Birth…a beautiful experience, non? As expectant mothers isn’t that what we’re all taught? Hmmmm, sometimes that’s an ideal that just isn’t meant to be.
A friend recently tweeted me a link to this by Donna, The London Mum. As the blog post states, apparently April has been Cesarean Awareness Month. Despite the campaign seemingly seeking to promote vaginal births amongst pregnant women, it doesn’t appear to highlight that for many of us, the choice between a vaginal and c-section birth is actually a choice we don’t have.
As Donna describes with her own birthing story, a c-section can literally be the difference between life and death for either mother or baby or both. My own birthing story, whilst not quite as scary, is no less effective at highlighting how quickly the choice of having a natural birth can be whipped from our hands.
After a pretty horrendous pregnancy, which can only be likened to a nine month, highly medicated hangover with two stints in hospital due to hyperemesis (HG), I was looking forward to a nice, natural, water birth in my local Birthing Unit, surrounded by calm midwives, an array of aromatherapy candles and Asha strumming away in the background. Bring on the skin-to-skin! Alas, Bebe had other ideas.
At 37+4 weeks my waters broke. During a really, really, REALLY delicious nap I was taking on the sofa on my first day of maternity leave. That nap was something quite special, sob. So off to the Birthing Unit I went, only to be told that I wasn’t in labour and should I not start contractions within the next 24 hours I will be deemed high risk and will have to deliver at hospital. This is something I hadn’t even considered. I had already made that choice, right? I wanted a water birth led by the midwives.
Needless to say, I didn’t labour naturally and had to be induced. Three times. All of which failed. The most I dilated was 3.5cm and after 72 hours of labouring I was finally taken to theatre for a c-section, vomiting all the way. Because my waters had already broken the risk of infection to both me and Bebe increased so he really did need to come out. And yes, I also contracted Group B Strep (GBS) so both myself and Bebe were put straight onto antibiotics. Joy.
By this point though, I welcomed the c-section as the safety of my little man was paramount and I was bloody exhausted, high on all manner of medication. And as he was pulled from my body Husbo overheard a medical profesh comment that he would never have delivered naturally. I don’t know why exactly that was, but perhaps my body just isn’t equipped to give birth in the natural vaginal manner.
Does that sadden me? Yes.
Does it make me feel like any less of a woman? No. And I shouldn’t be made to feel that way. If you’ve had a c-section, either by choice or necessity, then you shouldn’t feel any less of a woman either. We grew our babies, nurturing them from the inside out for nine months, so really…as long as they delivered safely in the end is all that matters.
Is Bebe worth less than a child born vaginally? Is he f*ck! He’s just as precious.
Although I hated every second of my pregnancy and still feel slightly
bitter about the birthing experience I had, where the choice of vaginal
verses c-section birth was taken away from me, the bond between my son and I couldn’t be stronger and if I were to fall pregnant again I would strongly consider electing for a c-section after my first birthing experience.
Does God condemn me for that? Highly doubtful. He’s focusing on the bigger stuff. Like genocide.