about my appearance, or my future post-preggo body. I wasn’t worrying about tears, or c-section scars, or stretch marks, or any of that dumb shit. Because I came to realize none of it mattered. That was the thing about going through something like this, the importance of life shined through the darkness.
This time I was worrying for real. Max wasn’t getting better. We were going to weekly stress tests and sonograms at the antenatal testing center for high risk pregnancies. He wasn’t showing signs of distress, thank God, but the fluid was increasing, and so was his head circumference. They were worried about the me-to-him ratio, in other words, at only 36 weeks, he wasn’t going to fit. They were even more worried about the amount of added pressure going through the birth canal would put on his brain. They were worried, but they said I could still try. They said that emergency c-sections happen all the time.
Oh… Okay… But… Isn’t he already high risk? Why would we further risk it? Why would I even try? If in your opinion, the me-to-him ratio is already concerning? Aren’t emergency c-sections… For emergencies? Not for Oh-Let’s-Try-It-Out emergencies? Don’t emergency c-sections, sometimes prove to be fatal? For the mother AND the baby? Aren’t we supposed to be airing on the side of caution anyway? Isn’t that why I’m driving 30 minutes, to wait in ridiculously long lines, to be jellied and probed, to be strapped down and watched, to have my baby’s EVERYTHING be monitored??? EVERY WEEK???
They all said the same thing, you can try to give birth naturally if you want, I can’t give you medical advice.
So, as doctors, physicians, licensed professional health care providers, you cannot provide me with health care advice. Hmm.. Makes sense, assholes.
I felt so utterly alone. Totally and completely. I was frightened for my baby’s safety…my safety. I didn’t know what to do, and no one was helping me. My DOCTORS wouldn’t HELP me. How ass backwards does that sound to you? The anxiety was stomach-churning, and not in the form of a pregnancy symptom. Up until the very last appointment before Max came, that was my constant state of mind: nauseated.
I was going to see my OB/GYN for the final time, and I had to make my decision: labor and child birth, or c-section. And no one would tell me what was best, not my OB, not my high-risk doctors, not the nurses and technicians to whom I’d weasel in questions, no one. I was alone in it. The health of my baby, and I was alone in it. I sat silently in my car, and tears streamed endlessly down my cheeks. They were fire on my skin, until they all but froze where they were falling down my face while I walked through the icy wind towards the building’s entrance. I swiped them away, and pressed for the elevator. Just before the doors closed, I caught my reflection in the mirrored windows across from me. Panic was etched into my face so permanently over the past few months, I doubted it’d ever leave me. When the doors reopened, I once again saw the face of a stranger, riddled with lines and dark circles that told the world my mind was troubled. I knew I had to do something. I knew I had to pray. Though, it felt like God had been absent this whole time. I’d been praying and praying for a miracle, for a doctor to come in and tell me it was all a mistake, a blurry picture, a mix-up of images, or if life could not be reversed, for the fluid in Max’s brain to suddenly disappear… But it never happened. He sat quietly on his throne, and watched and waited. Finally, I knew I couldn’t hold onto this anymore. It was too big, and I was too small. It was too vast, and my shoulders too limited in breadth. It was so heavy, and I felt so utterly weak. I had to let it go.
With my hand on the door to the office, I released a gust of breath, and I gave it all to God.
Then, I was sitting on the patient table, waiting for my OB. The nurse already had me stripped from the waist down. Though I was vulnerable, with or without my clothes. I had been since this all started. Just as the nurse was leaving, I was peeking down at the enormity that had become me, right before she popped her head back in, and reminded me Dr. B would be seeing me today. My regular OB wouldn’t be coming in. The world stopped moving, everything, it all just stopped. My last appointment, and I had forgotten it had to be scheduled it with someone else? How could that have slipped my mind, and why did I agree to it in the first place? Fresh panic wreaked havoc on my nerves.
But Dr. B walked in, and peace filtered out the panic that was just pummeling through my veins, replacing it with an inviting warmth I’d never experienced, beckoning me to give in to the release. I felt at ease, except for that one little stubborn spot of anxiety that stayed pitted in my stomach. God answered my prayer. He sent me an angel. Dr. B walked me through every possibility of every option I had. He was patient and kind, and finally, when he saw that I still could not make the decision, he leaned in and said, “Lauren, if you were my wife, and if that was my baby, I would not hesitate to say this: Do the c-section.”
That was it. That was all I needed. I looked at Cody, he nodded, and it was scheduled. On January 19th, 2016, Max’s initial due date, Dr. B would surgically bring Max into this world in the safest environment possible.
God was waiting for me to trust Him, and once I did, He took my burden, and carried it for me.