Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Today...I Celebrate {Birth Story}

Odd to be finally sitting and writing this post at a time (11 pm PST on Nov. 6th-Election Day) when so many are either extremely happy and ready to celebrate/party or are completely disgruntled, angry and/or disappointed. 

Odd (and interesting) because on a personal level, in reference to something very different, I feel the exact same way as all of them (both sides). I am extremely happy -- and full of joy and anticipation for the partying and celebration the 7th will bring, and struggling with feelings of disappointment, anger and resentment as well.

None of my feelings are related to the Presidential Election (not that it was not important and significant to me and that I did not vote and did not have a clear preference), it is just that I am not into focusing on politics here -- this blog, focused on parenting and all of the fun, growth and learning that takes place with my boys, is not a place to discuss the election.

No, November 7th is significant to me for a very different reason. It is the day my first son was born -- 3 years ago. So, I am absolutely full of joy for this important date and know we will have a day full of celebration. His birth truly is worthy of a great celebration for all of the wonder, joy, and love he has brought into my life. It is also a day that brings with it other feelings -- and is a day that I have decided, this year, will include some healing. For it is a day that commemorates not only his birth, but my birthing experience, which was a far cry from what I had hoped, expected and wanted. 

My mother (left, with Wild Thing on Nov. 7, 2009) had (relatively) easy births with no epidural and no complications or problems, despite all of her children being born prematurely. It never occurred to me that mine would be any different. In fact, with birthing books/classes, etc., I did not even read/listen to any of the information on what happened during a Cesarean birth. Why would I? It would never happen to me. I was prepared to have a natural child birth. I saw C-Sections as procedures pushed by doctors that were most often not actually necessary. My birth would be perfect - no medication, no problems.

Can you tell where this is going? It was anything but -- there were IVs, oxygen, problems with the baby's heart rate. I was taking too long to dilate and the baby was in too much distress. After 9 hours of labor, it seemed that his heart stopped beating (or they could not find a trace of it), I needed oxygen and was terrified and was only 4 cm dilated. The room was full of fear for me. The medical staff all of the sudden became very quiet and focused (which is always a bad sign). In a whirl, I signed some papers authorizing the surgery and was whisked away. My husband had to wait in the hall for the beginning of the prep. I am sure he was only there for a few minutes, but for both of us it felt like an eternity. 

I kept thinking - What if the baby does not make it? Then - What if the baby makes it, but I do not?

Minutes later, I heard him crying - how beautiful that sound was. Of course, I was crying too!



Soon after, I would be nursing him and cuddling with him and no longer on the operating table. I had worried that something else would go wrong, but everything was fine. He nursed for 14 months and then easily (and naturally) weaned himself. He slept through the night at 5 weeks (do not hate me for it, Caterpillar has more than made up for that stroke of luck). He takes naps (mostly) with no fuss. He is a beautiful, wonderful, happy and joyous little boy who has brought so much to my life. I will gladly celebrate him.

Smiling with Daddy on Day 1!
I will also, though, be setting aside time for myself to honor the birthing process and to finally let go. Three years later and I still feel a lot of resentment about not having the birthing experience that I wanted -- resentment toward insurance companies, resentment toward medical practitioners that, perhaps, pushed me toward decisions that might have led to the distress (who knows?), mostly resentment toward myself. I should have been stronger. I should have been more emphatic about the birthing process. I should have hired a doula. The list goes on and on. 

On November 7th this year my goal is to let go of that anger, that resentment and all of the disappointment that comes with not having the experience that I had wanted, particularly with such a significant life event. I must let go because the blame and resentment do nothing for me. They will not change anything, and all of those thoughts and possibilities and questions about what I could have done differently to change the outcome, do NOT change the outcome. I could have done EVERYTHING that I think back and wish I had done and STILL ended up having a C-Section. Or not. The point is, there is no way to know, so there is no reason to keep holding on to those dark feelings. They will not make anything better. 

