Wednesday, April 30, 2014

One Birth, Many Stories: Jeni's Beautiful C-Section Birth

One birth, many stories
By Jeni 

When I talk to people about the birth of my son, many hear the story and remark, “Wow, it’s almost like you had two birth experiences—one natural birth and one c-section birth!” I often make a joke about how others should be jealous of my two-for-one bargain birth. And indeed, it’s true: some days it feels like that, two totally different birth experiences. But as I’ve thought back on the birth over the past two years and tried and tried again to write Jack’s birth story, I realized that it is (of course) one birth—one event—but many, many ways of telling the story. And all of them are true.

The short version.

I went into labor almost two weeks early, and my back labor continued over the course of 26 hours. After pushing for over four hours at the birth center when the baby wouldn’t turn, the contractions slowed. We transferred to the hospital for medicine to speed up the contractions. This didn’t work, and we decided to have a c-section birth. Our son Jackson Gale was born, beautiful and healthy.

The middle of the night version.

Did I push hard enough? Maybe I didn’t push hard enough. Did I go on enough walks? Maybe I should have walked more. We didn’t have a doula. Should we have had a doula? An epidural? A birth tub at home?

The advice from a friend whose natural birth I envied and to whom I needed to confess my natural birth shame version.

I did what I needed to do for my baby. I am an amazing mom. I will get rid of that guilt right away: it isn’t serving me. I am an amazing mom!

The version after hearing from another friend who had a c-section and described the procedure as making her feel powerful, like Athena being ripped from Zeus’s head:

I am a birth warrior! I AM MYTH EMBODIED!

The “don’t tell the birth story to my friends who are pregnant, it will infect them with bad luck and Ina May says not to listen to bad birth stories so be quiet” version.

“Oh, it’s fine. It didn’t go as planned, but we were so grateful Jack is happy and healthy! How are you feeling?”

The probably true (right?) version.

We had our best shot possible at a natural birth, which is what we wanted: we prepared well, had no complications during pregnancy, and went into the experience without fear. And we were given great care; we felt that our needs were respected and we were never bullied or pressured into procedures we didn’t want. It’s just that this birth required different tools and didn’t end the way we had planned.

The version from the surgical notes obtained from the midwives (excerpted).

The baby’s position was occiput posterior. After external maternal expulsion efforts were unsuccessful, the patient consented to a caesarean section.

The long long long version, so I don’t forget.

Click here to read the full story of Jack's birth 

 Did you have your baby with the Peace Health midwives?
We would love to hear your story too!

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