Monday, September 26, 2005

You gave, they took

A very good friend of mine just gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl named Abbey Ryan. Congrats Wendy and John! The labor and delivery went wonderfully from what I hear. And it got me thinking. I'm sure some of you may get annoyed at this and others may want to give me a "swift kick in the ass" which is probably the best thing for me but I decided it's time to come clean. Not that this was really a secret I just haven't talked much about it.

My friend who just gave birth was absolutely miserable for the end of her pregnancy as most are. But out of all the pregnant people I've known, I think she was the most ready for it to be over. Her doctor feared her baby would be over 9 1/2 lbs by her due date so she was also getting anxious but her doctor refused to induce her much to her dismay. She was in tears she wanted to be induced so badly but her doctor kept holding it off (which surprised me since most doctors don't hesitate anymore these days especially when the baby is getting to be that big.) Finally she gave birth on the 5th day past her due date and was pleasantly surprised to hear her daughter was a nice, healthy 8 lbs 12 oz.

I'm giving you all this background because I asked her if she was glad she waited and she said yes. She said she actually thanked the doctor. This is very surprising since she wanted an induction more than anyone towards the end. And this is where my feelings come in...

2 1/2 months later, I still feel like I did not "give birth." I feel it was cut out of me. I still have no idea what the birthing process feels like but I know what being pregnant, laboring and everything after delivery is like but there feels like a big piece is still missing. Somedays it bothers me and somedays it doesn't. I know at that point I needed to have a c-section because of baby distress, possible infection for both of us and his positioning would prevent him to come out safely. So at that point I KNOW it was in our best interest for a c-section. My nurse even told me my doctor was one of the ones who try to avoid a c-section at all costs so if there were any other way, he'd do it. Guess there wasn't.

I think what bothers me is I can't help thinking that it's my fault. It's my fault because I was induced. I was induced because I got impatient. My sister gave birth to a 9 1/2 baby, I honestly feel my body could handle the same. I also can't help but wonder if the Pitocin was part of the reason for the baby distress, for his inability to get positioned well and inevitably the c-section. I constantly wonder if only I waited as nature intended if things would have been different. It's known that the chances of a c-section increase with inductions. Maybe all of that could have been avoided. I think I'll forever feel a little sad about it. Obviously the outcome is what counts and I couldn't be happier in that aspect. And there is no benefit to feeling guilty over this and thinking "what if.." but I do. And probably always will.

I think about my next baby and wonder if I'll be forced to have yet another c-section especially if he/she is just as big and there is a chance I can rupture my uterus. I always thought if it were possible I'd like to be induced early to reduce the chances. But now I don't think I would even if they said the baby was 12 lbs. So what if I wait it out and it isn't safe and I have to have a c-section? I think I'll be OK with it because I didn't go against what the powers above had in store for me. I won't go against nature and force something to happen when it shouldn't. The main reason why I went for it with J was because they were thinking he wouldn't be able to fit and if he got too big I would have to have a c-section. It ended up that way anyway. So I might as well of just waited and who knows what could have happened.

And then I wonder if I do get my VBAC next baby, will I feel even worse about J's birth? Will I cherish the new birth more? The thought of that really makes me sad and I hope I wouldn't feel that way.

So anyway there it is. Deep down I know it isn't my "fault" but I also know it isn't the way things should be. There was no health risk at the time of my induction. It was mainly driven by impatience and selfishness. Therefore next baby I will stick to my guns and not be induced if there is no health reason for it. Although, this is what I say now, who knows what I'll be saying when I'm 37 weeks.


Anonymous Carol said...

First, I just want to tell you that I think that for most of us our first birth is somewhat of a "trial" run. It's next to impossible to prepare for childbirth, regardless of how many books you read or classes you take. We learn from our experiences, as you have learned something from J's birth experience. Your next one will be better because you'll be more prepared. If you want a VBAC then prepare yourself accordingly. There is an organization out there called ICAN - International Cesearan Awareness Network. You might look into their resources. There's also some really great books out there about VBAC's.

And if it makes you feel any better -- each birth experience has its own intrinsic value. Just like you don't love one of your children more than another, you probably won't value one birth experience over the other. I had one birth with a failed epidural and a 3rd degree episitomy. Another birth with a kick-ass epidural and just a tiny tear (I pulled my own baby out! That rocked, lol). And then I had a completely natural birth that hurt like a mo-fo. OK, so I could probably have done without birth experience #1, lol but it did teach me something. And that in and of itself is valuable knowledge.


