Monday, March 15, 2010

The C word and the F word

Yeah I said it. Duh, right? I still am gonna say it forever, cause Ive had three of these gory brutal invasive terrifying fucking surgeries, THREE babies whose mother was a complete drugged out invalid, Each fucking cesarean was a hundred times worse than the previous one--no fuck that--a thousand times worse, then ten thousand. I promise you. Who am I directing this to, exactly? Poor pregnant ladies? Hardly. The mean old doctor who hates you and cuts you up for no reason? har har, but nope. Just to the WORLD. To the fucking world. You all need to fully grasp what a crock and a farce and a huge, HUGE deal this thing is. this thing that is apparently happening to nearly half of all the mamas-- HALF???? That chapter in the cheesy pregnancy book you kinda didnt even read cause it was a bummer and bad luck--well its all fucking LIES, my darlings, the little lady doing some weird sit-up in some gross leotard--no. This is not the scenario, THIS IS NOT WHAT MY CSECTION WAS LIKE, AT ALL. It wasnt about a fucking nursing pillow or fucking tylenols or fucking deep breathing. It was about searing, sizzling, jolting, clunking, crushing, swollen, twisted, lost, misplaced organs, it is about being a broken, oh so fucking broken fucking flower, a beautiful tragic flower, with a rose for a head, strong green leaves at the base, and a pulverized, decimated liquid mush covered in tears and staples and milk and gauze and pus dandelion stem.

A pregnancy, a beautiful live healthy baby--the blessing is too overwhelming to comprehend-- this alien swirling and swelling your every moment towards ultimate ripeness--and to think of how the mother, the vessel of life, the beautiful gigantic rose pregnant goddess mama, laid out naked and fucking STRAPPED down to a metal SLAB, robot lights zooming down upon her purest glory with blue nasty spearmint sinister glowering glare--to think of then TAKING A KNIFE--A __KNIFE!!!!!__ and searing right into her like that???? It stands in direct opposition of everything that has transpired for 10 moons.

And what of the baby? Oh, the dear baby-- well its so difficult explain how a sectioned woman receiving her child is from the truly transcendent supernova that is reaching down into yourself--your SELF and lifting up your baby. Upside down vomiting into your eyes and nose and seeing a small tunnel visioned glimpse of some red face in a blanket while there are deafening gurgling suction noises coming from behind the magic curtain....well it is cool, to see your baby's face a little bit, its awesome that the baby is "here", alive and whole, but pretty much your body can't decide whether to shake uncontrollably, to vomit violently, retching for air, or just nod in and out of consciousness for the next undisclosed time period. So um, no, it ain't really the same, hmm?

One can only wonder how they seal the deal--I hear there is a lot more medical glue and a lot less stitches going on nowadays. I like that I have to learn about my own belly from the internet, lemme tell you. But they do it roughly, they do it rote-ly, and they don't go easy--after all, you are still numb, and they don't ever have to see you again. So expect extensive, alarming bruising, inside and out. Then the lovely staples. STAPLES??? I almost fucking fainted when some nonchalant bitch , one of hundreds of non chalant childless mean 23 year old bitches who would fucking PARADE into my bedroom-- well it is isnt it? You are in bed barely clothed--so it is your bedroom--when she told me "You gotta watch out for yer staples, bla blabla" MY WHA??? S T A P L E S??? I was horrified, alarmed, scared. I felt that magic curtain come back up, whenever "the wound" was discussed, I just felt it go up up up and we were all just chatting about some other poor old soul who has been attacked by King Arthur's best swordsman or some shit--right? My staples? blech!!!!!

But you do get the courteous little gauze patch, its size rather belying the extent of your actual injuries-- are you fucking kidding me, I feel like a foolish fucking moron with this tiny little white rectangle taped to my upper crotch, someone come in this room and give me a full body cast, some blipping machinery, and a continuous drip of actual fucking painkillers that actually work!!! Hell, I could have used one of those halo things that head injury victims use, where you have your entire head encircled with a metal ring and that ring is connected to your shoulders--that is just the tip of the iceburg of how much insane pain I was in after I had my Eska.

Thats all for tonight. its taken me 21 months to even hint at a real honest birth story of Eskarina, but maybe this small post will help unveil everything to anyone who still reads this blog.


Leigh Steele said...

I still read!

