April 26, 2006

Thanks for weighing in on the blog name question! I’ll let you know how it shakes out. I had this random paranoid fear when I emailed in my suggestions: what if they don’t like any of my ideas and they make me call it Baby Steps?

Nahhh.

So, this morning I was reading another blogger’s post about homebirthing, and as an associated topic in her comments section, there was a discussion about the high number of hospital C-sections, the risks of medicated births, etc.

I admit when I first started thinking about Riley’s great arrival, back when he was walnut-sized and I could still go five minutes in a row without peeing, I thought homebirthing sounded batshit crazy. I know of someone whose child has permanent hearing damage from a tough birth where they had to abandon their home situation and rush to a hospital, and to my fairly uninformed mind that was reason enough to surround yourself in a traditional medical environment from the start of labor to mitigate all the possibilities of something going wrong.

Of course, anything can happen during birth, and being at a hospital instead of your living room doesn’t guarantee a perfect outcome. The more I read about birth options, the more I started feeling much more open-minded about the subject; I never decided that I wanted anything other than a hospital birth for myself, but I learned a lot about the choices I had. I became less afraid, and more interested; I didn’t have any hard-and-fast goals for Riley’s birth but I did have preferences, I was gearing up for the experience and curious as to what it would be like.

My friend Jen had a gorgeous baby boy in March and her husband wrote a wonderful account of the birth; after I read it I was so happy for them, and yet I realized a nasty undercurrent, a weird sense of sorrow even through my feelings of congratulations. It was simple and stupid jealousy, an undeniable feeling of regret that I didn’t have a similar experience: the realization that labor was happening, the excitement of the escalation, the trip to the hospital and even the hours of painful work to produce a child.

I wouldn’t say that Riley’s birth was traumatic, there was no emergency, no fear for his safety. The consequences were ideal, as the result was a healthy baby and the rest shouldn’t matter. And yet here it is almost eight months later and I’m surprised by the amount of bitterness I feel.

I can’t help wondering, was it all really necessary? Was my blood pressure really that bad, and how could it have been–I felt perfectly healthy! All that terrible magnesium, did I really need that? Should I have tried harder for the vaginal birth, should I have taken the Pitocin, would I have increased my chances of avoiding the surgery and the fuzziness with which I remember everything that happened? Wasn’t it completely unnnatural to pry Riley out of my body three weeks early, was any of it–the medication, the sickness, the haziness, the fruitless attempts at starting labor–necessary?

I know it’s pointless to dwell on it. I know you don’t fuck around with pre-eclampsia. I know the medical staff made choices based on health and safety rather than their own convenience. But still. Still.

When I read the arguments against hospital births and all the advocacy of controlling your experience and making a better choice for baby I feel so conflicted; on one hand, yay for homebirthing and midwives and naturopathic herbs and all that, yay for choices, but sometimes things get way the fuck out of your control and all the books and websites and well-meaning opinion-holders in the world can’t make things different. I’m not sure that gets acknowledged much in the sea of righteous defense. Or maybe there’s some other reason I just can’t help feeling like I did something wrong.

101205_firstriley.jpg
(I hope it doesn’t matter to him.)

Comments

49 Responses to “The regret I wish I could forget”

  1. Rumblelizard on April 26th, 2006 2:58 pm

    My Grandmother’s mother died of eclampsia, and my sister was slipping in and out of a coma when she gave birth to her first child due to undiagnosed (until it was almost too late) eclampsia. Seriously, sundry, eclampsia is nothing to take lightly. I’m betting that everything you went through was indeed absolutely necessary–they don’t do that stuff to women in just for the heck of it! I’m glad you and Riley both pulled through OK.

  2. Jem on April 26th, 2006 3:13 pm

    I know what you mean. I’m not going to be pregnant for a while yet (hopefully) but I also have an idea of how I’d like it to be, although I know that in the end it’ll be outside of my control. I also have an idea of how finding out I’m pregnant will be, but my boyfriend doesn’t really feel the same way about kids as I do so I doubt it’ll ever end up that way. *sigh*

  3. biodtl on April 26th, 2006 3:38 pm

    You know what? If it hadn’t happened the way it did, you’d be questioning yourself over that, too. That’s motherhood. You have a happy, healthy boy and that’s all that matters. I’m on my second child and I questions and stress out far less than I did the first time. And I also know women who have have serious problems with pre- and eclampsia and know how serious it can be. Good lick with the club mom thing – I was one of the charter members when they first started out years ago, but never contributed anything. Of course, I’m not as eloquent as you, and at that time I was too busy worrying all the time anyway. Now, I have a whiny two-year old, and there’s not much to say about that except, “Bartender…”

  4. Rhys on April 26th, 2006 4:01 pm

    One look at that beautiful baby boy, and there’s no doubt you didn’t do a darn thing wrong! Nothing tortures like the ‘what ifs’, though…

  5. Myspinonthings on April 26th, 2006 4:17 pm

    You son isn’t going to care how he got here. I am glad you are here to mother him:) You made the right choice. Preeclampisa is nothing to fuck with. You can always go for a VBAC next time.

