there is no easy way "out"7:47 AM
In reality, I am terrified. More frightened than I ever was before my "completely natural" delivery with Birdie. I figured my body would know what to do and essentially it would go more or less the way my "What To Expect When Expecting" book made it sound like. Including the "not so serious contractions" lasting for about four hours, to actively laboring for about two to four hours, transition for another hour or so, push for twenty minutes to an hour and then ta-da!! Baby is here!! With minimal tearing of course (that is what's common after all, only like some freakish 3% of women end up with more than first degree tears)! I even did the hypnobirthing thing so I was totally "psssh I got this!" wonder woman when it came to laboring. Here's what actually happened:
I had prodromal labor for almost three weeks, actively labored for just under two hours, went through transition in fifteen minutes, pushed for six and then came the ta-da! And my body paid for it dearly. Since Birdie has become obsessed with Peppa Pig I've watched the "Whistling" episode about a million times and there is one line in particular that always sticks with me no matter how many times I've heard it that week: "Oh Daddy, I think I have the wrong sort of mouth." I can't help but think that "Oh Daddy I have the wrong sort of body."
I'm not sure what happened. Actually, nobody is sure what happened; not my midwife, not my physical therapist who I worked with for six months postpartum, not the pelvic surgeon who gave me the most painful injection on planet earth (granted it helped, somewhat) and not the OB I've been seeing with this pregnancy. All anyone knows, myself included, is that I somehow "injured my tailbone" during delivery. This un-diagnosis has of course provided me with little comfort, especially considering the fact that almost two years later sitting for longer than fifteen minutes still causes me pain. Sitting on the floor is right out and benches, wooden chairs and barstools are pretty much my idea of a torture device. Not a day goes by that I don't wince from the pain and am reminded that my body will never be the same.
You would think this would all work to make me feel better about the c-section, perhaps even look forward to it, but it doesn't - not one bit. First of all, I have a needle phobia and the thought of an IV and epidural send me into hour long anxiety spirals every night. Second, I feel ashamed. I feel ashamed that I can't just will my body to do it right this time and bring this boy into the world as naturally as possible. I feel like I'll just be on the sidelines while everyone else does the work of "birthing" him. Sometimes I even allow myself to go as far as to think that perhaps I should just risk it, maybe it won't be so bad this time?? And yet, everyone that has any sense in them (clearly I don't) reminds me that to put such stress on a part of my body that hasn't even healed yet is not only careless but dangerous.
There is one thing that convinces me that I'm doing the right thing and that is the memory of the person I was during my recovery. Just like any first time mum I dreamt of coming home with my firstborn for months. I dreamt of the way I would cradle her and the way I would rock her and cuddle with her. The way I would lovingly breastfeed her in the rocking chair for hours and all the adorable photos I would take of her in all the million of outfits I had been collecting for months. Instead, the day we came home I could barely walk and sitting was out of the question. The pain was monstrous and I was completely unprepared for it. I couldn't even get Birdie out of her co-sleeper that was attached to our bed so every time I needed to nurse her I had to call for papa bear to come and lay her on my chest. At night I cried myself to sleep and during the day I blankly stared out in front of me feeling empty, scared and frustrated. This was not how it was supposed to be. I barely took any photos. I rarely got out of bed (it was next to impossible some days). I was just surviving. My only goals were to make sure that I attended to all of Birdie's needs, there was nothing outside of that.
I eventually became more mobile and figured out a way that I could sit by putting most of my weight on one of my thighs. I spent the next year trying to fix something that it turned out was unfixable and it of course took up a lot, too much, of my time and focus. Between health insurance and appointments it felt like I had a second part-time job. It was rough and I was miserable but the thing I hate most when I look back on that time is that I feel like I never got the chance to be the mother I dreamed of being to Birdie. And that's something I will never get back.
So whenever I judge myself or think about being judged for this decision I remember that if I put my health at risk for a few hours in an effort to be a "natural mother" I can, or probably will, rob my child of having a "present mother" for potentially years to come. And so really, in the end, I'm not even doing this for me, I am doing this for them. I am doing this because I want to be there fully and completely. I want to rock my little boy and be swallowed up by his newborn goodness. I want to be present and active with my girl and be able to give her the attention, love and time that she deserves as well. And yes, right now, for me, that means that I will birth this boy via c-section. And I think I'm finally making peace with that.