I was speaking to Michelle after reading her recent post on C-sections. It’s funny because I remember her telling me she couldn’t even discuss it when I asked her about her delivery with her first. I love a good birth story, but she just wasn’t over hers – and I didn’t push it.
Some birth stories aren’t great experiences. I get it. Mine were both vaginal deliveries. My second was sunny-side up, making the back labour an intense experience of epically painful proportions. With my first, the epidural I wanted so badly ended up slowing down my labour so, with the second, I opted for the last-minute epi, just to help with the pushing, so that my labour would go faster.
Gawd, that hurt!
The tearing and subsequent stitching with my first was brutal. Lots of stitches, lots of trouble sitting, lots of discomfort relieving myself – and let me tell you, the “husband stitch” you hear about – that’s a real thing. The doctor told me I would thank him for it. Or maybe that comment was directed at my husband, because I was most definitely not impressed or even happy with that medical procedure.
I really didn’t want to do the whole vaginal birth thing. My first pregnancy was in 2007/2008, and people were starting to talk about scheduled C-sections, but talking about scheduling a c-section brought out the birth shaming:
What kind of mother schedules a baby out of convenience?
What kind of mother chooses surgery over nature’s method?
Who chooses surgery?
It wasn’t out of convenience, it was out of fear.
Fear that it would hurt? Fear that there could be complications? Fear that he might get stuck?
It was fear that my favourite body part would get all stretched out to hell, and that my sex life would never be the same. While I get the severe pain and invasive nature of a c-section, the longterm effects are minimal. That scar heals up small. It’s rough but it heals. It might even itch. Yes, I know, there’s even the occasional complication. But I’ve never been a big fan of anything that shows off that part of my belly – or any part of my belly – anyways.
I wasn’t afraid of giving birth, I was afraid of vaginal trauma – and, for the record, I was absolutely right. Once you stretch something to its max, it won’t go back. Don’t believe me? Think about how an inflated balloon looks after letting the air out, or how much looser those skin-tight jeans are on the second day.
The Kegel freak that I am, I’ve always Kegeled. It’s a favourite passtime. I’m Kegeling right now.
I like (ahem, liked) having great tone and I really enjoyed the sex I had. Since 2008 I’ve redoubled my Kegel efforts. I took up squats and lunges too, since my friend Anne swore they yielded three times the results.
I shouldn’t say nada – I don’t have horrible tone, but I don’t think I’ll ever even approach the tone I had pre-babies. Wasn’t giving up my boobs, my beloved sleep and last shred of sanity enough for the cause? No? Give up the jayjay too? Fine.
I did, and I’d do it again, if I had to. But why did I have to?
I wanted a scheduled C-section. I didn’t care about schedules or control or even picking the birthdays – I wanted to preserve my vagina.
It was not to be.
My doctor was not one that believed in elective surgery over vaginal delivery. I remember my husband asking her if scheduling would be an option because I’d mentioned it to him. She said absolutely not. It would only happen if it were to become a medical necessity, otherwise she felt I was strong and healthy and there was no reason to take on the risks of surgery.
Now, I’m not sure why. People are allowed to have surgery for all kinds of elective reasons, so why not childbirth?
I know – all of the C-section mamas think I’m crazy, but I bet a few of the 3rd degree tear mamas are saying a resounding “Amen” to all the things I’m preaching.
I get the subtle nuances, the benefits of letting baby come when they want – but as my blood pressure went up, my doctor started talking about induction. Now that’s not all that natural, and it comes with risks – so why threaten to induce me? Just give me my C-section!
My babies were full term and my only goal was to get them out of my body and into this world healthy and safe. Each ended up having some sort of complication that almost required a C-section, so why not JUST GIVE ME MY C-SECTION.
I know lots of moms that just want to experience vaginal birth and feel something was taken from them when they, instead, were rushed into surgery with life-threatening situations. But their kids aren’t any worse off for not sliding into home plate vaginally – so why not just give me my C-section?
Not sure why the stigma still exists around scheduling a C-section. Who really cares if the mom is doing it for her own convenience – or the preservation of her vagina. There are a lot of things we choose to do, and those choices are personal.
But the choice was not there, and my quest for a scheduled C-section went unfulfilled. So, every year on July 27, while wishing my first-born a happy birthday, I take a moment to myself, a moment of silence for my vagina at precisely 2.02pm.