So I’m sure people that keep up with my postings have noticed a focus on baby related issues. Guilty. I admit it, I have baby on the brain! lol I’m REALLY ready for another baby. Praying for it to happen soon!
So my most recent endeavors actually lost me a friend (awesome) and really solidified my new found belief that every mother should have the birth she wants, and afterwards have peace with what happened during the labor and delivery of her child. Every mother deserves to be allowed to have the birth she wants (up to a point) and to be able to try to have that birth happen without people (Doctors, family, acquaintances, online “friends”) judging and tearing down her decisions.
Life for a modern mother has really started to become difficult. We are flooded with all this information about what is “right” for our child and how we have to feed them this, not feed them that, wear them 24/7, not wear them 24/7 (“they will be needy!”), cloth diaper, use disposables, breastfeed, formula feed, etc. etc. The list goes on and on. New mothers are either over run with information, or they don’t pay attention to anything and just go with the flow (I was that new mother) and sometimes regret it.
For me, I just ignored all the “birth” information out there and just thought that if I listened to my doctors that everything would be fine. I read all the books for after and just skipped over the whole labor and delivery aspect of motherhood. Not even knowing what I was getting myself into I blindly went along with everything. Don’t get me wrong, I knew what I didn’t want (no epidural, didn’t want them to cut me, taking Elenore away from me, formula feeding her etc.) and I knew that I didn’t want a c-section, but I didn’t think much past that. I went through my pregnancy just assuming that I would get the delivery and labor that I wanted.
Jump forward to my actual labor and delivery story:
Blindly following the advice of my doctors, I allowed myself to be induced. In my naive state, I was so excited to be able to know the exact date my child would be born and loved that it wasn’t a guessing game. But once I actually started the process, I suddenly realized that it wasn’t going to be what I imagined, at all. My labor went downhill fast and suddenly I was allowing every intervention under the sun and of course, wound up with a c-section. After wards I was devastated. I didn’t have the moment right after birth where I could hold my child in my arms and let her first smells, and sound be me. Her first taste of food was formula, her first encounter with the big world was a big, bright, scary, surgical room and doctors.
Now I am in no way saying that if you have a c-section that its this big, bad, horrible thing. But for me, for my birth experience, it was not what I wanted. I left the birth of my daughter, feeling defeated, cheated, and thinking I was “broken”.
That is not how a mother should leave the birth of her first child. (or her 6th child for that matter)
After holding this feeling in my gut for a year, I decided to start looking up what happened to me, and researching for our next child; so that next time, I wouldn’t leave the birth of my child with those feelings. I wanted to leave the birth of my child with a feeling of accomplishment and knowing that no matter what happened, I had done what I was capable of, and that I had the chance to give my all. I talked to friends, my mother, and finally found a FB group called “Birth Without Fear”. (https://www.facebook.com/birthwithoutfear?ref=ts&fref=ts) Their whole goal was for mothers to be informed, and calm when they went into the delivery room. Whether it was induced, c-section, home birth, water birth, VBAC etc. they came out of it feeling accomplished.
I read story after story of women that went through their first child’s birth and ended up feeling like I did; I wasn’t alone, and how for the next birth they got what they desired and came out feeling whole again. I felt myself start to heal, and knew that next time, I was going to come out feeling complete and happy.
Showing Matthew what I wanted, he suddenly became very nervous. This is to be expected. The birth of Elenore was not just traumatic for me, but also for him. He watched helplessly as his wife went through something that he couldn’t save me from, or even help me through. I tried to explain to him that to get what I wanted 100% I was going to have to use a midwife, and do a water birth. The look on his face told me everything I needed to know: we were going to have to meet half way. I was OK with this, I just had to change my thought patterns. Instead of a home birth, it was going to have to be at the hospital, which meant that I needed to find a OB that would allow me to VBAC, and also find a Doula that would keep the doctors from doing things that I didn’t want while I was out of it. (epidurals, Episiotomys, etc.) That also meant that I needed to make sure my hospital had the option of water labor and/or birth. When I put all this in front of him, he suddenly was much calmer. I figure if it goes well this next time, that for our third child (God willing) he will be more susceptible to a home birth. I can only cross my fingers and hope. But if he never feels comfortable with it, I will just have to make due with what he is comfortable with.
Now coming back to the now. I was recently told that I was not allowed to feel the way I do about Elenore’s birth. That I knew what I was getting myself into and because of that, I didn’t have the right to be upset with the way E’s birth went. I want to make something clear; because I’m sure some mother out there needs to hear it, just because you knew what you were “getting yourself into” and allowed the doctors to do the all the things that happened, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be upset about how it all went down and want it to be different next time. You have every right to want to change the next one.
I am not saying that my doctors were these horrible people; on the contrary, I believe my doctors were amazing and that they did what they could do with what they knew. They induced me because they felt they should, they broke my water, because they thought they should, when I caught an infection because of the breaking of my water, they rushed me to surgery, like they should have with my infection. They did nothing wrong, they were just doing what doctors do.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t feel upset about it. I sure am. And no one has the right to tell you that you shouldn’t feel the way that you do. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.
Research for next time, know your facts, and get the birth that you want. And if it ends in a way you don’t want again, you at least know that this time, you did everything you could.
So this time: I’m not being induced, I’m not allowing my water to be broken, I will come into labor naturally, I will labor at my own speed, I will go without an epidural, when I’m pushing: they will not perform an Episiotomy on me, I will have Kangaroo care, the baby will be exclusively breastfed, and I will give birth vaginally.
I don’t think its a stretch. I know that I can do it this way; you just have to find a doctor or midwife that is willing to let you try.
So, in conclusion: I guess looking up the facts, were a good thing. Who knows how much longer I would be going through life feeling the way I do before someone had thought to ask me if I felt ok with what happened to me during Elenore’s birth? All I know is that, Thank God, I started looking when I did. Going through life feeling heart broken is not a good thing, at all.