Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Feeling Blessed

Just over three years ago, I had an emergency c-section. My baby was breech and would not turn. I had planned a natural home birth, just as I'd had with my previous three children, and when you are preparing for a natural birth, you aren't necessarily thinking about having a c-section. I was mentally unprepared, and physically as well -- the bag I took to the hospital was filled with strange odds and ends grabbed by my mother in the heat of the moment, containing my hairbrush (which was important) but no change of clothes (which would have been important, too.)

Benjamin was born safely (but mad) although his Apgar scores weren't all that great. It was upon his delivery that the doctor told me I had a heart-shaped uterus, which I didn't know before, and that's why the baby couldn't turn. I was told that any future pregnancy would be accompanied by a lot of ultra-sounds to make sure everything was in the right place.

I spent some time feeling sorry for myself during my recovery, which was awful. I couldn't stand up straight for three weeks. I reminded myself daily that I was blessed--the baby was alive and healthy, I was fine, and it could have been so much worse. I felt additionally blessed when Medicaid picked up the unexpected $10,000 bill. But I still resented the fact that I'd had to have surgery.

The other day, I happened upon this article at Families.com: "Let's Talk about Having a Bicornuate Uterus." That's the medical term for my condition, and as I read not only the article, but the comments afterward, I realized just how very blessed I am.

Many women who have this condition have difficulty conceiving or carrying to term. There is a 55-63% survival rate for the infants of women who have this condition. There is a 15-20% rate of preterm birth and can cause fetal growth retardation.

Commenters in the trail mention uncontrolled bleeding and kidney problems.

Reading this article made me realize just how very blessed I am. Many women in my position can't have children at all, and I have four gorgeous, smart, healthy children, three of whom were born with no complications at all. I have never had a miscarriage. I have never had kidney problems. I have never had problems conceiving. As I go down the list of all the things that could go wrong because of the bicornuate uterus, I am amazed at how smoothly motherhood has been for me this far. I may have to have another c-section, as we are planning to have one more child, but if that's the case, I'll go into it so much more aware of how truly blessed I am. I'm a woman who, the statistics say, shouldn't be able to carry to term. If a c-section is the worst I have to endure to be a mother, surely I can appreciate the process and feel so very blessed that it's not worse.

20 comments:

Kimberly said...

Wow...blessed indeed. What a life altering perspective gratitude is, eh?

Josi said...

Definitely powerful to realize the blessings we have without being aware of it.

Jen said...

Wow, its amazing how much your perspective can change.

I was planning a home birth with the baby we lost in September. I'm sorry you weren't able to have the birth you were hoping for with your fourth. It is disappointing. But I'm glad he made it here safely.

Maw Books said...

Tristi - Wow, I couldn't believe it when I saw your post on my reader. I have two beautiful children who are also a blessing in my life.

Two and a half weeks before my due date with my first child, my water broke at home. We knew this wasn't good because we knew the baby was in a breech position (I actually had an appointment at nine the next morning to try to turn it). We had just barely moved, so we drove from West Jordan down to Provo knowing that I was on my way to a C-section. After it was all said and done, and I was very drugged up, my doctor comes in and says that they discovered during the surgery that I only had half a uterus! It would have been detrimental to mine and the baby's health if I had gone to my appointment in the morning. You simply can't turn a baby in a bicornate uterus. God was watching out for us.

At the time, I was also diagnosed with a bicornate uterus. Later testing revealed that I actually had a unicornuate uterus, which is actually a little bit more rare. The left side of the uterus doesn't exist (which explains why I said during the ENTIRE pregancy that the baby only liked to lay on the right side). They told me that they were unable to determine if I had my left ovary or fallopian tube, but as I can't actually concieve when ovulating from that side, I was very lucky I got pregnant as quickly as I did (first month trying) and that I didn't miscarry.

Since, they said it could take forever to get pregnant again, we decided to at least start trying again before our first even turned one.
Suprise! Pregant again on first try!

They watched this pregnancy very carefully and I had tons of appointments. I didn't even make it to my scheduled c-section when they decided I needed to have the baby due to stress (simply running out of room). This baby was also breech (I'm told all my babies will be). We had decided that during the surgery we would remove my left fallopian tube and ovary to prevent any eptopic pregancies. Once they were in, they disovered I didn't even have a left fallopian tube.
Despite all the complications, the doctors say we are very blessed to be so fertile!

