After C was born, it didn’t cross my mind right away that I had experienced a traumatic delivery. I think I was in shock from it all, and just relieved that it was over. While I generally don’t think about his birth and the events that led to my emergency cesarean, there are certain triggers that bring it up for me.
Whenever someone I know has a baby, particularly via vaginal delivery, I’m hit with feelings of envy and jealousy. This is not to say that I am not happy for them. I would never wish my experience on anyone; I simply would have liked to experience a healthy vaginal delivery myself. Or even have the option of a future VBAC.
I still have feelings of inadequacy over my emergency cesarean.
After experiencing labor for three days, I was finally admitted to the hospital and given pitocin. I slowly progressed over 13 hours and then pushed for 2.5 hours. The on-call OBGYN came in to evaluate and said that I was at about 9.5cm and not completely dilated. He considered it a failure to progress. C was stuck. He ordered an emergency cesarean.
Then they capped off my epidural to prepare to move me to the operating room.
The epidural wore off well before I was moved to the OR. I was literally blinded by the pain. Nurses came and went, someone poked me with a needle, someone shaved whatever I hadn’t had the ability to see at 40+ weeks pregnant, consent forms were shoved at me and somehow, between the screams and inability to see, I signed them. I yelled out in pain, over and over again. Nurses reassured me that we were moving to the OR. Hang in there. Don’t push. Ok, maybe you can push if you need to. You’re okay. More screaming. So much pain. Do I push or not? They brought Hubster two shirt scrubs, no pants. He asked for pants.
Finally, I was wheeled to the OR. They hooked me up to another epidural. Only one side of my body went numb. Oh my dear Lord, I’m going to feel everything on the other side. They strapped me down. They tipped me on the table to help get the medicine to the other side. I thought I was going to fall off the table. They put the curtain up.
Finally, I was numb.
So cold, shivering. Shaking. Could barely keep my eyes open or focus on anything anymore, my vision blurred from exhaustion and pain. Hubster appeared next to me. I could not stop shaking.
Beeping monitors, machines, voices of busy nurses and doctors. So many nurses and doctors. I was completely exposed on the table, having my insides cut open. You’re going to feel some pressure. They pulled and prodded at my insides to get C out.
Ouch, so much pressure. The vaginal canal is definitely one place that the epidural did not reach.
C cried. Congratulations! You have a baby boy!
He aspirated meconium in the womb. A flurry of activity. They show him to me briefly, but I can’t focus my eyes on him. All that, and all I could make out with my blurry vision was the outline of my child. I noticed his cone-shaped head from being stuck in the birth canal.
They whisked him off to the NICU. Hubster went with him.
It’s so cold. I feel pressure. They’re cleaning out my womb. Stitching up my broken body. I’m being wheeled to recovery.
My medicine is wearing off again.
I need pain medication. Where is some pain medication? I feel everything. It’s okay, we’re ordering some morphine for you. The nurse is on the phone trying to get me morphine. They’re not bringing it. I feel everything. How is it so difficult to get morphine in a hospital next to the L&D OR?!
It hurts. Oh God, it hurts.
An excruciating hour later, I get my morphine. Hubster wheels C into the room and they place him on my chest. I finally get to see my boy. I wish I could hold him. I’m so sad that I can’t hold my child, but I have to lie there.
The rest of our hospital stay is kind of a blur. It was less eventful, less traumatic. Looking back on my experience, I don’t have complaints about the care I received. The nurses were fantastic; the doctor was an excellent surgeon. Despite the trauma, postpartum depression and anxiety, my body healed well.
They should have handled my medication better.
After my surgery, the doctor that performed the cesarean told me that it was absolutely necessary. He discovered that my pelvis was too small for my child to fit through. Even if I had dilated that last half centimeter. Even if I had pushed for another hour. It never would have happened.
I will never be able to birth a child without medical intervention. The feelings of inadequacy nag me. I think that is where the jealousy and envy stems from whenever a friend or family member births a child. I think there is this deep-rooted culture that being able to have a vaginal birth, particularly without drugs, makes you some kind of super mother, able to perform the task that your body was designed to do.
I don’t know why that culture has influenced me to make me feel inadequate. It’s a constant struggle to believe what I know to be true. That is, if it weren’t for modern medicine, my son and I would not be here. That’s a powerful thought. My physical scar is a battle scar, but it is also a testament to the love I have for my child. I do not love him any less, nor am I any less of a mother, because he entered this world via cesarean. I am a mother. I love my child. I would do anything for him, and did. I, too, am a warrior mom.