Thursday, April 23, 2009

The TMI post. So, stop reading now if you aren't feeling compassionate.

So, I think most of my friends now know that I am going to have another baby in October. That's right. I have a 9-month-old. They will be 15 months apart. I don't think I've blogged directly about this subject, frankly, because I don't blog about painful subjects too often. Moderately painful? Yes, but seriously painful? Not too much. I had a vision of some beautiful eloquent blog about my birth experience. It ain't going to happen, though. So, sorry. Here's what I've got:

When I was pregnant with C., I had a problem with P.I.H. that resulted in an induction at 38 weeks. Medically, it was a sound decision for my doctor to make. I wasn't pressured or pushed or compelled to go into labor so my doctor could go on vacation. I had a pretty good experience. Spent the night in the hospital and by three the next afternoon, I was minutes away from delivering. But, a totally unpredictable complication arose and I wound up having a very emergent c-section. The time from "decision to incision" was less than three minutes. Carrie was born in less than 7 minutes. My OB saved my baby's life. When she had finished repairing my incision, she came over and gave me a kiss on the head. We've kind of had a weird bond ever since.

But, what I remember about my birth experience is having a nurse jump on the bed with me and running down the hallway to the O.R. I remember the frantic instructions being literally shouted back and forth between the medical staff. I remember feeling the tug of the incision before I was all the way on the table. I remember the bright lights and the way I spread my arms out so the anesthesiologists could get the lines they needed. I asked the doctors if I was going to die. But, all that was really ok. I didn't mind not having a "normal" birth experience too much. I was grateful to have received the care I needed.

The hard part came after everything was over. I didn't get to see my baby because I was upstairs with a morphine drip and she was downstairs in the NICU. As I write this, I realize I'm not ready to write about the details yet. Suffice it to say, it was hard.

I was shocked at how many people have some pretty mean things to say about C/S in the U.S. Doctors are blamed (a lot) for doing unnecessary surgeries and inductions. It seems that all of a sudden, some people don't even believe in the possibility of a needed intervention. And people come out of the woodwork to criticize your decision (except for that I didn't really have a decision) or to let you know that if you had chosen a different kind of health-provider you wouldn't have had the experience you did. So, it becomes your fault that you had an emergency c/s and a baby in the NICU. And it sucks. (And this is not to say that whatever you did or whatever you choose is awful. You have freedom, too. It's just to say that I wouldn't have a baby if I had made another choice. And that is black and white.)

What has also been hard, though, is that I am now faced with the prospect of going through the whole process again. But this time, I have the choice whether or not to have a C/S again. And it's a choice I've made. And I'm feeling okay about it. But it's pretty soon to be making that choice again. And I'm not going to lie and say that this is going to be easy, or that I'm not nervous.

And that is all. Except for this: I don't have a scar. Not even a little tiny scar. I mean I have NOTHING to show for all of this trauma. Who comes away with a 7-inch incision (emergency c/s incisions are large and uneven) with NO SCAR? I do. Thanks, wonderful OB fairy.


Charlotte said...

My hope is that you are wrong. :) But you probably aren't. Women can be cruel when they are "standing up for what they believe in." I could write a lot more about women who do that, but I might be unkind in the process.

Thanks for sharing some of your story. I look forward to hearing more of it...

I still want to hang out with you in real life. Let's fb to figure out a day/time next week. I might even bring you a little gift for your house-selling endeavors.

susan said...

The really funny thing about this (that I just realized) is that when I was writing this, I was thinking about Ricki Lake and how completely biased her documentary was. I'm really angry with Ricki Lake.

And honestly, I think I gave myself some crap for having a c-section, too. We need to tell our friends who are pregnant that sometimes, you don't get the dream birth scenario and when your reality doesn't match up with your expectations, it sucks. A lot.

I think that's the issue. And honestly, I think I've come to the place where the only thing I really think is WRONG are those unassisted home births. You like go into your bathroom all by yourself and have your baby without a midwife or ANYONE. That's dumb. And it's dumb for a midwife to only takes fetal heart tones every 30 minutes. And I don't think midwives are evil. AT ALL.

The rest I can understand. But, I haven't always been so understanding. And I think that's just because I wanted my experience to serve as evidence that we have made some strides in fetal-maternal medicine in the past 100 years.

I got my baby vaccinated, too. So there. :-)

Lisa said...

Take heart, Susan. My 2nd & 3rd children (boys) were 15 mos. apart, and that has been a good thing. (We decided to receive children as God would give them, trusting in Him to provide. It has worked out fine.) I have some wonderful pix and memories of the two of them rolling around the house in a Little Tikes car having a grand ol' time! Sam, the elder, turned 20 in February; Ben turns 19this week, and they're both taller than me!
Enjoy your children, and take no heed of others' negative opinions!

susan said...

Lisa, thank you so much for taking the time to write those encouraging words. As time grows shorter, I'm getting a little more nervous!