I love reading birth stories, especially when the author is able to really describe the process in unflinching, funny-only-in-retrospect detail. I love in Waiting for Birdy when Catherine says she “made a creepy didgeridoo sound for 16 hours straight, said ‘Kill me’, then barfed into a trash can.” I love the written choo-choo pantings of laboring women, the geysering bodily fluids, and best of all—of course—the slimy, squalling, heartbreaking result to the whole ordeal.

I have a much harder time reading about the bravery involved with so-called natural births (as though any viable entrance into this world should be described as unnatural). The powerful, indescribable wonder of a drug-free birth, the gift the mother is giving her baby by choosing to be so very strong. The floored wonder of her partner, standing nearby marveling at this pinnacle of human achievement.

It’s not that I don’t understand this. I fully acknowledge the superwoman qualities of someone who endures hours of the most challenging physical situation of her entire life and refusing the intervention that could make it less painful. I am awed by women who have the birthing experience they wanted, that they read about and prepared for and engineered to conform to their preferences.

I understand it and I can empathize with it, but it hurts, a little. I thought I would have that moment of turning to my husband and saying, it’s time. The escalation of it all, the trip to the hospital, the scariness and elation and pain and everything else. Instead, it was a routine visit followed by hours of being drugged and sick and miserable and eventually a surgery and I felt as far from brave as it’s possible for a person to feel.

I guess I will always wonder, was it absolutely necessary for me to be put on the magnesium with Riley? Were they erring too far on the side of being conservative, wasn’t there something else they could do to deal with the blood pressure situation? I felt perfectly fine when I walked in the door, and next thing I knew I was hooked to an IV and gripped by the effects of the medication.

The second thing I wonder about: after the hours of Cervidil with no effect, and the progression of feeling worse and worse with the magnesium, they gave me a choice of Pitocin or trying to rest overnight and having a C-section in the morning. I asked a nurse to be as honest with me as she could, did she think the Pitocin would work in time? They wanted to do the C-section in the morning anyway, because of my blood pressure. She paused, and shook her head. She said it was doubtful. I thought about dealing with the Pitocin-triggered pain all night long, on top of the unrelenting nausea and aching head and trembling, exhausted muscles the magnesium was causing, only to need the surgery anyway. I chose to try and rest.

Maybe I should have tried the goddamned Pitocin, you know? Maybe there would have been a different outcome. Maybe if I had done that, both my babies would have been born without use of a scalpel and a drape.

I don’t have bad feelings about either of my C-sections. They weren’t terrible, they were fine. I saw my babies right away and held them moments later. I recovered with no problems. It was fine.

But. It doesn’t feel brave. It doesn’t feel like that magical spiritual I-am-woman-hear-me-roar experience I now have such a hard time hearing about. I’m torn between thinking, well, that’s great for you, but not everyone gets the birth they thought they were going to have, and my babies came into this world perfect in every way and you know what, we’re ALL brave . . . and I wish I could have had that. I should have tried harder.

Still, still. It’s not too difficult to regain perspective.

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August 31, 2005

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February 2, 2008

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Mary
Mary
14 years ago

As I write this my first baby is kicking the edge of my laptop (in mah belly–s/he pushes back when I rest things there!). And holy crap, I’m trying not to get all freaked out here. Could someone hand me a paper bag? I have NO idea how this birth is going to go. I’m going to be as preapared as I can be, but I’m also counting on the experts I chose to be there and my amazing (nurse) husband to help us all make the best decisions for the situation at hand. I hope we make the right ones, whether it’s “natural,” epi, c-section or whatever. All I can do is make the best decisions I can with limited information I have at the time. And I’m not going to force it one way or another based on my own preferences. And dear God in heaven, I’m thankful we live in a day in age when things like pain relief are options, and I hope we both live, and that we have a healthy little punkin.

Kristin C.
14 years ago

My story EXACTLY except for the c-section. I had the labor from hell with 4 hours straight of pusing every minute. I tried to calculate…I pushed something like AT LEAST 480 times. It was hell. It hurt. My vagina was cut to get her out. You did your self a favor and had a c-cestion. Try not to have any regrets….You made two little human beings with your body, that’s brave and awesome enough.

Nicole
Nicole
14 years ago

I can relate- I had 2 C-sections too. The first was an emergency, and the second was planned, at my doctor’s suggestion. I wrestled with feelings of inadequacy and cowardice for a long time. But I’m finally at peace with the fact that it doesn’t matter how my boys got here- what matters is that they’re here and they are lovely. And it’s nutty out there- raising them and allowing them to be able to make their way in this world requires a lot of bravery and courage! I hope you are able to find some peace on this issue! Good luck!

