My God, I Am Lucky

I am reading birth stories on www.unnecesarean.com. Having nothing to compare my birth to really, I had no idea how lucky I was until I started reading all these birth/midwife books. Now I’m horrified.

I’m reading Mason’s birth, which is currently the second story on the RSS feed. Some of the little things that I guess I didn’t even consider were really important to me now that I read these stories. When given her epidural, she had to lean into the nurse. Her husband couldn’t move at all, and was not allowed to touch her. I leaned into Nick, which was so nice. His smell, just HIM… it was so comforting.

Not being allowed to eat, too. I didn’t have much. I think I had some crackers and some soup. Big whoop. But still, not having eaten for hours and then getting induced, which usually results in a LONGGGGGGG labor…. how can they possibly expect a woman to deliver her baby vaginally if they have her absolutely famished? Probably not going to happen.

Because she was on a pitocin drip, she wasn’t allowed much freedom. Not even to sit in the bathroom for very long. I was all over the place. Hallways, tub, toilet, birthing ball, pacing… here, there, everywhere. And all of you women who have labored know how good it feels to sit on the toilet during!

But what really, REALLY makes my heart bleed is this:
“I felt very ashamed as I was wheeled down the halls, and by the nurses’ station. I couldn’t look any of them in the eye. I felt really embarrassed, even silly. I was totally numb, I felt like a beached whale; like a cow going in for the slaughter. They knew why I was going to the OR. I was going because I failed as a woman.”

Now I’m definitely not going to sit and preach to everyone that they should all give birth naturally, and that if you don’t you are a failure, because that is CERTAINLY not true. Any of us who have had something in labor (or afterwards!) not go the way they hoped/planned can relate to this, though. I felt this way when my midwife suggested an epidural for me. Just because I had stalled at a 9 for like EVER, I was a failure. (Of course, I’m blessed. An OB probably would have “sent me in for the slaughter” too. And no lie, Ollie was a big dude.) I also felt this way because of the failure in the breastfeeding department. But we, as women, should NEVER EVER feel this way, be made to feel this way, or have a reason to feel this way. And yes, not everything goes the way you plan it to – it never will. But when NOTHING goes the way you plan it to…. I can’t even imagine.

I talked to a friend the other day who was asking me about my labor. She’s pregnant with her second. Had an “unnecesarean” with the first. She said sadly “I really wish I had been able to do a normal delivery”. I said “Why don’t you this time?” to which her response was “my doctor won’t let me. It’s not safe.”

Oh, ladies. It may be true, it may not be safe in her situation. I don’t know all the details. But generally speaking, most women do just fine with a traditional birth after a c-section. Research VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean.). My mom is a perfect example. Rose was an unnecesarean – a pretty common story where they induced labor because she was “overdue”, her heart rate dropped, and they had to do an emergency c-section – and Gus was a natural birth. My suggestion? Talk to a midwife. Susan and Rhonda in Cambridge do VBAC’s constantly.

Like Peggy Vincent, the author of “Baby Catcher” says. Doctors think that labor is abnormal unless proven otherwise. Midwifes believe labor is normal unless proven otherwise.

Well put, Peggy.

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