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Chronically Pregnant – Week 23

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I walked tearfully and nervously into the anesthesiologist office. Armed with materials that would support my desire for an epidural, I had hoped we could see eye to eye on my method of delivery. Because I have what is considered a spinal cord injury, it is difficult to get an anesthesiologist to agree to an epidural; even though there is not much support that an epidural would be harmful in my condition. My alternatives are an all natural labor, which increases my risk of a potentially fatal condition called “autonomic dysreflexia” or to be put under general anesthesia and have a C-Section. Both come with tremendous risks and I wasn’t prepared to accept either option, but what I was willing to accept and what was my reality were two different scenarios. I pictured myself going into labor when Baby Jax was ready, sauntering into labor and delivery, getting my epidural, and delivering him just like I’d delivered my four other babies.

That will not be the case. My birthing plan was tossed out the window as the anesthesiology team determined that general anesthesia and a C-Section will be the very safest method of delivery. My little dreams were shattered and I was overcome with a fear I’ve been battling with since the news. Although I am getting a second opinion, I don’t have high hopes that the outcome will be any different. I will not be conscious for my delivery. I will not have skin to skin contact the moment Baby Jax makes his entry into this world, and I will be having a major abdominal surgery to deliver him.

I’m sure many of you have had successful C-Sections and some of you may even prefer having a C-Section over having a vaginal delivery! I’m also certain many of you had one idea of how your births would go, only to find out that you had little control over how it actually went. I’m having to learn to cope with my anxiety and fears, like I have so many other times with this chronic illness, but what makes it worse is that now this involves, not just my life, but Jaxson’s too. This is a time when, in my personal journey, I must rely heavily on the Lord to delivery me from my fears. Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you.” has become my mantra over the years and I have to rely on His strength because I just don’t feel like I have any of my own.

Here are some things I’m learning about this journey:

  1. There are a lot of things I can control. I can eat healthy, be sure to go to all of my appointments, take my prenatal vitamins, and listen to my body. There are also a lot of things I cannot control. I cannot control when my chronic illness is going to flare up. I cannot control how I’m going to physically feel on any given day. I cannot control every aspect of my labor and delivery.
  2. I have to learn to let go of what I cannot control. Adding the stress of fear and anxiety will only make things harder on my body. I must accept that God is with me and Baby Jaxson and that His will, not my own, will be done.
  3. It’s OK to get a second opinion! I know that I will feel much more confident about my delivery if I have 3rd party validation that I’m doing what’s best for us.

2 thoughts on “Chronically Pregnant – Week 23

  1. Definitely a second opinion . I had a high risk pregnancy and I also have TM although when I delivered my son I didn’t . I did have to have a c section but I was able to be awake the whole time and got to see him delivered and had immediate skin contact. . I’m unclear why they won’t keep you conscious with an epidural so you can witness the birth . I wish you luck and whatever happens your plan of staying calm and caring for yourself is a good one . As long as you and Your baby are ok all will be right.

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    • Thank you for sharing your story and words on encouragement! The anesthesiologists don’t want to come near my spine with an epidural or spinal block because of my lesion being at T6. I have heard wonderful success stories of other moms who have been able to have an epidural with TM but, unfortunately, there is not an anesthesia group within a safe vicinity of where I’ll be giving birth that will come 10 feet within my spine.

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