Blythe
14 years ago

I haven’t read all the comments but I’m sure most of them say, yes, me too, maybe I could have tried harder, but it all came out OK.

And I’m just hear to say yes, me too. I didn’t expect to feel the guilt I felt (I didn’t have a C-section but we had to do a vacuum extraction resulting in a big bruised head, NICU, etc). And it lingered for a long, long time. What if I were stronger? What if I hadn’t asked for an epidural? What if what if what if?

Erin
14 years ago

I totally struggle with this too.

Not so much back then. Back then I was exhausted, and had been in and out of labor and on bed rest for more than 20 weeks while taking trebutaline (sp?). When they told me he was positioned transverse and I would need a c-section I readily agreed. At that point, I would’ve agreed to let them remove him from my mouth if I would just NOT BE PREGNANT ANYMORE! Plus, I was young. The labor I had already experienced was terrible and I was petrified of the “real thing”.

But now, I’m older, wiser, and I feel the same way. I wish I could’ve done that. I wish I could’ve felt that, etc. I feel like the “experience” was stolen from me.

But at the end of the day, I just have to remind myself that I had a healthy baby who is the light of my life. That’s pretty miraculous!

Michelle
14 years ago

Thank you for saying what I have been feeling since my daughter was born a year ago. I feel bad I had a C-section but I know what really is important is that we are both OK. After my water broke I was in labor for more than 12 hours without progressing past 3 cm and my daughter’s heart rate kept dropping. The doctor told me it was my decision but he felt I would end up with a C-section even if I kept trying for hours. I opted for the C-section. I sometimes wish I would have tried harder, done more. I don’t know what I could have done but it makes me sad to read other birth stories and I know I won’t have the chance to push.

Anna
Anna
14 years ago

Linda, I absolutely believe that giving birth to a child – no matter how – is brave and magical. I don’t think you should feel any shame, and in fact putting yourself through major surgery for the life of your children is pretty darn impressive.

This is such an interesting topic to me, and I have to admit that I bristle a little when people (not you, but some of the commenters here) make fun of, or make light of a woman’s right to feel empowered and brave for being lucky enough to have the birthing experience she wanted. Just because she feels empowered and wonderful after going through the experience of a natural birth does not mean that she thinks a birth with a medical intervention is Not Brave. Parenting is such a mine field of potential disagreements among parents (co-sleeping, Ferber, cloth diapers, breast feeding, discipline) and it is endlessly frustrating to me that we can’t just applaud one another and understand that what works for one family will most assuredly not work for another. It IS brave to go through child birth, however it is that it happens for you and women should be able to sing on the mountain tops that their natural birth was the best thing they ever did.

I recently watched The Business of Being Born and thought it was great. While Ricki Lake obviously has an agenda, the agenda is NOT making mothers feel bad for their choices. It is more about educating people about the practice of midwifery and how we have turned away from that sort of birthing process. The director of the film is actually pregnant during filming and intends on a natural birth. However, the film concludes with her being rushed to the hospital for a C-section. She had no choice in the matter and after preparing for a water birth at home, she had to have a C-section in the hospital. She is interviewed when her son is 8 months old and she makes absolutely no apologies and has no regreets about being unable to have the birth she wanted. She had a healthy child and that was what was important.

Holly
Holly
14 years ago

It all only means as much as you want it to. Mother by C-section, by vaginal delivery, by adoption, by marriage….it doesn’t really matter and it doesn’t make you a better mother (oh, if the only key to being a good mother came through the vagina!)

How you mother, how you love and how you raise your children – that’s what matters. It’s a choice, every day, to be a good mother, no matter how the rugrats came into your life. Comparing choices and decisions and things that influence your life are beyond your control is fruitless and does not honor the work and experience of being a mom (and I believe mom-to-mom competitive comparisons are hugely destructive to the self confidence of mother’s every where, but that’s off point here).

Be glad you have them, and that they were born healthy, however they came into the world. ‘Nuff said.

Pocklock
14 years ago

This topic is actually on my mind as well. I feel as though I were coerced into a C-section with Bean and it still to this day pisses me off. I was never all natural-ly anyway, but we did have a doula lined up (who couldn’t make it due to a death in her family) and now I’m left to wonder if it would have been different if she were there. Would I have been talked into the pitocin as quickly? Would I have allowed the epidural so soon?