So, this year I am letting go -- I will free myself of those feelings - because I am a mother. I am his mother - and a birthing experience does not a mother make. Many of the mothers I admire the most adopted their children -- great mothers whose love and commitment to their kids floors me on an almost daily basis. Allowing the negativity of my birthing experience make me feel, in some small way, that I failed as a mother, is pure nonsense. I know this intellectually, but have struggled to know it emotionally. I can mourn (and have) that various realities and circumstances have kept me from having that experience with either of my sons, but I have decided that on November 7th I will engage in small acts that will help me let go of that negativity and forgive myself, so that I can move forward on this day with only joy. 

I deserve that, just like Wild Thing deserves the best 3rd birthday ever. (The Thomas the Train birthday banner is already up.) So, today (for it is now the 7th), I celebrate. How can I not?



Day 7 of #21DaysofGratitude #22ThankfulDays: I bet you can guess...Of course, full of gratitude for this beautiful not so baby anymore boy. :)

21 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday to your beautiful boy! I loved this post. So much of it reflects my own experience with my first and I have also had a hard time letting go of the anger. For me not only at not having the birth experience I was hoping for but also the fact that I was so heavily drugged during and after the surgery that I couldn't stay awake to meet and greet my baby. She, against my wishes, was given a bottle and I was never able to get her to latch. My midwife told me she is the only baby that she ever gave up on in regards to breast feeding. When I was pregnant with my second I wrote a letter to the birthing center expressing my disappointment with the care and support I received and that act of writing it down and sending it out helped me to let go of some of the anger. That and looking at my second born who was conceived when my first was only five months - she might not have been if my first had breast fed. Thank you for sharing your story and I hope you are successful in letting that anger and pain go.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a beautiful boy! Happy Birthday and thanks for sharing your story. Too often we think if the baby is healthy the mother's experience doesn't matter. By sharing our stories we tell the world birth experiences matter for the baby and especially the mother and hopefully we can convince more women to trust their instincts and body more than the medical "experts".

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fantastic post and tribute to Wild Thing and your motherhood. What a fantastic thing to do for yourself on such a special day!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am sharing this with 2 friends who had to have a c-section. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful miracle. He is an adorable little man!
    ~mari

    ReplyDelete
  5. That is beautiful. I had the opposite experience from you. My doctor prepared me early on that I probably would have a c-section because of my twins and how they were placed in the womb, but I ran into all sorts of "experts" who told me I was being selfish for getting one. Meanwhile I was sitting there emotional from pregnancy and just knowing that I trusted my doctor and her opinion.
    I just wanted to scream at these well-meaning people.
    Thank you for sharing this because it helps to give people a voice.
    Happy Birthday to an adorable little guy.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I too wish I could have a do over. I ended up being knocked out and having a c-section. My husband couldn't be in the room and I was asleep.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Beautiful story Jenni, This process you are going through can transfer to other situations,,, in letting go
    Brilliant

    ReplyDelete
  8. so beautiful! i too had an unplanned c-section and then 2 more. all my friends sees to have amazing home births. in the very beginning, i was sad but worked through it when i realized that the birth is one day of a long relationship and that really the biggest impact of their lives is not how they are born - but how they are raised. i did feel like i had a lot of say and was not pushed into the c-section (it was 27 hours of labor and her big head was stuck - she was over 10# and 25 inches) so maybe that made it easier to let go. thank you so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Beautiful post. I'm so glad you are able to celebrate today!

