No, the Ticker Isn't Going Backwards....

, , 4 Comments » just looks that way. If any of you have visited my (non-updated) blog recently, you may have noticed that it had been showing a gestational date of 16 weeks, but is now showing 12 weeks. Why the change? Well, my due date had been a loose estimate, based on my second-to-last period (I forgot to write down the date of the last one.) So I came up with a due date based on that.

However, after an ultrasound two weeks ago to determine if I was carrying twins (why am I always more sure with each pregnancy that I'm having twins when I'm not?!) I found out that based on the ultrasound, I was only nine weeks along. Grrrr!

So not only did I apparently skip a period somewhere along the line BEFORE I got pregnant, but I am also feeling even more farther along than I thought I was. Hence, the twin scare. Don't get me wrong, I am happy for any blessings God gives me. But I might be momentarily chagrined at God's sense of humor if He gave me twins now, when I already have four children under the age of five, rather than giving them to me with the first pregnancy, when I wanted twins. I was relieved it was just one baby, although I admit there was some slight disappointment too. ;-)

It's strange to me that not only is each pregnancy different, but I seem to be experiencing more severe symptoms each time. I can only be thankful that God was so merciful in letting my first pregnancy be so easy. I can't imagine being one of those poor women who have very rough pregnancies, especially if each one was worse than the last. Yikes! I'm pretty wimpy.

With other pregnancies, I've had occasional, very slight nausea a couple of times. This usually was when I hadn't had enough to eat, particularly when I was pregnant and still breastfeeding a previous baby, such as in my second and third pregnancies. Usually a bit of food made it vanish. This time, I was having frequent nausea, though still mild. It came at weird times though, like sometimes very soon after eating. I would be sure that I didn't need food, and food sounded so unappealing anyway. So I would let it go for a half hour to an hour, as it grew worse and worse, until finally I'd just go ahead and make myself eat, and usually it went away. Why I would get morning sickness and need to eat after JUST EATING is beyond me. Pregnancy is so weird.

Anyway, I seem to be past that, and feeling better. I know that my pregnancies are still a lot easier than a lot of people's, so I'm very grateful for that. But I do worry what my tenth pregnancy will be like, at this rate! lol

The Risks (?) of Multiple Pregnancies and Cesareans

Any woman who decides to have more than the "normal" amount of children is definitely going to hear unsolicited opinions about the wiseness of their choice. This is especially true of your family members and your doctors. Your family members are probably indoctrinated from the television, and believe anything the "idiot box" says. (I am embarrassed to admit that I still haven't been able to completely break my tv habit, but I most certainly do NOT believe what talk show hosts and tv news shows tell me to believe.)

Your mother (sibling/cousin/aunt/etc.) is sure to tell you how dangerous it is, how unhealthy it is, how hard it is, how expensive it is, etc. The ironic thing is that some of these people may have had many children themselves, and got through it just fine. My mom did. We were well-fed, well-clothed, and had more than a lot of smaller families we knew, even on my dad's very small income. They have been taught by the tv and by society that anyone who has more than two or three children (at MOST) is being reckless and taking their lives in their hands. Nothing could be further from the truth. While having more children does take more of a toll on your body, if you are eating right and exercising, you can greatly minimize the impact.

When you visit your obstetrician, be prepared. With each additional child, you will feel more pressure from your doctor to tie your tubes, use contraception, etc. He or she will bombard you with frightening statistics and, if you let your guard down, make you feel foolish for even considering it. This will be even worse if you have had any c-sections...and if you've had multiple sections, they will make it sound as if your uterus will explode if you try to have even one more child.

I urge anyone wanting to have more children to research it for yourself. And not just the typical medical journal studies, either. Visit the International Cesarean Awareness Network for more information. Also read books about cesarean sections. Even women who haven't had one should research this if they plan to have more. Cesarean sections do carry risks with them, and when you have a doctor trying to talk you into your first one, or to talk you into a repeat c-section instead of a VBAC, they will minimize the risks to you in order to get you to do what they want. Once you have your third or fourth child, the doctors will suddenly tell you that the risks are too high.

With even one c-section, you raise your risk for future tubal pregnancies, placenta previa, placenta accreta, uterine rupture, and other complications during future pregnancies. These risks are not high, but they are there. The risks will raise with each c-section, though not as high as doctors often claim. If you do your research, you will find that the studies they quote often lump cases together that should be in separate categories in order to make it an honest, accurate assessment of risks in the study. When you look up studies that appropriately separate cases into more detailed categories, it gives you a more accurate picture of the risks, and you find the risks are lower than doctors often state.