And now I have to deal with being labeled if I choose to go VBAC for the next one. I have to listen to everyone tell me about all the risks and ask me if I really need to be a hero. That they don’t send you home from the hospital with a trophy AND your baby. Yadda yadda. And I’m not sure if I’m prepared for that.

But if I go with the C, will I always be left to wonder if it could’ve been different?

There’s no pretty way to get a baby out. End of story.

Amanda
14 years ago

I think a woman having a c-section is brave. I think all moms are brave – period. It’s scary shit raising a kid. xo

Janet
Janet
14 years ago

You know, this whole thing about missing out on the “experience” is a load of crap. You made a human life, that in it’s self is a miracle.

I can tell you first hand because I had my first child “all natural” and it was the most excruciating pain I have ever endured. When I got pregnant with my second (and last) child I swore that I would take the freakin’ meds, and I did and I am so glad because was a much better birth experience because I wasn’t in so much pain. I was able to focus on the miracle and wonder of it all.

So, that said, be happy with your choices and know that you did what was best for your children.

Janet
Janet
14 years ago

Amen Holly, well said!

Ashley
14 years ago

I don’t think it is possible to have a birth go exactly as expected. There are just too many variables. Don’t feel un-brave though, you didn’t get pregnant for the act of shoving a child out your body, you got pregnant to have a family…mission accomplished with everyone intact. Your guts might have been hanging outside your body while birthing, but at least you didn’t have a “code brown” in a birthing tub.

Katy
Katy
14 years ago

Once again you have expressed exactly how I feel (how do you always do that?:) I ended up with a c-section after having to be induced due to high blood pressure. I pushed for three hours and then begged for a c-section. Even though I know I did the best thing for my daughter I still feel like I missed out on something. I too had a bit of me that wanted to be the woman hear me roar type but at the end of the day I have a daughter that is healthy and thriving and that is what matters.
P.S. Love your site, your writing is always so spot on for me!

Kelly
Kelly
14 years ago

I’ve been through the same feelings of inadequacy as many people have described here. I had c-sections with both of my kids due to the fact that my first was breech. I’ve got 2 sons and have never felt a contraction, never pushed, hell… I’ve never had a single minute of labor. It took me quite some time to realize that the birth experience isn’t supposed to be some sort of competition or even about reaching your own full potential by having a child come out of your vagina. It’s about your baby, utterly and completely. And I think, for some reason, we tend to forget that fact after it’s over. It is brave to decide to have a child. It is brave to carry a human being around inside your body for nearly a year. And a woman most certainly is brave when it’s time to get that baby from the inside to the outside, however that happens to be.

Chick
Chick
14 years ago

I’m a mother of two — first by emergency c-section, and once by adoption. Neither one were “natural” but they were both perfect for me. I would NOT go back and do it “naturally” even if I could.

I realllllly don’t get what Ash was saying up there. It doesn’t make sense. Is that implying that since neither of my babies plopped out of my vagina, that is going to compromise my relationship with them somehow. That’s just weird and wrong and ignorant.

Michelle
14 years ago

Also, when I told a friend that I feel that I missed out on a rite of passage b/c I had a C-section, she told me that I had the ultimate rite of passage by putting my child’s needs before my needs and wishes.
That helped me more than anything.

Lesley
Lesley
14 years ago

Do not let the super human Earth Moms deprive you of your own particular moment of glory on D Day – where the D stands for delivery. Every woman who endures pregnancy and can pop a kid, whether it’s via the Vag or a C-section is heroic and stunningly brave.

Besides, you’re such a great mom in every respect and it’s really what comes later that’s important.

How cute the two boys look in those after birth photos.

Lesley
Lesley
14 years ago

Btw, if it was me I’d want to be teleported back to the fifties when they knocked moms out, delivered the baby, and woke her up. :)

Giselle
Giselle
14 years ago

I like the comment over on Semi-desperate Housewife’s blog…, “Why do women have to make everything a pissing contest.” Why indeed? How could there only be one way that is the “right” way. Hell, Julius Ceaser’s mother had a C-section…so women have been doing it for a long time (although I don’t think she survived…so maybe a bad example).