You bold, beautiful, honest, loving, tender soul.
This is real.
Your truth.
Our truth.
I knew this was in you, bubbling for almost two years, and that you would - in time - find these words. Or they would find you. Connecting up the wound with the grief. Unleashing it all.
I felt your intense pain in every sentence and question mark and period.
It sucks to admit but...I believe we never truly heal from a ravage C-section.
I felt like my entire yoni and womanhood was ripped and cut out of my body after the c-section. Did you? My sex life was impacted horribly. I felt sexless.
But how to fully explain this in our culture that says "Oh YOU. Silly YOU. you have that healthy baby. Get over it".
Fuck getting over it. Getting over it is what you do to a mountain but GUESS WHAT? the mountain still exists. it doesn't go away until you blow it to bits by reopening the wound, and screaming till it crumbles and rebuilding.
So, I stand shoulder to shoulder with you.
I can say, luckily, that my physical healing after the c-section was...not as horrid as yours. I was LUCKY in that, very very much indeed.
Thank you for putting this out there.
I hope you feel...whatever you need to feel after writing this. Because you are amazing, mama.

Stassja said...

Oh Joy. There are no words. None at all. I wish there were, words that would mend, heal, relieve, comfort, fucking UNDO and DELETE. No one should be put through that, ever. I don't care how necessary the surgery, be it cesarean or otherwise. NO ONE. IT IS NOT OK.

MamaVee said...

I had my appendix out a few months ago - laproscopically - as in they pulled it out from one teeny tiny incision in my belly button. And it amazed me how long they kept offering me morphine and dilauded, even offering one last "top up" 20 minutes before I went home. 24 hours after my c-section they were telling me I should be just fine with regular old Tylenol - not even the ones with codeine. Seriously, you just cut me open with an 6 inch abdominal incision, flipped my uterus practically inside out onto my belly to "check it" after removing my baby from it and you hand me Tylenol for the pain? And I'm supposed to be "fine" and walk around and look after a screaming baby? Seriously? May as well just pass me some jelly beans.

I read you still. I understand painful recovery and not wanting to talk about. I have no wise words, just sending you a bit of live over the webwaves.

Rixa said...

Hugs to you...

Thomasin said...

I still read too!

And Joy, your blog helped me when I realized I wasn't going to get the home birth I'd planned on. Your words gave me courage to advocate for myself in the hospital. Your honesty helped me prepare for the trial I knew lay ahead of me.

Thank you for sharing. Thank you for find time to write (it can't be easy with a busy young family). Thank you for delving into the unglamourous real everyday stuff that the baby books refuse to discuss. I am sincerely grateful to have stumbled across your blog two years ago.

Kelley said...

I'm still here AND reading, Joy. I'm not sure there's anything you could say that could drive me away. I don't know what to say except... I think you're wonderful, and I wish I could give you a big hug right now. I'm sure that sounds a bit dumb, but it's what I know.

Jill said...

Oh, Joy. Your writing is such a sucker-punch to the scarred gut. Reading this and feeling your pain and empathizing with my own pain makes me wonder HOW IN THE FUCK women can be so cavalier about their C-sections. Are they trying to sugarcoat how they really felt or was it REALLY not such a big deal to them? I don't get it. C-sections ARE a big deal. This post proves it.

Housefairy said...

Thank you, everyone. Apparantly this is my end to writer's block, just let it all out at 2 am.

Jill, my only tiny guess why it wasnt as bad for some other women is that they got to rest afterwards, werent alone in the hospital, had support at home, were in better shape to begin with, had only one section, had gentler doctors, went to hospitals that gave them painkillers that worked, or I am just some wussy. Broken defective foolish stupid wussy loser with a loser family and loser doctors and loser nurses. But that sounds pretty crazy, so I guess I chalk it all up to the "I didnt know I was pregnant" kind of human mystery?

Olivia said...

my only tiny guess why it wasnt as bad for some other women is that they got to rest afterwards, werent alone in the hospital, had support at home, were in better shape to begin with, had only one section, had gentler doctors, went to hospitals that gave them painkillers that worked

I think that is on the right track. They way I feel about my c-section is basically, "meh". I didn't love it certainly, and I had some really bad pain, but that was more because I didn't stay on top of my meds. Overall, wouldn't want to do it again, but not the worst experience in my life.

hurk said...

hi Joy
I enjoy reading your blog!

I think how we heal from surgical births depends on so many things, all of which you and the others listed - surgical skill of the OB, appropriate pain meds afterwards, adequate love and support, nurturing, support for older siblings. Being on modified bed rest before an c-section also has a profound impact on healing afterwards.