  6. Danielle on April 26th, 2006 4:24 pm

    Wow – I had a similar experience, although my c-section was due to a 9lb baby that was 12 days late (at least that is what they told me) and yes, I felt cheated out of “natural” birth too (epidural assisted of course) and I think I will try for a VBAC next time – but I still can’t help but think that the doctors push women toward having the c-sections unnecessarily. Either way, you have one hell of a cute kid!

  7. JennB on April 26th, 2006 4:32 pm

    You did what you thought was right at the time, and I’m learning that that’s what parenting is all about. It’s terrible that you feel bitter still – you have every right to your feelings, what I mean is that it’s terrible that the event left you with those feelings even now. I think that, in time, you will come to terms with them, when you are ready. And you do a great job with mothering, I love reading your posts and I wish I had the time and the ability (as well as the word talent!) to write as frequently as you do. Whatever regrets you have about Riley’s entrance into the world, you by far make up for it in your humor and light-heartedness in your parenting, even when things f-ing suck! Keep going, woman. You’re doing it just right.

  8. Lesley on April 26th, 2006 4:54 pm

    You’d love the British show Bodies…

  9. Rachel on April 26th, 2006 4:57 pm

    It’s been ten years since my first c-section (of three). Sure, you doubt all the time, and I went through some very bitter years of anger at my doctor (the fetal distress was a ruse! He knew I was a young, impressionable first-timer and he just wanted the predictability of a c-section! He just didn’t want to be there all day! And if I hadn’t had the first one I’d NEVER have wound up with the other two! I have these fantastic birthing hips and I never got to use them! etc.). I still am honestly not sure that he/we did the right thing, and I DO think the c-section with my third child was actually detrimental to the first day of her life.

    But. BUT. As you say, the manner of birth didn’t affect the long-term health of my kids. In fact, the middle one, it was probably a good thing there were a million medical personnel around, more or less, so that when she came out and had all kinds of very serious non-birth-related issues, there were people enough to tend to her. I’ll probably second-guess those decisions the rest of my life, but that’s receded to just a small corner of my mind, and the rest is full of birthday parties and how we’re going to tell them about the birds and the bees and whether I’m traumatizing them to the extent that they’re going to need expensive therapy BEFORE or AFTER they have their own medical insurance and all kinds of really important stuff like that.

    Your boy is beautiful and healthy. And yes, that is the most important thing. Doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to a small amount of bitterness about the way things went that day. It’s totally natural. Or so I tell myself, anyway. :)

  10. Shawna on April 26th, 2006 5:10 pm

    I was in almost the exact same boat as you were when I had Grommet (though I managed to avoid the magnesium, thank God). I am oddly less disappointed than most women I hear about who have been through something similar. By the time the cesarean was decided upon (24 hours after my induction which was followed by 24 hours of yes-things-are-fine, no-things-are-going-horribly-wrong-and-the-baby-may-be-in-danger, and almost 12 hours of futile, yet incredibly painful (duh), labour), my overriding feeling was relief. I had midwives and when even they agreed with the doctor on call that the writing was on the wall, I knew that no one was trying to get me to do a c-section for convenience and that everything was done that could be done to allow a vaginal birth and it just wasn’t going to happen.

  11. Mary on April 26th, 2006 5:16 pm

    I didn’t need a c-section, but I had pre-eclampsia and did all the rest with my first. He had to be induced weeks early, I had the magnesium (16 years later and I still shudder when you mention it) and had to stay in a darkened room for 24 hours after he was born to prevent seizures. It wasn’t the way I’d envisioned it either, and I was really depressed about it for a long time. A couple of things may make you feel better. From where I sit now, 16 years later, I really don’t care anymore, I’m just thankful we both came out of it okay. And second, I had two more with no blood pressure problems, and learned that even in a close to ideal situation, there’s no such thing as a perfect birth. You might be in great shape physically and have a crappy nurse, or the birth might be perfect and the baby not breathing. It all kind of evens out in the end. Hang in there, I understand how you’re feeling, but I promise it gets better.

  12. sundry on April 26th, 2006 5:23 pm

    You guys are the *best*. Seriously.

  13. Deanna on April 26th, 2006 5:39 pm

    I teared up at the photo…look at that beautiful boy! I believe everything, EVERYTHING happens for a reason. I can imagine how you feel you missed out on a wonderful “birthing” experience, but what he’ll care about is how much his mother loves him. How he came into this world was only the beginning. What he’ll take with him is all the beautiful memories you are giving him now. I hope things look better tomorrow.

  14. Jessamyn on April 26th, 2006 6:01 pm

    As soon as I read your last sentence, I just wanted to say, “Oh, Linda, you know that he won’t.” I would bet you a whole lot of money that Riley will not care at all how he got here, because he just won’t. He will know you have always loved him and done what you thought was best for him, and that will be the important part.

    I didn’t end up with a C-section, but I had this idea in my head that I wasn’t going to have an epidural, that I was going to do the whole natural childbirth thing. When I finally reached a point, after about 12 or 14 hours of labor, when I decided that I just couldn’t take it anymore without help, I started crying – and not because of the labor pains, but because I felt like I was letting myself, my baby, my husband down.

