The Birth We’ll Have (Not Necessarily The Birth We Want)

Greetings from snowy Winnipeg!


To make a long, convoluted story a little bit shorter…

I went into pregnancy as a fairly normal, low-risk case. Shortly after I switched into the care of the doctor who was originally going to deliver the baby (because prior to that I was seeing a family doctor who does not deliver babies), we talked about a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) versus a repeat C-section. I was nervous about a VBAC but wanted to try, and after ticking all the right checkboxes — not planning to have sixteen kids, long healing time between pregnancies, previous C-section related to positioning only — I was deemed a good enough candidate to give it a shot.

Then the Thunder Bay genetics department sent over the “how to handle the delivery of a potential hemophiliac baby” checklist and all of a sudden my doctor was talking about the potential of sending me out of town to deliver. In an effort to not have to do that, we agreed on a scheduled C-section to remove a lot of the risk (the ideal situation is a drama-free, fast, no intervention vaginal birth; if you can’t do that, a C-section is preferable to an long, traumatic, and/or intervention-requiring vaginal birth, and so my doctor was basically going to be sending me to the OR if things went sideways at all). They were unsure about ordering in Factor 8 product but the lab said they could, and then sent over a list of, like, 30 different products. My doctor called hematology in Thunder Bay to find out what we needed.

And then. Then hematology said, basically, “Nuh-uh, if you want to be safe she has to go to Winnipeg because there’s a pediatric hematology unit right there, and they can test baby’s cord blood immediately, which is way faster than what you can do locally, and they’ll have everything on hand in case of issues.” So I got that voicemail message with my doctor’s personal cell number and “please call me immediately” that threw everything for a loop again.

So now I’m having a scheduled C-section and I have to deliver out of town. And it all happened very quickly — I talked to my doctor last Saturday; the clinic called me that Tuesday and told me I had a pre-op appointment for November 29, one week later, with the surgery scheduled for the 30th. I wasn’t even supposed to go on leave until December 2, and have the originally scheduled local Cesarean on December 9, not to mention that the baby’s due date was the 15th, and when this all started I was hoping to maybe have a baby by Christmas!

Needless to say, the last week was spent scrambling around. I had to get in touch with a bunch of people to set up logistics, make sure we had a cat sitter, take M out of preschool for all of this week and arrange those details, close out everything at work, apply for my leave, get the nursery as finished as it was going to get, move M into her big girl room, get our bedroom as set up as it’s going to get… there are so many things I wanted to clean and organize that are not getting done, and I’m upset about how incredibly messy our basement is right now particularly because that’s where our houseguests aka my mom and her partner will likely be staying when we get home from here.

And all of that scrambling kept my brain very occupied. I didn’t really get the chance to even wrap my head around the fact that the baby will be here on Wednesday. As we drove to Winnipeg last night (we came early to beat bad weather) I started to realize just how much processing I have not done. This feels like something that is happening to me, versus something that I’m involved in. It’s crazy to me that we are staying in a hotel in a different city to have a baby, with a new care team, a hospital we’ve never been to, policies and procedures that are not our own… I know that it’s the safe thing to do, but it’s truly mind-boggling to consider. Add in the fact that WE ARE HAVING A BABY and that I’m having surgery again and I feel pretty damn unprepared.

The good thing is that I’ve at least been through some of this before. Having had M via an unplanned C-section I think I feel better equipped to roll with all of these punches this time around — if this were my first kid I would probably be panicking a lot more! And, on the upside, now that we’re here and in a hotel room and off work and away from the house, what’s done is done, I can’t do anything more, and so I can’t worry about the touch up paint that didn’t get done or the unpacked boxes or the toys that didn’t make it to the Salvation Army. We’re here, we get a bit of family time before it all goes crazy again, so we may as well embrace it.

So that’s what’s going on with us. It’s definitely not the last week before baby I was expecting!

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  1. Catherine says:

    Shayla, I saw your Instagram post and I’m thinking about you and sending virtual hugs and lots of love! It’s a lot to take in, but you are so strong and you get to meet your new baby very soon. Here’s to a quiet and calm delivery with no issues and a chance to love your little guy as soon as he arrives. 🙂

  2. Kristie says:

    Praying everything goes well with the C-section and that your little man is healthy and happy. I am sure you are all overjoyed to be meeting him even if a little earlier than planned, and in a different way than expected.

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