Last weekend was my VBAC babe’s first birthday. I’ve been thinking about how I held her to my chest. How I kissed her beautiful head. How I whispered, “Don’t cry, baby, no one is going to take you away from me”. But you’ve heard about her birth before. So now I think it’s finally time to tell you about her big brother’s birth. The horrible experience I had almost six years ago that I will forever think of as my unnecesarean. My unnecessary cesarean.
No one explained that pitocin induced labor would cause unnaturally intense contractions. I wasn’t allowed to get up and move. I had a monitor strapped to me. Nurses repeatedly told me that I was going to want an epidural and should just get one now. So I caved and got one. The anesthesiologist who administered it was a complete butt from hell. He kept asking, “Does it feel like it’s more to the right, or to the left?” So I’d say left, or right in answer. He finally snapped, “Well there has to be a center!” In my defense, he never asked me that. The next poke I just said that is the center, even though I really had no idea if it was or not. After all I didn’t want to get yelled at again.
I started shaking. Then puking. I felt terrible. The OB came and said he was going to break my water to speed things up. Before I could say, “but…”, Pop! He broke my water. I was only 1 cm dilated at that point. After a few more unproductive hours the nurses started saying that C/section was needed. They said I should stop putting myself through this and just go now before my son started to go into shock. Completely scared, tired, and confused so I gave in. I had a textbook and low risk pregnancy. How could everything have gone so wrong?
Rolling down the hall wasn’t the worst part. The nasty nurse curtly telling me that the special anti-vomit liquid I drank (which despite all my googling I have yet to figure out what that was!) shouldn’t give me heartburn wasn’t the worst. Not holding my son after he was born also wasn’t the worst. The worst part of my unnecessary cesarean was waking up in a little curtained area wacked out on drugs with a nurse sitting by my feet.
Flashback 3 years
A miscarriage diagnosis would mean I needed a D&C. I woke up in a little curtained area wacked out on drugs with a nurse sitting by my feet. I started sobbing uncontrollably. My arms ached to hold a baby. The nurse asked me what she could do and I said I needed something to hold. She ran to the children’s ward and brought me back a handmade pink elephant. I’ll never forget that moment or that sweet nurse. I’ll also never forget how my son’s birth was also eerily similar.
I really struggled to bond with him in the begging. I struggled with everything, actually. Never before had I been in so much pain in my life. Emotionally as well as physically. It led me to ask why. I asked myself how. I started to search for answers. Years before I got pregnant with our princess I knew she’d be a VBAC baby and I knew in the future I’d have to take birth into my own hands. Here is an interesting report on unnecessary cesarean rates and choosing your hospital. If you’re pregnant it’s definitely worth looking at! Interestingly, the hospital I gave birth at is one of the ones that are refusing to share their C/section rates.
Birth is an emotionally charged topic. As well it should be. They say that on the day a baby is born, so is a mother. You can’t help but be attached to that experience. It brought your child into the world who I know you love deeply and intensely. On some level it also changed who you are. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be. While emotions can often run high when we talk birth, let’s get one thing straight- just because I say I had an unnecessary cesarean doesn’t mean I’m saying yours was unnecessary too. Every single birth is special and different. So let’s listen to each other’s stories without applying our own feelings to it too. That’s not helpful to anyone. Instead let’s hear, acknowledge, and respect each other’s unique and special story.