    Most of the time I know that it doesn’t matter, not really, not at all. But there are still times when I feel regret about the way it turned out, and I admit that I think about how maybe *next* time, I will be able to do it on my own.

    I think there’s a lot of pressure on childbirth to be a certain way, whatever way it is that we have in mind. And it IS the kind of thing that most of us don’t do very often, if at all. I’m sorry you have any regret at all, and I hope you’re able to let that go. You deserve to feel good about the decisions you made that led you to being the mother of that beautiful boy.

  15. Samantha on April 26th, 2006 6:34 pm

    I had a very similar experience to you, Sundry. But Zoe was not premature. I look back now and wonder “what if I had insisted that we wait a couple more hours before just agreeing to the c-section?”. I beat myself up for not standing up for what I wanted. But in the end, Zoe was healthy, which is all that matters now. I have felt the regret you feel. I sometimes wish I could erase it from my head, because I think I seem unnecessarily bitter about the whole thing…

  16. Kristen V. on April 26th, 2006 6:48 pm

    Oh no! Oh no! Don’t feel bad! You were perfect as perfect can be, and it was through the wonders of medical science that you didn’t DIE like those poor women not so long ago!

    This is what I tell myself when I feel the same way about my c-section.

    When I actually had it, I was relieved: I was sick of labor and worrying and I wanted things to be Over, so even though I was really really worried about how things were Going Wrong, I was glad that we were getting the baby Out. But then after, I was…melancholy. I wanted to have been someone the doctors and nurses would have marveled at: Her strength! Her focus! Her silence! What a trooper! Instead, I was throwing up in that wildly inadequate kidney-shaped bucket before the surgery, and shaking/itching after, and when other mothers tell their Birth Stories I don’t have much to add. I feel like I’m excluded from The Club of Women Who Squeezed Babies Out the Hard Way. But our way was hard too. And we’re alive to tell our babies how it happened, and they’re alive to hear it.

  17. Stephanie on April 26th, 2006 7:30 pm

    Seriously….it doesn’t matter how. It matters that he is here. I had preclampsia- I.WAS.A.WHALE. OF.WATER. for the last month or 2 and my blood pressure, out of this world….but still ok enough not to induce or C-section (lucky me?? Not so sure). Your memories of his birth are perfect- everyone has a different story. Imagine how Riley can tell everyone his mom was “on the brink of death” to give birth to him….
    At least that is how will it sound when he tells it- you made a story, and a perfect baby.

  18. Aimee on April 26th, 2006 7:30 pm

    I’ve e-mailed before and almost commented 1,000 times but this topic got me as I feel the same way. I also had a c-section and have felt so weird about it ever since. My water broke ever so slightly and I had to be induced with the lovely Pitocin. After 27 hours of labor and four hours of pushing, he just wouldn’t move. So, I actually was relieved, at the time, to just get him out. And, at 9 lbs. and 4 oz. (How was he that big? I didn’t think I was that big!) and previously broken bones in my pelvis, maybe it was better that way. BUT, I wonder about it all the time and I do feel left out when all the other Moms talk about their perfect births. Or, when my friends tell me how happy they are they didn’t have to have – gasp – a c-section. I also feel like I cheated my husband – no dramatic water-breaking stories or crazy drives to the hospital at 4 a.m.. Not even a cord to cut. In the end, though, my little one is perfect just as Riley is perfect and I’m sure the day will come when I won’t even think about it anymore. And, one last thought, at least most c-section babies have nice round heads, ready for photographing, instead of waiting for the cone shape to disappear! Love your blog!

  19. Jen on April 26th, 2006 7:49 pm

    I didn’t realize I felt guilty about my birth until I was approaching an annual exam where I wanted to talk about doing vaginal birth the second time around. First child…My water broke, I went on the Pitocin, I got an epidural (probably a few hours too early), I got a fever, I was in hard labor for 2 hours and my daughter just did not want to come out. So I had an emergency c-section. I often felt that I didn’t try hard enough, that I could have worked that much harder to have a “natural” birth.

    At said appointment, we had the discussion first. My OB/GYN explained that VBAC (Vaginal birth after C-section) were quite common and she didn’t see any issue with that. Although she did indicate that she didn’t talk seriously about that until 36 weeks of pregnancy.

    Then she did the exam.

    Turns out I have a very flat pelvis and a high uterus (good news as I won’t have incontinence later in life). She was very direct with me, my body is not meant to birth babies naturally. Had it not been for modern medicine and the option of c-section, highly likely that my daughter and I both would have serious medical problems, even death. At that moment, I let go of my guilt. I now know that baby #2 will be a c-section.

    I don’t think we as women should beat ourselves up about not having the perfect birth experience. It’s one of those life events that are uncontrollable. As much as we want to believe otherwise, our bodies take over and do what they need to do. The important thing is you and I have very healthy children.

