April is Cesarian Awarness Month, so I wanted to share my birth stories.
I am a two-time Cesarian mom, both times not by choice, and even a couple years later now, I feel a pang of envy for those moms who had a vaginal birth, something I will never be able to experience.
I wanted to attempt a drug-free vaginal birth. My very supportive obstetrician and I decided we would try it for a few hours, and if I couldn't handle it an anaesthetist was on site to rescue me. 6 hours into labor I wanted to give up and get the epidural. I had very consistent, strong contractions with only 3 short minutes in between each. The nurses asked me if I was sure, she said my baby and I were doing so well and that we were more than half way there - so I agreed to keep going with the epidural. The next few hours were a blur. My body wanted to sleep and I would doze off when the pain of each contraction subsided only to be rudely awoken 2 minutes later.
12 hours into labor I was finally ready to push. Half an hour later, my baby was finally crowning and I was pushing and pushing, but he just wouldn't come out. I tried getting into different positions, doing everything I could for this final stretch including a dose of Pitocin that made the contractions even sharper, but it became clear that he was stuck. Not having eaten or slept for at least 18 hours now, I was beat. When my OB recommended an emergency C-section, I felt a rollercoaster of emotions - relief that I would feel no more pain, but petrified for whether my baby and I would make it off the operating table safely. My son finally arrived and at that point the only emotion I felt was relief.
The trauma of the emergency C-section the first time impacted my mental state after birth and the difficulties of breastfeeding were further amplified - I felt like in the first day of my baby's life I was already failing as a mother. Any other moms felt this way?
The second time was a much more positive experience, not traumatic like the first time, because I was better mentally prepared for the possibility of this outcome despite going to the hospital expecting a VBAC. We even starting our cloth diaper journey with #2 pretty much full-time straight out of the hospital, whereas with my first we started slowly with just 1 diaper a day and slowly built up our confidence from there. That birth experience can make such a big difference to you and all the things you wanted to do in the first weeks of your baby's life, and I get that, I was there too.
I came across this poem by Jordan Burch and wanted to share these beautiful words describing this very intense experience.
probably one of my favorite photos ever.
of course, it's my sister.
but it's so much more than that.
at that very moment, they'd unstrapped everything.
there were no alarms going off for finished fluids.
no heartbeat monitors,
the computer screen, went black.
they started washing her down in a sponge bath.
prepping her, for her baby.
I think one of the scariest things about C-sections, is the loss of control.
in your mind, you'll control all of it.
push when you're ready.
stop when you need to.
but in a C-section, you hand all of that over > > >
to your doctor, of course.
but also, to a staff, people you don't even know.
and won't ever meet.
you'll leave your dim, and cozy room. . .
for one lit up, brighter than the makeup aisles in target.
it's freezing here.
your body, is center stage.
but you can't, see a thing.
and while you're laying there, terrified. . .
they'll talk about their days,
they'll play their own music.
as if, you're not even there.
this is just another day,
another surgery. . .
quickly added, on a schedule somewhere. . .
while you lay there,
with your arms stretched out beside you.
they'll tell your spouse where they can sit,
and how far they're allowed to move.
the nurse anesthetist will check her own Facebook on her phone. . .
while simultaneously watching your vitals. . . .
all the while, rubbing her own, very pregnant belly.
they'll allow someone else to hold your baby,
before you do. . .
a surgery, means checked vitals,
length, weight. . .
the first swaddle, and a quick diaper. .
before you'll get him.
finally. . .
the pass off.
though, you can't hold him.
as your arms are secured.
it's this wonderful, amazing,
all at once.
It's less about you.
And more about, a process.
it's less a birth.
and I hate that.
I really, really hate that.
but I hated that even more for her.
this isn't to bash c-sections.
they can be life-saving procedures.
life changing, people.
just doing, their jobs.
c-sections. . .
are welcome medical advances,
to so many. . .
the advantages, "they" say, are outstanding. . .
those are the moms, the medical professionals, who quiet us. . .
who tell us, we're lucky.
and so, are our babies.
but this isn't to those people.
this is, to us.
who instead. .
feel so defeated.
in what should be, a moment of triumph.
it's all over her face.
a small loss, but a very personal one.
a war, to us.
all of its own.
by your own body.
by your doctor.
by the staff.
everyone and everything.
you want a baby.
that's why you're here, after all.
and they'll get you one, they say.
but not without taking, from you first.
the only one, that you'd had in mind.
you didn't see it going this way.
and most don't.
you're told in those last few minutes,
it's the end of the road, for what "you" can do here.
they know better.
they're well trained.
and they've all, seen it all.
just be happy, with a healthy baby,
in their quiet, over-assuring voices. . .
you don't want to believe them.
what can you do?
and that, is the worst part of it all.
so you lay back.
as you hand, all of that control.
over, to everyone else.
and it's hard.
it, is so. very hard.
it takes a tough, kind of momma.
to lay there, and hand that kind of responsibility, over.
but as promised.
once he's here.
it's less about the process.
and the music choices.
and it's back to how it should be.
how it should have been, all along.
it's all about the baby.
the story, ends so much happier.
thankfully. . .
but there is still a story, in the struggle.
and I won't be silenced, by those, who can't understand it. . .
every part of me wants to reach back into this photo. . .
in that dark moment. . .
and wipe her eyes. . .
[[ I've been there ]]
I whisper, to myself. . .
hoping her heart hears it.
but as I watch the tears fall down her cheeks onto her soiled bed,
where she'd labored the entire day through. . .
I know, nothing in this world. .
could change the way she's feeling. . .
though every part of me, deep down. .
knows that finally.
All, is ok.
It's all, going to be ok. . .
and now > > >
that he's safely here.
she knows that too.
(( all, c-section mommas do ))
cheers, to those warriors.
to those mommas.
who did, the same.
this photo, moments before,
she turned into, a (first time)
scared to death . .
what a great one, she will be.
so proud of you baby sis."
by Jordan Burch