My thought was to keep this to myself and not to share, but the Lord has done so much in my heart over this last week that I can't NOT share. I totally give Him the credit for moving in such a mighty way in my heart-It's been through prayer, research, & friends that I now feel like we're coming out of this cloud of confusion.
The last 6 months have been a very long, very emotionally exhausting and lonely journey to find a "different" way to birth my baby. Even before we conceived this baby, we were interviewing doctors who would agree to do a VBAC for us. This desire of mine has been SO strong & undeniable. The thing about VBAC births is that the doctor has to be at the hospital for the entire laboring process and most doctors don't have the time to sit at the hospital while you labor. Also, they're scared of uterine rupture. I'm not sure why they're so afraid, knowing that uterine rupture is only 1-2%. That percent goes down even lower when a mom does not have the medical intervention of pitocin to quicken her labor. VBAC labors are inconvenient for most Doctors (2 doctors have admitted this to me themselves.) We only have 3 in Vegas who will allow mom's who have had cesareans to have vaginal births with their future babies.
I've had 2 doc's say that my c-section was unnecessary but I know that Conrad came into the world the way the lord intended, whether it was my way or not. I am coming to peace with what happened to me, what I allowed to happen. I am healing from my birth with Conrad and putting that chapter behind me. I was very very uneducated the first time around. I went into my birth with him with my hands tied because I didn't know how to speak up for myself and say NO to all of the medical interventions that were done (because I wasn't laboring as quickly as the nurses wanted me to.) I felt as if the nurses were watching me with deer in the headlight kind of eyes, waiting for me to fail, waiting for me to give up and beg for my epidural so they could step in and take control. So they could DO something.
During my many meetings and discussions about my birth and what I wanted it to be like, the doctors nodded in agreeance but still didn't help give me the tools necessary for a natural birth. Actually, to be honest, looking back, I felt like they were laughing in my face. I had no power or voice when It came to my sons birth.
With Conrad I was trying to labor naturally (with pitocin) and didn't know much about pain management or how to deal with the really hard and fast contractions that you experience with pitocin. I trusted the nurses and doctors to take care of me because when you go into a hospital, that's what you expect. Care, compassion, & attention to the patients needs etc. I expected them to lead me in the direction of a successful natural birth but they took control and made the decisions and I was under their mercy. Shame on me for not having done the research for what a natural birth would take. It required training, education, focus & taking responsibility for my pregnancy by eating healthy. I did not do these things. The odds were already against me.
I won't bore you with yet another "I had to have an EMERGENCY c-section" story. You're heard your share of them, I'm sure. The truth is, I don't believe there was actually an emergency at all during Conrad's birth. His birth was an inconvenience for the doctor, but not an emergency. Looking back, I can see that waiting around for me to labor, or giving me the skills I needed for a natural labor were not within the realm of the service the doctors or nurses were willing to provide. It may have not been their job to cheer me on or teach me how to relax or tell me not to give up, or say they believed in me.... I was stuck in a bed, laying on my back, with pitocin dripping, watching the clock tick, & was not able to control the pain. My husband felt just as helpless as he watched the control slip from our hands.
When I look back at Conrad's birth, I realize how mismanaged it was and how uneducated and naive I was. During the first 2 weeks, I was unable to care for my new baby the way I wanted to because I was so out of it from the heavy duty pain meds. They market C-sections as these easy births but make no mistake, they are MAJOR surgeries. They put you on loads of pain meds so by the time you're healed up, most woman don't actually experience the pain at all. I couldn't nurse my son as effectively as I wanted to which lead me to pump instead of breast feed and I couldn't get out of bed. Lots of people have elective c-sections and medically necessary c-sections, and they turn out just fine and dandy, but I was not one of those people. It wrecked me emotionally for months.
I felt like my feelings of shame, pain, anger, & frustration were completely invalidated by those around me because I should have just been happy that my baby was here and safe. I felt guilty for not buying into the idea that this was supposed to be the norm when it came to childbirth.
I am not here to belittle a doctors ability or education but when I learn that the average c-section rate for hospitals in Las Vegas is 33-45%, I get a little uncomfortable. Were ALL of those surgeries a medical emergency? Why then if we're so advanced in our medicine in America do we have the highest infant and mommy fatality rate? Other countries c-section rate is 3-10%, and their fatality rate is lower.... it makes me wonder what's wrong with the system. It makes me feel like I was a statistic.
Lots of people would just say, "All that matters is that the mommy and baby are safe! It's not about your experience, it's about safety." But why didn't I feel safe and supported in the hospital? I should have felt like a rock star after his birth. I should have felt empowered and like I accomplished something huge, but I felt small & defeated.
In the months that followed Conrad's birth, i grieved my birth experience. Friends would share their birth stories with me and I would leave and weep because I felt so robbed. I am SO blessed to have Conrad and his birth has brought me to where I am now, but with it came a lot of pain emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Each woman should have the right to decide what is best for her. Knowing her options EVEN IF she's had a cesarean birth! (Thank god for our doctors who are trained to do these, sometimes life saving major surgeries. Without these, we would have babies and mom's who wouldn't have had a chance. They are ABSOLUTELY necessary, sometimes.) God has placed several woman around me the last few weeks as I've been on this painful and oftentimes lonely journey to find a better OR different way to birth. I've met woman at the park, on the Internet, & at VBAC education classes who have rallied around me and poured into me priceless knowledge and love when it came to their VBAC experiences & what mine could be also.
Finding a doctor who supports natural-vaginal birth after cesarean birth has been nearly impossible. We've interviewed 2 and left feeling fearful, defeated & misunderstood. After meeting with 2 amazing midwifes and Douala's, I left feeling empowered, educated, loved, secure and understood. Through prayer and laying my desires before the lord, laying down MY agenda and seeking what He would have for me, he is showing me that there is a different way. He has opened doors and given me much comfort & confidence that this birth is going to be different than my last.
You can also watch this movie on childbirth in america
The International Cesarean Awareness Network is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).
If Knowledge is power, I feel pretty darn powerful right about now.