Wednesday, March 26, 2008

All Women Are Supposed To Be Able


My oldest friend has had a really rough time getting pregnant, but is now in her third trimester preparing for the arrival of the small boy curled inside her belly whose name will be Jack.

She and I have been somewhat estranged since the birth of my children, but I got an e-mail from her yesterday updating me on the pregnancy and sharing her feelings about learning that she will have to have a scheduled c-section.

I asked her permission to post excerpts of her letter and she agreed.

Though I did not deliver by c-section, I imagine some of what she is feeling is normal and that many others have been through it before.

This particular friend isn't a blogger so she has never experienced the power of the mighty internet and this community of mothers.

I would be grateful if, after you read her words, you leave something encouraging for her in the comments section.

It is an enormous relief to know we're not alone.

Here is her letter.*..

6 weeks and counting!

Well, we found out today that we have to have a C-section. My many surgeries have taken too much of a toll on my poor uterus and our fantastic doctor does not want to risk either Jack's or my life chancing a rupture during labor.

We're in great hands and I'm trying to be optimistic. I've just been a little blue today, having to change gears so abruptly when I was focused on one path for so long. We'd even started our child birth classes. Which is now a total waste of our time. At least we'd only sat through one.

It's really strange. I was completely fine with a C-section on the last pregnancy, but for some reason this news has disappointed me. I told my husband that I felt broken because I can't do the basic things that all women are supposed to be able to do naturally. I couldn't conceive on my own and now I can't even deliver the baby.

I realize that this is not a true aspect of things and that the hurdles I have had to cross to get Jack into this world just make him that much more of a miracle and that I have been given a gift in spite of anything I'm feeling now.




* Excerpt

99 comments:

pgoodness said...

Ah, the age old c-section guilt. I had two. The first was after 18 hours of labor and no progress. The second was scheduled due to possible complications. I feel no less a woman or a mother because my babies were removed surgically. No, I don't know what it feels like to push a baby out, but I felt labor, and most importantly, I have healthy babies. I've always said it doesn't matter HOW the baby comes, so long as it does.
And while it is major surgery, it doesn't take away from the miracle of that little life that you made and carried inside you.
And there are benefits - that perfectly round head, more time in the hospital to wrap your mind around that little thing you get to take home, no incontinence, no worries of going to the bathroom when pushing, no worries about breathing techniques, oh, and vicodin. :-)
Really, I understand the guilt, but it will end up being such a tiny part of the whole process, it's hardly worth the worry. Focus on the miracle that is Jack - your body is not broken, it is amazing.

Robin said...

A close friend of mine had to have an emergency c-section after several hours of labor because the baby's head was just too big and wouldn't come through. She felt exactly the same way - as if she'd failed somehow. It's fairly common from other people I've spoken with.

I don't know how to counsel anyone on it, but it helped my friend to realize that her emotions were all wonky anyway from the pregnancy/post partum hormones and she probably wasn't looking at things in a logical way. Or even the way she would normally see them (she's not that logical to begin with.)

Asia'h Epperson said...

It is already a big miracle to carry the baby from day 1. Whether natural birth or c-section, it is a big achievement on your end. Cheers.

Sayre said...

My only child was a scheduled c-section. I do not regret it one bit. Do continue to go to the childbirth class though. I found the breathing techniques quite handy in dealing with the pain after the surgery. I was able to make do with far fewer meds afterwards than I would have otherwise. And you and the class still have something in common. You are awaiting the birth of your child! Sharing that with people who are THERE is priceless.

Circus Kelli said...

It is good that she gets some time to wrap her mind around another scheduled c-section. A planned c-section is far better than an emergency one.

I'll keep her and Jack in my thoughts.

Alissa said...

