So. The repeat cesarean.
I talked with my sister today, and she asked how I’m feeling about everything and how it’s going down. Just as background – she’s a die-hard home-birth/attachment parenting/vegetarian/etc. person, and was even planning on an unattended birth with her second child simply because the state she lives in does not license direct-entry midwives. Luckily she found a midwife in the neighboring state who was willing to make the drive and attend her home water birth. Anyway. I mentioned that we’d seen the labor and delivery rooms at the hospital, and that I’d felt kind of sad, realizing that that will never be my lot. (Yeah, I’m not doing this again, now that it seems clear that I’ll always get PIH.)
She said, “just don’t go tomorrow.”
There’s certainly something about being caught up in the medical system that feels disempowering and alienating, and as a student of social science I have a theoretical framework for understanding exactly how these systems work to produce that effect. So I do feel a certain amount of ambivalence about it all – but not enough to try to buck the system entirely, because I do also believe in the efficacy of Western medicine for dealing with precisely the kind of medical state I am in.
A few days ago at breakfast my parents were reminiscing about someone my sister and I grew up with, a beautiful girl (I still remember how tiny her hand felt in mine when she was 5 and I was eight) whom we sort of lost touch with, although my parents and her parents stayed close. Well, she died in childbirth and I never knew exactly how or why. My sister still can’t bear to talk about it. Incredibly sad. The baby boy survived. As my parents recalled more details of her death, I realized that the cause could only have been an eclamptic seizure, perhaps HELLP-related. That day I had been mulling uneasily over my OB’s casual mention at my most recent check-up that he’d probably administer magnesium sulfate after the birth. I’ve heard such horror stories about mag that I was wondering whether it was really necessary. Well, you know, I don’t want to die. I’ll take the mag if he decides it’s a good idea.
Yesterday I was on the phone with a college roommate who’d been assuming that I’d have an induction, and I explained that labor can’t be induced after a previous cesarean, but I’d come to terms with this being my lot and was ok with it. “Oh,” she said. “I never thought about it in those terms – I thought c-section was just another option on the menu.”
“I guess it all depends on how you think about it,” I said.
And this is precisely where my struggle is. What I said to my old roommate is what my therapist would always tell me – how you think about it, what you believe about it, will shape how you feel about it. But I don’t think it’s so easy, so simple, just to change your mind and your perspective on something like this merely by willing it so.
I know, I know, I overthink things most of the time. I’m probably overthinking this thing too. I will talk myself in circles for days if given the opportunity.
So I guess right now I just want to try to describe how I feel about it.
I feel kind of sad. I feel left out. I feel locked out. I feel resigned. I feel hopeful. I feel a little bit scared.
Hm. That was easy.
The thing is… I guess I kind of feel like my circumstances just aren’t favorable for a normal, vaginal birth. And maybe I’ve been reading too much of the homebirth/”natural” birth literature, but I kind of feel like if I’m going to give birth in a hospital, with an IV line for antibiotics (I tested positive for group-B strep), an internal fetal monitor and all this other medicalized accoutrements, with the doctor calling all the shots, well… what’s the point, really? I feel like all that “stuff” sets me up for failure anyway. I’ve probably dichotomized it too much in my mind, but I feel like I may as well just do the c-section because I’d probably end up getting one anyway.
So. I feel sad that I won’t be able to amaze my husband with my incredible Amazonian goddess strength through natural childbirth, and I’ll always be cast in the role of the “weak” one in our relationship… but maybe that’s a separate issue that wouldn’t have been solved in this way anyway.
Sorry if this is kind of all over the place. It’s late and I need to go to bed.
Tomorrow is a big day.