And I think that all mothers are brave…to send their hearts walking around outside their bodies. Even those mothers whose bodies truly failed them and didn’t allow them to even get pregnant, but whose bravery led them to find children already born somewhere in the world…who were meant to be with them anyway.

kakaty
14 years ago

I had a drug-free hospital birth. It was my choice and I’m glad that I was able to do it the way I wanted. I knew a c-section or drugs were a possibility but it was my first child and I wanted to TRY IT before I opted for assistance. My midwife and OB were fine with it and that’s how it happened. When asked, I do say I didn’t use drugs and people’s jaws drop – they can’t believe I GAVE BIRTH without DRUGS and therefore I am either some sort of hippy or some crazy natural-birth activist. And the truth is, I’m not some sort of superwoman nor was I trying to be…I was just wanted to trust my body (with the care and medical approval of professionals). Plus, like jonniker I was scared to death of having anything stuck into my spine unless it was absolutely necessary for my survival.

My own opinion on the matter, which I don’t normally share because I am a Midwesterner and avoid confrontation whenever possible, is that I don’t think women give themselves enough credit for what they are capable of. Especially when it’s their first birth and they have no idea how their body is going to work through the process. The women who gleefully announce “I’m gonna get the epidural before I even check into the hospital” – I have to admit I feel kind of sorry for them, that they don’t have enough confidence in their body to do what it was intended to do (of COURSE, I am talking about women with no known medical issues that make it impossible to have a drug-free birth).

I went into the birth of my child expecting the worst pain of my life and partly expecting to request the drugs at some point, but I found that the pain wasn’t as bad as I thought and the farther we got into labor the more I realized I could handle it. And part of what motivated me during some of the more painful moments was remembering stories that I read online of other women who had been through the same thing. I really think that 99% of women who share their stories are just doing that – sharing their stories for others who may be interested…not to divide mothers even farther or be an activist for one way or another. They aren’t trying to say I’m braver then you or stronger then you…they are just saying it was an amazing experience and I want to share it with you.

scantee
scantee
14 years ago

kakaty-Are you implying that women who have interventions don’t trust their bodies? I think this is part of the problem; you say women aren’t trying to offend, just telling their stories, and then you go on to use offensive rhetoric. Obviously, a lot of women who think they are just “telling their stories” don’t realize what is so hurtful about those stories.

I had an intervention birth AND I trust my body.

Heather
14 years ago

This is a hot topic, apparently. There have been many moments when I think of the what ifs. I went for my scheduled induction knowing one thing: I wanted an epidural as soon as humanly possible. Long story short, epi needle punctured spinal column, spinal fluid leak, no pain relief, crippling fear of trying epi again, medication free birth complete with fourth degree tear that I felt every.fucking.second of. Two hours of emergency surgery to repair the damage, meaning, of course, time away from my new baby. Oh, and a delightfully scarred up nether region. Nothing happened how I thought it would, but here we both are, alive and healthy. “Natural” birth is brave. C sections are brave. Adoptions are brave. Mothers are brave, period.

Amanda
Amanda
14 years ago

I’m aiming for a drug-free birth. I am only 9 weeks, so I know this will take a lot of training and may not end up like I hope. Maybe like a marathon? But I can’t criticize the choices other women end up making when it comes to this. Interestingly, it was the story of Dooce’s first birth and the horrible pitocin/epidural cycle that scared me into researching drug-free/non-intervention births.
And thanks for the reminder – I’ll call it drug-free or non-intervention instead of “natural” birth from now on.

stacy
14 years ago

I labored stupidly and fruitlessly on Pitocin for 8 hours after my water broke with meconium and I still wasn’t “in labor”. I refused the drugs because I wanted to be as drug free as possible but I only dilated to 2cm and was “on the clock” due to the meconium and broken water … they offered me a few more hours of Pitocin labor but come on … 2 cm in 8 hours? I wasn’t going to be 10 cm in a few more. I opted for the C-Section. I’ll never know what might have been. Now pregnant and due in Feb. with my second, I’m thinking I should have taken the offered and much-pushed epidural, perhaps the rest would have helped me dilate? Made the C-Section easier to recover from? Who knows. I’m okay with it. I have to be. Right now I’m 13 weeks pregnant and I have a toddler climbing onto every elevated surface he can find. We both got through his birth without any complications and for that I’m thankful. If I spend too much time looking back, I’ll forget to go rescue him from his next danger-zone.

molly
molly
14 years ago

Looking at those two pictures, I can so easily say that no matter if the stork had come by the hospital window and dropped them off into your arms, they are, without any doubt, your sons.

I am extremely blessed that the only part of my birth plan that I didn’t get was the ‘no episiotomy’ (yes – I’m one of those crazy women that made my husband do perineal (sp?) massage which is WAY WAY WAY past TMI) but I give all the credit to my doulas. I have a pin that says “My Doula was worth the Moula.” Best few hundred dollars we ever spent X 2. All hospitals should have them available for their patients.