I think as mothers we are burdened with all types of guilt, did we eat right, did we sleep right, did we feed them right, did we take the right vitamins, should I work, should I stay home, am I holding them too much, etc. I find it helpful to concentrate on the miracle of this baby you created - in whatever manner you created him. Jack isn't going to care if he came out your birth canal, he's going to care about the love you all give him and I am sure there is plenty of that given the efforts you have gone through to get him here.

Jen said...

Sometimes I think we (women) get to wrapped up in what we should be able to do. We should be able to get pregnant by just thinking about it; we should be able to deliver perfect children with little to no drugs or trouble; we should be able to get through our day with out the help of medication...

I don't have children yet so I don't really know what it feels like but I do believe that no matter what the route the end result is what matters.

I hope everything goes well for your friend :)

Caro said...

This seems to be a very common reaction among women with fertility problems who end up needing a c-section. Fertility problems tend to leave us feeling broken in some way and there is anger and disappointment that our bodies can't even do this right.

Hopefully she will be able to rejoice in the arrival of a healthy baby however he arrives. Also there are many many blogs out there who express similar feelings - which might help her.

Rock the Cradle said...

You GREW the baby. You nurtured the baby. You went through the months of pregnancy and discomfort and raging emotions.

It's a disappointment, but try not to lose sight of all the wondrous things you have done!

Mayberry said...

My favorite anecdote about the topic is this. I had a c-section with my first baby. With my 2nd, I very much wanted to try for a vaginal birth. I got a LOT of flack. Meanwhile, a friend was also having her 2nd. Her first was a difficult birth, a preemie, tons of issues, so she opted for a scheduled section for #2. And guess what? Everyone gave HER a hard time too!

You can't win for losing! Incidentally, while I tried for a VBAC that 2nd time, it didn't happen. And today, I'm fine with it. Just a little wistful at times, but mostly it doesn't come up. I'm just happy for my health and my kids'.

Best wishes to your friend and baby Jack!

jakelliesmom said...

I had a scheduled c with my first. I was surprised, scared and a little angry when I found out (my boy was breech and wedged in rather oddly). In my childbirth class, I remember all of us sharing our worst fear of delivery, that we would try and then have to have a surgery instead of doing it the old fashioned way, but given that none of us had had children before, we had no idea of so many, many worse things that can happen than a c-section.

I managed to be induced and have VBAC with my girl, and while it certainly had its moments, there are parts of me that will never be the same having had this "gift."

Not every one is able to deliver. I never felt a surprise contraction or labored on my own, and if not for modern medicine, I would have likely been one of those who died in childbirth in the olden days. Thanks to medical intervention, here I am with two active happy kids. My belief is all that matters is a healthy baby, regardless of the delivery method.

Shannon said...

To Your Friend,

Ahhhhh. I've had 3 c-sections and wouldn't change a thing.

I'm happy that I don't have "birth incontinence" that so many moms I know have after having vaginal births.

No matter how your baby comes to the light, YOU GREW HIM IN YOUR BODY. You are still and will always be magnificant woman because of that fact.

My cervix wouldn't dialate during my first birth no matter how long they tried to soften it into submission.

For the second and third c-sections, I just didn't want to feel the paranoia of wondering if what I was feeling was a contraction or a tear in my uterus.

Women's bodies aren't all meant to bear children in the classic sense of vaginal birth.

And at least there will be one part of your body that hasn't been split and spread to death! LOL.

A nice tight vagina is a thing to behold!!

Jodi said...

One week before my first son's due date it was discovered that he was breech and a C-section was scheduled. Let's not get me started on how I'd been telling the doc for months that he was breech and the doc said, "No, the head's down here."

Anyway, there I was, totin' around a 10lb 9oz baby who was not coming out the regular exit. I freaked. I had all these plans of a natural birth. I acually told the doc that my mother had 2 breech babies vaginally and couldn't I do so? He looked like he would faint.

So I had a C-section. It took me years to get over feeling like a failure as a woman. What helped me resolve those feelings was giving birth vaginally to my second son, who weighed 9-8. Yeah, that was not fun. Let me tell you, nothing that big should come out down there.

