Saturday, January 26, 2008

My post section body

I take mincing steps, like a foot-bound lady of long-ago China, but only on my right leg.

I feel bruised, and to see no discoloration where there is such purple-green soreness is disturbing.

There is no where for my waistband to go without weirdness--either right on the scar like a hot rubber band with spikes, or up too high like some wedgey havin nerd.

I can no longer arch my back, for the front is so tight and shrunken from the mincing steps, anything beyond straight posture is just disconcerting ripping and heat.

I do not want the front of me touched, period. Too nervous, too tickly, too sore, too disconnected,too numb, too afraid, too wounded, too gross, too much.

I dream of walking around town safe and secure in a suit of armor, stainless steel, 1/2 and inch thick, something like a girdle, from the bottom of my ribs to the tops of my thighs, strong and thick and grocery cart handles or childrens hugs or car doors or blue jeans or seat belts or shelving units or fridge doors could ever hurt and shock and scare and embarrass me then, not with my metal protector on...

I wait for the entire part of me, the whole numb prickly blobby demented fat blob of it all to float away, fall off, dry up, shrink down, crack off, get better, go back the way it was, heal, die, leave me please please please.

I fantasize about a "tummy tuck", and would feel great victory and pleasure in seeing the entire fucking thing in the garbage can at the surgery clinic. The whole bloody thing they cut off, I wanna see it. No blue sheet to block my view this time.

(Numb me up enough and I'd do it myself.)

I get to enjoy useless Mommy-guilt at not being glad enough for my children or however that rhetoric goes. It infuriates me, this dismissive and limited idea that I could not simultaneously love and adore my children AND despise what I am left with corporeally. This is just more and more and more of the same old double standard shit I touch upon in past posts---NOBODY TELLS NON-MOTHERS TO "BE GLAD" WHEN THEY HAVE SUFFERED. Its always the mothers who have to cheer up or shut up. You're scaring the're delusional...just please be gladder...who cares if you weren't able to do one single thing on the post operative instructions list because you were completely alone in the hospital and once you got home, completely alone with all four children all day all night forever and ever and couldn't heal "right"...please be glad...

Like a bad bad mommy, i do not feel joy or pride when i live my life with this lumpy pinchy flap of fucked up pain, my babies showed no signs of distress, not for one second, and so I do not gaze upon my midsection and feel whatever it is that the thought police say I should feel---gratitude, love, amazement--no, my post section tummy symbolizes for me, deepest physical and mental isolation, mute and helpless pain, learning exactly where I stood in my familial and social circle when and if I ever suffer great bodily injury, fear and danger for my future, fear of sports or high speed travel, scarlet-black regret, and the impossibly heavy pressure to have experienced my own life experience differently...

So what am I left with here, where can I forge some nice firm closurey-conclusions out of this oily basin of quicksand? How does one form anything out of grey clouds;
I may or may not have been a failure. My baby may or may not have needed this. I may or may not have excessive or inappropriate pain. I may or may not have been a burden to others. I may or may not have scared the nice neighbor girl who loved her section. I may or may not have this done to me again. I may or may not receive any care or support afterwards again. I may or may not ever feel better or whole or healed. I may or may not piss off the "community". My pain and sadness may or may not offend, disturb, annoy, disappoint, confuse, or bother others. I may or may not ever be heard. This may or may not matter.

Tomorrow, I'll go put on some nice jeans and buckle up my nice seat belt and for heavens sake be nice about it. But it doesnt help me, it really doesnt. I wonder if they have at-home novocaine shots, and if that would help. I wonder if the tummy tuck and the throwing in the garbage can of my entire midsection would help. I wonder if some natural healer thingy that I could never afford like a deep tissue massage would rip me all up and cause me to hemmorage, or if it would release the tension or the adhesions or the nerves.

My all time favorite "advice": Dont live in the past. I wonder if the sick-knobs who keep telling me this can explain to me how my daily life and my future is "the past"??????????????????????