Not that a doula would have helped your blood pressure so I’ll get off my soapbox now…cause you did exactly the right thing.

Just got my two to bed…better work before hubby catches me on here.

Melissa
Melissa
14 years ago

I don’t tell my birthing story too often because it might scare new moms. But my son had to be delivered almost a month early when a routine U/S showed my placenta had dropped down to cover the cervix, then the maternal-fetal specialist saw that almost all the amniotic fluid was gone. So, he announced the baby was going to be delivered that evening or the next day. I was allowed to choose which OB out of a group of 7 would do the actual c-section.

And you know what? I was so relieved that the pregnancy was going to be over soon that I could have kissed that specialist. I had been in so much pain in the last few weeks of the pregnancy that I had coached my husband to help me beg for a c-section.

The hospital staff were fabulous, the labor and delivery team were wonderful in the time leading up the delivery that if the story ended there, I would have been the happiest woman in the world.

But it didn’t end there. Right after Daniel was delivered, and my husband went off to cut the cord, I heard the 2 OBs talking fast, then one telling the staff to get more blood up to the OR. The pace in that room sped up so quickly and I could hear my normally calm OB issuing orders with the tone of a drill sergeant. She finally came and stood by my head, quietly explaining that she needed to do a hysterectomy. The placenta had grown into the uterus so completely that she couldn’t separate them. At that point, I was so glad to just know what was happening that all I could say was that at least I wouldn’t have any more periods. I’m not always that calm but there wasn’t much point to screaming or yelling, since the OB still needed to finish the operation.

I was on the table for 3 hours more, then in the ICU overnight. It was 24 hours before I got to see my son and a few hours more before I felt strong enough to hold him. But he was completely healthy, I was alive, and we would be going home together once I recovered from the surgery.

The second best part (after actually having him) was the pain was gone. The pain caused by a uterus stretched beyond belief; old scar tissue that had adhered to every organ in the lower part of my body which had made every movement of his body such misery while I still carried him. Compared to that pain, recovering from a c-section and a hysterectomy was a walk in the park.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to tell my story. And thanks for being so honest about your feelings. You are one brave mom, no matter how those boys came into the world.

Jenny
14 years ago

I haven’t read the other comments, but honestly, I think it’s pretty damn brave from the beginning when you see the second line and you think “here we go” followed by months of sickness, or not, sleeplessness, or not, skin stretched out never to be tight again, awaiting that scary and unforseen future (birth by surgery? Or not? last minute medical emergencies? Or not? A healthy baby? Or not?) followed by a lifetime, yes a lifetime, of being a parent and wearing your heart on the outside of your body. Yep, parents = brave. Or crazy.

Michelle
Michelle
14 years ago

My first one? Contractions so wimpy that I did not realize I was in labor. Also? My water broke and I was uncertain about that as well. Doesn’t always happen like it does in the movies. Wimpy contractions meant pitocin and if that ain’t an enormous slice o’ hell then I just don’t know what is. I was BEGGING for the epidural.

Second time I went to a regular appt and ended up being told that I needed to be induced. Got to the hospital and found out the little one was breach so into the operating room I went.

I tell you this so you know you are not alone. Of course you are not alone. And, yes, I find those stories of amazingly brave women giving birth with no or little medical intervention both awe inspiring and jealousy inducing.

MizzM
MizzM
14 years ago

I had “easy” labors–5 hours or less with no need (and no time) for epidurals. BUT, my birth experiences, like ALL birth experiences, were unique. For me, childbirth was not painful. Contractions felt like just that–contractions. I did not experience any pain until the doctor was stitching up the tearing caused by delivering babies with giant Charlie Brown heads. Believe me, if my contractions had been painful, I would have asked for an epidural! And, my daughter’s delivery was frightening for everyone involved. When my doctor came round to visit me the day after, the first thing he wanted to discuss with me was birth control and the fact that “next time around I would recommend scheduling a C-section and not even attempting another vaginal birth.” Oh, okay, well, if you say so…

So, anyhow, I never felt like an awesome, strong, valiant Super Hero. I felt clueless and unsure of every decision I made, and I guess I was just damn lucky it went fast and didn’t hurt. That doesn’t make me a Super Hero, it just makes me a freak of nature.

But, hey, if you’re handing out awe and admiration, I’ll accept it anyway.

