curve ball

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.


Filed under birth, Egghead, OB, the P word

12 responses to “curve ball

  1. cindyhoo2

    I am so sorry for that scare today. I can only imagine how frightening and disappointing that was. I am glad though that Dr Google was mostly reassuring.

  2. You might check out Elizabeth Noble’s book on exercises to do during the childbearing year. I want to say there’s some stuff in there about how to strengthen and prepare for birth that might up your chances of a natural delivery.

  3. vee

    Sorry you’ve had this spanner thrown into the works, but hopefully you’ll still get your vaginal delivery, fibroids or no. My SIL had several, including a most enormous one which showed on the outside as a bump on her bump. She was warned of the same things and they even tried to persuade her to have an epidural from the very start, incase she needed to go to theatre later for a c-section, but she stuck to her guns and had my nephew vaginally with only gas and air, despite the doom-mongering.

  4. A.

    You’ve done a great job in taking care of yourself thus far, and I have no doubt that will continue. That little boy is a lucky guy.

  5. Your doing great! This news, is just NEWS…..I was on the negative side of the fibroid issue. Mine was 8cm at time for birth and blocking the baby from turning so it was a c section for me. It sucked because I wanted all natural….In the end the c section was fine ( although not routine ) and I bled a lot. The only issue was some anemia and a few shots of iron. My dr said the same thing to me becuase i didnt know I had them til I got pregnant. I think I was more scared of a V birth and the baby having issues than the c section in the long run. They are very routine and FAST ( normally, mine was 2.5 hours )…I went through a lot of feelings leading up to it and now after I realize it wasnt so bad after all…I was willing to do whatever it took to get my baby out healthy…

  6. Right there with you — I was recently diagnosed with a wicked case of gestational diabetes the needs-insulin kind. Our little guy is actually a little hippo. My natural doula-coached incense-scented birth that I have always wanted is morphing into induction and quite possibly c-section.

    I had a good cry. It’s something to grieve over, the loss of the dream of the “natural” birth. But the important thing is a kicking, healthy baby, and the loss of the birth experience will, I’m sure, be swiftly eclipsed by the joy of having a real live baby…

  7. How scary – I’m sorry you’ve been thrown this curve ball (I would really like to find out who’s throwing all these pitches and have a word). You’re right that it will be an adjustment but not necessarily anything with bad repercussions. You’ll get through this!

  8. Ugh, I’m so sorry for the bad news, but it sounds like Dr. google was fairly reassuring. It may be too soon for “look on the bright side” talk, but at least you know about the fibroids and are aware that it MAY increase your chances of having interventions, so you can prepare for how you’d like things to go in that case. I’m hoping that it never comes to that, but its always good to have the plan in place. Best of luck to you!

  9. Jodi

    You know Sweetheart, we’ve gotten pretty good at bobbing and weaving over the years, but every so often, one of those gets us smack between the eyes and it hurts! I love you.

  10. I am so sorry that you received this unfortunate news. On the plus side, I am glad you KNOW, because you can prepare. You may not get the birth experience you want, but as they say, what matters in the end is a healthy baby and a healthy you. Believe me, we can totally empathize, but are still hoping you will get your vaginal delivery. xo

  11. I’m so sorry for this curve ball being thrown into your plan.
    I couldn’t agree with you more that you need an advocate through all of this. That being said, I so hope you find the PERFECT doula. It is still a very good possibility that you could still have a natural vaginal delivery.

    I will be hoping that you are able to have the birth you desire…. I know you’ll do everything in your power to achieve that – trust your body. It will speak to you in labour – I truly believe that.

    In the meantime, try to not worry. I know, easier said than done right???


  12. Sorry about the curve ball. That can be a jolt. Great that you found some good info about having vaginal delivery with fibroids. There are pleny of women who do but, like you said, you do need to review all the different scenarios, just in case. Glad to hear that everything is measuring fine.

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