One example is in the case of "uterine ruptures". This is the scare tactic used most by doctors, making it sound as if your uterus will explode and you and your child will instantly die if you get one. This is highly exaggerated. The uterine rupture that is most worrisome is the "catastrophic rupture" where your uterus tears all the way through. This can be very dangerous, and if you are not able to get into a surgery suite very quickly, there can be fatal consequences for both mother and child. However, these are rare. Most uterine ruptures are partial ruptures, where the uterine muscle tears through only part of the uterine wall. In the case of "window" ruptures, the rupture is a very small one that only goes through a layer of the does not go all the way through. Many women get these, and they are not at all dangerous, and usually when having a c-section the doctor looks for these and repairs them. The studies often quoted by doctors usually do not differentiate between the serious and non-serious ruptures. Doctors often imply that these studies are referring to catastrophic ruptures when in reality they are lumping all types of ruptures together.

My last doctor used the "exploding uterus" ploy the last time. I expect this new doctor will use the "paper thin uterus" ploy after my next c-section. Your uterus can become thinner after many pregnancies, and this does up the risk of ruptures, but this is often exaggerated.

I cannot tell you how many women I have met who have been told that they should NEVER have another baby again, or they will surely die...and these women ignored their doctors and went on to have six, eight, or ten healthy children. Some of these women had c-sections, some didn't. All were given various reasons, all their doctors were certain that they were doomed, or that their children would be abnormal, etc. and none of their predictions turned out to be true. I met a woman once who had had NINE far. I know someone personally who has had far. They, like me, are quiverfull-minded.

Now, I don't want anyone to misunderstand me--c-sections can be dangerous. ANY surgery can be fatal. The thing that scares me most is blood clots. Not long ago, I heard of a woman who died three weeks after giving birth, from a blood clot that broke loose. Another mother I heard about online recently died of a blood clot when amniotic fluid leaked into her bloodstream as the baby was lifted out of her stomach. You can get a blood clot after dental surgery. So to me, blood clots scare me more than possible ruptures. My biggest piece of advice is do everything you can to avoid getting a c-section in the first place. Someone I know had one for what I personally believed wasn't a good reason. I warned her she was more likely to have tubal pregnancies, fertility problems, and more c-sections in the future. She chose to have one. Maybe it was the right decision. The next time she got pregnant it was tubal, and then couldn't get pregnant for a long time. The next pregnancy, her doctor was pushing at the end for a c-section, as I predicted. I strongly urged her not to get one. She was going to, but at the last minute was able to have it naturally. She was lucky, but she will face the same pressure from her doctor with each pregnancy.

Here is how I made my decision to keep having children. My faith. I do not believe in controlling my births. How can I say I trust God with everything...except my family size? I feel like I would be saying "God, I trust you with my marriage, my faith, my money, my life...but I know you cannot be trusted to keep my family size down to what I can handle. I just know you're going to give me twenty kids, and I know that I can't handle it. So I'm just going to cut you out of this area of my life. Sorry, but in this area, I know best." Notice all the "I" and the "I know"? I don't think most women think consciously like this, but when you break it down, that's the truth of it. Believe me, I sympathize! There are times I think "hey, just how many kids are you going to give me?!" It's a little scarier when they come close together. I really would like a large family, but in my weaker moments I just don't know how I can handle it.

And that, my friends, is the problem. "How will I handle it?" I, again. I, I, I. What we forget is that God will never give us more than we can handle....with HIS help! He will certainly give us more than we can handle alone, because we aren't meant to do it alone! Just because you don't use birth control, doesn't mean you will have twenty children. In fact, unless you are eighteen and very fertile, and don't breastfeed well, that is very unlikely. The only reason I have mine so close is that I don't produce milk well. Once I got a handle on it, I had twelve months between pregnancies, and around 22 months between births. I'm only pregnant now because I was an idiot and didn't try hard enough to do what I needed to to keep my milk production up, and ended up stopping altogether. And even then, God gave me a couple of extra months. Most people I've known personally only had around 6-8. Several I knew had only two or three. That's just all God gave them. Several I knew couldn't have any, and had to adopt. Only a handful of families had eleven or more, and they had married pretty young and had been quiverfull all along, and had babies longer than other women had.