Anyway, I know it is hard to accept that a C-section is FINE. And it is OK and normal to feel like you've failed in some way. But you haven't. You aren't issued your MOM card just because you stretch your vagina to unimaginable proportions.

Getting pregnant and giving birth do not define us as women, or even as mothers. What defines us as mothers are the hours, days, months, and years we spend caring for our children. Crying, yelling, cleaning up both ends of a sick child, driving to lessons and practices, saying no when it is easier to say yes, making plans that are cancelled at the last minute, insisting on sunscreen, giving up the coupe for the minivan, and cutting grapes into quarters until he is 4.

If you talk to lots of moms, you'll be surprised how many had C-sections. And most all of them are ambivalent about it. Why? When we create something so wonderful and so perfect, why should we for one minute doubt ourselves?

We shouldn't. It really is OK. I promise.

And congratulations. My grandfather was named Jack. He was a wonderful man.

Jodi said...

Oh, and one thing? I thought that by having a C-section I would be spared all that...ummm...drainage. Nope. Apparently although the doc has the door wide open he doesn't see it as an opportunity to go ahead and use the wet vac.

furiousBall said...

i had a really well thought out post about this, and then the phrase "nice tight vagina" in that comment up there just erased all thoughts i've ever had ever.

ever

Little Monkies said...

You are not alone in this feeling, friend of J. My friend had some intense feelings of loss after having a c-section after a difficult labor. She connected with a local support center for women who had c-sections and the support from the group helped her sort through her feelings. In those tender moments when you are cradling your babe, breathe in his beauty. That's where it matters most. I agree with the other posters that it's a miracle to carry the baby. Your strong body did that work, which is the most important work of all.

Andria said...

When I was close to delivering, I wanted everything to be as natural as possible. Afterall, I didn't get pregnant naturally, and instead had to rely on artificial means.
I ended up on Pitocin, and was floored. Dismayed that I couldn't even go into labor naturally.
It took some time, but I am over that now. You know what, what matters is that you a wonderful and loving mother. That is the greatest gift.

amy t sharp said...

I had two C-sections...I needed them and I will not buy into feeling bad about my womanhood. I also had trouble breastfeeding and tons of other things did not fall into place in my perfectly lined up ideas...no matter. When the baby is in the world- that is the time to fully embrace the natural...that is the time to be the best mama. that is the time. that is the time. we are so hard on ourselves. we are magic. we are women :)

The End of Motherhood? said...

I know that feeling of failure - my Oldest was a preemie and then I had to go on three months bedrest with my Middle and then MORE bedrest with Youngest. All I wanted - which seemed such a simple request - was to go into labor like a normal mother. Not to be. There is sadness there, and loss, and it is legitimate and take a while to process and a little piece of it never goes away.

BUT I realized that this was just what happens when you - for the first time - truly share a destiny with another human being. It one of the endless lessons of motherhood. You won't have control over so much that happens with your child. Learning how to deal with that loss of control and the vulnerability that comes with sharing a destiny with someone else - especially someone so tiny - is one of the great lessons of motherhood.

Look at it this way - you are just getting a head start on a lesson all mothers learn at some point!

PS No matter how he finds his way to you, the magic moment will be him face-to-face for the first time. Enjoy!

Mary said...

After going through fertility treatments (and a miscarriage although I have never experienced that piece) ANY change in your vision of how you become a mother can be devestating because you again have lost control over something it seems everyone else can manage with 2 hands tied behind their backs. I suppose the hormones associated with pregnancy can make the feelings even more intense.

However, giving birth vagainally does not define a mother let alone a woman. I am the mother (although not the only mother) of my two children even though they did not come out of my body at all. Going through fertility treatments was hard because it was the first thing I really wanted that I couldn't achieve. Then I remembered that my entire goal was to be a MOTHER not to BE PREGNANT or GIVE BIRTH and then everything fell into place.

