This post may be a little on the long side, for which I will apologize upfront, however this is a subject which I find myself to be very passionate about.
I had a c-section in February 2009. Traditional: I chose an OB and planned to birth in a hospital. Nontraditional: I had a doula and chose Hypnobabies as my birthing class/method. I did plan to birth at home as long as possible and only arrive at the hospital when it was time to push. I had a written birth plan with minimal intervention that had been thoroughly discussed with my doctor.
My birthing waves started in the evening on Tuesday. By Wednesday morning we called in our doula Sarah and thought we were going to have a baby. Birthing waves slowed down and stopped by 3 pm. Sarah went home and JP and I settled down to wait out the night. Thursday he went to work and I stayed at home napping and keeping hydrated.
Friday morning and I wanted to see my OB. We called his office and they told us to go straight to the hospital. By this point I had been in my birthing time off and on for 2.5 days. It was all back labor too. I was getting tired. Hypnobabies had served me well but I was worn down and decided on the epidural.
Nurses came in to ask questions and strap me to the fetal monitor. Baby is fine, I'm fine; my blood pressure is slightly elevated and up until this point my blood pressure had stayed at a cool 110/70 throughout my pregnancy.
Nurse checks me and is surprised. I am 8 cm and 100% effaced!! I was so surprised. She was even more surprised. We called Sarah to tell her this was the real thing. Nurses scrambled to get the epidural in me since I was getting to the point of no return. They gave me the initial shot but didn't hook me up to the pump. Which was fine with me. I really just needed something to take the edge off.
Doctor comes, checks me and says it's time to start pushing. With my husband, my mother and my doula at my side, I push for close to 2 hours. Doctor comes to check me. He is not a small man and he shows me how far inside my baby's head still is based on how far inside he has to reach. I had already been offered pitocin twice, which I declined and the nurses accepted without argument or pressure otherwise.
The doctor sits down and starts to discuss my options. He tells me I can continue to push. He tells me we can try the vacuum, though the baby's head is was a little farther in than he likes to use with a vacuum. He tells me I can have a c-section.
I look at my husband. I look at my doula. No judgements, simply acceptance of my choice on their faces. I knew the choice was mine and mine alone in that moment. I looked at my doctor. "Cut me open," I said.
My husband and doula came into the OR room with me. I got to listen to my Hypnobabies relaxation music as my son was brought forth from my body.
My son emerged covered in meconium and with difficulty breathing. He was exhausted from the birthing process as well. He had to be taken to the NICU and intubated. Luckily that was removed less than an hour later and he was fine.
Did I make the right choice? Yes, I did. No doubts, no questions, no regrets.
The next day my doctor told me that I had been his toughest birth in 3 weeks and he had birthed calves. (Yes,as in what cows give birth to.) My son and I both tried our damnedest to get him out vaginally. So much so that his head was wedged into my pelvic bone and the doctor (once again, who is not a small man and is built like a football linebacker) was leaning into my shoulder through the drape as he freed my son from my body.
One hundred years ago, and perhaps even as few as fifty years ago, my son and I would both likely have been dead without the intervention of a c-section.
I know that there are a lot of women who feel discouraged, depressed, disgruntled, damaged, minimalized, angry and hurt that they were not able to give birth vaginally. I do not want to demean, dismiss or diminish the feelings of those women, only tell my story from my eyes and my situation.
I DID NOT FAIL. It irritates me that women feel that to have a c-section is to fail to give birth. I did give birth to my child. I grew him, I labored with him, I brought him forth from the fruit of my womb. I did not fail.
I don't want to debate about the topic, however, honest discussion is fine. I do agree that there are too many c-sections being performed than are medically necessary. I simply do not feel that a c-section has to equal negativity, dissatisfaction with the birthing process, or a feeling of having lost something.
I did not fail. I gave birth. I had a c-section.
(more to follow on this topic during the month)