  20. sundry on April 26th, 2006 7:53 pm

    I think I am getting better at letting this go, it’s something I didn’t even think about until semi-recently and then I was surprised at how often I found the issue cluttering up some dark recess of my brain. Maybe it just took time to process, and now it’s time to round-file the guilt and regret. Because like many of you say, perfect baby = no regrets.

    I’m amazed by how good it feels to know some of you have dealt with this too.

  21. Ida on April 26th, 2006 8:02 pm

    One of my best friends was all ready to go totally natural. She wanted no drugs and to do everything “right” for her baby. Well, her baby was a very large and breach little girl, she had no other choice, but a c-section. She was very disappointed at first, but luckily had another good friend who had gone through the same thing. In the in she decided what matters is the mother you are once the baby gets here, not how the baby gets here. You are doing a great job with Riley and he appears to be very happy and healthy and very loved by his parents. That is what matters.

  22. thejunebug on April 27th, 2006 2:22 am

    I think it’s natural for you to feel cheated/disappointed. But you know, Riley needs his mommy, and if your BP was high enough to be confirmed as pre-eclampsia, going through a vaginal birth could have killed you both.

    Of course, the best solution is to just have another kid and do it the other way. ;)

  23. pippa on April 27th, 2006 2:41 am

    There were two things that helped me after Beanie’s c-section.

    One was a Reader’s Digest article that included a story of a birth that went very similar to mine. Only the doctor waited longer to deliver. And, IIRC, the baby died.

    The second thing was that I really struggled with my decision whether to try VBAC or not with Buster’s pregnancy. It seemed like everyone I knew was this natural childbirth person who described near-religious experiences having their babies. I stumbed on a group of moms who’d suffered from uterine ruptures, and something stuck in my gut, and even though I’ve gone into labor every single time (let me see ANYONE suffer THAT much… labor before a scheduled section! Grr!), I opted for a repeat section.

    When they did my section and I heard the OB, it all made sense. Had we run into problems with Buster like we did with Beanie, there would have been no way to get him out in time. No. Way. They had to call in a general surgeon, and as it was, I was open on the table for over an hour and a half.

    That was my near-religious experience. So I didn’t have the pop the baby out in the rice paddy and go back to work experience. I also missed out on tearing (or an episiotomy) and I can name one area of my body that’s just the same as it was before pregnancy. :) There’s something to be said for that. Four cute kids, one zipper, and at this point, I would have been happy if a stork had dropped them in the front yard.

  24. Stormy on April 27th, 2006 3:21 am

    With my first child, who will be 19 next month, we went to a birthing center. I picked out this beatiful yellow gingham room. The bassinet hung from a lovely macrame cording, everything was so peaceful…..

    Then.

    In my third trimester, I got the dreaded protein in my urine. My blood pressure rose. My midwife sent me to a doctor, a specialist in HIGH RISK births! I was devistated…..
    And during my “induction from hell” I was administered MagsSulfate shots. Back then they did not give this crap through your I.V. NOOOOOoooo…. I endured countless gigantic needles of this crap. And I’m not exaggerating. Why the needles were so huge I have no idea, maybe because the mag needed to be deeply injected into muscular tissue? I don’t know.

    But I think back to that beautiful birthing room. I still do it. I’ve told my daughter about it. She’s healthy and smart and there weren’t any problems with her birth. Which, mind you, was vaginal with no epidural. I’m very proud of that part. ;) Painful as it was. Again, back then, a LOT of things were different.

    Sundry, you did what you felt was your only recourse for a healthy baby. You did what any mother would have done. You did great. And still are. Just think…. you have LOTS of other chances to have a different birth in the future. No hurry. =)

  25. Niki P. on April 27th, 2006 4:20 am

    I read your account of Rileys birth and thought that was a good story to read. I had 2 very simple deliveries, very uneventful, so uneventful in fact that with my second son no one but my mother came to the hospital to see us. That really bothers me still, 9 years later. My sister in law had her second child a few weeks ago, a girl, the first in the family in 34 yrs. Imagine the fanfare!! My son said, “Wow Mom! Did I get all those balloons and things when I was born??” I lied like a rug and said, “YES OF COURSE!!!”

    All that matters is you are healthy and Riley is healthy. I would recommend looking for a doc or hospital that will do a VBAC. So much easier on you and the wee bairn. Imagine being home doing laundry 2 days after the little bundle of joy is born! Yay! (at least that’s what I got to do)

  26. warcrygirl on April 27th, 2006 5:21 am

    I had both of my boys via C-section the first being an emergency one for “failure to progress”. After he was born I beat myself up over not being able to have him vaginally (I mean he was only 9.7 lbs, my friend’s SIL had hers vaginally and she weighed 12 lbs!) but I was assured I did all that I could. I have a picture of him shortly after birth where he has this huge red mark across his forehead where he just was not fitting through my pelvic bones. Don’t beat yourself up over it, like everyone above me has already said the best was done in your situation and it was done for you and Riley. By the time Riley is walking and talking and having actual CONVERSATIONS with you the regret will magically vanish.

    BTW, how do you get all these feelings and such out of your head and onto ‘paper’ so beautifully? I wish I could do that. When I blog all I talk about is poop and the F-word.

