I've been thinking about preggos lately. Maybe it's because I just watched Rendition (fabulous by the way) and good 'ol Reese was such an adorable preggo. Or that preggo's have been all around me lately. So I'm living vicariously through them. No plans mind you. One is more than enough for us right now. But here is one thing I would really like to tell any preggo's out there (I know, you probably have not gotten ANY advice, right? but bear with me on this.) No one told me that when you have a c-section they strap you to a table with your arms out at your side like Jesus. This was slightly disconcerting and something I wasn’t altogether prepared for.
Ok, ok, I should have been prepared for it. I was one of those people that started off with a bang, reading ahead several months in the What to Expect when Expecting book and researching online this, that and the other. Then I fizzled out. My husband kept at it, reading ahead like a dork. At our ob appointments he would eagerly raise his hands and answer her questions while I sat there muttering darkly about it being his fault and glaring at him. Truth was I was terrified. I couldn’t get past the mind-boggling idea that a six to eight pound human was going to force its way out of my vagina, probably shredding it in the process. I retreated into a world of cookies and pickles.
When I came to the chapters on c-sections I skimmed them, smirking to myself that I was not going to be one of those women. By those women I meant selfish people who planned the c-section in the day-planner because they wanted to be in control. Where in the world I got that idea from beats the heck out of me. Ironically my own sister had two c-sections and I myself was brought forth into this world by way of Cesarean.
They were “exceptions” though, at least in my mind. For one thing, I’m a twin, so I figured that most twin births probably are C-sections. And my sister, well she’s about as big around as a bean pole and her hips were not wide enough. (Now, this should have been a clue, seeing as how I was thinner than her before I was pregnant but I think I figured if I ate enough cookies and pickles I would gain the girth I needed to heave-ho natural style.) And the heaving was the part I meant when I say natural, I sure as heck didn’t intend to try this without being seriously doped up. If I had had my way the Epiderul would have been started in the parking-lot. However after having contractions all day and then Mr. Epideral, as I was fondly calling him at the time, quit working the doctors informed me that baby girl was still way out in the outfield when she needed to be rounding third base. And before they even said the c word I started hyperventilating.
The thing is I never thought of myself as one of the crusaders. By crusaders I mean women who are determined to do it all themselves, no drugs, all natural with some yoga thrown in, and then breast feed the kid till he’s ten. Still there was something intrinsically saddening upon hearing the words “Blah blah blah C-SECTION blah blah blah.” This sense of somehow failing as a woman. My boss had just had one and remarked how much easier it was than her first birth. But see that’s just the thing, she was already in the club, and I was still submitting my application. Almost immediately my sister’s response came to mind. I remembered her telling me how disappointed she was when she heard she had to have one. My response to her was: what choice did you have? Then I politely reminded her that had she been born a hundred years ago she would probably have been dead. And this is what I clung too. That I wasn’t less of a woman for having to have a c-section, if anything I was a lucky woman for living in an age when I could have one instead of facing a probably very painful death or the loss of my newborn, or both.
A few months later when my friend was getting ready to have her baby I had told her a little about my experience. Sure enough, she too was having problems during labor and had to have one as well. When she thanked me for sharing and said it did help ease some of her fears I had this sense of connectedness with her in that our experience is not lessened because we lay drugged on the table while the doctors lifted our children out of us instead of us grunting and heaving the child out. And if we’re measuring based off of pain c-sections hurt like hell afterwards so Ha! We Win! (No, it’s not a competition, yes, I’ve learned my lesson.)