Your friend will have a wonderful baby and be a great mother -- if it helps maybe she can think of this as the first part of being a wonderful mother -- giving up something that is important to HER for the health and happiness of her baby (who I imagine really doesn't care that much how he enters the world as long as he is healthy and has his healthy mom to take care of him).

The End of Motherhood? said...

Ooops. That last line should read "meeting him face-to-face!"

DD said...

As someone who is finally pregnant again through the luck of IVF and donor egg, I understand your friend's feelings of loss of control over her body over and over again...or so it seems.

It's hard not to grieve for the things that will never be: "natural" conception; vaginal births, breast-feeding, etc. Instead, turn that energy into the things that ARE.

She is going to have a son and the love of a mother and child is not measured or dimminshed because of any circumstances that led to that birth.

I'm lucky to also have a 6 year old son. When I kiss him good-night or cover him back up in the middle of the night or ruffle his sweaty hair during play, not once do I ever look at his face and think: oh, I wish I could have delivered you vaginally...

Amanda said...

There are so many things no one tells us about becoming parents, I think specifically for women there are all of these unspoken expectations. Breastfeeding or formula, vaginal birth or c-section, stay-at-home or work outside the house...so many avenues for judgement and guilt. The reality is we each do our best, whatever that is. Our time doing it is so short, it seems cruel we aren't better prepared for coping with th eguilt and pressure.

I think reading..."the small boy curled inside her belly who will be named Jack," says it all. The time in your belly and the time in your arms are what matter, not the brief interlude between in which he makes his entrance, it's going to be grand no matter what!

mamatulip said...

I've never had a c-section, but for a long time when I was pregnant with Oliver it seemed to be the way things were going to have to, and I felt many of the same feelings your friend is feeling now.

I'll be thinking of your friend and her son. Please let us know when she delivers.

Katrina said...

I agree with DD...Max was our IVF baby and we ended with a c-section. I gave birth vaginally with my first sons, but our docs were so kind and made this a great birth experience...I was even wanting a home birth this go so for me to find the c-section to be a warm, loving experience says a LOT!

I would advice she do as many of the special things she wanted with the "natural" birth as she can with the c-section: play some music that she loves, ask for quiet after Jack is born so they can marvel at the wonder that is he, etc. There are so many ways to make this a truly wonderful experience.

A shift from what she perceives to be losing to what a great day this can be is in order, but tell her to grieve the loss she feels and don't ignore it. She really can make a c-section to be a positive experience and she has time to plan a great day for her new son! Ours was amazing and hers can be too.

(Plus she should get an extra sparkly present from the hubby for having given birth AND having surgery. he has time to shop too.)

Mama DB said...

Both of my kids arrived via c-section. My first was Frank breech. I remember being scared and disappointed when I found out that a c-section had to be scheduled. I felt like a complete failure. I felt better after talking to two friends. One friend told me, "The end result is the same. You have a beautiful little baby that you know the doctors are taking care of and bringing into the world in the safest possible way for both you and the baby." The other friend had a c-section with her first and walked me through what to expect. I felt better after talking to her and less terrified.

Although I was disappointed, I made a list of things that were good about the c-section:

1. we knew what day and around what time our baby would arrive. Our relatives were able to make travel arrangements and my mother-in-law was able to take two weeks off of work to come and help us out. This was a wonderful bonding time for her and the baby.

2. I had time to get the house in order, make some meals, our friends set up a schedule to bring us food during the first month.

3. I had time to prepare myself. We had already taken the birth classes and the classes had touched on c-sections. I read up heavily on it. I felt prepared.

4. I knew I wouldn't have to go through labor and then possibly end up with an emergency c-section, which is so much harder on both the baby and the mother. And so much harder to recover from.

C-Section vs. vaginal births all equal out at about the 6 week mark. C-section is harder to recover from but oh, the baby is so wonderful, you just don't care once the baby is with you.

flutter said...