Its really really ok to tell someone who is really hurting that you are sorry that they are having sucky pain. And it really really is ok to tell someone that you are sorry they were abandoned. It really really is ok to go forward and help other mothers when they have their babies, and it really really is ok to just accept someone elses personal experience without putting your own judgemental spin on it. If it helped, to bark at people to MOVE FORWARD, buck up, cheer up, be glad, be gladder, shut up, squelch your self squelch your truth then yeah, I guess Id see it as some kind of tough love thing. BUT IT DOESNT WORK. IT DOESNT WORK. IT ONLY DOES ONE THING, AND IT DOES IT VERY SWIFTLY: IT TEACHES THE PERSON WHO IS HURTING THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE NOT DISCUSSED THIS WITH YOU. thats all it does. thats all it can do.


Kelley said...

I truly AM sorry that you are dealing with all this yucky stuff. I really wish we lived closer to each other so I could be there for you as an IRL friend instead of mainly through the Internet. What you say makes me think in ways I never thought before. Thank you for all of it. Hey, the tummy tuck idea sounds great. Would it help make the pain go away? Wouldn't it be AWESOME if it did?

Housefairy said...

It would be awesome, and thank you for not thinking my plastic surgery stuff is bad ;) you'd think I would hate surgery by now, and (har dee har) Im sure I would have even less luck finding someone to come take care of the kids for my beauty-treatment surgery than for a birth, (har har again) but someday, when my hubby has a job that follows the FMLA laws in a legal fashion, or the kids are grown, or whatever, then yeah, I might just look into this whole thing. For now, it is the only thing that gives me hope for a future without this freaky area of my body, just cutting the whole thing out. I am sure there is a whole bag full o' psychological symbolism for this wish, but people get stuff removed all the time, right?

Kneelingwoman said...'s your midwife. Would you call me please! I know it's been a busy week for everyone but, I really don't like that you're going through all of this while I sit home assuming you haven't called me back because you're at work or doing homeschool sounds like we need to have a conversation and a "Thai food" reunion. I'm home all night ( Saturday ) and tomorrow, I'll be around anytime after 4 p.m. so....ring, ring.

Trish said...

I'm so sorry you went through all that you went through! You know, it is not fair. It is not something that you ever deserved - for any reason! I've come to realize just how unfair the universe can seem (I guess I hope that things even out a bit in the end?). Being left alone while you were trying to recover, going through the surgeries to begin with ... all of it - not your fault, not fair!

It doesn't matter that it isn't fair that you had to go through it - because in the end, that's what you lived through. I hope that this birth can go really beautifully and help you heal from the others.
And - KNOW that you will not be left on your own this time! You've got a community around you this time that you know will come through to help.

(((hugs))) Take care of yourself!

CNH said...

Tummy tuck. Yes, lets. I was seriously considering it but when they said 'twins' I was like "oh yeah, this 8 inches of skin flap is going when I get babies off the boobie in 3 years".

I'm sorry you have pain. That sucks. I bet growing another human and stretching the scar just hurts like hell. I wish there was something I could do, but just take some cyberhugs instead.

harmony said...

I couldn't agree with you more.

Jill said...

Oh, yes. Yes yes yes. Every time I hear "you should be grateful" or "why are you dwelling on it," etc. I want to grab my pen and stab these people's eyes out with it.

Nobody tells a soldier home from the war with PTSD to "stop living in the past." Nobody tells a rape victim "you should be grateful you're alive." FUCK THAT, DUDE. I am so sick of people downplaying women's pain and suffering, because after all, we're just women. Nothing we go through means anything. It's just BIRTH, what's the big deal? Bla bla bla. FUCK.

Sorry, I get a little emotional when this subject comes up.

emjaybee said...

Were you inside my head, writing down my thoughts after my c/section 2 years ago? Because damn, you could not be more accurate. Plastic surgery too...I'd like a whole new body, please, scar-free and unhurt. Could I get that to go?