  27. Jessie on April 27th, 2006 5:27 am

    I’m sure it doesn’t matter to him – you did what you did and the result is your little man, who seems to be practically perfect in every way.

  28. Joanne on April 27th, 2006 6:50 am

    When my baby was a few months old, he was colicky and nursed like a little jackal in my lap, and I was miserable, truly miserable. I thought I must have post partum depression, or maybe even psychosis, because I was so, so mad all the time, at everyone! I was mad at my doctor and some of the nurses that tended to me in the hospital, I was REALLY mad at my doula, whom I had paid a lot of dough to help us and she had *another* mother to work with, so she didn’t get to me until I had already gone to the hospital, etc., etc. Anyway, I was watching an Oprah where Brooke Shields and other moms who had postpartrum psychosis were talking about their situations. When one woman said that she would watch her baby and wonder how long he could survive in the dryer without dying I thought, Oh. I don’t have that. I’m just really tired. But Brooke Shields said that she had a rough labor, I think she went early and it felt out of control for her and that she was really really angry and hadn’t had time to deal with it. OH! I thought. I have THAT! I was so mad, at myself, too, for going to the hospital early and letting them sort of take over, not letting me walk around or rock in the rocking chair. I was mad at the epidural guy, who said “you’re 37? Do you have any OTHER medical problems?” I was really mad at the doctor who said she would have come in and broken my water, but she had another birth and now it was time for her to go home. I was mad at people who came to visit and brought their little sniffly kids around my 1 day old baby, mad, mad, mad! And once I realized that, I felt so much beter. I sort of gave myself a break, it was my first baby! What did I know? Who knew when a baby’s head is really big sometimes it won’t come down at all and you have to have a c-section? Who knew 2 cm. dilated feels like 24? Not me!

    But now I know. I know that even though I was humiliated and pushed around and disappointed, I still have a baby who’s upstairs right now, napping away, and soon he’ll be up and we’ll go to the park. He’s still learning how to walk and say, hopefully, ‘Mama”. And he is not going to care a LICK that he got here via c-section because his head was too big, or that I was so mad for so long. It’s a good lesson, for motherhood, the way I figure it. He doesn’t ever care how I feel, or if my head hurts, or if I’m tired. But he KNOWS that I am here for him, that I will do whatever he needs, because I love him so much and because I’m his mother. However it happened. And Riley feels the same way, I’m sure.

  29. Kristin on April 27th, 2006 7:29 am

    As usual, I feel like you could have crawled inside my head to extract this entry.

    I have always regretted having had a c-section. I wonder if my impatience to have the baby OUT, goddammit, contributed to my elevated blood pressure which provoked induction…I think maybe if I had fought induction, I would have progressed and…well, everything you said. I feel like I failed myself the total labour experience.

    (It didn’t matter to him, I am quite sure)

  30. Jenn on April 27th, 2006 7:33 am

    Prior to giving birth to my son, I thought I’d be really upset if I had to have a c-section, as though I’d missed out on something.

    Then blood pressure issues started to set in at 36 weeks and I was swelling up like a balloon, was put on bedrest for 2 weeks and was set to be induced at 38 weeks. After 22 hours of very active labor and only reaching a 4, I was BEGGING for a c-section. Poor Richard, he was crying because he thought I’d be horribly upset due to previous conversations.

    My next one, I’m signing up for a c-section! I rather enjoyed not having my bottom bits stretched and pulled and not having to worry that going to the bathroom was going to be a literal pain in the ass.

    I have a friend who tried to be very persuasive about having my son at birthing centers and the like, and that just isn’t something I am in to. There is that small “what if” factor that makes me feel as though the hospital environment is right for me.

    All in all, I don’t think you should feel bad at all. Everyone’s experience is different and being at home is not a sure shot at a romantic delivery just like being in the hospital isn’t a sure shot that nothing will go wrong.

  31. Amalah on April 27th, 2006 8:06 am

    Oh man. Me too.

    I got to experience labor — I went a lot longer unmedicated than I ever thought I would — I pushed for 45 minutes — and in the end, Noah was too big, too high and had the cord around his neck. He was in distress and I couldn’t get him to budge.

    Yet I STILL wonder if I really needed that c-section. I STILL wonder if I should have passed on the epidural because it slowed things down and made it hard for me to push. I wonder if I’d insisted on waiting or just had more confidence in my body’s ability to get the job done…I wonder if I could have avoided the surgery. I worry that I did something wrong.

    But then I wonder if I had done all that and in the end, my doctor was right and I would have ended up being put completely asleep for the surgery and delivered a baby who had been deprived of oxygen for too long and then I’d be here in your comments section still saying that I worry I did something wrong.

