Thursday, August 25, 2016

Removal Anniversary Day is Coming

My bebe will be two in a few weeks.

I'm rather in denial about it.

I have never been one to wish away the infancy of my kids, least of all with him. My last.

We've been working on teaching him how to make a two with his tiny little chubby fingers for a while now, and he's just about got it down.

Even if I'm not particularly ready for him to be another year older, he is.

We have this family tradition here where we make a video of the kids singing Happy Birthday to whoever we can't sing to in person. Many of our family members and close friends live far away, so there tend to be a lot of singing videos.

The baby has started to sort-of sing along with the older kids.

One time, totally jokingly, The Oldest mentioned that we shouldn't sing Happy Birthday to him. We should instead sing Happy Removal Day, since he was born via c-section.

I laughed because it was pretty hilarious at the time, and it's still pretty damn funny.

It's also the truth.

I've had nearly two years now to come to terms with the fact that my last child was born surgically.

Haven't done it.

Nope.

Still not past the anger portion of that grief process.

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oooooookay, ladies and gentlemen, this is the part where I make a few disclaimers.

1. I am talking about MY feelings, and they don't have anything to do with anyone else, so don't take my words and project them onto yourself or anyone else or make assumptions about my general feelings about c-sections.

2. I am a doula. I literally spend my life trying to help mothers have amazing birth experiences. I never got one myself. Even with five kids.

3. I will never have another baby, so this was my last personal birth experience and it was rather shitty. I'm not apologizing for being honest about it.

4. If you had a c-section and loved it, I'm happy for you. Truly.

5. C-sections are a vital piece of maternity care. I have a long background in maternal child health and know that they do indeed save lives. I also know that most of them are avoidable and unnecessary. I also am well-versed in the side effects in all manners of delivery. No need to lecture me.

6. I repeat, this is about me. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I'm entitled to my own feelings and emotions. If you don't like them, stop reading.
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Oh, the disclaimers. JFC the way the internet is anymore, even with all that nonsense, someone will still come along, absolutely guaranteed and insist that all that matters is the health of the baby and how dare I say anything negative about this procedure that saved ______________ life.

The health of the baby is not all that matters.

The health of the baby is not all that matters.

The health of the baby is not all that matters.

That's a lie you've been told, that people have been told for generations now, and guess what.....we seem to believe it.

Birth trauma is a real thing. It happens to women every single day in this country. Every single day.

I can virtually guarantee that if it hasn't happened to you out there reading this, you know and love someone who was emotionally scarred from her birth experience. Maybe she was even physically injured. It has happened to me twice and I am a birth professional. 

Does a healthy baby matter? Yes, absolutely.

Is it the only thing that matters? No.

Insisting that the health of the baby is the only thing that matters strips autonomy from every pregnant woman. It makes her, her physical being, her mental stability, her emotional healing, it makes everything about her secondary at best.

Without a healthy mother, a healthy baby won't stay healthy long.

If that statement makes you uncomfortable, we should have coffee sometime. For real.

The problem with my last, most terrible, birth experience is that I know that it was unnecessary. I know that. I knew it then.

The only reason I had a c-section was that the baby was breech.

He was not my biggest baby.
He was in the most favorable breech position for vaginal delivery.
I had already birthed FOUR other children with no delivery complications.
The longest I'd ever pushed with my prior children was five minutes.
I have, shall we say....a roomy pelvis.
I am basically the perfect candidate for vaginal delivery of a breech baby.

It wasn't even an option, and I was stuck with the physician group I was stuck with, in the hospital I was stuck with for insurance reasons.

My regular OBGYN, the one that I called in tears afterwards, the one that wasn't covered by my insurance at the time?

He'd have delivered, no questions asked. He hugged me while I cried. Told me that he wished things had been different.

The worst part?

I knew all that.

I'm not the typical obstetric patient. I know far more about the ins and outs of birth than most pregnant mothers ever will. I knew that the doctors weren't giving me an option that I should have had. I knew that I was a perfect candidate for a natural delivery. I knew.

And I was stuck.

Because they refused.

I sobbed uncontrollably for the week leading up to delivery, for months afterwards. The moment I expressed any degree of anger or frustration or sadness at the fact that I wasn't allowed to have this baby the way I should have been was immediately met with criticism, usually from women, usually from mothers.

And do you know what they said to me?

A healthy baby is all that matters.

No.
It.
Is.
Not.

Mothers matter too.

If all that mattered was the safety of my child, I wouldn't still be upset two years later.

Mothers matter.

I mattered.

Or at least I should have.

Removal Anniversary Day is coming.

Grrrr.

Don't worry, we'll sing Happy Birthday the correct way, and I'll keep fighting to make sure that the women who come after me have an opportunity to have the amazing birth experiences I was denied.

1 comment:

  1. I'm truly sorry you're still struggling and angry about your last birth experience. Although I didn't have nearly as bad of a trauma for my first birth, still I was scarred. I didn't even realize how much I needed to taka and share about it until we were pregnant with our second. And, quite frankly my first birth experience was good, it was the brief moment after delivery that scarred me. And now, I believe even more in women sharing and giving grace and compassion and even just an ear to other women and mothers! :)

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