Monday, January 12, 2009

Today is the c-section anniversary

Four years ago right now I was a happy, if a bit battle-worn, whole, young pregnant mother expecting to give birth to her first child in about three weeks. At 10:27 p.m. central time it will be four years since that changed.

So many people ask me, "how can you still be so upset about something that happened so long ago? It can't be that bad!" I'll admit that now, anyway, it's not "that bad"-not for most of the year. It's just this day. I ask myself that question a lot too,though. How can I, the woman who held her teenage sister's hand as a doctor told her that her baby boy had died just two weeks before he was due, I, the woman who watched that young body give birth to a lifeless body, I, a woman who knows, personally, that birth can so often only mean death, how can I be upset when I have such a bright, beautiful four-year-old, living, blessing in my life?

Though a scar will never be the same as the ache of a missing baby, I think my sister said it perfectly recently when she said, "it's not okay. it's never going to be okay because he's never coming back." This scar will never go away. Where there is a physical scar there always remains an emotional one.

I think it's worse for me this year because it's the first time I've been pregnant on the c-section anniversary. What is comforting today,though, is that when I look down my scar is eclipsed by my growing breasts and belly. For the next 5-6 months, at least, my scar will be invisible to me.

Still, a thought I can't get out of my head: I'm carrying a baby in a damaged uterus. My first baby had a whole home. My other two had to settle for second-best. They deserve so much better than that and it's something I'll never be able to give them.


Michele said...

I feel the same way--just a few days ago, my post mirrored yours. I also felt very odd being pregnant at the same time--in a sense it made the memory more painful, much more real.

I feel guilty sometimes, especially when I hear of a story that most would think a million times more horrible (like stillbirth), but then I realize, this is MY pain, MY story. And it hurts, whether they get it or not. It hurts like hell sometimes.


TheFeministBreeder said...

I think it speaks VOLUMES that we (mothers trauatized by our c-sections) often talk about the anniversary of our c-section, rather than referring to it as our child's birthday. They are one in the same, yet, somehow, they aren't. Our birth experiences are OURS, not our baby's. And they are important. I wish more people understood and recognized how traumatizing a surgical birth can be for a mother.

I didn't really start to heal from mine until I got my VBAC. The c-sec scar will always be there, but there's no longer a hole in my heart the way there was before my VBAC. Accomplishing a vaginal birth really patched me up emotionally. I'll never be the same, but "patched up" is the best I can hope for.

vbacwarrior said...

For those who think I do a disservice to my daughter by calling this day the section anniversary:

We celebrate Sarah's birthday on a different day. We had her party a week and a half ago. I may, in the near future, begin celebrating her birthday on what was her due date, 3 weeks after the day she was born.

Kristin said...

It amazes me how c-sections affect different people. I find it so frustrating that so many people just seem to accept them as normal and okay. Never question a thing. For me, I feel like my whole world turned upside down. I'm nearing my first c-section anniversary, and i can't imagine how I will feel on that day. No one I personally know feels how I do or has had a similar experience, so I have found comfort in reading other c-section and vbac stories, and preparing my mind and body for someday when I will actually be able to give birth. I hope that you find comfort that through your experience and through your words, you have the ability to help others cope during their difficult moments. Peace to you on this day.

TracyKM said...

Oh, hon, your uterus isn't 'damaged' or you wouldn't be able to stay pregnant! It IS whole, it has a scar. They don't deserve 'better', they have all they need, especially a loving caring mother. Your uterus is NOT second-best, it is FIRST best for each pregnancy. Scarred, I know, but certainly not 'not whole'.

Macarena said...

Just because doctors have conflated "routine" with "necessary" doesn't mean you have to like it. You don't get a do-over for birth. People should respect your feelings even if they don't understand.

I LOVE your screen name!

Macarena said...

P.S. I never thought of it this way:

I'm carrying a baby in a damaged uterus.

Morgan said...

I hope you have an awesome birth experience this time! I would have loved to have done a natural birth, yet ended up with a c-section. I've had 4 c-sections so far. I used to feel bad about it, but have changed my mind after reading what they used to do to babies that wouldn't come out. I'm very thankful to have 4 healthy babies who may not have made it out anyother way.

For most women, though, VBACs are great and an awesome experience! I have a friend who had a c-section with her first and had 3 VBACs back to back (all 4 kids born in 4 years). She did have to fight the hospital staff a lot to get them to respect her wishes of not over monitoring her.

KitKat said...

Wow! I had no idea that some women are so passionate in their hatred of c-sections. I had a horrible vaginal delivery (NO, it was horrible. A c-section would have been better.) I opted for a c-section with my second baby to help prevent the damage that happened from happening again. I have never regretted it and I was so much happier after that delivery. I healed faster and better and was able to return to normal "wifely" things without pain. Now I am not saying that c-sections are better for everyone or anything like that. I guess that I just don't understand why women trash on them so badly and sometimes feel so traumatized after having one. I peed on myself for 6 months by just simply standing up and couldn't control my bowels for a very long time after my "natural" delivery. I thanked God and my new doctor for not putting me through that again and just giving me the section. I had to let go of the anger from my first "natural" delivery. It took awhile, but I did it and I felt so much better. I hope that you poor moms who are so very upset about your c-sections are able to find that peace too. The delivery is just the method of your child's birth. It is nothing other than that. How you deliver does not make you a better mother or wife or woman or person. A scar does not make you defective or less than whole.

I don't mean to belittle your feelings or anything like that. I am just speaking as a mother who had a horrible delivery on the "other side of the fence", if you will. You have to stop beating yourself up, changing the day that you celerate your own children's birthdays, thinking of yourself as damaged, etc. Please consider allowing your heart to heal. You will feel so much better! Trust me, I have been there.

Hugs to you all!!

TheFeministBreeder said...

I have to wonder if the above poster's "horrible vaginal delivery" was actually caused by the doctor and hospital environment? Vacuum extraction causes incontinence, as does "purple pushing" and a host of other interventions.

Just makes me wonder the details... that's all I'm saying. Women can be traumatized by over-managed vaginal births just the same way they can be traumatized by c-sections.

Anonymous said...

I think the poster is looking at this all wrong. I'm assuming her c-section was a necessary emergency the way she seems so traumatized about it but she needs to look at it this way.

You're not damaged goods. You have a battle scar. And without it, you may not even have your precious 4 year old girl right now. It's a symbol of life. Not of being damaged or incomplete. Stop beating yourself up and be glad that doctors were able to save her life!!