I completely understand this. Every woman should also be able to keep a child she carries, right?

I mean, in our heads?

She is giving him life, and doing it in the safest way possible for him. If that's not a mom, I don't know what is.

Anonymous said...

This issue is so close to my heart.

I am a die-hard, wanted to go naturally, 4 time c-sectioner. The
first two were after a couple days of labor and fairly unproductive
pushing (I tried VBAC with #2, to no avail), and the last two were a
foregone conclusion if any doctor was going to get within 3 miles of
me and a hospital. While I considered another VBAC attempt with #3,
I just enough fear, doubt and definite pressure from family, as well
as my midwife, to let that pipe dream go. So I did. And while I
have always been able to come back to the focus of my healthy babies
are what is most crucial, I have always regretted how they had to
enter the world. And I've felt guilty for that regret.

And then, this week, I saw The Business of Being Born, Ricki Lake's
pet project. I was blown away. Simultaneously, I felt validated,
and less isolated. And I decided that what I needed to do was be OK
with my sadness over the way my babies had to come, and allow myself
any grief I still felt (the last one was just one year ago). I have
grieved, but felt guilty. Other women, and doctors, say, at least
you can have children, or just be grateful they are healthy, or it
doesn't matter how they enter the world. So my feelings of loss
seemed unjustified, and self-pitying. Why couldn't I just move on,
completely, and not feel that wistful longing when another friend
would have the birth I dreamed of?

I believe now it is because it is a primal, natural desire. To
experience childbirth in the way we know our bodies are fundamentally
created to do so. That certainly doesn't mean we all can, but we
know, it is the intention of our shape, our form, the soft spots of
flesh, and curve of hips. We hear how empowering, how
transformative, the experience is, and long for knowing that,
intimately. And it shouldn't be selfish to want this.

Your friend may indeed not be able to have a vaginal birth, and she
may indeed be able to ultimately focus on the health and miracle of
her baby. But what I wanted to express is how much I think it is
important to be able to own any sadness, regret, longing or any other
feeling she may have over the issue. I have felt, until watching
that movie, unable to have permission to grieve what I feel is a very
real loss. Is it the loss of my child? Absolutely not. But it a
real loss, to me, nonetheless. We aren't allowed to have that loss,
or feel it even is one, when the outcome is a healthy baby. I think
that is wrong.

I would just say process this however she needs to, find someone who
will listen, if necessary, and not downplay whatever longing she has
for the birth to be different. While maybe it must be, a c-section
is nothing like what birth is intended to be. The sterile
environment, the many people in scrubs, the inability to get our
hands on the creature we've waited so long to meet, worked so hard to
nourish and protect. The recovery is harder, in most cases, and
limits our ability to get on with things at home. If we are sorry,
or sad, this has to be our lot, then so be it. It seems wrong to me
now to act as if this is just as OK, to not wish it could be
different. As if it is just as good. It isn't. Even if we have no
choice, it is definitely not our first choice, in an ideal world.
Obviously, we do not live in an ideal world. Therefore, we have to
process the alternatives. And it is OKAY if that is hard to do.

This is such a loaded issue, I fear I cannot even begin to do it
justice. I also don't mean to project my emotions on your friend. I
simply wanted to address this from an angle I've never been able see,
in my own experience, until very recently.

I wish your friend blessings on the next 6 weeks, and for the
delivery of her most amazing baby boy. Thank you for letting me
ramble on, it is indeed difficult to say these things succinctly.

allison
http://winomom.wordpress.com

Jenifer said...

Dear friend of Joy I have had two girls and the first delivery while a month early went pretty smoothly. My second girl was breach and no amount of convincing her to turn worked.

Did my body fail me? Maybe. Or maybe my girl was so darn comfy she didn't want to move.

Either way both times in the delivery room I held a small miracle in my arms and no matter how they got there or how they came out mattered one bit.

Best wishes and blessings to you and your family.

kittenpie said...