11:07 PM  
Blogger littlefeet said...

i have similar feelings...not the same, but

i wanted a midwife assisted waterbirth...and was completely prepared to do this...but my body had different did my baby...when my water broke and i had no contractions for 24 hours, i did not have a choice but to go into the hospital...when i did, they discovered that Pman was breech...i had a c-section...and he had a true knot in his cord...i trully believe that he knew it was unsafe for him to come out i know what pregnancy is like...but i dont know what labor or contractions or vaginal birth is like...and i may never get pregnant again...but i believe that for me and Pman, a c-section was the best thing that happened...

hugs to you...the "its my fault" feelings are horrible...i trully hope you find some peace in what you chose to do...


12:28 AM  
Blogger Kira said...

a little statistic i read when i was in college - in the 19th century, 1 in 27 women died in childbirth. I found that very sobering so I feel happy for modern technology.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I'm not gonna give you a swift kick in the ass... just a loving pat on the back. You know that I didn't carry Millie and Holden... so you obviously know that I didn't give birth to them, shit I didn't even get to hold them for 3 weeks after they were born. ( there were days we weren't even allowed to touch them) I really didn't have a hand in ANY of Millie and Holden's developments until they were 27 weeks gestationally.( & even then I had to have permission to make decisions) As a matter of fact, I lived in Gaithersburg while my children grew in my sister's uterus in Baltimore. :) Point is: J is healthy and happy ( and most handsome)Were you robbed of an experience? Sure, but don't beat yourself up too much, modern technology is on your side.( my sister just had a successful VBAC) Don't feel any less important to J because he was sectioned. I refuse to allow myself to feel any more like a mom to the baby I am carrying now, just because I can feel it's kicks and the heartburn.It's just different than the experience we had with Millie and Holden. ( plus~ it makes for a GREAT story). It's okay to feel sad. You learn from this stuff... it's what makes your story yours.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vote for the swift kick in the ass....maybe a few slaps...know wait you like that. :) It wasn't your choice to be induced it was doctors orders and not doctors orders cuz he had a tee time, it was because JuJu was at risk and you were measuring way to big for how many weeks you were and your pelvis size. Please also remember you starting going into labor on your own the night before, so the course was already in motion. Your feelings are valid and understandable, but please don't forget all of the detail that lead us to that decision. If we would have waited and heaven forbidded something went wrong for you or our JuJu the regret from going against doctors orders would be overwelming. I know it was a picture perfect "Friends" style birth story, but you are an AMAZING mother to our AMAZING baby, and that all that matters, right?


9:00 AM  
Blogger mamaloo said...

It is extrememly rare for a birth to happen just the way you've pictured it. Even though I was able to give birth naturally, a lot of things didn't go smoothly and I have regrets.

BUT, the thing is that after you've reviewed what happened and decided for yourself that you'd like things to maybe happen differently next time, if there is one, you have to move on and stop beating yourself up about it because there is just not one little thing you can do to change what has already happened.

You no longer have the option to wait and see so there is no point in going over and over the what ifs. They are only going to feed into their own negative energy. And, why the hell waste that energy when it's clear that J couldn't be more adorable and well?

And, for next time, even if the baby is a chunky little bugger, it's the head and shoulders that are important when thinking about c-section for size. J could've weighed 14 pounds and with a normal sized head and shoulders he would've slithered out fine. Or, he could've weighed 6 lbs and had a big old bucket head and gotten stuck trying to navigate the pubic bone.

Now, you've got better things to do than mope about what might have been. Don't you have a box set or something to watch while nursing? (I made my way through the first seasons of Law & Order SVU and CSI, the Beatles Anthology and a billion movies in the first few months of nursing!)

9:26 AM  
Blogger The Mom said...

I know what you mean. I didn't even get to go through the labor process, because with my first everything happened so fast and the dr decided then and there, at 32 weeks, Emily HAD to come out. I was being stitched up a 1/2 hour after he told me. With my 2nd I went for a c-section because although I wanted to try vaginal, I didn't feel the dangers of VBAC were worth it. If something goes wrong, it can go terribly wrong. I've come to terms with the fact that I'll never experience a vaginal birth. A little sad, yes. In the end though, I did what I had to do to have 2 beautiful, healthy girls, and to keep me around to be with them. I don't care how they got here as long as they're here!

10:21 AM  
Blogger Elaine said...

I have a wiggle baby in arms so I'll make this quick: go get a copy of "Birthing from Within" and work though the birth trauma stuff. I hope it'll help. Also, see if you can find a local chapter of ICAN (International C Awareness Network.) Lastly: everything you just wrote is normal and I've heard your words from other C moms. You're not alone in what you feel. Your feelings are not "wrong" they just are feelings and they should be addressed. Good for you for writing it all out! Aggg, baby is trying to fly! Must stop typing.

11:33 AM  
Blogger holli said...

Hmmm.. well, I was told because of complications that I was going to have to have a c-section, but I was still not to watch all those "labor and delivery" shows.. Which, of course, I did.

