I wish mine could have been lovely natural childbirths. I know, some of you are all set to tell me the myriad ways I *could* have…
🍃🍂🌸🌾The key is to just relax… and do what your body was made to do. 🌾🌸🍂🍃
Yeah, well, my body was made to create linebackers with German blockheads with zero foresight or consideration as to what the plan would then be to get them OUT.
I’m no childbirth expert but I am a self-taught worst-case scenario expert. And MY guess is that, realistically/genetically speaking, when your chances are higher of having babies that are shaped more like tadpoles/wrecking balls than teeny-headed snakes, your odds of having ‘earth mother all-natural/no complications’ deliveries with no ‘aftermath’ to stitch up are going to be slim to none.
My head is bigger than my husband’s – I have only my own gene pool to blame.
And so, from my own experience, here we have my Top Ten Phrases From My Pregnancies and Childbirths.
1. October 1997 – Had an ultrasound with Jacob to try to figure out a due date for him – they measured a leg bone, spine, & skull & averaged the numbers out.
Ultrasound tech: “Femur – 23 weeks. Spine – 24 weeks. Head – 27 weeks. Average that out… Baby is about 25 weeks along, then.”
Me: “OR, Baby is 24 weeks along & has a HUGE head!”
(I was not even 21 years old yet and already my worst-case perception skills were sharp)
2. Heard this phrase TWICE: both times I got to the pushing stage with both of my ‘natural’ (suction cup thingy, forceps, umpteen IVs, scalpels & stitches. You know, ‘natural’) childbirths –
One nurse to another:
“I don’t understand it. Her labor is progressing along nicely, & now it seems to have… stopped. She’s a good pusher, it’s just… The baby seems… stuck somehow.”
If you are baffled, as well, see Phrase #1.
3. February 2004 – Doctor C was a couple of hours late for my prenatal appointment because she was busy delivering some other jerk’s baby. This appointment was coincidentally on my DUE DATE with Hannah (‘natural’ childbirth #2) which made the entire day just that much more offensive.
“Oh, I just delivered a 9-pound baby, you’ll be fine. We’ll wait another week to induce you.”
4. One week later, on-call surgeon:
“Oh my goodness, you are ALL baby!”
He said this in a not-happy manner when he was called in for a consult, shortly after the nurses said Phrase #2.
5. Few hours later – epidural on board, thank GOD. Forceps & all the scalpel work that goes with THAT. Hannah, who was facing up AND had her hand up by her big head (because she wanted to make her entrance like a ballerina, apparently), was 9 lbs. 15 oz.
My job was done. I decided to relax. Take a break…
Older nurse, a tiny bit of alarm in her voice:
“Her blood pressure is 90 over 50 and falling.”
That brought me back momentarily from ‘going towards the light’…
6. Me, in response to Phrase #5 as I was sinking blissfully & cluelessly into shock:
“No no, it’s okay. I feel fine, I just can’t.. stop.. shivering, haha.. ha…”
As I was weakly trying to reassure the room full of medical professionals I noticed a young nurse; she was looking at me with eyes that hadn’t yet learned to stay blank, calm and unalarmed…
I’m pretty sure she was seeing a page from one of her textbooks that says, “PATIENT WILL ASSURE YOU THAT SHE IS FINE. TOTAL SYSTEMIC FAILURE IS IMMINENT.”
7. If you feel bad for Young Nurse, don’t. She said my all-time favorite comment of all of my pregnancies.
After they dragged me back from the ‘Pearly Gates’ and while she watched over Doctor C’s shoulder as she stitched me up (which took her quite a while), Young Nurse says:
“Wow! I didn’t think you’d be able to return that to normal human anatomy!”
(I guess Young Nurse figured “mother recovering from shock” also meant “mother who is unconscious & unaware”)
8. August 2010 – I don’t know about other countries, but in Canada a pregnant mom can request a c-section if her previous birth(s) caused serious mayhem & destruction to her nether regions.
My doctor was very much against planned c-sections unless really REALLY necessary HOWEVER, considering that my previous babies had needed surgical help to be born (I forgot to mention that Jacob had been *only* 8 lbs 4 oz, but took 3 hours of pushing and the possibly-medieval suction cup extraction thingy to get him out), she thought I should have an appointment with a surgeon ahead of time: build rapport and such since I’d likely be needing their help again.
I was 33 by then but still remembered my previous delivery ALL TOO WELL. And since ‘trusting the doc’ had worked out questionably that time, I was going to see if I could try something different…
Me, *probably* only in my head:
“YESSSS… Let me talk to a surgeon, unsupervised. I bet that will work JUST FINE… Bwahahahahaha!!”
I also *probably* only did the *schemey fingers* in my head.
To be clear: when I met with the surgeon beforehand she had the info regarding my previous deliveries and was willing to schedule a planned c-section, but first she thoughtfully, meticulously wasted about 10 minutes explaining and making absolutely sure that I was completely aware of all the downsides and potential risks involved.
She suggested I go home and discuss it with my husband and family, to which I replied, “Already have and it’s a resounding “YES! C-SECTION!”, sooo… can I schedule it today?”
9. Caitlin was delivered by planned c-section 8 months later; 10 days early, 7 lbs 14 oz. Same big head as her brother and sister.
Anesthesiologist, as he handed me over to the nurses in the OR recovery room:
“Her blood pressure dropped immediately after the baby was born, so I gave her (some drug, I assume) and it went back up and stabilized.”
Me: “REALLY?! I didn’t even know. Well, heck. THIS version is a LOT less exciting than the last time my blood pressure dropped immediately after giving birth!”
10. Surgeon, when she came in to check on us the day after Caitlin’s c-section:
“I saw your scars from your first two births. You made the right decision to have a c-section.”
Me, in my head: “Considering how extremely naked I was during surgery I’d be surprised if you hadn’t.”
Me, out loud: “That is very reassuring to know, thank you so much!”
Relatively speaking, as I hypothesized that it would be, my recovery was definitely a lot easier after the c-section than after either of the two ‘naturals’. Go figure.
Do I think C-sections should be an option for any pregnancy, ever? Of course not. What I DO know is that childbirth is just one more instance where everybody is different in their ideal birth plan; thankfully there is more than one way to give birth, and no ‘right’ way – I’m sure what I felt was ideal for me would be somebody else’s worst case scenario.
In my case with my final one I was happy that I had the option of a planned c-section and found a way to make it happen.