PLUS add in expectations and dreams. Some women are simply hoping for a baby and the path to welcome the baby is insignificant for them. For others, the path is as equally important.

I think what is important for moving forward is processing of the experience. I believe some of us will not 'heal' from the ordeal in the sense we will make peace with it completely - but in order to move forward to be a functioning happy adult, mother, partner etc. we must find a way (and place in our heart) to process these wounds to the extent that we can and lay them to rest.

From time to time they will feel raw and painful. But in order to find a new balance in life I think it's important to live for today and tomorrow and our children.

I hope this doesn't sound offensive or like the standard line of 'get over it!'

I had my twins from c-section -after being 10 cms dilated - no OB in my town would deliver vaginally simply because of SOGC (ACOG) recommendations. Ridiculous! I know I was simply giving birth at the wrong time in history - pretty F**G stupid. I had a hemorrage, infection, terrible low milk supply as a result, and PPD. But, I desperately want my boys to honestly believe that their day was beautiful - because it was the first day they were in our family. I never talk about the negative aspects of their birth around them. It is not their burden to bear. I listened to my mother tell me such awful things about my birth that I grew up feeling guilty for her experience.

I hope you find healing so you can be all you want to be for yourself and your family. And I look forward to hearing about your new home.

Alexandra said...

Joy, first of all, I feel for you and I'm glad you're finally finding a way to release this catharsis.

Secondly, I think you're right on about why some C-sections are far less traumatic than others. Mine was for my (so-far) only child, so I had no previous scars or other kids to worry about. My husband had the whole week off work, so he was in the hospital with me the whole time. My grandmother came to stay with us and help with the baby for three weeks after we came home, so I was able to really rest. We were lucky enough to be at a super-friendly hospital (in fact, we drove an hour to get there when my pushing was obstructed because my midwife insisted it would be better than the closer ones). I can't say for sure that the surgeon was gentler or that the pain meds were stronger, but at least everyone was very nice and didn't try to push anything we didn't want on us. This is not to brag, but just to confirm how different c-section experiences can be and how much of a difference that can make to the recovery.

I'm sure age can make a difference, too. I'm not super-young, but a few years younger than you, and it seems that my body gets worse at healing from trauma every year.

Finally, some of it is probably just random differences in how different people's bodies respond. It's not fair that a surgery that can be so simple for some people to recover from can be so wrenching and life-altering for others, but I suspect that's the way it is.

Huge hugs to you!

K E said...

Still here, too. Can't say anything profound or original but just bearing witness to all the healing(?) going on, whatever form it takes.

Elisabeth said...


Some women have great vaginal births, others can't sit for weeks. It's the same for a C-section. You had a lot going around the birth - I was amazed that you were able to function. I don't believe that your body let you down or that you are a wimp. You had a difficult pregnancy, a difficult birth, and a difficult recovery. Many parts of the whole thing sucked. I wish I could have been there to help.

SolaceMama said...

O my word. I have found a bit of heaven on earth. It is 2 am (plus a little) right now and I am just about to jump for joy. This post is so what I needed to read.

May I link to you? I have very recently started a new blog to try working through my PPD resulting from my PTSD resulting from my c-section. Life is sometimes a bit like hell. But it is getting better. ...and everytime I say that, it kicks me in the butt and I ususally have nightmares again...

I have no words to offer. Except, I am so very sorry. I understand in ways that most people scoff at. You are so spot-on that I feel sucker punched in my very numb abdomen. How does that work anyway???

M.B. said...

Thank you thank you. I sit with tears in my eyes 15 LONG years after my terrifying, needless (no really, 100% unnecessary) FUCKING C-SECTION. You said what you had to say and that let me feel what I needed to feel. I denied myself the opportunity to mourn the brutal scalpel rape that brought my beautiful son in to the world 15 years ago. I shuddered with sobs quite unexpectedly when I read “and to think of how the mother, the vessel of life, the beautiful gigantic rose pregnant goddess mama, laid out naked and fucking STRAPPED down to a metal SLAB, robot lights zooming down upon her purest glory with blue nasty spearmint sinister glowering glare--to think of then TAKING A KNIFE--A __KNIFE!!!!!__ and searing right into her like that????” Yep that’s it exactly. The horror and indignity and burning searing pain. And now with my 20 year old pregnant with her first daughter, all I know is I have to do all I can to protect her from this.
Thank you for the reminder and the ability to feel it for the first time.