Even without a traumatic, painful story to tell about childbirth, I can’t say I would ever want to go through it again–it still scares me, despite two reasonable outcomes. I think it is far more important to focus on what happens the day after…and the day after that…and the day after that! The child’s birth is just one short day in what we all hope to be the first of many, many days in that special human creation’s life! I would much rather tell you how great and wonderful my little offspring are than how I crapped on the delivery table…

:o)

Jen
Jen
14 years ago

I think the bravery comes not in how the baby enters the world, but in the act of WANTING to become pregnant and raise a child. It’s a 100% leap of faith, something we have next to no control over. All of us Moms are brave as HELL, regardless of how our labor goes. *hugs*

Alyson
14 years ago

Had kids both ways. Each has it’s advantages and disadvantages. In a lot of ways, I think it took longer to recover from the V-BAC.

The REAL Bravery comes from being a parent, day in and day out. Don’t let ANYONE devalue your birth experiences. They are yours (and JB’s, of course) nobody can take it away from you. Don’t let anyone think you didn’t do “your job the right way” because you didn’t do it the way some granola-eatin’, birkenstock-wearing, peace-love-and natural childbirth mama thinks you should have.

I’ve had natural childbirth with absolutely no drugs……IT SUCKED! And the only time I can say my husband was really scared of me. (no drugs = Satan coming to visit in the middle of delivery!)

Alyson
14 years ago

BTW, what brought on this fit of self-loathing? You’re a Goddess! And don’t you forget it!!

Jen L
Jen L
14 years ago

Penne’s nurse ROCKED! That is one of the best, most succinct ways of putting it that I have ever heard! My nurses with both my daughters (both induced at 10 days late, both vaginal births, both – thank god – with epidurals) told me pretty much the same thing, just not with quite as much sass and humor.

One thing I gotta say though: Every time this topic comes up, someone always feels compelled to make some variation of the “at least your hoo-hoo’s not all icky” comment, and it really pisses me off. It’s just such a ridiculous and ignorant thing to say. They’re called Kegels, people. They work wonders. Look them up.

Sheesh.

Kathy
Kathy
14 years ago

For what it’s worth, my first two sons were vaginal. I try not to think too much about the first birth experience…20 hours of labor with pitocin (because my water broke), the baby’s heart rate kept dropping (the umbilical cord was wrapped around his leg)and he was huge and after two hours of pushing, he had to be suctioned out with a medical vacuum device, with a bunch of medical students materializing from nowhere to gather around and watch. My beautiful son was finally born, but…he has a significant developmental disability, and I can’t help but wonder if things would have been different if I had just had a C-section. I’ve had to stop the “what if’s” because it was making me crazy. Every time I hear someone brag about their amazing birth experience, I kind of want to tell them to shut up.

Anyway, my second experience wasn’t great either (a 10 pounder), and with my third I demanded a planned C-section, and it was by far the best experience.

In my opinion(and yes, I know it’s different for everyone) C-sections ROCK and I recommmend them to everyone.

Just my two cents…Your boys are adorable, btw!

Lindsay
Lindsay
14 years ago

Ummmm I’m just giggling because Riley looks like a new born baby but Dylan looks like you took a pic of him five mins ago in a cap and blankie and then shrunk it and photoshopped it in. Genetics are crazy.

Great post too; that Dylan character just got me sidetracked.

Nhalia
Nhalia
14 years ago

Wow, I didnt expect to have to read through a million posts to get to the end! Who would have known this would stir up so many posts? ;)

There is no part about my daughters birth that I regret, in fact I am one of the few that loved every part of it even though it didnt go as planned.

We had planned on waiting until she decided to grace us with her presence, but at my 40 week appointment my obgyn said that my fluid was low and I would be giving birth later that day. Check in downstairs in labor and delivery, hunney! Yeeha!

I planned on no drugs, but after the pitocin and then them breaking my water…I got the damn drugs! The pitocin had no ill effects on me thankfully, just sped my contractions up a bunch. I think in the end I pushed for 30 minutes? Shut up, right?

To me, any woman that has a child is brave and a super hero. I dont care how your little one arrived in this world. Being a mom takes courage. DAILY. How you raise and love those little ones is all that matters. To me, having to decide to have the C-section was brave. Holy hell would that scare the beejeebus out of me!

Tree Dreamer
Tree Dreamer
14 years ago

I had multiple “natural” births, midwives, water birthing, the whole Ricki Lake 9-yards, including one where I ended up on mag sulfate and pitocin b/c of high bp and once b/c of meconium. But I don’t think I did anything special, it just was what it was. I would probably do things differently.

