The reasons for the c-section are long and yet not really. I have been contemplating "explaining" it all to you for weeks now, but it sounded so defensive-- bordering on exaggerated, that I have never found the right words or made the time to do so. No evil doctor has chopped me in half, no one has threatened or coorced me, there is no sad tale to tell--so I almost didnt know how to tell it.
There will be many many of you who simply do not understand what it is like to have the issues that I have right now with my body and my mind and my life. That is to be expected. Again, agreeing with or even understanding what other people go through isn't always possible, in fact it can be really difficult. some of the things I am going to tell you might really touch nerves, might really roll eyes--and there isn't anything I can do about that. I cant tell you enough how much I do NOT need anyone to tell me "you go girl" or "we totally understand". In fact, the fear of appearing to pander for these kinds of comments have kept me off the computer lately. I overthink things, if you haven't noticed ; )
About a month ago, I was listening to Hypnobabies Cd's***. I was filled with a sense of deep annoyance and frustration at the soothing lady telling me to relax, let my uterus do the work, that my body was perfectly designed to birth my baby, that soon my precious baby would slip into my arms. I was growing from irritated to enraged and then very very sad. I thought about how many women for whom this was just not true and then I "let" myself acknowledge what it was that was truly troubling me, that I felt this was completely not for me. Not truths, not something I needed to do, not something that I needed to delude myself with, and recognizing and facing this "demon" needed to happen that very day. I turned it off.
I started to think about so much of the time and energy that I have poured into this stuff, the BIRTH STUFF in my lifetime. From the first time I got my hands on Our Bodies Ourselves to my own birth experiences, to the thousands of hours of research, films, tv shows, reading, writing, and I knew that something was quite bullshit about what was going on for me, and I was afraid of it, but it had to be dealt with, immediately. This was about 4 weeks ago, when I began to get incredibly honest with myself and how shitty hiding behind what I thought I was suppossed to do was making me feel.
That night, me and my husband had a "big talk". I had no agenda except needed a very very trusted and close sounding board--the one person who truly, truly knows-knows-knows me and what I am about and when I am serious and what life has been for me. We have been together since I was 16 and believe me, he has been there. So I said to him (no use beating around the bush, right?)
" I am not going to be able to have a VBAC. the entire thing is a fricking sham. We found a "cool" doctor willing to let us play out the fantasy that I gave it my all, but Steve, it isnt going to happen. I have never been more sure of anything in my life. this isnt stinkin-thinkin', this is reality. I have a separated pelvis and cannot move my legs apart more than a few inches. I have scar tissue that I can feel ripping and tearing every minute of the day. The baby is breecher-than-breech, her round little head is clearly visible in my sternum and her feet dance and stab my crotch and hip sockets constantly. I am not going to be allowed to be upright or freed from IV fluids or external fetal monitoring, so this means beddy bye on my back and this will mean epidural which will mean loss of the sense of what my pelvis can and should do and alot of fear about the nursing staff not forcing my legs apart. I can suffer permanent damage to my pelvis if this occurs, and have read about women who are in wheelchairs for months after their SPD lithotomy position births. I do not trust my body, I do not think BirthWorks. I think I am in for another exhausting upsetting disappointing sham of a huge huge baby not coming down again, and I have NO interest. I am going to tell all of this to the doctor and see what he says."
My husband completely understood and agreed. To have this NAUGHTY SECRET THOUGHT "out there" for discussion, without having anyone with any agenda to have to be burdened with, to just tell my thoughts to, was very very good.
We discussed what we pictured the differences would be between a planned cesarean and the other kind. We talked about how unprepared and devastating we were and it was the other two times; the 24 hours of exhausting labor, the scrambling and failing to obtain time off work for Steve, or childcare of any kind, the confusion, the questions, the exhaustion, the irony of having the pain of the abdominal incision AND the pain from hours of pushing in the form of hemorrhoids, bruising and swelling and minor tears from the nurses constant perineal fiddlings and urgings to push right down here, Mom, right down here (rub rub rub rub stretch stretch stretch rub rub rub rub invade invade invade...) We talked about how we imagined just showing up one fine morning and getting a c-section would be SO WEIRD like some goofy celebrity, and yet so so so much different. TO be clean and rested, at a decent hour, to have childcare all lined up and to have time off of work, to not be alone and in pain for a week with my devastation and nightmares but to be cared for and supported...this had the potential to be something very different than we had ever known before.
I saw the doctor that week and opened up the floodgates. I cried through my whole speech, bumbling and stammering and over explaining and, with boogers and tears literally all over my entire front, he came around from behind his desk, this man who was and is completely willing to support VBAC ladies, in his special and rare status in our state, and his trustworthy and kind Mister Rogers way, gave me a hug. After offering me the entire box of Kleenex, he hugged me and he talked to me. He told me that I was very brave and very mature and that I was, without a doubt, making the best decision for my situation. We took out a calender and looked at it together. He told me more than once that I could change my mind. He answered all my questions and when I told him over and over just how WEIRD it seemed, he was right there with me agreeing. It was a genuine moment and I felt at peace after the visit.
Over the past few weeks, my physical condition has only gotten worse. I am in such astonishing pain that it has become isolating, and I have actually stopped talking about it for the most part. My pains I have in my lower abdomen are now to the point that I no longer fear surgery whatsoever. I AM living with terrible hobbling pain, and taking care of the children and the house, too. My dislocated crotch and creaking ribs are just part of my life, now, as is almost no sleep and terrible, terrible mood swings. For the first time in my life, having a special birth experience is literally one of the lowest priorities ever to me. I NEED to have my baby, and I NEED this pregnancy to end.
I have joined the legions now, I suppose, of the just-be-glad-your-baby-is-here, and I am looking forward to it with a clear and peaceful heart. There are many, many causes that I support and believe in, many of which do not directly touch my personal life, and that does not affect my ability and determination to devote my time or energy or passion towards. Homebirth is now definitely one of them and I am OK with that. DO you have any causes that you support that might not pertain to you personally? Save the Whales? Stop Apartheid? Bio-Fuel?
I am having a baby tomorrow, and my husband has two weeks off of work. My mom, my sister, my mother in law, and my best friends are all pitching in enormously to share childcare responsibilities so that Steve can stay with me most of the time and that my recovery is a normal one. My gratitude for this gift of not having to worry about my children or about being abandoned in hospital will never end. This really was the only factor which made me ok with this, the knowledge that I would not be all alone in the hospital this time, fending off nurses and being left to die in unattended showers and in charge of a baby I cannot lift or feed or change....god the horrors of all that, I shudder. Never again is all I can think to say.
I am very excited to see the dear baby and to move forward with my motherhood. Thank you for reading and think of me tomorrow. I will have Steve post her name/weight/etc probably Thursday when he comes home to sleep.
***Hypnobabies is a fine product and my story is in no way against this type of thing. I appreciate all of the women it has helped and I hope that it helps many more women to come.