We had an OB appointment today, and to our surprise, we had more than five minutes with our doctor. She wanted to review our ultrasound results with us, and when she saw them, she said, “Oh, so you have some fibroids.” I just sort of stared at her and then asked, “Really? What does that mean right now?”
She talked a bit about what they are, how they grow, where my particular fibroids are and how big (one is 7cm!), and that she was frankly quite surprised that I didn’t know about them.
When it came to the bigger implications for this pregnancy, though, I started to get a little scared. She talked about the increased chances of difficulties in labor. When I asked if the likelihood of interventions during labor are increased, she didn’t mince words: “Yes” was her answer. She talked about the fact that labor can be slowed by these fibroids and that if I’m not following a “normal” labor “curve” that they’ll have to talk about intervening. And then she dropped the big bomb: c-sections are more likely.
Of course, the good doctor spent some time talking about how routine c-sections are now and how some women prefer them, and she was saying this, my lower lip betrayed me and started quivering like crazy. “Are you upset?” she asked. I told her I was, that this was not what I wanted to hear, that I so want a natural birth. She handed me some tissues and urged me to avoid looking at the worst-case scenario. She stressed that in this case, even though the process of birth is significant, I need to be focusing on product over process in order to avoid endangering my health or that of the baby. I honestly didn’t like hearing this at the moment, but I suppose I have to accept that this is the hand I’ve been dealt, and she really was trying to help me see that in the healthiest light possible.
This doesn’t mean that I’m giving up and going straight for the scheduled c-section, but it does mean I once again have to rethink things. J and I discussed that we really need to begin thinking about our birth plan and its various clauses (i.e. if this, then this). We are also certain now that we will hire a doula; we’re going to need an advocate through this. I was going to check out the midwives at this practice, but for now, I think I’m going to continue seeing the doctor. I’m really not sure what I need to do as far as my care goes, but I know I need to keep my worrying to a minimum and keep myself healthy. This has always been my priority, and it will continue to be so.
Some time spent with Dr. Google today has reassured me a bit. One source discussed a study revealing that 70% of women with fibroids larger than 10cm go on to have vaginal deliveries. Given that the c-section rate in the U.S. is just above 30%, this sounds like my chances of a vaginal delivery are fairly normal (especially considering my largest is 7cm, and most of the research claims they don’t grow much after the first trimester). Of course, when one spends time with ole Doc Google, one comes up with ugly information too–increased chances of preterm labor or premature membrane rupture were a couple of ugly ones I didn’t want to see–but these seem to be quite rare. In fact, from what I have read so far, the majority of women with fibroids don’t have any major complications. I needed to see that, and I’m hoping that this is my path. So far, this pregnancy has gone rather well, and I would like to keep it that way.
As for the rest of the appointment, my uterus is measuring 23cm, which is perfect for 23 weeks (one of the side effects of fibroids is that they can make one measure much larger, but this isn’t happening so far). Egghead’s heartbeat was 136–still mellow and strong. My blood pressure was great. Everything but these nasty fibroids seems perfect, and that is what I need to focus on.
All of that said, this wouldn’t be my life without the occasional curve ball. J and I seem to attract these. So far, we’ve managed to keep moving forward despite them, and I’m determined that this is what will happen now as well.