Why I'm Opting for a C -Section
|Cordelia "Miley/Wrecking Ball" on her first birthday photo by Jill https://jillcaren.shootproof.com/|
I'm not going to lie, I feel pretty brave posting this. I'm trying to substitute "scared" with "brave."
I'm going to throw this out there, this could be a little graphic but don't shy away from it. My "natural" birth supporters, please give this a read. If you have a vagina or know someone with one, just give this a gander.
Some women have a specific birth plan such that, if it does not go that way, the experience is forever tarnished for them. I am not mad at you, nor am I making light of your situation. I recently had my mind set on risotto as my side dish of choice at my last restaurant outing only to find that they had just run out. I could have cried. I am still thinking about it. I tell you that (seemingly) petty story to assure you I do not, cannot and should not judge you. My birth plan was to get my baby out alive. I did not even care if I lived through the process. Oh, and a water birth if possible but that was quickly nixed based on the hospital we would use. I was pretty sure I would get an epidural as well - my pain tolerance is only a tad bit lower than my tolerance for restaurants running out of the only thing I really want to order (darn you risotto!).
Delivery day arrived and nothing too crazy happens, just enough for the doctor to say we may need to do a c-section if she did not come out soon. One last push (and the use of salad spoons) later and she was out. My daughter probably has more nicknames than any other human being, dead or alive. One of those names is Miley Cyrus - yes, Hannah Montana/pop/country singer. We call her that because of the damage she left in her wake upon her arrival. Just do yourself a favour and quickly Youtube "Wrecking Ball." Let's go back to me asking my doctor if she had read my medial history about the hymenechtomy (another story) I had. She assured me my body would adapt and know what to do. I rolled my eyes and mumbled under my breath that she did not know my fickle lady parts. I had the knowledge of the one vagina I was given and she had degrees and years of experience with many - so I trusted her. I wonder if she remembered this as she tried to separate the 2 holes that were now 1? Thanks to the epidural and the skin-to-skin with my little wrecking ball, I had no knowledge of what had just taken place until she was still sewing almost an hour later. Things were seeming less Grey's Anatomy and more Kill Bill. I casually mentioned that I was not opposed to a blood transfusion, just so it was out there.
Once the epidural wore off and the staff tried to get me up, I became more aware of the extent of the wreckage. I almost passed out and the pain that I felt became very real, just about shook my hand and introduced itself. I watched as they prepared what I referred to as a sub sandwich of ice pad, tux pads, spray pain-numbing medicine and donned those comfy mesh undies to hold it, and my body, together. In getting back to bed, I had to lie on one side or another because lying flush on my back/butt was impossible. On top of that, I was retaining urine after they took the catheter out. They had to straight cath me to get a 1.5 litres out and decided to put the catheter back in. At each shift change, the nurses all had that "bless your heart look" after quickly hiding the "dear Lord, is that a hamburger patty where a vagina should be?!" look. Theeeeen the blood clots arrived. How did something with a larger diameter than my daughter's newborn head slip so easily from my body? How was I still alive after losing so much blood? How did this angel baby do so much damage? Or was it my weird body once again rebelling against me by not performing what she be a "normal" thing? Was infertility not enough? I was determined not to panic until told otherwise. This was the only experience I had ever known so I just went with it. I was discharged with the catheter and a broken crotch with instructions on how to care for myself. I anticipated the first bowel movement like Pentecostals awaited Y2K. I had resisted taking pain medications as much as I could to avoid constipation, and made friends with stool softeners. I achieved success and felt like a superwoman. The stitches held! Nice sewing job, doc!
I am not sure I mentioned what a 4th degree tear is all about. Let's just say I've seen butchered animals cut from snout to tail with a smaller incision than I ended up with from my little 7 lb baby girl. The faith my doctor had in my vagina to do what it should was not unreasonable by any means. I'm sure most are compliant and good patients. Not mine. She is not a blooming springtime flower, she is a bear trap. She has as much give as the Hoover damn in a gentle breeze. Speaking of breezes, I couldn't even hold a fart in for about 2 weeks. I have never had less dignity in my life. That next month as I tended to myself, I resisted the urge to look for a for weeks. Then my curiosity got the better of me and I took a peek and sweet pharaoh on a potholder! I'd seen rotting roadkill in better shape than what I saw, and I was supposed to be healing! I admit, I panicked then. Me. The woman who voluntarily went on rounds with the wound nurse just to get a first hand education on this stuff and who watched that autopsy documentary on Netflix while eating a snack. I reminded myself that healing was not always a cute process and reassured myself with the little knowledge I had gleaned from the wound nurses. After about a month, I could kinda sit on my bottom. A month! Did I mention that we held my daughter for 8 weeks of her life because she would not sleep any other way and we did not want to co-sleep? So I sat on my mutilated crotch to accommodate any semblance of sleep in our house.
As the months went by and we started the process for another baby via IVF from our remaining embryos, I knew without a doubt that I did not want that experience again. It took me a while to realize that my post-delivery experience had traumatized me and was not exactly textbook. On top of everything that came with being a new mommy, the level of damage and length of healing tarnished my experience with my baby. I vowed that at my first OB trip I would ask about a c-section this time. I did not care if I had to cough him up, he would not be coming out of my tiny china. No way. You know the saying "better the evil you know...?" Well boo on that. I don't care if it's a worse kind of evil, just let it be different! I'm not ignorant to the risks of a c -section. When my doctor asked why I wanted that, and I said "4th degree" she said "ah yes, we can do a c-section..." (darn straight!) she told me that was no guarantee I would not have the urinary retention or blood clots. I said I did not care so long as I could literally sit and form a lap without wanting to die.
I think c section births still get a certain look and illicit certain feelings from women. Frankly, I wish I would have had one with my daughter. Instead, as her 1st birthday arrived and I recalled her first days, I had a little PTSD thinking about how awful it was once the medications wore off. It was dreadfully painful and was one more huge thing on top of feeding and sleeping issues, jaundice and being new parents. It was hard for my husband to see me in so much pain. So sign me up for another kind of scar, a planned and hopefully uneventful, one. The relief I already feel is incredible. It has made this pregnancy more relaxed and not one filled with dread. If this relief is all the c-section has to offer, then good enough for me. I am doing this for my overall well being and I want to give a voice to what seems to be an unpopular birthing route.
I'm sorry if you didn't get your risotto birth. I'll be sorry if I don't get mine this go-round. If you had an unplanned c-section maybe reading this helped you feel a little better...maybe? I don't want to feel guilty about this choice, but I know women who do. Give yourself some grace. If your birth went smoothly without interventions, good for you! Good for all of us whose pregnancies end in live births. Surely we can all agree on that.