For those of you late to the party, allow me to begin this post with a bit of a recap. Mia was born two and a half years ago via scheduled c-section due to being breech. This time around, I elected to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), went into labor the day before my scheduled last-resort c-section, and ten hours later delivered Owen via... well... I certainly wouldn't call it an "emergency" c-section, but it was a "pretty darned speedy" c-section.
Here's how I feel about that:
I could not have asked for anything better. I got absolutely everything I wanted out of Owen's birth.
First and foremost, I got Owen. Healthy, happy, and huge. His safety and well-being were the only things that really mattered to me, the rest of it was just static. Ok, my safety and well-being were rather important to me too, and while I did have some dicey moments the day after surgery, I'm in one piece, only moderately sore, and able to care for my children.
I wanted Owen to choose his birthday, which he did. He even defied conventional wisdom by arriving smack dab on his due date. I wanted to go into labor on my own. Having missed that with my first pregnancy and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was my last pregnancy, I wanted to experience labor. Guess what? It hurts. I wanted that "honey, it's time" moment. And while I was not opposed to a second c-section, if it happened I wanted it to be for medical reasons, not because it was the most convenient time for the hospital or my OB.
I have no doubt that this c-section was necessary and appropriate. As Brad put it, my cervix must be good at music or art or something, because it's sure not into physical activity. For whatever reason, labor just wasn't working for me. And considering that I was carrying a 9 pound baby and am a smallish person, even if my cervix had dilated like a champ, the chances are good that a c-section would still have been the best way to go. And to be perfectly honest, I was not at all happy about the prospect of squeezing a baby of any size out of myself the old-fashioned way.
Did I miss something by never having a vaginal delivery? Possibly, I suppose, although I will really never know. Lots of women have told me that they found their vaginal deliveries to be empowering, and I can totally see that. But personally, I feel strong and empowered and amazing because of my ability to carry my two children, to nourish them with my body both before and after birth, to raise and support and love them and teach them to love. I am not likely to be convinced that my experience is missing any fundamental element merely because my children entered the world with the aid of a scalpel. I am too busy being grateful that I live in a time and place where I was able to insure the safe delivery of these children.
I do have regrets. Or really, one regret. Due to the surgery, I have had to ask Mia to continue to be patient with the things that I am not able to do. I have had to ask her to wait for Mommy to pick her up, wait for Mommy to be able to roll around on the floor and run through the halls with her, wait for Mommy to heal and get back to doing so many of the things she wants Mommy to do. And she has been so patient, so kind and concerned, but I had already asked her patience and understanding in the last weeks of my pregnancy, and I had hoped to come home from the hospital ready, or much closer to ready, to do whatever she asked of me. And I'm not, and that bothers me. And I admit to sparing a fond remembrance for my tiny, three-inch, nearly invisible scar from Mia, which has given way to a ragged, red and swollen scab that seems to reach from hip to hip. I don't care about the scar, not really, although in that secret shameful corner of my brain where I store my vanity, I do. Just a bit.
But in the end, please spare me no sympathy. I harbor none for myself.