11.14.2011

birthing

when my friend told me she felt cheated her first time around giving birth, I didn't understand why. we had both had c-sections for the births of our first children, mine a few years before hers and both for similar yet different reasons. I don't know about her, but I was petrified to give birth naturally - but even still, during my first pregnancy I started my prenatal care with a midwife and had plans to pushpushpush at a birthing center. heck, I was down for a water birth (don't they say those hurt less??).  when I was a week past my due date and my midwife told me she was sending me to the hospital to get induced, yes, I was disappointed. the baby was really big and they didn't want to take any chances of her getting even bigger. ok, I guess I bought that. and then after the cervidel and the pitocin and the twenty-four hours of labor with no progression and lots of demarol induced laughter, sure I'll agree to a c-section. just get that baby out!

pregnancy numero uno, right before the cervidil

but I have to tell you. honestly. even after the crappy post-op recovery and a pooch that won't go away, I didn't feel cheated. I felt... well... a little... relieved. that baby - my first daughter, madhavi - was huge. 9lbs 1.5 oz. with a big head. seriously. big.

when I found out I was pregnant again in 2009 the idea of a vbac didn't even cross my mind to be honest. everything about giving birth in my mind was ruled by fear - fear that I would have another big baby, fear that my uterus would explode, fear that it would hurt. screw a water birth. just cut that baby out!

when my friend (the one I mentioned above) found out she was pregnant too (we were only days apart in our due dates) we were so excited! when she told me she was going to have a vbac I thought she was a little bit crazy. but hey, to each her own, right? and she really wanted to do it. like really. and honestly, I didn't think it would happen for her. but when it did, I was so happy for her. I never really thought about it much until this past week...

rewind to last year - oprah is having her farewell shows and one of them is a reunion of all of the legendary talk-show hosts - geraldo, sally jesse, donahue, and of course - ricki lake. during the segment with ricki lake they very briefly mentioned a film that she had produced called the business of being born. it looked kind of good, and I love a documentary as much as the next feminist-liberal, so I added it to my netflix que. fast forward to this weekend. I'm bored. I see the film is available for instant streaming. I watch.

and I am sad.

everything in that film about how women get pressured to have c-sections was my story - to the induction, to the use of drugs, all of it. it was my original story. and the second time around not one doctor suggested that I might try a vbac. not one. I watched birth after birth in that movie, and with each one I became more and more sad. and while I know things happen for a reason and that growing another person in your body, no matter how s/he comes out is an accomplishment and that I can't change anything now, there is a little part of me that feels cheated. cheated out of the experience, cheated out of that accomplishment. on top of it all, gita was smaller than madhavi at birth - by almost 2 lbs! and she had a tiny little head that every time I looked at, I couldn't help but think, "I could of pushed that out..." sigh. oh well.

and no, if you're wondering, I don't feel cheated enough to have more children. :)

but really, see this film. see this film if you're a woman who had a c-section. see this film if you're pregnant. see this film if you want to have children. really, just see this film!

pregnancy numero dos, after fasting for almost 15 hours for a scheduled c-section

6 comments:

Lila Katha said...

great post. thanks for sharing.

Bruce A. Sarte said...

We watched that documentary too a few months ago... overall not bad and I enjoy Ricki Lake generally speaking... parts of it were very sad but also very honest which I liked. Hard to believe how many women in some areas are just ready to put the birth date on the calendar and be done with it...

erins1113 said...

I saw the documentary too, and although I dont feel cheated, I too had a c-section for my first birth. I am pissed every time I hear people say you love you baby more if you push them out. I can't see loving my son more. But I would like to try to go into labor myself next time around.

k.mala gutierrez said...

@erin - I hear what you're saying. of course we love our babies more than we could ever imagine. though I did appreciate what the film said about the difficulty c-sections/medications present for bonding. when I see mothers in a natural birth who get to hold their babies fresh out of the womb and then remember how I had to wait over 30 minutes to hold mine, I have to wonder what was lost there. and the points the film made about the after effects of the medications, like depression and whatnot, I can't help but wonder how maybe I felt so crazy because of the meds, not hormones. I guess all just food for thought at this point.

k.mala gutierrez said...

and I guess, in a sense, I can't complain too much. at least I didn't have a "twighlight" birth like my mother, who went to sleep pregnant and woke up with a baby!

Leslie Howard said...

Thanks for sharing. It's amazing to think that our birth experience can effect our relationship with our child. I had all homebirths (5!), but my fourth was kind of traumatic for both of us (baby stuck, I was told to and did push super crazy hard, and then I bled dangerously for awhile, and then was really shocked to have my fourth girl in a row when I was so sure it was a boy). It is weird but I feel like we've been working on issues that relate to that ever since (we've improved a lot though), or maybe we had that experience because it framed the karma we were to work out together. Who knows. I do love the natural route, but overall I encourage mothers to be educated and do what feels right for them. Unfortunately real education isn't as accessible as it should be and that is why movies like Rikki Lake's are great and needed.