Chances are I won't have more than six or eight. My mom went through the change early, and I may also. We'll see. I truly believe God knows best. And although my mom and my doctors think I'm crazy, I trust God as far as the c-sections go. Doesn't God carry us all in the palm of His hand? Not one hair on our heads will be harmed unless God permits it. If I die during a c-section, it will be because my time has come, not because I was "reckless" or "crazy". If it is my time to go, what better way to give up my life than in total submission to God, while giving life to another? I think that is a far better way to go than getting hit by a bus, suffering a heart attack, dying from cancer, getting mugged, or any myriad of other ways I could die. When God calls me home, I will go, and it doesn't matter if I am driving a car or giving birth. He will choose the time, and if it happens to be while I am giving birth so be it. I can't outrun it by avoiding His will. He will find me wherever I am. And hopefully when He does, I will be doing His will.

I hope everyone reads this and understands this to be an expression of my thinking and my beliefs, and not a criticism. I know others believe differently. My intention is only to express my own beliefs, and to maybe give others a new perspective to ponder.

May God bless you all, and please pray for me and my unborn child.

Question About Repeat C-Sections


I had a question a little while back in the comments section, and just recently realized that I'd overlooked it. I think it's a good question, and it's something every woman should know about. So Faraja, I apologize, and here is your question and my response:

"How did you find it having 4 c-sections (and will you need one again for the 5th?) I've had 3, and we'd love another baby but so many people (including my doctor) are saying I shouldn't do another c-section."

Well, as far as my experience with four c-sections, I hated having them. I desperately wanted to have a child normally, but let them talk me into the first one, even though I believe it was NOT necessary. This is very common. Doctors would rather do a c-section because it is quicker and easier for them, so they can get back to their office and back home, plus they consider it safer (for them) than being bothered to continue with a vaginal birth that isn't going as easily as they had hoped. It is definitely not safer for you and the baby, unless there are real signs of distress or some true need for it. "Failure to progress" and "cephalo-pelvic disproportion" (baby's head won't fit through your pelvis) are the two catch-phrases often used (and abused) as reasons for c-sections. There's no reason to be worried about "failure to progress" unless there are problems with you or the baby, such as fetal heartbeat dropping significantly. Doctors are in a big hurry nowadays. They do NOT want to let you labor. They want to get it over with, and the hospital wants that room available for the next mom.

CPD was the supposed reason for my c-section. The doctor said the baby's head wouldn't fit. Now I am more educated. After birth my son's head was perfect...there was no molding of the head at all as there should have been if my son's head had actually tried to go through my pelvis. I knew at the time the whole thing was bogus, but I was exhausted, in excruciating pain, and the nurses told me I couldn't have any more drugs unless I agreed to a c-section. Basically they blackmailed me. (All I'd had was a small dose of demerol--NEVER get that--and a half dose of an epidural.) Later after talking it over with my husband, we both believe that I wasn't fully dilated at the time they told me to push. There wasn't even a nurse in the room for about 99% of the time I pushed. It was a nightmare.

My second birth was an emergency c-section, because I had pre-eclampsia. That one I think was necessary, because as it turned out, there were also two knots in the cord. The third one I wanted to have a homebirth with a midwife, but where I lived at that time, state law prohibited midwives from attending VBAC births where there had been a c-section within less than 18 months, and I had had only thirteen months between those births. For the last birth, I had given up on finding a midwife to accept me, then heard that in this area, there are some women who have had safe home births after three or four c-sections. I found a couple of midwives who would have done it, but because of my other health risks (weight, gestational diabetes, etc.) and the fact that I was so far along (in my third trimester) they decided against taking me. I was pretty devastated. But this time I actually found a holistically-based hospital, and (as c-sections go) it was very enjoyable. The staff was great, the room was great, they even doulas and masseuses on staff. I had to travel an hour to get to the hospital, but it was worth it.

I was fortunate that my recovery from all of my c-sections has been relatively easy compared to some women, and my pregnancies haven't been bad either. However, I will say that each successive pregnancy and each surgery has been a little harder each time. Not only am I having more children than the average mom today, but I'm having them closer than most women (who breastfeed) do. So with the stress on my body, plus my age (almost 35), I guess it's to be expected that each pregnancy and surgery might be a little tougher.

I'll comment more on the risks (and the exaggerations about them) of c-sections in the next post.