  32. Donna on April 27th, 2006 9:12 am

    To echo what everyone else is saying, I carried my daughter breech the entire time I was pregnant with her, a week before my due date, she flipped over and got in the right position. She was’nt there long enough for everything to spread out or thin out or whatever it is all supposed to do, so after being induced, hard labor for hours and hours and hours, they decided to do a c section. The doctor on call, (not my dr.) did the c section from my belly button to the top of my pubis, dooming me to have c sections forever after. I hated him alot, and when he took the staples out he made it hurt like a bastard because I was maybe not so nice to him when I was in labor.
    Then in my room, the girl I shared the room with had just given birth to a little boy, by her married boyfriend, and tells me everytime I see this baby I just want to smack it’s face for all the trouble it’s caused me, I was going to give him up for adoption but his dad will come up with child support, and if he won’t his family will, I already gave up two for adoption, and have had 4 abortions.
    Not my idea of an even semi perfect birth experience, and I went home two days after the c section because I couldn’t take anymore of the freak show.
    Yes, I reported her. And offered to pay her and adopt the baby. She said no because that would be the only way she could keep this guy around.
    I was 20.
    Linda, it doesn’t matter. My baby girl was healthy. I took her home and loved her up and she’s perfectly fine no matter how much drama there was when she was born. And she has 3 kids of her own and is a much better mom than I ever was. And when I look back now, yeah, it sucked, but look what I got in return. Maybe I appreciated her more because it was a struggle.
    And he won’t remember a thing…..

  33. Mandy on April 27th, 2006 9:21 am

    The birth experience is so very profound. Nearly 2 years after the birth of my son, I still find myself reading pregnancy and birth stories and thinking about my son’s birth–and having regrets. From the many birth stories I’ve read, it seems to be human nature to perseverate on one’s birth experience, but I don’t know why that’s true. You did the best you could given the circumstances you found yourself in. Riley will never second-guess you; it will just be his cool birth story. If you’re like me, you’ve filed away what you’ve learned about your regrets into that file in your brain titled : “If I’m Ever Crazy Enough to do THAT Again, Here’s What I’ll Do Differently!”

  34. Mel on April 27th, 2006 9:42 am

    I knew I didn’t tollerate pain really well, so I said I would want an epidural, but I wanted to deliver Ian naturally. After being in the hospital for 24 hours, my blood pressure going up, as wel l as my body temperature, the baby not tollerating the Pitosen and being stuck at seven centimeters for four hours…well, they decided to do a C-section. I was so disappointed, so tired, shaking so much and feeling so misserable. I wanted to be done. then came the part-way sleepy surgery and I don’t remember much of Ian’s birth. I remember the pulling and hearing him cry. They had to hold him on my chest for his first nursing because I was shaking so badly. I still wish I could have had him naturally, but then, I got to stay in the hospital longer, recover better. It made going home scary, I don’t know if it would have been scarier if we stayed for a shoter amount of time. I’m so glad he’s here. He’s almost eight months and even though the disappointment sometimes seems like his birth happened yesterday, life has a funny way of making things distance and seemingly unimportant.

  35. Mama Ritchie on April 27th, 2006 9:45 am

    I was not a fan of the whole natural thing when I was preggers – my husband jokes that I call for the epidural man at 30 weeks. So my water finally broke, I got the epidural and waited until it was time to push. Pushing time came and nothing. After 3 hours of pushing everyone concluded I needed the c-section.

    I was prepared for the c-section because I saw the sonograms and I’ve seen my husband’s huge head, and I concluded that my son takes after him in that regard. So I wasn’t unprepared for the c-section. What I was unprepared for was actually feeling pain when they made the incision. The epidural was wearing off.

    So I had to go completely under. My husband was not allowed to be in the room. I don’t remember a thing about his birth. As far as I know, this kid could be someone else’s. I have no memory of my son’s birth whatsoever. I went to sleep and when I woke up, my husband was holding a kid. I couldn’t reconcile that the baby he was holding was the big bowling ball thing in my midsection just 40 minutes ago.

    You know that Jen is my best friend, and when I heard her birth story, I couldn’t help but feel jealous, inadequate, weak – even though I try really hard not to compare any of my baby experiences with anyone else. I think it’s just natural to compare, and you have to let it happen and then move on. If you talked to her, there are things I bet she would say she wished happened differently in her birth. The important things are healthy babies, healthy moms, yadda yadda. Actually, the important thing is to do what we’re all doing now – acknowledging out experiences, our disappointments, our jealousies. Because keeping silent and keeping mental checklists pit us all against each other. You fucking rock girl.

  36. SalGal on April 27th, 2006 9:52 am

    I just had to throw my voice in here too. My baby’s birth was a total piece of cake compared to what many of these women (and you, Sundry) experienced but even *I* have some regrets because it wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be. I had grand plans and ideas and none of them played out the way I thought they would. I do wish it could have been different but ultimately, it Just . . . Doesn’t . . .Matter. My daughter is healthy and I am healthy which was the best possible outcome even though the “proceedure” wasn’t ideal.

    If we have another baby, I’ll still hope for that perfect birth but I know better than to set myself up for disappointment by trying to plan for it.

