So here we are.
This week has been the most emotionally trying week I can remember. I’ve moved all across the board from emotional acceptance, to complete disgust, to distrust of everyone around me, to small bits of peace. And here we are, the day before surgery.
I have to admit, sometimes ignorance really is bliss. This blog and this community is 99% blessing and 1% curse. I get so much good info from you guys on everything from your sourcing means of cereal marshmallows to labor and birth. And I knew very little about c-section options because I just didn’t think I’d have another one. But it turns out that if you are in fact faced with this path like I am, there is a way to have a better c-section. When I saw this video, for the first time, I had hope again. I highly recommend watching this video.
That is unless you’re me a week ago. I shouldn’t have watched it. Because now I know.
I decided to meet with the surgeon at the hospital who would be performing the procedure. When I asked for things like not having my arms strapped down, having the baby on my chest after she popped out and having the curtain lowered so I can see her being born, the surgeon (a woman) looked at me like I was crazy. The answers I was given were things like “the curtain only lowers so far”. Or ” the baby will be slippery and you could drop her”. I don’t think anyone has ever asked this surgeon for anything. In fact, I think her and almost all other surgeons are used to no one questioning them ever. I was told that things like this “just aren’t done”.
We talked to the midwife, we explored legalities, we talked about just not showing up for the c-section. We called a new midwifery practice in Lancaster that delivers 80% Amish. We begged and pleaded for anyone at all involved in the c section to just work with us to make it a little bit more positive and really got nothing. We explored other practices that would take someone at 41 weeks (no one). Then I went further.
I took castor oil…which I swore I’d never do again. I took evening primrose oil…which I swore I’d never do again. And you know what? Nothing worked. I mean, like not even didn’t work. Like I didn’t even fart from the castor oil. And so I took it as a sign. I really needed to begin to accept my path and start to move forward.
And up until only an hour ago were B and I crying, trying to figure out what to do. Do we just not show up? Then what? We don’t have medical care in the 41st-42nd week of pregnancy. Do I just wait until I go into labor and cross my fingers that the hospital we walk into won’t cut me open when they see my scar? What if I don’t go into labor at 42 weeks and I don’t have a doctor? Do I walk into a hospital and politely ask for a c-section by a strange doctor? And am I better off than I was before?
Every question led to another question. Every uncertainty wasn’t just an uncertainty. It was the life of our baby. And my life. But my life does involve this birth experience and it’s something I’ll remember forever. Although this piece was becoming smaller and smaller.
I felt like I was going to wake up tomorrow, someone was going to place me into a car, then place me onto a table, then tie me down and cut my baby out. I know it sounds dramatic, but all choice had been taken away from me. I had no say anymore in how my baby would come into this world and it’s devastating to accept. To know that I wouldn’t even be able to hold my baby after she was born and that I wouldn’t be able to witness her birth.
And as B and I sat together, crying tears of uncertainty, wondering how we got here…this comment came in from the blog. (as a side, I have read every single one of them and I’m proud to say that each and every one of them was positive, supportive and encouraging. But this one came at the right time and said the right things to move us forward.)
MODG, I am hoping and praying that, as today is the day before your “go day,” you are feeling super excited about meeting your baby girl, and even a sense of peace and contentment about the way she may arrive. I truly hope you feel encouraged and supported in your decisions. I too (like so many of your readers), share your desire of looking to natural remedies and ways of living, and I too shared your feelings of loss when I went through the experience of a c-section. Reading through all of the stories shared by your readers, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of sadness for all of us. So many of us have had to feel the disappointment of our passions not lining up with the hand we’re dealt during the birthing process. For me, who had this whole plan of natural birth, I also felt shame for the decisions I made (epidural) and even pissed off for the smart decisions my midwife made on my/my child’s behalf (c-section). When I allow myself to be honest with myself (and you), it was a really difficult blow to my sense of identity after I “failed” in childbirth. Why? I hate that some of us who have been saved by medical interventions have to feel like we failed! It is true that our bodies are meant for natural birthing. But it is also true that many, many women and babies did not, and still do not, survive the natural birthing process. It is no surprise that during this time we are all living, may of us will continue to experience c-sections. And you have been such an inspiration to us by seeking out a VBAC, including me who is also hoping for one, because it is good for us all to explore all of our safe options. But even more than that, I want you to know what a POSITIVE example you have been to us over the past week. Thank you for doing the small things, like just mentioning your openness to an epidural. Some of us make it through without one. And some of us don’t—dude, that shit hurts!!! And some of us are so legalistic with our hippiness that we want an epidural so freaking bad but our pride gets in our way. And, thank you for doing the big things. Like proving you understand when to trust your medical professional’s advice and do what is best for you and your unborn daughter. Because you do have choices you could explore. You could choose not to show up tomorrow and ignore your midwife’s preferences. You could chose to be so set in your desire for a VBAC that you decide not to go to a hospital and labor in the bathtub and fulfill your hopes of being like the chicken and egg in your picture (that was so funny). In a nutshell, you could chose to sacrifice you and your daughter’s best interests. And let’s be honest, this happens in the natural community sometimes. So thank you so much—you are truly doing good work right now and showing us all what it really means to be a good mom.-Beth
And after that, B and I knew what we had to do. We have to move forward. We had to trust our midwife and we had to do what she is saying is best for us. Whether or not I will ever fully agree to how we got here or if it could have been different, we are here now. And in this place, hours before her birth, I need to find that peace. For her and for us.
I am sure that I will struggle still with acceptance. But I will do the best I can.
You won’t hear from me again until our baby is here. But I will post from the hospital to let you know that we are ok and share some pictures. Follow me on facebook as well. It’s my go to way to do a quick outreach to you guys.
Our family thanks you for your support. Everyone should be so lucky to have thousands of anonymous strangers routing for them.
A, B & G (and future baby girl)