    There's a post on this general topic sitting in my head, waiting to come out, someday. I even have a photo for it :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. What an amazingly beautiful little guy! Many congratulations, Mama. You did well.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I follow you on pinterest and came across your post. Your story, and thoughts, are very similar to mine. After 24 hrs of labor i made it to 9cm without meds and had to have an emergency csection because Baby Lady was under stress. I was angry for a long time...lots of post partum issues because of it, considering a bunch of what ifs. Im now 37wks with my second girl, hoping at the beginning that this was my do over...i'd get breast feeding down and have a vbac...but! I've let that all go now. Whatever happens will and i have no control of it. Your post allows me to heal even more knowing i'm not alone ;) thank you... I hope you heal as well. BTW i had a doula ... It didnt help ;)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love your raw honesty. I think a lot of moms can relate. Congratulations and happy birthday to Wild Thing. I pray you are able to let go and feel peace. I'm so happy for you that nursing wasn't an issue after a c-section. Hugs mama.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for this post. I also planned a low intervention birth for J but ended up with HELLP syndrome and had to be induced, heavily monitored, and felt very tied down during delivery. I was lucky that I didn't have a C-section, but my delivery was certainly not low intervention like I had hoped. I was not able to nurse or hold my son for several hours after I had him. I was more thankful that things turned out ok, than angry. But I do have lots of emotions when I think about that day, worry, fear, disappointment, and some emotion that I can't seem to put words to.

    Now that I'm pregnant again, I've been thinking about the delivery of this one. I am again planning for a low intervention birth, but I'm trying to be prepared for whatever comes. I'm trying to let go of some of the fear that I still have from my previous delivery and have positive thoughts that this one will be much better.

    Thank you so much for your post...it was very timely for me. Happy Birthday to your little boy.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Happy Birthday to your boy! I also had a less than perfect delivery for my first son, which was hard to let go of. But it the end, it is wonderful to be able to celebrate the everyday joy they bring.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Happy Belated birthday to your sweet boy. what a lovely post. I beat myself up over my daughter's (she's my first) birth as well. I'm so sorry it didn't go the way you want it to, but I am so glad that you and Wild Thing are healthy. And like you, Sweet P slept through the night early on and Sprout has MORE than made up for it. :) We joke that we didn't know sleep deprivation until that little bug came along. Thank you for sharing your story and what a great thing to do this day in addition to his birthday. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Happy birthday to your sweet boy...he is beautiful.

    I'm not sure I quite understand the post. I guess I never got myself psyched up about having a child in any particular way...as long as it was a safe delivery, that was the most important thing to me. So I'm not sure I can relate to this particular disappointment. If anything, I would be thankful that the medical team had the knowledge and good judgment to do what they thought best for you and your baby.

    Parenthood isn't about us or how it meets our expectations. It's ultimately about caring for the precious blessings that God has entrusted us with. I'm glad for you and your family that you are able to find healing and overcome your disappointment.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you for the post. I think so few people understand what it is to go through a birth that's not how you imagined it to be. Yes, the important thing is you both made it safely through, but for the mother, especially with all the emotions you are going through at that time anyway, it is so hard. I ended up having severe preeclampsia with my first (I am currently pregnant with my second and waiting to see what happens). I went in to be induced and the bloodwork showed that my liver was being affected, so the baby had to come out ASAP. You read books and go to birthing classes and they all talk about a birthing plan and what labor is like, etc. So little is said about c-sections and how you feel like your body betrayed you and why couldn't it work right and be like all the millions of other women out there who gave birth just fine, etc. I was lucky enough to find some support groups online so I worked through my issues. This pregnancy I'm pretty matter of fact with and have already planned on having a C-section and know there's a distinct possibility I won't even make it to the planned date, will end up on bed rest again, etc. I figure, on the bright side, I never had tearing or stitches in a very sensitive place, I generally don't have the problem of wetting my pants every time I sneeze, I never had to experience padcicles or sitz baths. And it's a lot easier to explain to my daughter that the doctors will be cutting the baby out of mommy instead of how the baby will come out of the little hole in my body. lol.