Having major surgery is brave too. Making the choices that have to be made to make sure that baby and you are safe and healthy is brave. It doesn’t matter how they get here. It’s like our version of whippin’ it out and measuring. You didn’t miss out on anything, it’s what you have now that counts.

alfredsmom
14 years ago

I hear you. I had two c-sections due to total lack of anything going on down below, even a week and a half after my due date. Inductions failed to help. So, I went thru the wondering and the regrets. Still wonder, still regret, but in a much better place.

But you know what? C-section women go thru some real pain too and some other horrible gruesome stuff like inability to poop for a very long time, so I think we are all “even”. ;)

Tree Dreamer
Tree Dreamer
14 years ago

PS – why do we think that experiencing what is probably the worst pain a human being can go through somehow makes our bonding a better experience or makes the birth somehow more earthy or right? why is it wrong or a woman not “trusting her body” to ask for pain killers so that she can get through it? I didn’t feel any better as a parent or as a woman or a human for going through the pain.

Anonymous
Anonymous
14 years ago

You know what? I question myself a lot on my parenting choices: The really short time attempting breastfeeding, disposable diapers versus cloth, etc. but I don’t question how my kids got here. I am just happy that they were born healthy and able to come home with me. For the record, one C-section and 2 VBACs, with an epidural, twice for the second VBAC because the first didn’t work and the second only worked partially. I applaud all those women who are able to do it naturally, but I don’t for one moment think I am less of a mother/woman because I didn’t tough it out, etc. Don’t doubt yourself; you did what you needed to do to have two wonderful little guys. :)

Amy
Amy
14 years ago

Wow…just got an email today from a co-worker who just had her first baby. She raved about the labor and delivery sans drugs. For a moment I felt like my births weren’t as special because I had opted for the epidural. With the first I had no choice, he was frank breech and they rushed me into surgery. I never had an option. The second was vbac, but just barely. #2 began to decel and the anesthesiologist rushed in, pushed a bollus into my epidural and they were getting ready to woosh me down the hall when the dr said, give it one more try and let’s see what happens. I did with a lot of help since I couldn’t feel my legs at all (so sureal to see your legs in front of you and not feel them) and out he came. I think she was as impressed as I was. Either way, I have two amazing beautiful boys (like you). But still, there is that thought…what if. It’s only fleeting because the end result is what matters!!

Anya
14 years ago

Thank you so much for writing on this :-) So many stories to read & appreciate. ~ here’s another~Long story long: storybook water breaking in the kitchen, contractions, giddy, ready to go au natural all the way, Roar, barely 1cm after 10hrs, seriously?, failure to progress~what do you mean, I was a week overdue, epidural bliss, 12 more hrs pass, 3hrs pushing, still not freaking out, kiddo not budging (sideways, upside down, nearly 10lbs), 3 tries with vacuum, emergency c-section, kinda getting nervous now, elation at huge healthy baby! Hardly any pain from c-section the next day, feel like wonder woman, that night I am smacked down by a blood & tissue infection, surgery 48hrs after giving birth, surgeon tells my family “we’ll just have to wait & see…..if she survives” seriously?, 10 days in hospital, 2 months on antibiotics pumped right into the ol’ heart, meanwhile I (and husband) have a newborn to care for,wtf?!, seriously?

It is 2+ yrs later and I just ran my first half marathon and my kiddo is ginormous & spunky and none-the worse for being born via tummy instead of via vagina…three cheers for modern medicine, if it weren’t for the c-section my kiddo would have died in the birth canal (and quite possibly me with him) and if it weren’t for antibiotics my husband would have been raising our son alone within 48hrs after his arrival. I really don’t think about my birth story all that much, except to scoff when people say they “feel sorry for me for not having a vaginal delivery,” I pushed for 3 hrs, what part of vaginal delivery did I miss out on again? I am very interested in adoption in the future, am I going to need to defend that kiddos birth story along-side my (gasp) c-section, a mother with two kids that did not come out of her vaginal canal, so sad. Kidding aside, people who want to focus on how someone comes into this world (especially their own children) cheers to them, awesome. For me, I want to focus my energy on how to be the best parent in the world, not the best labor & delivery case, birth is a few hours (ok, maybe days in some of our cases) parenthood is a lifetime. Cheers to you Sundry for BRAVELY embracing the commitment to be a kick-ass parent…for years upon years upon years after the lights in the delivery room have dimmed.

