Tuesday, June 15, 2010

To Explain

Last time, on Midwest Mom, I invited you to play a game.

I wonder how many of the rest of you guessed what Harper had drawn, but were too shy to share...

Those of you with babies on the brain, you were right!

A couple of weeks ago a good family friend had a third baby girl (Welcome Miriam!). As we were pulling together some items to send the family I asked Harper if she'd like to draw a picture to send to the two older girls. She greeted the idea enthusiastically and took off with paper and colored pencils. When she returned with her picture, I was a little, um, surprised? Uncertain? I asked her to tell me about it.

"Well," she said, "That's the daddy at home with the girls. And over there is the mommy at the hospital, getting the baby out!"

Yes folks, Harper drew a picture of a c-section. (And that is pretty much what the aftermath feels like, no?)

Both of my kids were born via c-section. Harper because she was breech and Michael because I was stalled at three or four (I no longer remember) centimeters after over 48 hours of labor.

But Harper knows that that's not the way all babies are born! It was kind of stunning to me to realize that that is currently her default image of birth. I'm not sure how to feel about that. And maybe I don't need to feel anything about it.

I know I should be grateful that I have two healthy, beautiful children, no matter how they came into the world. And I AM grateful. But there is a part of me that will always feel sad that I didn't ever experience giving birth another way. I think about Harper having a child someday and I feel a profound sadness that I only have one kind of birth experience to relate to her.


Giselle said...

Too funny...and a bit gruesome as well. For the record, it would have probably been more disturbing if she had drawn a vaginal birth. At least the picture of the c-section is pretty obvious...either c-section or dis-embowling, right?

Anyhoo, I only have one kind of birth experience to share with Lily also. So how about if Lily has to have a c-section someday, I'll send her to you, and you can send Harper to me if she wants to have a 4th degree episiotomy. Oh. Wait. I will totally NOT share that story. How about induced and then no pain killers? No? How about almost having a baby in a car?

Maybe we should just keep quiet about our experiences anyway. ;)

Just know (and I'm sure you do) that we all have regrets and wishes regarding our birth experiences...regardless of how the little booger's came out.

Swistle said...

This makes me love her more. And I think it's good that c-section is her default idea---not because we'd want her to grow up thinking that's The Main Way To Give Birth, but because I think disappointment with birth experience tends to be a bigger problem with the opposite default idea. Er, unclear much? I mean that I hear a lot of people disappointed that they meant to have a vaginal birth but had a c-section instead, but I don't think I remember hearing much about a woman who went in wanting a c-section and was disappointed to have a vaginal birth. "I always had in mind that I'd deliver my baby...SURGICALLY!! *bursts into tears*"

Pamela said...

I would have guessed right but I did get swayed by the basketball theory :-)
I had both of mine via c-section and had a great and happy experience with both. Both boys had a peaceful and happy entrance and are healthy as can be. So I guess I'm saying that I really don't give a hoot that I missed out on a vaginal birth.

Sarah said...

What Giselle said, pretty much. Sometimes I worry that I will be missing out on something if I never end up getting a c section! I feel like a birth junkie now, a little bit, and I want to try EVERYTHING! And also feel that if everything always works out dandy for me giving birth vaginally and without epidural, everyone's going to think I'm one of those judgemental crunchy types who could never relate to why they chose induction, pain meds, or ended up with c section. And I'm so not!

ValleyGrrrl said...

I cannot tell you how glad I am that you wrote this post. It was as though you and I had talked, and you wrote it before I did. LOL. :)

I JUST e-mailed a good friend of my last week, expressing my same feelings. My first was c-section because she was breech, and my second was c-section b'c my OB doesn't support VBAC and my incision was vertical not bikini.

I had two healthy c-sections, I have two beautiful, healthy, amazing children, and yet...I feel sad. I feel...remorseful? Wistful? I can't quite put a tag to it - but a part of my heart is...unhappy [?] about never having given birth vaginally.

And I know it's just my life, my body's plan, and the outcome is what matters, and yet...and yet.

I just wanted to say thanks, I feel better knowing it's not just me.

CARRIE said...

My daughter's birth was an induced, no-drug vaginal delivery, and it was great.

But I found out my middle child was breech at 37 weeks. I tried everything under the sun to get him to turn, including a VERY excruciating version, but he was born via c-section. I knew this was a definite possibility, but I was so worried it wouldn't feel like a "real" birth, like it was with my daughter.

If it makes you feel any better, as soon as they pulled him out, both my husband and I burst into tears, JUST LIKE WHEN MY DAUGHTER WAS BORN.

And we did the same thing when our youngest was born in October--a c-section as well because my doc doesn't do VBACs.

So the most important part of the birth process was the same.

(But I know I would have felt like I'd missed out on something if my daughter's birth hadn't been the way I'd envisioned it.....I think I coped ok with the c-sections because I could tell myself that I'd been able to have the other experience.)

bluedaisy said...

Wow, was I off the mark! I feel really bad about my basketball theory...but I kind of ignored everything except for the line in the middle with the top that reminded me of a basketball hoop. On another note, although my kids were born vaginally, I wished I had done so without an epidural (just once, just to prove that I could do it). It's always something, isn't it? And one last thing, I know 3 people who really, really wanted c-sections & pressured their docs for them.

Hillary or Ryan said...

I had both of my children vaginally and with epidurals. The first one I had pitocin as well. I had my second child just two weeks ago, so this topic is fresh in my mind.

The main lesson I learned from giving birth is to be flexible. You never know what is going to happen. I went into the first labor thinking I will go without drugs as long as possible, and then if I need the drugs, I can use them. After the pitocin, I got the epidural! I went into my second labor knowing that I wanted the epidural.

To me, the only thing that mattered at the end of both deliveries is that myself and my children were healthy, and we had made it through the process just fine.

tracy said...

The package came TODAY! But I didn't realize it was here until late in the day, and then the girls were in bed, and so I am waiting (very hard!) until tomorrow so we can all open it together. You are so sweet.

I love you. I can understand why there would be a sadness around the birth process. As mothers, it seems like there are always things in pregnancy & parenting that we wish could have gone differently for us.

I will be in touch after we open our package! I can't wait! (And Miriam really appreciates the blog shout-out.)

Love you.