a shitty one.

i’m having some trouble with concepts like “authentic” and “natural” at the moment. that’s right, it’s birth-plan time.

i know all the right things to think and hear at this time: it doesn’t matter how the baby gets here as long as he’s healthy. (and living. people often forget to add living. but let’s not take that bit for granted.) and as my ob always adds, you need to be healthy and safe, too. so let’s cut the nonsense and embrace the medical age: a planned c-section will help guarantee that buster is delivered before something terrible and accidental can occur; it will help prevent dangerous uterine ruptures for me, resulting in anything from massive hemorrhage to emergency hysterectomy to death; it will keep other parts of my body intact (which is perhaps offset by the fact that it will destroy other parts of my body, leaving a visible scar to boot). in short: it’s quick and tidy (as far as bloody surgeries go) and relatively safe and should get us to our end result: a living, breathing, boy-o.

but.

when i was planning for bitsy’s birth i had some pretty grandiose notions. i’d already been through one vaginal delivery that was induced, fully medicated, and produced one beautiful but dead baby. with bitsy i wanted things to be different. i wanted to feel labor. i wanted to know what was happening to my body. i wanted not to be sad about what was happening to my body. i wanted, in fact, to celebrate what was happening to my body, and to let my body do its thing with minimal outside interference. i had something to prove: i can deliver a living baby and i will, and i will do it without pain killers, and i will do it under the most glorious and relatively serene circumstances, and i will be good at it. dammit.

so i did all the usual stuff, from practicing meditative, yogic breathing to hiring a doula (who came with a bonus partner, so i had two amazing doulas for the price of one perfectly competent doula), from packing a carefully-planned hospital bag to thinking through all the possible changes to my plan. i believed i was open to change, so that if something shifted and medical necessity demanded something outside of my harmonic dreamscape of a delivery room, i would be ready to make the mental and emotional shifts.

and it all happened like it should: i labored at home for several hours, got to the hospital dilated to 6cm, was loved and helped and encouraged and managed by the very best doulas a girl could ever hope for, and went through full labor, full dilation and full effacement. and then bitsy decided she was done. she wasn’t ready to come out. face up and perfectly content to stay that way, she stopped progressing at zero station. after 3 hours of pushing, i was told that since she wasn’t descending it was time for a c-section.

and guess what? i was not ready. i was not happy. i was not cooperative. i wanted to be left alone to push this baby out. i knew i could do it. i wasn’t tired. i didn’t have anywhere else to be. i didn’t see what the problem was. but i wasn’t the doctor, and when it came down to it the choice was his, not mine. but an hour later my gloriously squalling, ruddy-faced and brown-haired baby girl was there in her daddy’s arms. she was crying. he was crying. i was crying. we had done it, the three of us.

to this day i tell myself it was fine. i try not to hate my scar. i try not to hate my abs. i try not to hate my body for failing me. but in small bits and pieces, i hate it all. i really wanted to do something, and i was close, so close, and i failed. i didn’t fail because i quit or because something broke. i failed because somebody else decided he could do a better job than i could.  to this day i feel like i have something to prove. i could have done it. i could have pushed out my baby. i no longer want a water birth or candles burning or lovely hypnotic music playing, but i do want the chance to prove to myself (and to others–i think the spectre of my truly much-loved ob making the decision for me haunts me still) that i can do this.

why, why, why? i have the hardest time answering that question. when it comes down to it, i think ridiculously trite things like i want an authentic experience. i want to let my body do its thing, naturally. both of which are piles of hooey. being cut open was a pretty damn authentic experience. and if i let my body do its thing i would never carry a baby past the first trimester. so i’ve already obviously made peace with authenticity and naturalness. clearly i do not care for them. if i did, i would not be here, pregnant and trying to make peace with the facts.

nevertheless. i want to push this baby out, on my own, preferably without medications. and i probably will not get the opportunity even to try. and i really don’t know how to make peace with this.

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