Managing Expectations: Third Time is (not) a Charm

I’ve never understood the phenomenon of people losing their filters around pregnant women. For some unknown reason, total strangers find it completely appropriate to comment on your looks, share horror stories (for the love, why can’t we share something that’s not entirely terror inducing?!), or ask questions that require answers that should seemingly be kept to yourself. Unfortunately, this all rings true for mothers of newborns as well. It’s as if people see a small baby and assume they’re within their right to give unsolicited advice or ask if you’ve lost all your baby weight yet (helpful tip: don’t be this person).

Suffice it to say that all these stories and questions can leave you either riddled with fear or built up with high hopes. Take me for example…

Birth #1 and Birth #2 did not go as I’d hoped. Nothing was ‘wrong’ and both of my babies were healthy but they were -dun dun dunnnnn- induced. If you don’t already know, it’s like the 4 letter word of the birthing/new momma community. As soon as you say it, the judgmental looks and questions/comments start rolling in.

  • What medical reason do you have?
  • Are you sure you trust your OB?
  • I’d NEVER get induced
  • Don’t rush it, baby will come when it’s ready
  • You know about all the complications that can happen, right?
  • That’s too bad
    and one of my favorites…
  • I know someone who was induced and (insert some terrible, scary story here)

When all I was trying to do was birth healthy babies and stay healthy myself, literally every single one of those things was said to me at some point, be it before birth or even after (helpful tip #2: don’t be this person).

SO, when we became pregnant with our third and last baby, I was so excited to let my body do its thing. I mean, we’re built for this, right? I wasn’t going to go for induction this time around because I was going to focus all of my positive energy for 9 months on the hopes and prayers that it’s my THIRD FREAKING BIRTH and my body knows what to do. Lots of moms in Facebook groups say the third one is always easier. Muscle memory is a thing, right? I knew more this time around so I’d be more active and walk this baby right out. I had dreams of having my water break on a walk or out at dinner and we’d have to rush to grab our bags and get to the hospital. It was going to happen without being forced, dammit!

….hahahahahaha

The universe has a funny way of putting your expectations in check sometimes. Nothing about this last pregnancy was anything like my others. It took 3 anatomy scans just to get the correct photos/angles they needed. Then, they found spots on the heart that were abnormal markers so we had some genetic testing done.  I failed my first gestational diabetes test. This sweet little nugget decided to be breech for quite some time so I worked on getting him in the correct position so I wouldn’t have to have the OB do it manually. My blood pressure started creeping up into the elevated category. Then…we had our growth ultrasound which put this babe in the 95+ percentile for height and weight at almost 9 pounds; if left going to 40 weeks, the weight was estimated to be just over 10 pounds.  The discussion of induction came up due to size and my age but I said I wanted to hold out because I didn’t want to put that much belief in the ultrasound estimate…and I really just wanted that moment where I knew I was going into labor all on my won. I didn’t want to have to say I was induced. This was going to be my last chance.

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The only profile photo we were able to get with this babe because he was so incredibly stubborn at all the ultrasounds – even this one took an hour and a half to get!

I went the next two weeks with constant contractions that were totally unproductive because by week 39 I was hardly dilated. I asked to look back at my chart and compare their estimates on weight for Caitlin and Alex. As it turns out, the tech is pretty great because her estimates were spot on for their birth weight. I knew right away that this baby was going to be my biggest and my body was showing zero signs of doing it on its own. Turns out the third time isn’t a charm for me.

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so pregnant, so tired, and so swollen – compression socks for the win!

I was forced to manage my own expectations:
Caitlin was induced because I was nearly a week past my due date with blood pressure so high I was as swollen and puffy as a blow fish. Alex was induced because my blood pressure was going up again and I was confident in the process. Here’s the kicker – my own freaking miscarriage needed to be induced. Talk about torture…my body wouldn’t even let go of a life it had stopped sustaining. Our third pregnancy ended around 5 weeks but my body showed zero signs of it and I didn’t find out until an ultrasound at 13 weeks. Even after waiting another week, my body still didn’t cooperate. I had to take a myriad of pills just to make my body do what nature intended for it to do; to just let go. How does a body fail at that?! Yet despite all of that, I had these grand plans of suddenly being able to do this last birth all on my own. Managing my expectations meant taking my rose colored glasses off and trusting in my doctor to take care of myself and my baby the best way possible – while there would always be complications that could arise, I would be having our baby a little early so I’d also *hopefully* be able to deliver ‘naturally’ and avoid surgery to do so.
**there is absolutely nothing wrong with birth via csection but I didn’t have one the first two times so I really wanted to avoid it my last time if possible.

I went back and forth so many times with Dave and my OB on what to do and ultimately, we decided to schedule induction. Immediately I felt like a failure and all the comments I’d heard before came rushing back. I’m honestly ashamed that I was more worried about what other people would think about how I birthed this baby versus just getting him here but that’s kind of what society has taught moms – everything you do will be judged (helpful tip #3, a little louder for the people in the back: DON’T BE THIS PERSON). It was hard to let go of the last 9 months of “this will happen!!” and shift the expectation of a “perfect” birth to something different but it became a lot easier when I knew I was making the right call for us and for our baby and that, in the end, there is no one size fits all perfect.

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– As a heads up, my next few posts are going to be about my birth story/babies/postpartum experiences. This is the first part of my birth story.My next post is going to be about managing expectations through my induction and roller coaster of his birth –

 

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