I was in the rare group that ended up NOT getting a c-section and flipped. Plus, I didn't get any pain killers or an epidural.

Sooo... I guess we're opposites here.. I begged for the c-section and got the opposite - I was told it wasn't up to me.

Either way - you still get the prize - huh?

1:45 PM  
Blogger buhtafly said...

You know I have been through the same thing- the disspointment of how a delivery should go, what I dreamed about. Both of my pregnancies ended too early, and right there, it was never what my ideal plan was. You probably know the rest of my stories, so I wont go into details. It takes time to deal with the events of how labor and delivery went. You might feel jealous, envious, bitter of other stories. Those are all ok feelings. I have been there as well. But you have to stop feeling like it was your fault. Hard I know. I did the same thing..but there was nothing I could of done differently..and nothing you could have done differently to change yours..J needed to come out, and with the way things went, you never know what could have happened if you had labored and had him vaginally, I am sure everything happened for a reason. You have a healthy beautiful baby boy, and you are safe as well. Those are the important things. Having a child shapes who you are, changes you as well, and his birth is just another way it has done that. Together its your story, and for your other children, however you may have them, will be their story as well..its a bond just the two of you share. So you wont feel differently, its an individual feeling for each..just like when you have another child, you wonder how you could ever love another baby the same, if you have enough love, and you indeed have plenty, and your heart opens up even bigger then you ever imagined. Its just the way it works. I will always wonder what it will be like to have a baby vaginally,(2 sections) and even if I would have tried a VBAC, my 2nd ended up being breech when we thought he was head down, and that would have caused all sorts of complications in its I was thankful I was having another section. I also wonder what it would be like to go full term. I may never know. Of course I will always wonder, but how they were born, and what we went through to bring them into this world, will always be a part of me. And for that, I wouldnt change it. Its only been 2.5 months, it will take time for you to get through this. In a sense, its like grieving what you had wanted. That takes time to get through. ((hugs))

9:58 PM  
Blogger sarahgrace said...

Okay, so I've been reading for a couple of weeks now, so I thought I should finally comment and introduce myself: Hello!

Yes, after reading all your responses, it looks like the grass truly is greener on the other side for everyone- but some encouragement here- I have a friend who has had two v-bacs, the second one, she was induced with and did just fine. They are becoming more and more common and safe these days, and I'm sure you are in good hands with a knowleagable Dr.
I vote for waiting it out if you can next time, however, I must say that I went 2 weeks overdue with my second and had to be induced, but it was a really quick labor because my body was pretty much ready, I just needed a little jumpstart I guess.

Good for you for letting it all out, tho- that will help you deal with it the best.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Flinger said...

Hon, I have this same post, almost exactly from about two months after my girl was born. I do not have an answer since I am in the exact same spot as you. I still wonder, to this day, about that and I can never ever take back my induction that went arry and resulted in the C-Sect. I guess eventually I just had to let it go, but while it's not an emotional thought now, I do still think it.

Obviously there are many who share and understand. Thank you for posting this.

11:37 PM  
Blogger kel said...

I have similiar feelings after having to have all csections, mine were all emergency but I still feel to blame had I done this or this different. I dont even know what a contraction feels like. But like you said end result is what counts.

4:29 AM  
Blogger Little Miss said...

I have heard the same thing from many mothers who had c-sections. You will come to a point where you will be able grieve and move past this.

I was not able to breastfeed my son, despite my every effort. I breastfed the child before him and the one after him...yet for some reason, things didn't work well the second time around. He was my only baby that was constantly running fevers, fighting ear infections, RSV, and now he has some developmental delays similar to autism. He was also the only pregnancy that I took antidepressants. I.FEEL.GUILTY.

I've come to the point where I just have to let it go. I've had my time to grieve, and now I have moved past this. You will too.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Little Miss said...

YES!!! I just read Ginger's comment. "Birthing From Within" is an excellent book, and I highly recommend it! If not now, read it with your next pregnancy.

I love, LOVE that book!

Birthing From Within:
An Exta-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation

Pamela England and Rob Horowitz

Chapter 25 "how to give birth if you need a cesarean"

(hope you have a chance to read it)

11:40 AM  
Blogger karrie said...

Hi there,

Here from BloggingBaby.

First, positioning and a whole host of other factors beyond size of the babe come into play.

I had a c-section after more than 30 hours of labor and 6 hours of pushing. While I had a difficut recovery (severe anemia due to hemhorrage) and some postpartum ocd/stress), I do not have the same feelings that I missed out on the birthing process. This could be due to the long pushing stage, which gave me some idea of what vaginal birth is like. Or just immense relief that my pregnancy and labor were finally over.

Hope that you are able to have the birth you want with any possible future children. You're far from alone with your feelings.

12:20 PM  

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