When I was pregnant with my pumpkinpie, she was breech until VERY late, and they began to plan a c-section. I wasn't too upset about it, because I figure that whatever is safest is best.

But then she turned, and I planned on delivering like they talked about in birthing classes, even though it scared the crap out of me. But I had always believed that I must have these big wide hips for something, and they should stand me in good stead. Not so. Pumpkinpie had a massive head, she never dropped, and eventually, her heart rate started going funny, so I had an emergency c. So here I am, having to dress around my big old hips, and with a c scar! Can you imagine?

But the truth of it is - I am happy she came out safe and healthy. I am happy that the c recovery was not nearly as bad as people make it out to be. and I kind of like the little side benefits - I can laugh and sneeze without peeing a little! I can wear normal sized tampons, and sex hasn't changed! It never hurt to pee after! pumpkinpie came out all gorgy and round-headed!

IN fact, I'm planning on doing it via c again, because I figure I've already been that road once, I know what I'm getting into, I've already ruined one exit, so why wreck the other, and I can get my tubes tied at the same time and take control of my reproductive future.

So really, while I know it might feel weird, and while society (and my mother) certainly seem to look down on the c and load it with some guilt, there are times when we have to consider what's right for us and what is safest for us first, and damn the torpedoes. I'm not saying I never feel defensive about it - I somehow always feel the need to say it was an emergency c, but in the end, I'd be a worse woman for letting that baby die instead of doing what had to be done. Don't let it worry you unduly. You're protecting yourself and your child, and that's what truly makes a mother, not a vaginal delivery.

Ok, Where Was I? said...

It's so wrong that so many women can feel they haven't done something well or right b/c of notions we all have about how the labor and delivery SHOULD go. As I've said on my own blog, YOU MADE PINKIE TOES!!! That's a huge deal--just wait til you see them in person and ponder that feat. You're in no way broken. Congrats!

Nancy said...

I never felt bad, guilty, or less than for having a C-section. I still don't.

The making and baking is so overshadowed once the cake is yours to marvel and savor!

Bless you and Jack!

Beck said...

My firstborn child, my Girl, was born by c-section and I felt bad about this for YEARS, like I was - as your friend wrote - broken. And then my second child was born via INCREDIBLY HARROWING vbac and I suddenly realized that there are many more important things than exactly how you deliver your children, like having them born healthy and well and to a healthy and well mother.
The most important thing is that you're both fine. Truly.

Law Student Hot Mama said...

Who cares how you give birth or how the baby got there as long as s/he's there? I just don't get it. Heck, I wish I'd had a C-Section with my 9 lbs. 6 oz. sunny-side-up baby! Maybe I just don't get the C-Section guilt or the "too posh to push" people. Why does it matter?

Mrs. Chicken said...

Our daughter presented breech. We found out two weeks before my due date that we needed to schedule a section.

We were given the option to try and turn her in the womb, which would have been painful to me, and which had a minimal chance of reversing her position.

It also presented the risk of fetal distress or death.

Though the chances of her being harmed were presented as minute, we wrestled over our decision. Major surgery was not something I anticipated, and not something I welcomed in the wake of my father's bloody death and multiple surgeries in the early months of my pregnancy.

I remember quite clearly sitting in the easy chair in our living room, weeping. My husband looked at me, and asked me what I though we should do. It was, after all, my body that would be cut open, my body that had betrayed me.

I opted for the surgery. The risks were greater for me if we had the operation, and lesser for her. No matter how small the chance of harming her was, it was simply not worth it for me to have a "real" birth.

It was the very first decision I made as her parent.

And it was the right one. When they opened me, they found a large fibroid tumor blocking her from turning. No doctor could have manipulated her into a head-down position. The surgery was also safer for me, as the six tumors they found put me at risk for bleeding out in a vaginal birth.

And her birth? As real as can be, realer than anything I have ever experienced.

