For the last two weeks, I've been having this recurring dream that ends as a nightmare. While I believe dreams can be a gateway into future events, I also believe that they can simply be a mishmash of what is going on in our lives or a creation of our thoughts and fears. I'm not sure what the deal is, honestly... I tend to think it is a fear of mine coming to life in my mind, but I have no clue.
As a childbirth educator and doula, I'm aware of what can happen with repeat cesareans. I'm on my fourth surgery: Bobby and Maya were a (thankfully, well done) emergency c/s; then I had my TAC (which is completed like a c/s with Dr. H and counts towards my "total"); then Michael, and now, of course, we are prepping for our next surgery for Lucas's delivery. I trust Dr. B. We've discussed his methods for a surgical delivery at length; I was comfortable enough with it with Michael and I still have no doubts. But more cesareans mean a higher chance that something might go wrong. There is, of course, a higher risk of maternal death (it is surgery, of course, so that's no big shock). Charts like this one make me question whether shooting for 39 weeks is within a safe window, or if we should petition the hospital for a 38 week exception. (This article gives a well rounded, I think view, of choosing early delivery and makes me still comfortable with our 10/5 goal.) Michael came around 37 weeks; babies come when they come. While my hope is that October 5th 39 week mark, I'm not holding my breath and I'm just living life and making plans. But, I get that there are statistics and they aren't always on my side. (Let's be honest... you can find stats for anything.... Searching positive things for repeat c/s brings up link after link, too.)
But anyway.... My Dreamares.... The dream starts the same. I see myself getting into the car to go to the hospital. We drop the kids off at my in-laws with an overnight bag just in case. Peter has reorganized their guest room to make it a kid room (this hasn't happened in real life although it is a discussion). The kids are excited. We tell them they can come to the hospital later to meet their new baby brother on the outside. There are hugs and kisses. Peter and I drive to the hospital. There's no traffic and we are happily talking about adding a new baby to the house. The car seat sits waiting in the back seat next to the hospital bag. All is well.
We get to the hospital and check in. I change clothes, contractions and heart tones are seen with the TOCO, and I'm prepped for anesthesia once I'm in the surgical room. Peter comes in. Dr. B. comes in. The surgery starts and everything goes according to plan. Lucas is born, he cries, he's healthy. We're all relieved. Peter leaves with Lucas to go to the nursery for the assessment. I'm alone but it's okay. We've done this song and dance before.
But then we haven't. I feel more than cold and tired. The warm blanket isn't working. The machines that were easy beeps before start to chime. There's a forced calm and an undertone of panic in the now flurry of voices of medical people. There's bleeding. A call for more blood. An order of general anesthesia. The world goes black but I don't know because I'm already cold and oh so tired.
But then, my eyes open. And we're okay. I've given them a scare, they say. There was a lot of excess bleeding but it's alright. They think they've stopped the hemorrhaging. There will be no more children- they are sorry, but that couldn't be helped. Dr. B. will be in to talk to me soon. Would I like to see my son? Peter comes in with a wrapped up package of beautiful. He looks worse for wear, like he's been through hell. We touch heads and just hold our newest miracle, smelling in his newness and perfectness.
This is where the dreamare changes. Sometimes, Peter is still there. Sometimes he goes to get something to eat and it's someone else: Sarah, godparents, friends. Someone else comes and is holding Lucas. I feel the cold come back and start to slip back against the pillow. The Nurse Call is rang. There is blood. How does one person have so much blood? More sounds. It's so loud but it sounds so far away. Like there is a deep echo in my head.
I wake up. There's no conclusion to the dream, just that deeply rooted fear that this time, something might not go according to plan.
I've worked through the fears of loss with moms who are pregnant post infertility and loss, and I know that the fear of the possibility can be debilitating at times. These moms constantly worry about the day when their babies die. Talking through it can help but in most cases, they have to acknowledge the possibility that yes, their baby might die, and then move on from the thought, visualizing the better and best case pregnancy and delivery scenarios. I feel lucky in that I've come to a place of peace about my children in utero. I do my best; their lives have their own journey ahead of them. I can only play my role, for however long that lasts. I do feel much more comfortable with my own pregnancies and the possibility of loss because of that feeling and belief.
With Michael, I didn't really feel concerned about the delivery and complications; there were no dreams. We chatted about the possibilities, but overall, we felt positive in the outcome. After all, it wasn't as though a VBAC were even possible. With this pregnancy, while we haven't really discussed it much, it feels like we're old hats at this c/s delivery thing.
Until the last two weeks when these images have plagued me more nights than not. Maybe it's the steroids or the antihistamines. Maybe it is the stress of another homeschool year. Maybe it is nothing.
I know it is a fear I need to work through and release. But with what time? We have 45 days to go time. Can I find enough "spare" time to actually process this?