My sons birth, like most births, did not go according to plan. When people ask me about it, I usually say it went well to avoid awkwardness. The truth is that talking about my sons birth makes me cry. I was followed by a sage femme during my pregnancy and our plan was to try to have a natural labour with as little intervention as possible. I ended up having the opposite type of labour I had envisioned which ended in an emergency C-section.
I close my eyes and I can still feel the cold operating table underneath me as I lay there shaking uncontrollably from the anesthesia. I remember the feeling of them pulling my son out of me and sobbing in relief when I heard him crying and not silent. The hours before my c-section were full of pain, uncertainty, and fear for my unborn son who was in distress. Each contraction I was tossed and turned to try to get his heart rate up. No position worked for long and no medication could speed up my labour which had stalled at 7cm dilated. I was terrified and helpless. The looks on the faces of the medical staff said it all and I knew a c-section was inevitable. I felt like my body failed me and that I failed my son. I was wheeled into the operating room and the procedure was done so quickly that my partner almost missed the birth of our son. The hours after my c-section were spent full of worry, sadness, and longing as I waited in recovery separate from my son who was in observation, with his father, due to hypothermia. When he was born he was shown to me quickly before we were separated, but I never got to experience the magic that everyone talks about during the « golden hour » after birth. The one positive I have from our experience (besides our son being healthy) is that my partner bonded with our son in ways he never would have if not for my C-section. He was able to experience this mythical « golden hour ». He held our son skin to skin and calmed him because I couldn’t. Our sons first moments of life were with his father and I think that’s beautiful.
If I do talk about my birth trauma with people the most popular response is “at least you have a healthy baby”. But what about MY health? Isn’t a mothers physical and mental health as important as their babies wellbeing? The answer should be yes but sadly it doesn’t feel that way. If it wasn’t for the incredible support system I have in my life i would’ve been in a very dark place.
My birth may not have gone as planned but it is still beautiful in its own way. I may not feel empowered by it but I’m proud of myself and body. I guess what I want people to know about my experience is that even though someone is lucky to hold their baby in their arms it doesn’t erase the physical and emotional scars that may remain from their birth.