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Yes, I had a c-section

This post was originally published on www.2phines.com on March 9, 2015. 

*****

I’ve wanted to write this post for almost a year now.

 

I’ve started it several times, but somehow it comes across as too defensive, or like it will offend someone else, or I just don’t have the words to truly express how I’m feeling.
But then I read this article.  And YES.  Yes yes yes.

It’s a lot of what I’ve wanted to say – under slightly different circumstances, and without calling my actual delivery a “horror show”.

{Side note – random “birth” pictures are included in this post because all posts are better with pictures. Some are from our iPhones, but most were taken by my friend Jenny who was 6-months pregnant at the time and stayed in her car foreverrrrr waiting for it to be time to take pictures of a freshly born Harper.  Hours later, she captured Harper being cleaned off and shown to our families. This wasn’t our plan, but I cherish these first photos, especially since this is the part I missed while in recovery.  Thanks again, Jenny, you rock!}

I’m the first to say that my labor & delivery with HQ wasn’t “ideal”.  Phine & I have often joked that I had the easier pregnancy and she had the ideal delivery.  Phine went into labor on Saturday, was in labor all day, finally went to the hospital around 10:30pm or so, got an epidural, pushed like 3 times, and Kinley was born at 2:23am on Sunday morning.

None of this means that Phine’s labor was easy by ANY stretch of the imagination.  More ideal than mine, sure, but not easy.  I saw her all day Saturday.  Girl was in PAIN.  She was in pain but didn’t want to complain because we were both in labor {her’s was just progressing much faster, which neither of us knew at the time}.  And because she’s just hardcore like that.  It was painful and she was a rockstar the entire time.  She also chose the epidural and told me how wonderful it was {and then I would also choose it a day and a half later} and then pushed squirmy Kinley out like it was nothing. Like I said, she’s a rockstar.

But I’m a rockstar, too.  And she was the first to tell me that.

My labor didn’t go that way.  I was in “pre-labor” {which seems like a bullshit term, to be honest. 3-5 minute contractions for 3 days doesn’t seem very “pre” to me, but whatever…} starting Friday, all the way until my water broke Monday morning at 3am.  Thanks to the “golden ticket” {what I now call your water breaking}, I was admitted to the hospital early Monday morning. I was then in labor all. the. dag. gone. day.  I got the epidural late morning and then finally got to really rest for the first time in 3 days.  After 19 hours of “active labor,” at 10pm that night, it was finally time for me to push.

After 2 hours of pushing with no progression, we discussed allowing me to try to push for 20 more minutes before attempting a vacuum assist or c-section, or moving forward with the c-section then.  Harper was face up, so wasn’t coming out as easily as she should have.  I think I pushed maybe 2 more times, and then opted for the c-section.  My Dr {my FAVORITE from our practice, who I trust with my life} told me that was his suggestion.

{He also told me immediately after the c-section that we made the right call.  That I had done absolutely everything right & everything I could, and that if my next baby isn’t in that position, I’d be an excellent candidate for a VBAC, but because of Harper’s position, she wasn’t going to come out vaginally.  Talk about reassurance.}

The c-section was great.  They gave me some kind of meds {ha – I have no idea what all I took that day} in the delivery room, I waited {this was the worst part of the entire thing – no epidural at this point, lots of pitocin, no spinal yet, just contracting after the hours of labor & pushing while waiting to go to the OR}, they wheeled me to the OR, I had to sit up {ouchhhhh} so they could give me the spinal, and then they laid me back and I was in sweet relief.  The anesthesiologist and nurses were so nice, Cameron showed up and sat down by my head, and I knew our baby girl was actually on her way at this point!

Harper didn’t cry right away, which is good because there had been meconium in the fluid when my water broke.  They took her to a room right beside us, suctioned her out, and we heard her sweet sweet cry.  At this point I was sobbing, naturally.

They called “daddy” to come get Harper, and Cam walked off to our sweet baby.  What happened next will forever be my favorite picture that only lives in my mind {dangit where was our camera?!}.

I will never ever forget the image of my tall, handsome husband wearing his scrubs and carrying our tiny newborn daughter toward me.  He was so so so happy & proud.  We were both bawling.  Then he laid that sweet girl right on my cheek and I cried big wet tears all over her beautiful face.  Her eyes were open and she was just as calm as she could be and staring at me all “hey mom, how’s it going?”

Best. moment. ever.

Is it how I imagined it?  No, not really.  I don’t know if you CAN accurately imagine that moment, honestly.

Did I want skin to skin & immediate breastfeeding?  Yes, that’s actually the ONLY thing I cared about in a so-called “birth plan” and it didn’t happen.

Did it matter?  Not one freaking bit.

Our girl was here.  And safe.  And I’ll never forget my first look at her gorgeous face.  Or my first time holding her & nursing her a couple of hours later.

Of course I would’ve preferred to do that immediately vs 2 hours later, but in the grand scheme of things, it honestly didn’t matter.  She still latched like a pro, breastfed like a champ for 12+ months, and we’re crazy bonded.  Trust me on that one.

But here’s the thing.  Yes, I’m just now getting to ‘the thing’….

Like the author of this article said, I so often get the “I’m so sorry” response when people hear that I had a c-section.  As the author says…

It is always, always, delivered with genuine caring and disappointment on behalf of my subpar birthing story. 

That’s exactly how it has always made me feel.  Subpar.  Like I didn’t do something right.  Like I should’ve chosen to never have had a c-section despite my feelings for how right it was for us, and how honestly great of an experience it was overall.

You should’ve seen me in that recovery room, shaking as I came off the fluid & meds, finally eating ice chips as the first thing I’d eaten in days, not holding my brand new baby who was in the nursery getting cleaned off.  I was as happy as I have ever been.  Just knowing my girl was out & safe & in the same hospital as I was and that we were about to be together made me the happiest mama in the world.  I was beaming {through the shakes}.  Maybe it was the drugs, but I don’t remember being worried or scared or upset or anything – just so unbelievably and uncontrollably happy.

So, don’t feel sorry for me.  Don’t pity me or any of the mamas who had c-sections & and are here to hold their babies.

I’m tired of the well-meaning “sorrys” and the feeling that those of us who had c-sections somehow had a subpar birth experience or just didn’t try hard enough.  I’m done with it.

Because this. {not my words, but I agree with it so so much…sorry for the language…}

Speaking of nature. I’m all for nature. Totally on board with nature. I understand that babies have been being born the way they’re born for however long humans have been around for, and it’s all worked out fine. But a lot of the time it actually hasn’t worked out fine. Many mothers and babies have died along the way, for things which medicine routinely corrects for these days. Prematurity. High blood pressure. Babies in wrong positions. All of these could and often did spell death for both parties not so very long ago. The Caesarean section is a marvel. Medications which can help labor along and reduce pain without permanently damaging mother or child are wonders of modern medicine.
Sure: I love nature. But when nature wants you dead, fuck nature. Take medicine and science. Hell, if nature just wants you to be less comfortable than you’d like to be, fuck it. Take the epidural, and don’t feel bad about it.
I remember the moment my daughter was born. I don’t have any more “natural” scenarios to compare it to, but I can’t imagine anything could be better than those few minutes.
You can argue that having an epidural should be considered under the umbrella of “natural” childbirth, but maybe we shouldn’t even bother. Maybe calling one birth natural and the others… “unnatural” (I guess?) is fucked up and childish, perpetuating the myth that there are definitively better routes to getting a baby out than others. 

Preach it, sister.

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