Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Off Topic Tuesday: The journey counts as well!

Warning: Picture and discussion of c-section and birth trauma. This may be difficult or offensive for some. 

I'm a birth advocate. I had planned on having a natural, drug free birth for both my children. I was educated on the downfalls of epidurals and c-sections and I knew I didn't intend on having either.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. With my first daughter, Olivia, I was induced at 34 weeks. My cervix was as high and closed tight as could be. My body was NO where near preparing for her birth yet. They did every method they could to give me a vaginal delivery. I feel confident that they really did try. However, after about 48 hours of labor I had only dilated 4 cm (and had been 4 cm for about 20 hours with NO change). In comes the word I was terrified to hear. "C-section". I. Was. HEARTBROKEN! I sobbed so uncontrollably that I missed her entire birth and remember very little of it except the fact that my anesthesia was overdone and my throat closed up. So not only was I having a c-section but I was choking on my own spit. Good times.

In comes pregnancy number 2. The minute I see my OB, I tell her flat out that I AM having a VBAC. Not that I want a VBAC...no no, I am HAVING a VBAC. Even once I was diagnosed with pre-e (again, sigh) I was still determined that I would have a VBAC. I was NOT having another c-section and nothing anyone said was going to change that.

Enter stage right: Christa in high risk hospital at 28 weeks. 

I believe it was 3 days before I actually ended up delivered they told me I couldn't be induced because I'd had a previous c-section and in order to induce me, my cervix had to be softened (naturally). There was only one way to induce (safely) a previous c-section patient. I argued. Oh how I argued. Every SINGLE doctor in that hospital knew who I was because I talked to them all. Finally, after having FOUR people come into my room (including the highest of the high at Abbott) I finally had to accept that I would be having another c-section. Again, positively heartbroken. I did end up having a somewhat healing c-section experience (My Birth Story) but it was still a c-section.

9.5 months later, everything is great. I have 2 beautiful daughters who are healthy and you really couldn't tell the difference between them and a baby who was born vaginally. Olivia is extremely intelligent and Ella is a fat girl.

So, why should it matter how they were born? Why do I still feel like I've missed so much  because I had 2 c-sections and premature births if they are fine, healthy, intelligent and beautiful?

Because the journey counts as well. That's why. For so many of us, especially the girls here at The Good Letdown, pregnancy and delivery is a beautiful thing that we feel passionate about. The journey of childbirth is not something we see as this horrible, painful thing. It's a beautiful journey that women take. For me, it was a terrifying moment of my life that has caused me much grief and many emotional scars. So when people say "But you have 2 beautiful daughters, it shouldn't matter how they were born" my answer to them is that "while the destination IS the most important, to me the journey (of birth) is almost as important". It makes me all the more passionate about educating women on their bodies and the effects of c-sections and premature birth.

I will always grieve my loss. Because for me, that's what it was, a loss of pregnancy, a loss of a natural birth, a loss of a normal experience. My c-section scars are not just a physical scar but an emotional one as well. One that will take a long time to fade, but will never fully go away.


  1. Thank you for this post. I had a very hard back labor and very much wanted a natural home birth. And instead I ended up with a hospital epidural birth after 32+ hours of labor and a baby who was in distress. It was and still is heartbreaking to think of it. Some people don't understand and say just get over it at least your little girl is healthy. And I am so very happy she is healthy and well I still mourn the loss of my birth experience. Added to that was my little one had issues nursing and after 5 1/2 months of trying ended up exclusively pumping. That was a loss too! I am hoping with my next one it will be different. Although I am almost scared to get pregnant sometimes because I fear going through the same process again!

  2. I totally agree. I was lucky and escaped a c-section by the skin of my teeth after planning a birth center birth. My water had been broken for 48 hours and I had pushed for 2 hours and the kid wasn't going anywhere. I am so grateful to one particular nurse who said, "C-section?? Oh no. I don't do the OR. You're pushing this baby out." I still ended up on a monitor (water broke at 36 weeks 3 days) and succumbing to an epidural for the last 3 hours. But the best comparison I've ever heard was, "Imagine you've trained for a marathon then broke your leg at the 25th mile." Plus anytime you get your heart set on something and it doesn't happen there's going to be disappointment. I hope to try again someday :)

  3. I had three c/sections before I finally had a vbac. I had to travel four hours from Nashville to Atlanta to see my ob, and to deliver my fourth. I understand the loss, the pain and the grieving process. My fourth is extra special in that he was born the "right" way. I can now relate to other moms, finally. Oh, there are many many things I could go in to about the differences. My point is don't give up, grieve through the loss, but don't let the loss prevent you from trying again. on a side note - have you ever heard of ICAN? Jennifer

  4. The reason we aren't trying again is because of the severe pre-e I had with both babies. The first was born at 34 weeks and the second was born at 29 weeks. :-/

  5. I understand how important the journey is too. I have 3 live children. I have been on bedrest with all 3. The first was extreme hyperemisis. Second extreme hyperemisis and a pump with experimental meds going 24/7 to stay pregnant and on bedrest although I was allowed to climb our stairs which meant I could go to the couch. Third...well...I had miscarried 9 times, hyperemisis started up and put on bedrest at a few weeks along. My water broke at 20 weeks BUT! sealed up as it was a high break. After that bedrest until 34 weeks when preteen labor stopped and I dropped from extreme to 1-2times a day vomiting. I was good enough to doula at another hyperemisis momma's birth around 37 weeks!

    But...after losing 9 babes, birthing 3 healthy children I STILL ache to know the joy of pregnancy. Feeling excitement as your uterus clenches instead of fear of a premature birth, enjoying the kicks and rolls instead of feeling panic because nothing has been felt for x hours, the stuff you do in pregnancy; nesting, dreaming of a future instead of just praying to get through one more day/ night.

    I think the journey is as important as the destination. The journey is where we become the person that arrives at the destination and sometimes I feel cheated despite being granted an amazing prize for somehow.getting to the finish line.

    All I want is a healthy, peaceful pregnancy with my homebirth and healthy, nursing well babe. I want it so much at times that I feel there is something missing. I just want to feel complete.


  6. I had a c-section for breech after two natural births and was so disappointed. Although even my natural births didn't go the way I wanted, I was very thankful for at least 2 natural births and my amazingly beautiful breech baby. I couldn't imagine not experiencing natural birth and I really want to grieve for you because I can only imagine how you feel! :( I believe the process is VERY important. But I keep putting in perspective that at least I was able to have children because there are women out there who struggle with fertility their whole lives :( Not that your pain is lessened! That is just how I deal with the c-section in my mind. I guess I just have hope when God takes me home that He will give me a perfect pregnancy and birth or at least that I will be so happy with my €reator/Savior that I won't give a hoot about it! lol :) Oh, and your scar looks great! How long after was the pic? I am hoping mine heals nicely!