Now that I’m far enough removed from Jackson’s birth to really process it, I’m ready to talk about how things totally did NOT go how we planned. I know, it took 4 months to get to this point. But here we are.
When we were in our childbirth classes, I was more freaked out by the session talking about administering the epidural than the one in which we saw the baby being born. The idea of having a TUBE in my SPINE made me want to throw up.
For me, a C-section was my worst nightmare. I was terrified of the concept and even more terrified by stories of women having to wait hours to hold and nurse their babies. I was sure that a C-section equaled not having the chance to bond with my baby, an outcome that would have long-lasting and detrimental effects on all of us.
When I found out I was going to have to be induced, my first thought was, “I’m going to have Pitocin which means horrible contractions which means getting an epidural really early which means hours of pushing which means C-section!” I spent so much energy worrying about that, praying and praying that I wouldn’t have to go through that.
Well, I didn’t go through exactly that, but I didn’t have the birth I was expecting.
I hoped for a labor and delivery free from medical intervention, mostly because I thought I could handle it. My thought was, “I can do anything for a day.” Plus I’d heard so many wonderful things about natural childbirth (you know, aside from the horrible pain thing) and I wanted to give it a try.
As we all know, I ended up having about 45,000 interventions. IV, fetal monitoring, pain medication, an epidural, and I never got to experience the feeling of pushing my baby into this world.
And you know what? I really don’t care.
I got through 14 hours of labor with absolutely nothing helping me but some deep breaths and my husband basically punching me in the back to counter the INSANE back labor. 14 hours. Try to imagine someone trying to rip you in half for that long. The 6+ remaining hours were spent numb from the waist down, willing my cervix to get its act together. Alas, it never did and we had to go in and get the kid.
I know some women have an incredibly hard time after experiencing a C-section birth after hoping and expecting something different. Meanwhile there are people who actually have the nerve to say to new mothers having just experienced a C-section that it probably wasn’t necessary – the doctor was just in a hurry, or she should have just endured labor a little longer. I don’t think they realize this when they say it, but comments like that suggest that such births are less special or amazing.
I don’t feel like any less of a mother for not pushing my baby out. I carried him. My body made his body. We went through over 20 hours of labor together, both of us feeling the intensity of it, going through what needed to be done to bring him into this world.
And his birth was – excuse me while I weep – every bit as incredible as I could have ever asked for, with its own key players, priceless moments, and overwhelming emotions.
Looking back, I think perhaps Jackson’s birth was a bit more urgent than we realized. It was by no means a crash C-section, but there were several factors leading us to the decision that he needed some help: heart rate dropping with strong contractions which meant the cord was most likely around his neck; lots and lots and lots of hours passing after my water broke on its own and absolutely no progress; posterior positioning making it even harder for him to move down and out. I’m convinced that if we had waited things out much longer, things could have gotten very scary very quickly.
The bottom line is he’s here. He’s safe. We’re together. And things? They are fabulous.