Anyways, sorry for the long story. I rarely hear of others who have this condition. I am so thankful that I have carried two wonderful little boys with little complications! Having children is God's greatest miracle. I sure don't know how he does it!

So glad to know your story. Thanks for sharing and thanks for letting me share mine!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Amazing story, Maw Books! I'm so glad things worked out for you the way they did.

Julie Wright said...

Isn't it amazing how we can be in ouor lives entirely oblivious to something major and when we find it out, it changes our whole perspective? You are blessed. I'm glad it all turned out well.

Noble M Standing said...

In May it'll be 2 years from my own emergency c-section. My baby was breech and i had a few people recommend a midwife that did breech deliveries. But my gut (the spirit) said no way! I kept my DR. and went to a chiroporactor that turned babies using some tecnique. It worked and they induced me the next day before he could turn again. I labored for over 14 hours and then had a section. It turned out that my Noble was born with Saggital Cranio systnosis. His skull was fused so it couldn't go through the birth canal. Although I suffered post partum depression after his delivery I have to agree with you on how blessed I am.

Had he been delivered breech his head would still have stuck and then I would have had to be transported to the hospital and had a reverse c section. Had I lived 100 years ago we both would be dead.

Yes, we are blessed arent we?

Michelle

Tristi Pinkston said...

We are blessed, Michelle, and I'm glad you followed your gut. I've had three beautiful home births but with a breech, there's just so much that can go wrong.

Marne said...

Wow, what an experience! Perspective is everything, isn't it? Thanks for sharing...it reminds us all to look at what we ARE blessed with, instead of the trials or what we are NOT.

Luisa Perkins said...

I'd never heard of this before! What a miracle for you.

Keeley said...

Wow! Your story is amazing. I'm so thankful for the tender mercies of our Father in Heaven. =)

Jenna said...

Wow, Tristi. If we could alter our perspectives on other things in life that we gripe about, we might be a happier lot, now, eh? What a random article for you to find...must have been meant to be.

Shari said...

Wow. That is a blessing. What a good attitude you have. I always hoped to have a home birth, but didn't actually do it. But, I did have a midwife at each hospital birth and it turned out very well. Go for the 5th one. I have 5 and I can't imagine my life without my Little Lizzy. Actually, she isn't so little. She's almost 6 and too big to be sleeping in our bed. But, she's the baby.

* wallflower * said...

Yes, there are so many things that could go wrong in the entire birth process, including fetal development. I had a miscarriage my first time, with no known reason for it. I had to have an emergency C-section with our son because his heart rate dropped suddenly during delivery, but had our daughter VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean), so I can tell stories about pros and cons of either type of birth! *G* "Whatever's best for the baby" is my thinking on deliveries.

carrie & troy keiser said...

What a way to look at things! I'm glad you've been blessed!

kris said...

Thanks for sharing this story - you have indeed been blessed. I hope your next pregnancy is uneventful!! How sad that a "heart-shaped uterus" causes so much heart-break. I'm glad your story has a happy ending.

Ritsumei said...

I have a friend from one of my favorite websites - babyfit.com - also has (had?) a bicorniate uterus. She recently had a 2nd baby, following surgery to remover her septum. You are fortunate indeed! I'm so happy that things have gone so well for you that you could get all the way to your 4th before finding it!

Paul and Shannie said...

Wow you are very blessed! I just found out I have a heart shaped uterus and this is our second pregnancy. (The first ended in miscarriage.)

At this point I am very worried about our little one. Only 8 weeks on Wednesday and he or she implanted right in between the lobes (I hate the term horns.) of the heart. I feel like the best thing I can do is find a good doctor or midwife. You said you lived in Provo, is there any you would recommend?

Tristi Pinkston said...

Shannie,

Dr. Julie Grover in Provo is the doctor who delivered Benjamin. I haven't been pregnant since and so I don't have experience with locating a doctor to care for me through the full pregnancy, but I really had a good experience with Dr. Grover in the delivery room. I'd recommend calling her and if for some reason she can't fit you in, I'm sure she could recommend a good doctor to you. Best of luck with this - keeping my fingers crossed on your behalf.

Paul and Shannie said...

Thank you!

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