If you missed me, my bad. Posting has been delayed because I've been chewing on an idea for a post that's pretty personal to me and I've been internally debating about whether or not I would want to share something about which I feel so deeply.
However, I've received a few comments (some in jest and some not) in the past few months from multiple individuals that really struck a nerve, so here I go. I'm laying it all out on the table, so everyone put your serious faces on for just a few minutes:
Just because I had a c-section does not make me less of a woman, nor does it make me less of a mother.
There, I said it. I feel better already.
I'd like to preface this post by saying that I am horrified at the high rate of ceasarean sections in the United States. Most of them are so unneccessary, but some cases just can't be avoided and in emergencies is the only way to actually have your baby. Such is my case.
If you've spoken with me personally since the birth of my sweet little girl, you'd know that I am not exactly thrilled with the way things went on the big day. Quite frankly, it bothers me quite a bit.
Maybe I sound selfish. I'm allowed to be selfish for 10 minutes.
During pregnancy, you have all these awesome rose-colored ideas--- on how it's supposed to go. Yeah, yeah...labor and delivery is a scary thought, but only because it's an unknown. You can ask all the mothers in the world how it was for them, but it's something you really won't know about until you've done it. What do contractions feel like? People can tell you, but you'll never really know until you're in the middle of one.
They suck, by the way. That's all the detail I'll provide.
Aaaaanyway, the last few months of my pregnancy I thought constantly about how it would go. I didn't really focus on the labor part, because we all know that it sucks, but I thought about the end...finally getting that baby out and laying her on my chest and we would look into each others' eyes and we would be inseparable from then on.
As luck would have it, my pregnancy wasn't easy. The last three months I dealt with major swelling and blood pressure issues. I had one pair of flip flops that were lose enough on my feet to wear since any of the shoes I owned were completely out of the question. My blood pressure sent me to the hospital so many times all the visits blur together in my head. Do you know what's it like to save your pee for 24 hours, keep it on ice, and then bring a huge jug of it back to the hospital? Do you know what it's like to do that three times?
I always thought I'd be the glowing empowered female during pregnancy that it never occurred to me that I'd be practically bedridden and helpless during the last few weeks. I also thought that I would be able to go into labor on my own, try to go for as long as possible without medical intervention, and have my baby the way women have been doing it for centuries (well, for centuries minus the cushy hospital surroundings). I never wrote out a birth plan because I figured I'd be able to go with the flow and make my decisions when I needed to. I had no idea someone else would wind up making those decisions for me.
When I was 38 weeks, my doctor finally said enough was enough. My blood pressure was at the highest it had been and we were worried. He scheduled an induction for the next day, a Friday, and told me I'd have my baby at some point over the weekend. I woke up the next morning, packed my bags, and sat around waiting for the call to go to the hospital. At noon I got the call. They told me there was no room at the hospital for me and unless I was the Virgin Mary and had no problem giving birth in a stable I had to wait until the next week (no lie, I was told this). I understand they were trying to make light of the situation, but that was heartbreaking. I cried all day. There comes a point when you are just so mentally and physically exhausted that all you can do is cry.
I finally went in for the real induction on Monday afternoon, June 13. My midwife started me on Cervadil (the start of my many interventions). By Tuesday morning, I was started on Pitocin. Pitocin sucks. I'll also provide that detail. My contractions were happening so quickly and so forcefully that everyone thought that baby would be out in no time.
Everything pretty much snowballed after that: Nubain and an epidural for pain management and an eventual stall in my labor. After eight hours of the absolute worst pain of my life (with all my focus, of course, on the finish line), I stopped dialating. My doctor eventually made the call that perhaps I should consider a c-section once he felt the swelling on Peyton's head. She was dropping, but my body wasn't letting her go. I was devastated.
The midwife asked my doctor to let me labor longer. He gave me an hour to make progress. A half an hour in, Peyton's heart rate dropped into the 50s (should have been at least three times that) and my blood pressure spiked. It was like a scene right out of Grey's Anatomy, with my doctor and nurses running in. At that point I gave up; "Just take her," I told them. And then I cried a little more.
I wholeheartedly believe that one of women's greatest gifts is the ability to carry life within and then bring it into the world (me, the girl who swore she'd never reproduce). I did the first part pretty okay, but the second part eluded me completely. I felt like my body had failed me.
Long story short: I was in an OR by 7:15 PM. Peyton was born at 7:36 PM. My face was not the first she saw; instead, she saw my doctor, the nurses, and an anesthesiologist first. There was no immediate skin-to-skin time that they say is so crucial in those first few moments of a baby's life. Instead, I got to rub her little hand and touch her cheek before they whisked her away so I could get stitched up. Everyone else even had the chance to hold her before I did. I got her last.
Really though, all that doesn't matter because she is happy, healthy, and most importantly: she is here. And my scar is proof.
So in the words of the Rolling Stones: "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might just find you get what you need." Never truer words sung, Mr. Jagger. Actually, there probably are truer words that have been sung, but this particular song has been stuck in my head.
Enough with the seriousness. Here are reasons why my c-section wasn't all that bad anyway:
- No egghead. This is actually a lie since Peyton had a glorious egghead. Behold:
Not the best angle, but holy moly was that thing elongated.
- Bladder control...I don't pee when I sneeze. Snissing, I don't do it. Hallelujah.
- Things, ahem, pardon me, remained intact. No stitches here!
- If or when I decide to have another baby, I can always try a VBAC.
- My scar, forgetting the few minor complications I had with it, will heal beautifully and in no time.
In other news, my baby is four months today!