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.