Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A C-Section Story

Hark, the herald angels sing, both my children are sleeping!

I have some unexpected free time, so here I sit doing something I haven't done in about three years -- watching A Baby Story on TLC. I was addicted to this show when I was pregnant for Berit; back when I had never delivered a baby in my life, when I knew deep down I'd have a C-section because my mom had three therefore it stood to reason that I would, too.

Of course, the heart drama with Berit lead us to an induction a week-and-a-half early, so I was even more convinced I'd be delivering by C-section. But lo and behold, I delivered my first vaginally and successfully and, might I say, fairly easily. (Much thanks to Mr. Epidural, but still, success.)

And what joy and excitement the whole process was! I know many moms had horrible, scary labors and they don't want to hear about women who have easy deliveries. I'm sorry to you; it must have been terrible, and how awful to have the fear of that kind of delivery looming over your subsequent pregnancies. That's how I thought it'd be for me. But it was really just hard work and an amazing payoff.

Imagine my delight when I knew I could deliver Marta in my city of residence, and wait for her to induce labor herself, and experience another (hopefully) joyful delivery.

But at one of my last scheduled prenatal exams we learned that Marta was in a breech position, and that realistically, she probably wouldn't turn. We didn't want to go into labor with a breech baby, which wouldn't be fun for anybody. And my obstetrician's father had died the night before; he was leaving first thing the next morning to tend to his family out-of-town. So, while we were looking at the screen of our upside-down babe, he said, "Let's do a C-section tonight." We were scheduled for 7 p.m... I left his office at 4:30 and cried the whole way home.

Now I know that C-sections are healthy and good in so many ways. I do! I was ready to have one with Berit! In fact, so often I'd say to Trevor, "I wish we could just schedule a C-section and be done with it all." But when I was faced with my own, I just wasn't ready.

And I had it and it was fine, and even though I couldn't watch Marta being born with the mirror the way I did with Berit (gross to some, I know), and even though I couldn't tape it like I had hoped (grosser to some, I know, but I really wanted to see the whole thing happen for myself and why oh why can't we tape C-sections???), in the end I had this most amazing, precious child and holy cow, nothing else mattered.

But to be very honest, I think of it constantly. Not so much that I regret having one, but I don't like not having the option of a vaginal delivery again. It's weird, because this isn't like me -- I don't regret things like this. But I can't deny this very innate tug of a feeling that makes me want to experience labor and deliver my own baby. Maybe it's because I've been through it and I'm not afraid anymore, and I want the excitement of it all. Who knows? And it's minorly selfish, because the end result is all the same. And truly the recoveries for both were equally do-able and gross, so it' snot about that. It's just this void-like feeling, like I'm missing out on something special, something I was made to do and something that delivers my most perfect, most important gifts.

So when I watch A Baby Story now, it's with a whole new feeling. An appreciation for those moms who work so hard to have their babies, and for the fear and anticipation they go through. But it's also with a touch of jealousy, knowing that from here on out, any babies who come our way will be done on a schedule, with a yucky, scary shot in the back and another incision into my scar (creeeeeeepy!).

But this isn't supposed to be a sad play for encouraging comments. I know many women have it so, so much worse. I'm just saying, as my friend Kelly says, and I want my girls to know about this, because someday maybe they'll go through the same feelings -- much like my own mom and me. Funny how that works.

1 comment:

Rabo said...

This post makes me strangely envious. It concerns an entire set of emotions and thought processes that, as a man, I'll never be able to experience. Not even vicariously, for I will never breed. You [2nd person plural indefinate, referring to your gender, English is not my native language] have such incredible strength in the face of an experience your brain views as similiar to death (the pineal gland releases DMT only during Birth, Death, and Childbirth) I stand in awe.

Some unsolicited encouragement: growing up in a funeral home I helped bury 9 mothers who didn't survive undetected breech deliveries, 3 of their children too, (The poor husbands & fathers, I still cry about them sometimes. To lose both, wow!) and a whole host of stillborn and miscarried young ones. In 25 years I have never helped bury either person involved in a C-section.

You have beautiful children. I simply stumbled upon this blog and will probably never see it again, but I wanted to let you know I respect and admire you in this moment.

Sending Good Thoughts,
Rabo Karabekian