Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Birth "Control"

I just read this amazing article about who should be in control of childbirth, the mother or the doctor. The author, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, had a terrible labor and delivery of her first child. She received terrible care from her own OB as well as the L&D staff at the hospital. It was so traumatic that she suffered from PTSD because of the ordeal. She went on to research midwifery, holistic birth, and the idea of "taking back your birth" to sort through her feelings as well as prepare for the delivery of her second child.

What really hit home about this article was how similar Taffy's and my birth stories were as well as our ideas on birthing and how negative her experience was and how positive I found my experience to be.

I've already written my birth story, but it was a bit of a blow by blow. I won't go into gory details, but I too was given a c-section after 30 hours of induced labor. The difference between Taffy and I was that I received impeccable care from my fantastic OB, Dr. Kahen, as well as the L&D staff. (Except for one nurse named Freixenet or something, but I complained and she magically had another labor to assist.)

It was not the labor I intended, however. I wanted to go the natural route and be free of intervention. Unfortunately complications arose and intervention was needed. And to tell you the truth, I did feel like I had somehow failed. No part of my labor went according to plan. I knew that I couldn't have too many expectations because sh*t happens. But I had this perfect labor envisioned and mine didn't even come close.

But as imperfect as it was I was very well cared for. My doctor kept me in the loop on every decision, I felt like I had a bit of a say in what happened to me. And the nurses were incredible and took a real interest in me.

But in my mind, labor was this huge moment that I had been preparing for, this important event. And I got so hung up on imagining this perfect labor and delivery that I forgot what was truly important, I got to have a BABY at the end!

I'm still mourning the labor I didn't have and probably will never get. I constantly think whether or not I could have done something differently. But the important thing is that every morning I wake up to this beautiful smiling face. And I realize that in the grand scheme of things, labor is just a blip.

I LOVE these final lines of Taffy's article:

I have another hope, too. I hope there will be a moment when the noise of the nurses and the doctors and the doula will fall into the background. I will look down at my baby — whether he is handed to me on my belly or from behind a curtain as my body is sewn shut — and I will remember what I've known from the beginning, when I looked down at that plus sign and we were alone together for the first time. Before these questions wrapped around my neck, choking me for answers. I will know that I am his mother and he is my son. And maybe, in that moment, I will be ready to say that the only success and failure is the outcome of the birth, that we are healthy. I hope I mean it.


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