Six years ago with my doctor said that I needed a c-section, I remember crying. Paul was worried that I felt like a failure or something, but I simply didn't want to be limited in the number of children we had. But I accepted my fate, had a decent experience in the OR and with recovery, and was ready to try a VBAC next time around.
Remember how my water broke 7 weeks early with Anna? Well after sitting around the hospital on bed rest for a week and not going into labor, I pretty much expected that a VBAC wouldn't happen. I think I was pretty okay with it. Honestly, my body ached from being on bed rest and I just wanted to have a baby and be done with the hospital. Again, good experience with a great recovery.
With Niels, I searched and searched for a doctor in Texas who would be willing to at least let me try a VBAC, since most docs won't after two. But I also wanted an excellent surgeon, since again, I knew my chances were pretty high that I wouldn't be able to do it. My doctor was willing, but would only let me go to 39 weeks before scheduling something. Honestly, vaginal birth still terrified me, and when 39 weeks came, I was ready to schedule everything. During that third surgery, my doctor discovered that I physiologically would never be able to birth a baby naturally. He also said that I healed well enough to try for a 4th baby.
So now that my fate is sealed and all my babies will require surgery, I've done some thinking and had some experiences. Whenever I tell people I have to have c-sections, I get a variety of responses. Pity is most common. While I know that being cut open repeatedly is not ideal, I really don't deserve any pity. I am able to carry children, where many woman can't. I have had healthy children so far, where many babies are sick or even die at birth. Maybe I need to be more humble, but I don't like being pitied for something that really doesn't matter.
Another response is skepticism, in the sense that I perhaps didn't really need to have c-sections at all...that if my doctor had just let me try a little longer, if I had mentally/physically prepped myself more, and if my doctor hadn't been so anxious to end his shift and go home, then I could have done it vaginally. In essence, they think I failed. This is certainly the most irritating response. Although I know there are many doctors out there who do perhaps jump to surgery too quickly, I for one would be dead if I didn't live in a time when c-sections were possible. When people portray that vaginal birth is the superior way to deliver in all cases, I get extremely irritated. Again, I probably need to be more humble and lighten up. But I have spoken to quite a few women who send this vibe to me when we exchange stories.
And that brings me to the last response I get - indifference. This is the response that I aim to portray whenever women gather together and share birth stories (which we seem to do a lot as women). I don't mean indifference to the story being shared, but to the method of birth. If you want a home birth, go for it! If you want a midwife, great! If you don't want an epidural, more power to you! If you want an epidural, enjoy it! If you need a c-section, so be it. It really doesn't matter the way you choose to or have to have your baby. Just the fact that you are able to create and carry a baby inside you is amazing. And having a healthy baby is such a blessing. I wish people wouldn't put so much stock in how the baby actually comes out of you and just enjoy the new life that has been created.
Maybe I am a little oversensitive about this issue. Maybe people aren't passing judgment that I was a failure or that I had a knife-happy doctor. But having spoken to other "c-section only" mothers, I am not the only one who has had these reactions from others.
I know that many people out there don't care how the baby comes out. But hopefully next time you hear a birth story you will be careful that you are aware of how your reaction to your story comes across to the new mother you are speaking too.
Soap box over. More pictures of Anders to come :)
P.S. One nurse once said, regarding c-sections, particularly VBACs, "Why would you ever want a VBAC? Once you have messed up one part of your body (from birth), why would you want to mess up another part? Just keep them coming out the same way!"