Emblita
14 years ago

I think its odd that we women manage to feel guilty about how our children get born. I had to have gas, pictosin, an epidural and had my water manually ruptured. My body SUCKED at labor… my contractions basically did nothing (except hurt…ow). So even though I did eventually push him out (again, OW), I refuse to feel guilt for using some of the modern means we have to have a safe birth. If I’d been giving birth, say 100 years ago both I and my son might have died in labor. That thought always makes whatever pangs of guilt I get go away fast.

Penny
Penny
14 years ago

So the first one, she was late. I went to the dr and he stripped my membranes and left a order at the hospital to start me on pitocin. A happy lil hurricane decided to strike , seriously, and only a freaking nurse to deal with in the hospital. No Dr’s .. 22 hours of hard labor, no pain pills (jerks) and I couldnt dilate past 4. So the following morning storm over, hospital resumes maternity staff, they prep me for a c-section just as my cervix bursts, tears my uterus and shes now stuck in the birth canal. I would have given my boobs for a c-section! The next birth, I made certain that they wrote for lots of pain medicine. I have a serious back injury and cannot get the epidural (life sucks!). The third one, yeah Im a glutton for punishment, that went well. But the last one… I had pre-eclampsia was in the hospital for over a week before he was born. They decided my blood pressure was getting too bad, induced, I ended up having a eclamptic seizure and they couldnt risk putting me under general antheshia.. so at 8 cm dilated they literally went up there and snatched him out! Oh my god… What I woulda done for a c-section. I did mention the last one weighed 10 pounds 8 ounces and was almost 24 inches long… freaking brute child!
Oh Im sorry do I sound like a bitter bitch about my birthing experiences? No no really all of it was forgotten as soon as I saw their needy little scrunched up faces, their incessant wailing caused me to forgot if but for a moment the immense pain and the fact my body felt like a out of control train went through it. No pain management for me, I like living on the edge. Prepares me for when I will be pulling out my hair taking care of them.
I do think that kids should send their mothers flowers on their (the kids) birthday as a special thank you for not only having me, but trying to forget the whole process involved of getting me out!

They should offer hysterectomy’s in the sears catelog… I’m just saying…

Swistle
14 years ago

I can get very WORKED UP about this issue, especially since if medals are being handed out for Enduring Misery, I have heard a lot of ending-in-c-section birth stories that sound way worse than a lot of ending-in-vaginal-delivery stories.

I think I’d be more understanding of the “drug-free is superior” point of view if those same people went drug-free for wisdom tooth extractions, appendectomies, broken legs, even HEADACHES. It seems weird and kind of biblical to isolate BIRTH and say that PAIN IS GOOD—but just for that one thing.

I also get very angry at the talk about the increase of “unnecessary c-sections,” without any recognition of the corresponding decrease in maternal/infant deaths.

Swistle
14 years ago

P.S. I know nothing about the correspondence or non-correspondence of c-sections and infant mortality. I’m just all MAD about this.

P.P.S. I also get mad when the word “choice” is overused. I think very few people get to choose their birth experience, but that it’s talked about as if everyone does—as if all you have to do is push your tray down the cafeteria line to decide how your body works, how you experience pain, and how the baby responds.

Laura
Laura
14 years ago

I used to read those birth stories and just sob because after two hyperemesis pregnancies, one delivery with a shoulder dystocia and one delivery that featured a prolapsed cord which resulted in an emergency c-section where I was completely unconcious, I didn’t get a damn thing that I wanted. Couple that with a sister-in-law who had the natural births, no morning sickness and perfect nursing situations and I felt like shit. Then I realized we both had the same outcome- healthy babies. I am in no way negating what you are saying, matter of fact I was a damn bobblehead while reading this because I was in such agreement with you. I’m actually in therapy right now to deal with the whole shit sandwich that was my two pregnancies. So, I am trying to get what I want out of motherhood now that the kids are here. I may not have had an empowered pregnancy and birth, but I am empowering myself now. Does that make sense?

js
js
14 years ago

I often find myself nodding in agreement with much of what you say, but my head nearly fell off with the nodding this morning.

I had a C-Section with my daughter and have felt much the way you describe. I feel cheated in some way, and I feel like I didn’t do the best for her (although without the C-Section we may have lost her). As for the Pitocin? They gave it to me and I suffered through contractions for 48 hours and 36 minutes before they decided to put me out of my misery. So…maybe be glad you didn’t go that route!