  37. Mandy on April 27th, 2006 9:55 am

    I wanted to add that my mother still has regrets about how I was born, and I’m 37 (yikes!) years old. She was put under for the delivery basically without consent and when she woke up they told her she’d had a daughter–she didn’t believe them. Still to this day she feels totally cheated. I never knew just how important birth was to the mother until I had my own child; I really thought it wouldn’t matter, that the end result (healthy baby) was all that counted. And while I know intellectually that’s true, it’s hard to get that message to my heart, as cheesy as that sounds…

  38. pippa on April 27th, 2006 10:16 am

    Wait… Niki said LAUNDRY. I do not enjoy the laundry. If a vaginal birth means laundry, I would opt for anything but. Maybe a nasal baby extraction. :D

  39. Kelly on April 27th, 2006 10:50 am

    Just wanted to chime in. You didn’t do anything wrong. I’m beginning to believe that it’s the wondering that makes a good parent. I’m also beginning to believe that someday, SOMEday, I will be able to talk about my C-section and feel nothing but peace on the subject.

    I’m so grateful that you give this weird subject a voice.

  40. ElizabethZ on April 27th, 2006 11:00 am

    I understand those feelings of resentment. I had my twin boys via c-section after one of my waters broke when they were 34 weeks, the fluid was tinged and Zach was breech (STILL – had been for weeks and weeks – lovin his little hammock just inside my right hip.) Anyway – I cried over it many times, I had all the books, wanted to do it natural, but delivering a breech twin can take a while and endanger the 2nd twin. I also had HELP syndrome that they didn’t discover until AFTER I delivered when my bloodwork came back with elevated liver enzymes, my blood pressure had been just borderline high the last week or 2 before all this happened so they weren’t alarmed yet. I had to get the whole magnesium drip thing too, I was sooo out of it the first 24 hours after they were born. But I do remember the birth, my epidural was SUPERB – didn’t feel a thing- and I wasn’t on the magnesium yet. I only took pain meds the first day, after that I just toughed it out since I was BFing and went home 4 days after surgery. The boys stayed in the NICU and came home exactly one week after I did. If he hadn’t been breech and I had tried to deliver we might have all died, especially since no one had a clue at the time anything was wrong. But who knows. The best thing you can tell yourself is that everything happens for a reason. We are planning on trying for a girl in a few years and I will try to do a VBAC. I am hoping it will be possible. And don’t ever think Riley will think anything badly about how you delivered, you did it the safest way possible to bring him into this world healthy. There can be no fault in that. **hugs** to you, you seem to be a wonderful mother and I have no doubt Riley knows that too.

  41. warcrygirl on April 27th, 2006 11:07 am

    Okay, I need to make a correction. When I said that he was ONLY 9.7 lbs that was supposed to be sarcastic and it totally didn’t come across that way in my comment. Just so you don’t think I’m some kind of masochist or something.

  42. Alexandra on April 27th, 2006 12:20 pm

    Its funny, I was JUST AT a baby shower and talking about this exact same thing like thirty minutes ago. I was telling the mother to be my thoughts about the epidural, which boil down to this … the pain goes from slightly uncomfortable to almost unbearable in the space of about ten minutes. And that it takes half an hour for the epidural guy to show up and another half an hour for it to take effect.

    When I had my daughter they gave me too much, so I had to wait for some of the numbness to wear off because I couldn’t even move my legs, let alone push. So yes, I had a painless birth experience (ie it didn’t hurt when she was actually born), but on the other hand, I almost feel like I kind of cheated myself because I didn’t really feel her being born either – all I remember feeling was the release of pressure when her shoulder popped out and then there she was!

    Charlotte Kate just turned three at the end of the January and I will think about that all the time …

    By the way, my sister in Australia turned e onto your blog and I love it. even mentioned you in mine at http://www.uptownmemphisgal.com

  43. Gwen on April 27th, 2006 12:47 pm

    I am (knock wood) still years away from having children, but I’ve been around enough moms and moms-to-be at this point to know this: Comparing yourself to anyone else is a waste of time. Every birth, every mother, and every child is different, and every circumstance has its own particular requirements. Nobody has any right to judge you or your decisions. I have a friend who was unable to breastfeed, and her formula-fed daughter grew up just fine, and it makes me so upset to see crazed breastfeeding advocates harassing and deriding her. Similarly, any steps you took to ensure the safety of yourself and your baby (induction, caesarean, etc.) don’t make you any less of a woman. They make you a good mother.

  44. Jessica M. on April 27th, 2006 2:23 pm

    I think the thing is, that you made the best decisions for your situation at that time. We can’t ever know how we’re going to feel later, so we do the best we can in a tough time. Don’t beat yourself up about it, because you did the best you knew how. Riley is healthy and amazingly cute, and he honestly doesn’t care how he was born.

    I’m pretty much at peace with my c-section, because I never had an idealized picture in my head of the ideal birth. Baby OK? Mommy OK? Then it’s all good. Tommy was a week late and had passed meconium when my water broke. So I got Pitocin to speed things up, and ohmygodOW, and then I got an epidural. Then my OB figured out that Tommy was face out rather than head down, and that was that. I do regret a little that I was so tired and out of it that my memories of his birth are pretty fuzzy now, but at the time it was just a relief to have him out, safely and quickly. And I suspect that had I delivered him vaginally (on no sleep and with a head cold) that my memory of that would be fuzzy as well. I hope to have a chance to do VBAC next time, but if not, I won’t mind. I don’t think Tommy cares or will care that he was born via c-section, just like I don’t think he’ll care that he was conceived via IVF. He’s here, alive and healthy and just a wee smidge cuter than Riley. Sorry, but I’m a bit biased here. ;-)

  45. Melanie on April 29th, 2006 6:47 am

    I’m one of those lurkers who comes outta the wordwork once in a blue moon.