I hate, and always will hate, what my scar represents. Not the scar itself or my poor body, which is only showing the traces of what was done to it, but the callousness and carelessness which led to my scar will always make me feel rage. I've had to struggle to find ways to use that rage instead of just exploding at random intervals...still working on that. In the meantime, I just have to let people think of me as CrazyAngryWoman if that's all they're capable of....

vbacwarrior said...

I feel like your words just held up a mirror for me to look into.

I have a blog post coming very soon that I think you'll like.


I am a Monkey's Momma said...

Joy, You articulate the thoughts and feelings I have, but never thought there were words that could begin to do them any justice.

Thank you for being so brave.


Rixa said...

I've heard of a certain kind of massage for breaking up post c/s adhesions...I'll have to look that up and get back to you on that one. Of course there are the issues of affordability and accessibility; I don't know how many people specialize in that.

I'm thinking that women's experiences of cesareans (both the operations, and then the aftermath: emotional reactions, post-cesarean body, cesarean art/processing) would make an interesting and much-needed book. I wonder if this has ever been done. Well over 1 million women give birth via cesaerian section every year, just in the US, so this is a HUGE group of women undergoing a shared experience (not necessarily the "same", but at least some aspects of it are universal).

Laureen said...


the massage is called Arvigo or Maya Abdominal massage. Absolutely critical, IMO, to getting your body straightened out. I got my adhesions broken up before I VBACed, and it made a world of difference.

And Rixa, yes that book exists. Cesarean Voices, published last year by ICAN. I'd be delighted to bring a copy to you at Trust Birth in March (I'm speaking at the closing general session).

Judit said...

Joy, I'm sending you lots of love, lots of hope for healing in body and soul, and lots of understanding for the meantime.

Anonymous said...

Dear Housfairy,

I often thank people for their honesty, and then I wonder/fear that to them this sounded like a cop-out -- like empty praises.

But I really, truly, sincerely mean it. I love honesty -- blunt, painful, ugly honesty. It's beautiful.

So without further ado, thank you for your honesty! Thanks for not censoring your thoughts and feelings!

Best regards,

Rixa said...

Ooh, I'd love to see the book!

Corin said...

Joy, you repeatedly impress me with your total honesty and sincerity. You've been awarded The Excellent Blog Award. Please stop by my blog, The Human Pacifier, sometime and claim your award. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

cold laser treatments can also help break up c/s scar adhesions. But some very firm massage with some very organic type of cream/oil will also help tremendously.

massage is really important once the incision is healed and can be done for as long as needed.


Anonymous said...

I wrote my latest post with you in mind as well.
I honor you, this journey from the Inanna, you have descended into the underworld stripped of everything she knew. But in the myth, she emerged a newly strengthened goddess.
In the meantime, feel this rage and sorrow and grief. Let it pour forth from you.
In this spiral of grief, you and your body will heal.
Love and peace, mama.

kris said...

you've been given another award housefairy, come visit to see:)

M said...

Just wanted to say thank you SO much for writing. Your blog is incredible and I love it.

Do you mind if I link to you?

Sarah said...

I had no idea that a c-section was so "not over" after a few months. Thank you for the eye-opener, and I feel for you. It is actually strange to me how many women are "okay"--or at least play the part of the grateful mom--with their sections. When one of my good friends endured one, *I* had postpartum depression for her for a week, even though she was "glad." I let her be glad, but inside, I was all confusion and anger about "why?" Perhaps someday she too will question the necessity of her section and I can be a support to her then, as well.
A c-section does not have to signify your or the baby's failure. There is the very probable "being failed" that also exists among the list of "failure."
I will pray for you as you work through this.

Angi said...

I have two different friends who had messed up sections and actually got insurance to cover a tummy tuck to fix the problems. I wonder if that's a possibility for you. I hope so! I don't think you deserve to live with the situation you are facing right now! I am so sorry you are feeling so crappy. I truly wish you had a support system around you. I hope you feel well soon!

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