I am pretty sure I have started to write this post about ten different times since I had Lillienne. I did post her birth story on this blog, but I’ll be honest and admit I tried to add
some a lot of humor to the post, maybe to tell myself it really wasn’t so bad, and to tell others it wasn’t so bad. But, it was nothing like I imagined, and I feel the what ifs coming on again stronger than ever, and the NEED to read as much as I can get my sticky hands on about birth, VBACS and c sections as the fiance and I hit a point in our lives where a second pregnancy is something we talk about frequently.
I wasnt even aware that the subject of cesarean sections were written about so extensively. Or rather, women’s c-section stories. Obviously I did a bit of reading up on the subject (ie: Google) while I was pregnant, in case it were to come up. Guess what? It came up. But I didnt research it so much as I could or should have, and I didn’t take anything with me but the knowledge of “If something happens, there is an alternative way they can get my baby out.” As I do more reading and research, it’s discouraging to think that perhaps I didnt do as much as I could have to avoid a CS and to have an easier, less traumatic labour and birth experience.
We’re planning on getting pregnant soon. After the wedding. And I’m terrified of getting pregnant and having another c section and/or a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section). Or attempting a VBAC only to have another c-section, going through all the work of labour only to be cut open.
I don’t think the seriousness really sunk in until several months after birth, but I had an awful labour and delivery. None if it was magical, a lot of it is a blur, I felt drugged up and weak and useless the whole time, and of course the whopper; a failure at the end when I couldnt do what women are supposed to do: grunt and moan and WORK to get their babies out. I tried, but it wouldnt happen.
And then I started thinking about it. A lot. All these feelings started popping up. Feelings like failure. The feeling that I missed that special moment of the Dr plopping a wet baby on my chest and me going “HOLY SHIT!” in my head. Instead, I was numb from my boobs down on a surgical table, shaking like a LUNATIC because I was already in transition and had gone through labour only to be cut open, and when they first took her out I just remember lying there, wanting to throw up, scream and jump up at the same time and SEE HER. I couldn’t even hold her until I was in recovery, and even then I was so messed up on drugs that the moment as I remember it is absolutely NOTHING like it should have been. I felt like the odds had been stacked against me, and maybe it wasn’t my bodies fault. Maybe it could have been prevented.
What if I hadn’t been induced? What if I had waited a few more days, refusing induction 10 days after my due date? Why couldn’t have I been more patient, assertive, and knowledgeable about what my options were? What if I had said no to all the medical interventions, like induction and having my water broken? What if I had hired a midwife or a doula to support and assist me with birthing techniques? Could I have avoided a c-section? Would I have given birth au natural and had that immediate bonding that I missed out on?
I do feel robbed of the experience of giving birth. I don’t feel like I gave birth to her, I feel like she was cut out of me. I was depressed for a few months after birth, and I couldn’t chalk it up to anything. I had a beautiful, healthy daughter, a wonderful boyfriend, and great family, fabulous friends, etc. And I realize that PPD can just HAPPEN, you don’t need to chalk it up to anything, it can just creep in like water in your basement after a beautiful summer rainstorm. But I realize now what that feeling was, that feeling like failure. That oh I couldn’t do the thing I was designed for feeling. I never acknowledged the fact out loud or to anyone or to MYSELF that that’s why I was sad, because she was in distress and my body wasnt working right and that’s why I had a c section, so I wasnt allowed to be sad about it. Medical intervention had saved her life! But what about the what ifs I mentioned earlier? And more what ifs. What if I hadn’t been induced and just hung on for a few more days? What if I had laboured at home?
But I missed out on my daughters birth. I was there, but I was not there.
I remember my OBGYN telling me shortly after labour, probably at my first postnatal checkup, that I could have another c section if I wanted to with my next pregnancy, or we could try a VBAC. I’m terrified of another c-section. I dont want to be sitting down recovering for 6 weeks again with a baby and a toddler. I dont want to be in pain for weeks again. I dont want to have to take T3’s and not be able to breastfeed again. I dont want to have major surgery. I dont want to have the same experience (minus the labour part, I am assuming) that I had with Lily- missing the immediate skin to skin contact after birth, that feeling of accomplishment.
Ok, so have a VBAC and shut up, right?
So. I’ve been reading up on VBAC’s and hospitals and Drs and I’ve ordered a few books and been googling away again. There’s a 1% chance of uterine rupture during a VBAC., which isnt huge, but it happens, and it can be fatal for Mom, Baby, or both. And tons of other things that could happen during pregnancy and labour for women who have had c sections. I’ve also read that some OBGYNS wont even allow VBACS. “Lets just cut you open, it’ll take 20 minutes, I can fit you in after my tuna sandwich this afternoon.” I’ve been reading some disturbing things about birth, and c sections, and multiple c sections and VBACS. Ive been reading some statistics and watching some documentaries and forming new thoughts and opinions I didnt even know would arise, or that I didnt think would be an issue. I’ve been thinking about giving birth again and this time I’m not going in with rose colored glasses and putting all of my eggs in one basket. Comments are appreciated.