Apparently, it’s “C-Section Awareness Month!!”
Um, so, yay, they cut me open to take my baby out safely!
While, I understand why people feel the need to make this a special “month”; at the same time… I really have no idea.
For the record, I shit you not, it’s also Jazz Appreciation Month, National Math Month, National Volunteer Month, National Heart Worm Awareness Month, National Knuckle Downs Month (huh?), National Safe Digging Month, National Decorating Month, National Month of the Young Child, National Kite Month, and National Card and Letter Writing Month.
I am also enthusiastically planning on observing National Grilled Cheese Month, even when it will be made on matzah.
I guess I should be rather honored to be part of one of this month’s celebratory groupings, but really, I’m just not.
(On a side note, there are also some extremely important organizations to recognize in April, including National Occupational Therapy Month, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and National Cancer Control Month, to name a slight few.)
Why is there no National Vaginal Birth Month? Oh, wait, that’s every month.
Childbirth is so many things, the contractions, driving to the hospital for a planned C-section, laboring intensely for 30 hours, the epidural, and the water bath or shower. For some, it’s the professional pictures, while others; it’s letting your husband know that if he snaps a photo of you right at that moment you will start using extreme profanity… again. It’s simultaneously agonizing, shockingly painful, and incredibly blissful. You grew a baby… inside of you!!!! You waited, wondered, and anticipated for nine (really 10) months, and here it comes!!!!
I want to revere all women who give birth. You have a baby in your tummy one minute, and then in a split second it’s here forever. However it got into that world, it’s yours for all of eternity.
If it’s your first child, you’re amazed at this suddenly new euphoric feeling called ‘parenting’. You have waited so long to meet the person that developed right on the other side of your skin that that is all you can focus on. If you’re having anything other then a first kid, you’re all, yeah yeah, it’s here, now take him down to the nursery so I can get my one last night of sleep… EVER! But never among the multitude of other feelings a new mama has, she the thought of being a “failure” or a “wuss” be crossing your mind because you just had a c-section.
Whatever you have gone through- from the empowering more incredible births to the difficult and traumatizing labors, the bottom line is, you are now a parent for the foreseeable future and pretty much all of eternity. Why would anyone care, let alone, ever have anything to say on how exactly that baby came into this world?
I learned in my birthing class to always ask if the doctor could give you a few more minutes if they started suggesting a Cesarean section. I remember the answer clearly, despite being on hour nine of Pitocin and an epidural that refused to work. I was well aware of the discussion behind me. The answer was simple, clear, emergent, yet not highly alarmed, “We can’t really take another minute.”
There was not a debate; this wasn’t a choice, a discussion, or coercion, it was just what had to happen. The baby’s heart rate had started to decrease dramatically and mine remained exactly the same. Also take into account the fact that, in a hurried fashion I have come to embrace, I randomly (finally!) dilated from 1/2 cm to 6cm in a mere 20 min, and if the doctor moved the baby inside of me, his heart rate would go back up. Apparently, to a highly trained professional, it was pretty clear that the baby was in distress and needed to come out immediately.
So there I was, in the OR pretty quickly after that, feeling the pinch test. This is the moment when the anesthesiologist who is about to remove any and all feeling from the portion of your body that they are going to basically cut in two asks you if you can feel him touch your abdomen with a knife, “Can you feel that?”
“Uh, yeah, I feel that!”
Then that question again, “Doc, can I have two minutes, please?”
“I’ll give you thirty seconds starting right now.”
I’ll tell you, whatever he did; I didn’t feel my legs for a good 12 hours after that. At my second, planned, c-section, I was actually shocked when about 45 minutes later my toes started to return. Hadn’t it been longer last time?
A couple of minutes later my husband was commenting on how he shouldn’t have peeked over the draping because he’s pretty sure he just noticed that someone was holding one of my organs, there was a lot of pressure, and out came my son, chord wrapped around his neck and his body. His eyes were open; he was perfect. Apgar scores, two actual 10’s.
He was here and he was alive, and safe. If it had been a choice, and I had chosen to wait, who knows if the same would be true.
Sometimes, women give birth naturally in a tub in their home. Sometimes, women deliver babies vaginally, having had an epidural. Sometimes babies are born in elevators, or via C-section, or to a surrogate, or crazy “I didn’t even know I was pregnant” style.
It doesn’t matter how someone else’s baby gets into the world. Moreover, it’s none of your business.
I understand where many of the thoughts and questions come from. Did I feel like I missed out on childbirth? After nine hours of Pitocin induced labor without an epidural, I have definitely wondered from time to time, if I could handle natural childbirth. Ultimately, I don’t have the luxury of wondering for too long. My child was no longer safe in my womb, and the fastest, most secure way was to remove him via C-section. Guess what, I elected to have my second Cesarean because my children were born 18 months apart. It was my choice. I know others that made different choices and had incredibly wonderful vaginal birthing experiences. That was their choice.
There is this idea of how it is all supposed to go down. Most of the time, it doesn’t go quite as planned. You’re in an incredibly vulnerable state, both emotionally and physically, and your doctor begins to suggest an alternative to continuing labor and opting for a C-section. You make that call based on the information he is presenting to you and you make it for the health and safety of the baby and the mommy.
My answer, for all of the other random cesarean related inquiries moms tend to get, is simply, no. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. It most certainly wasn’t the easiest way out. I am not scarred forever (sometimes I actually have to search for the scar). And yes, my baby is OK, because of the C-section.
If we are going to bring awareness to non-vaginal birthing methods this month, let it be for the women who experienced difficult, extraordinarily painful sections. But mostly, let’s just congratulate each other as moms. We did something only our sex can do; we grew and birthed another living being. C’mon, isn’t that enough for all of us?