    And to the person who blamed not being able to latch on the people at the hospital bottle feeding the baby, there is no proof that bottle feeding prevents or confuses a baby. I was on a Magnesium drip because of the preeclampsia which made me extremely drowsy - so much so that I was not allowed to be alone in the room with my daughter. If my husband or mom were not there, the baby was in the nursery. I breast-fed and they also bottle-fed her. We continued to do both throughout the first year. I never had a problem. Would you rather they let your child starve? You could always have pumped and bottle-fed if you wanted an alternative.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I feel the same way. I had resentment for the first few years after my c-section. I was pregnant with twins and Baby B was breech. After many prayers and worry, I knew my baby B had moved with all the movement I felt. Only to find that after having my water break and getting to 10cm in under an hour, feeling every second of those labour pains that it was baby A that had turned to be breech as well the previous week. They didn’t think that they babies would come as fast as they did so they did not worry too much or bother to give me an ultra sound until I told them that I was going to start pushing. After having the C-section and having a reaction to some of the meds so I had to be drugged up as well. My doctor was supposed to leave on his holidays that day and only stayed to deliver my babies. Consequently he forgot to leave a prescription for Demerol for me. I came out of the antihistamine induces coma/daze (whatever you want to call it) to feeling the full pain of being cut open. IT took them hours to get a hold of the on call OB and get a prescription for the Demerol. Meanwhile being verbally abused by my nurse who told me I had low pain tolerance and should just suck it up. Looking back 6 years later I have come to peace with it. Yes the nurse I had (she wall filling in while my regular nurse had her dinner break) was unfeeling, unkind and totally out of line but she obviously was an unhappy person and I can’t change that. I do know that that experience made me a stronger person and a better person too. I also know that if my baby B would have turned and I would have given birth naturally that I would have most likely died or if they caught it in time would have had to have several blood transfusions. When I had my daughter who was just older than my twins was born I had a very quick labour -15min of going from 2cm -10cm and her being born in that 15 min. Consequently my blood pressure sky rocketed and I started to hemorrhage at the same time. I know those two don’t logically go together but that is how they happened. I know it is only through prayer and the grace of God that as they were hanging the bag of blood ready to hook me up, that the bleeding finally started to abate and my blood pressure started to drop. I know that because of the speed of the birth that the same thing would have happened with my Twinners. I would have bled more (which you do when you have twins) and who knows if they would have caught it or my blood pressure raising up if I hadn’t already been hooked up to a machine. I hated having my c-section for quite a long time but coming to the understanding of why it happened and that it turned out to be a blessing instead has helped me leave my anger behind and feel gratitude instead. I have been able to raise my children and be with them every day of their lives and that to me far outweighs the horror of the c-section experience I had. I hope you can find peace as well as you leave your anger behind.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I had a very similar experiance to you only after I woke up from my emergency surgery my full term child was gone. I never once care how they got her out of me how what my experiance was all I wanted was for her to be here in my arms. It's been 6 years and they still have no reason for her death other then they could get her out fast enough. She took one breath cried once and was gone. I felt like I was thrown off a moving roller coaster and somehow life kept going around me and I had to get back on. Your right to let it go, because let me tell you there is a living child who you were blessed with that if he had been taken that day you wouldn't have cared one way or the other what your birth experiance was. Be thankful that you aren't going to a cemetary to visit your child like I do mine. So sorry about your experiance.

    ReplyDelete
  20. My birth experience was exactly like your's, except I was working on dialating for 3 days, my water hadn't broken, and still hadn't gotten past 4cm. My midwife was at the hospital with me and said, "I have a very low C-section rate, you know that, but YOU need it. This is an emergency." It has been a year and a half and I still think to myself, "If I had only studied hypnobirthing like I wanted" or "Why didn't I tell them to just move the fetus since it was all back labor?" Yes, I think of myself as a cow and why couldn't they just stick a hand in there and flip the fetus or something. I'm mourning something I didn't have in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh, thank you so much for linking up your story to my linky. I identify so much with your story. I still haven't written my daughter's story, I have been meaning to for years (three years this Saturday!), but just keep finding reasons not to. I'm not angry... just disappointed that things didn't go the way that I had imagined. I ended up with a c-section too, and a healthy baby, thank goodness. I am going to start writing my story right now, and hopefully have it done in time for her birthday - a gift to my daughter and to myself.

    ReplyDelete