    Lemme just say, it won’t matter to them. At least I really hope it won’t. We’ve been teaching Xan sign language since he was a few months old, and he is bright and happy and wonderfully healthy (34 weeker, I had severe preeclampsia, bedrest the whole crapload of crap). So he can communicate with us on a level.

    The worst thing is: if you ask him about it (you can ask them you know, they’ll either understand or not and mamas are more likely than everyone to notice if they do) he clams up. He gets upset. He climbs on my lap and puts his head on my shoulder. And just sits. That’s what kills me.

    No matter how many times I tell myself I KNOW the end result could not be more ideal: he’s perfect. I’m alive. What more did we want? Well, we did want more. And we felt robbed. And I’m 80% sure, heh, that the doctors didn’t intervene unnecessarily and that me blacking out and losing vision at 196/114 was a sign to cut the wee lad out. And I did my very best since. But I feel like I let him down, and I know he feels… something. Which is why I feel worse that I let him down. And I’m sure he feels the feelings.

    I’m so rambly. Anyway you aren’t alone. *hug*

    And I’m jealous when I read all MY friends’ accounts of homebirths, waterbirths, midwife-attented births. But you know, I get a little hopeful when I read about their VBACs. It can be done.

  46. omuchacha on May 1st, 2006 8:08 am

    Coming in late because I had a horse show…

    I was a high risk pregnancy due to being on blood thinners for a clotting disorder, then I got pre-eclampsia on top of that. Thank god I was already seeing the high risk specialist all the way along and felt like I knew him.

    My water broke a week before my planned induction. Lucky for me, I’d had a strange feeling that morning and didn’t take my blood thinner. When I got to the hospital they put in Cervadil because nothing was happening other than the water rupture. I went from 0 to 4 in an hour, with contractions every minute and my baby’s heart rate dropping dangerously. They took out the Cervadil, gave me an epidural, and talked to me about the c-section I might need to save my baby. You know, at that point I would have done *anything* to make sure that lil guy was safe.

    After another bunch of time with no progress they started the pitocin, again with the warning that they may have to do a c-section to save both of us. My epidural wore off and they had to use a ginormous needle to numb my nether regions. I pushed for an hour while hearing my baby’s heartrate drop every time I pushed, then slowly rise again. The whole time I thought, “Oh my god, what if we lose him NOW?”

    When he crowned my doc got deadly serious and told me to LISTEN to the other doc and do whatever she said exactly. He didn’t tell me why though. Then they called for NICU. The next push I had to push, let go, hold it, then push again while they did some quick work. The next one after that my blue baby came out with the cord wrapped tightly around his tummy. They cut it and gave him to the NICU people so fast I barely even got to see him. Talk about nervous waiting… blue isn’t the color you want to see. It felt like forever before he was actually breathing.

    As it turns out, he presented with both hands in front of his face, so I probably wouldn’t have been able to push him out without the doctor pushing his hands back in – which was the push, let go, hold push part. He also had his cord wrapped so tight we had to cut it off – which explains the blue baby and the decelerating heart rate.

    Yes, I had a vaginal birth – but even so it still wasn’t what I would have imagined. Is he safe? Yes. That’s all that matters.

  47. John Lawrence on January 14th, 2007 2:22 am

    Google is the best search engine

  48. Christine France on November 15th, 2009 7:59 pm

    My twin girls were born 8/8/08 and I had them via c-section….and never ever found a way to get my head around it. Baby A was in position (head down), baby b was transverse. I begged them to go for it but I could not convince the doctors otherwise as it was not a risk they were going to take. I was so sick from the drugs that I waved my babies away from my face and was not sure if i had boys or girls or a little of both until my husband came to me in recovery. I , too, was mad. At my six week check -up I gave it to my doctor who already felt bad because he had missed baby b on the sono until the 32nd week. I marched out of the office defiantly…and now, I feel badly about that as well. C-sections suck. They are horrible, mind numbing, exhausting, and mentally draining. Every time i see a mother who gleefully explains they had a c-section as if they won the lottery because they did not want to go through labor- I laugh at the feebleness of their mind and lack of introspection. Child birth is part of the process…it is a gift…and every mother that has a c-section is robbed of that gift whether they choose to look at it that way or not. Having said all of this, safety for the mother and child comes first. As patients, we have little room to argue without a certificate on our wall from a medical school and we put trust in those that care for us and our unborn. We knowingly know that a c-section is always a possibility….and it is an unfortunate thing when it happens. We have to trust.

  49. Ana on August 18th, 2010 2:39 pm

    Thank you for posting your story. I had a very similar experience and I’m still recovering. Your post and the comments left behind have given me strength to move forward. Thank you

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