A few days ago, and 2 weeks before it was scheduled, I wrote down my thoughts about my planned C-section. 2 hours after I finished it, I went into labor. That should teach me who’s really in control.
I’m all set. Next Friday at noon. I’m going “in” to have a large but benign (and I’m guessing quite cute) parasite removed. It’s just been growing continually for the last 9 months, and something has to be done about it.
I know that’s sounds flip, but I have to laugh about it. Or I’ll cry.
I’m outing myself here: I’m having a planned C-section. You can now throw your dashikis and lemongrass tea at the screen in disgust and protest.
Truly, I feel utterly sheepish about the whole endeavor. I’ve avoided telling people when they ask about the due date and even falsely make it sound as if “hey, it could happen anytime.”
Last time around we tried to have our baby as naturally as possible. We read all the books, watched that Ricky Lake movie and were swayed by the humanistic logic of it all: we have WAY too many C-sections in the US, mainly for the convenience of doctors and because of the escalation of non-essential interventions to help “move the baby along.” And mothers are denied that most core of feminine rites – birthing their child.
But we were balanced about the whole thing. We also knew how lucky we were to be in a part of the planet where, because of medical interventions, maternal and child death are really a thing of the past. Not so everywhere. Not so where we live now.
So, we used midwives that worked in a hospital, and ended up needing an emergency C-section anyway. I feel confident it was not done for anyone’s “convenience” and I shudder to think what could have happened were I living in a place without access to the needed surgical intervention.
But this time, I have done the unthinkable and actually opted for a C-section. It makes sense for me given my history, the uncertainty of being another country and what the doctor and others recommend, but I can’t help but feel I’ve sold myself out -- that I’m one of those women who are “too posh to push” too easily swayed by the mother-hating medical industrial complex.
The thing is, they do do V-BACs (Vaginal Birth After C-section) here. But instead of calling them an oddly hip sounding acronym (Please welcome to the stage MC V-BAC!), the procedure here is cringingly called “trial of the scar” which does little to put me at ease.
And I am surrounded by supportive non-ideological people who are certainly not judging me for my decision.
But, then why do I feel so self-conscious about it?
Because I know the judgment that goes around about nearly every child-birthing/rearing decision a person makes today. And I’ve been made to feel that a planned C-section is right up there with refusing to try to breast feed and leaving your child to forage for his own food.
And it’s funny to think that I won’t really have a “birth story” – one of those hallmarks of motherhood, like making an elaborate first year birthday cake from scratch, that women use to simultaneously bond with and one-up each other. I could write my “birth story” today: I went into the hospital at 8, got an epidural at 9 and heard my sweet baby’s first cries at 10. There is nothing gripping or heroic about it. Nothing worth repeating.
But soon enough it will be over. All things going well, I’ll have a healthy baby in my arms and it won’t matter at all how he got there.
Turns out I do have a birth story of sorts. That’ll be Part II. But more importantly mama and baby are healthy, thriving and one of is us quite adorable indeed. Emmet is pretty cute too.
|Emmet Daniel Christensen - hour 10 (or so)|