Friday, April 23, 2010

Is She For Real?

OMG, it was a magical experience. You'll never know what it was like, but it was the greatest thing ever. It's just too bad you can't feel the empowerment I feel now....

I'll spare you the rest. Recently I met up with a couple of friends, one of whom just had her first baby. At home. With her midwife. I was totally revved up to hear her birth story. I was totally let down. Instead of hearing how wonderful it was and how much she loved the baby, I heard about how I had somehow been devalued and how my births just wouldn't measure up. I looked over at our other friend, to see if she was hearing what I was, (she has never been pregnant or given birth) and she was shifting uncomfortably in her seat. When there was a break, she tried to bring up anything not baby, but when someone is a first-time mom, everything is all about the baby. All the time. I wasn't any different.

I tried not to let it bug me. I tried to just ignore it, but it ate at me for days afterward.

I wanted a homebirth with a midwife. But I had a genetic disorder so that midwives ruled out even a hospital birth with one of their own. So I found an OB/GYN. A great one. And her amazing partner. My great ob/gyn suggested everything to try and get my baby turned. That baby was comfy and not moving. Everyone was realistic with me about my chances for an external version. I talked to Jeff. I prayed. We decided that a c-section was the best chance for me. I told friends and family, some who were worried, one who was wonderful. My friend Andrea, who had two c-sections, told me that when she was having her first and was heart-broken a nurse asked her, "Do you know what they call a woman who has had a c-section? They call her mom." That put it in perspective for me. I still got to experience labor and dilation and my water breaking and contractions! And out came a beautiful baby girl. I was never happier.

Fourteen months later, my water broke, I went into labor again. The nurses asked me if I wanted to try a VBAC. I hesitated for a second and said no. My babies were very close together, my uterus had most likely not completely healed and there was a bad family history regarding VBACs. I went into the OR again. I got a blond (surprise!) boy. And 20 odd months after that a c-section went as scheduled and I got another robust little boy. (That was almost one year ago.)

They may not be stories of giving myself over to my body, or maybe they are.

One indisputable fact, they are the stories of how my children came to be. And contrary to what some may believe, they are beautiful stories. The stories about how I learned to accept that sometimes what we want isn't what we get. How I had to surrender my "dream birth" to get my "dream babies."

If you have the birth of your dreams, I am happy for you, please do not tell any other woman that her birth was less than ideal. If she already believes that, you will do her a great disservice in making her feel inadequate. If she does not, you will alienate her as she probably does not want to be around someone who looks down at her.

And if you find out that the birth of your dreams is just that, a dream and the reality is something you never imagined/wanted, take heart. You just did something selfless for your child.

Please support women's rights to birth and midwifery with Where's My Midwife?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post! Though I'm not married or planning on having children anytime soon, I recently learned that I will most likely never be able to have a natural birth because of a back surgery I had to have as a teenager because of a snowboarding accident.

Recently, this has been on my mind a lot as many people keep talking about the disservice you're doing to your baby by having a c-section. Your post helped out a lot with the feelings of being left out that I've been having! :D