Your friend is doing what she needs to do - being a parent, being a mother, protecting not only her child but herself.

Because that baby boy? He is going to need her to be around.

Peace to her, and all the happiness in the world.

ps - I am having a repeat scheduled section in August, for the same reasons. And I couldn't be happier with that.

xoxoxo

Anonymous said...

being the mommy to 4 children, all c-sections-i have often felt the same. but when i re-focus, i realize the truth of "it's not how they got into the world, but that they got here" is so very very true. does it make the child any less special? of course not. does it make the mommy any less special? not at all. the love is the greatest of all.

Aprylsantics said...

I'm going to go for the simple positives of having had two c-sections. First, perfect little round heads. Extra time to relax in the hospital with care and help. No labor. I don't regret my c-sections at all, even though I do wonder from time to time what labor would have been like. Carrying my children was satisfying enough.

MamaCarter said...

I took a birthing class. And while I blithely ignored the stuff about c-sections, thinking (wrongly) it wouldn't happen to me, I do remember one comment our instructor kept repeating. "Natural birth means having a kid out in the field" - i.e., no births are truly "natural" anymore, so don't beat yourself up about it.

Congratulations on the impending birth of your son. You will love him more than anything in the world (even more than now, if you can believe that!), and soon the exact process by which he arrived to draw his first breath will be a fading memory. By the time your scar fades you'll have completely glossed over that part, and will be focused on other, wonderful things....your son's every breath, cry, poop, expression, tantrum, moment of insanity, laughter, favorite toy, least favorite food, etc. Try not to fret. And treat yourself well afterwards!

creative-type dad said...

Hmmm...
A baby grew inside of her. That's pretty freakin' impressive.

And I don't see any kids walking around saying stuff like "My mother didn't love me because I was a C-Section birth"

April said...

I can understand your feelings of wanting to experience it the supposed "natural" way, but I agree with the others who have said in the end, it doesn't really matter.
Your feelings of being blue might come no matter what right now because of being pregnant so if it wasn't this, it'd be most likely something else.
Hang in there!

Magpie said...

That was me - IVF followed by a c-section. But, none of it matters. Because, I did make that kid - I did grow her in me and out of me.

Best to your friend.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

First of all, I want to send you a big virtual hug. It seems like mothers are so GOOD at feeling guilty about a multitude of things related to parenting and it starts with childbirth. Please don't beat yourself up mentally. When your son is here and you are holding him in your arms you will focus on taking care of him, and not how he got here.

I've had two c-sections. The first one was an emergency surgery after laboring all night. We were making no progress, they were giving me oxygen, having me stand up and use a birth bar, etc. It wiped me out physically and I felt so horrible that I just cried and cried. The good news is my second daughter was born via scheduled c-section and it was absolutely a fantastic experience. I felt so much better physically that it greatly influenced my mental state. I felt like I was truly able to enjoy her. I also had no problems nursing either of my daughters.

Good luck with everything, don't be too hard on yourself, and congratulations on your baby boy!!! This is the start of a grand and beautiful adventure. Don't let this detail get you down. The important thing is that you are a mother and he is your son, not how he arrived in this world.

p.s. my girls are 3 and 5 and they get a "kick" out of seeing the tummy scar where they were pulled out of my belly

Emily N said...

Dear FOJ (Friend of Joy), the previous commenters have said it all. I can understand your pain and disappointment, but what matters most is a healthy baby and healthy mom. The delivery is one day, the mothering is for the rest of your life. Little Jack won't remember anything about his delivery, but he'll thrive on the love you give him every day afterwards. One other note: My husband is a medical malpractice attorney. Many of the cases he works on are deliveries gone wrong, almost always vaginal deliveries. He brings home stories that break my heart. Truly, a healthy baby is the most important thing.

FishyGirl said...

I've had 4 csections. The first was after 19 hours of failed labor, excruciating labor, and I had some complications because of that labor. My daughter's umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice and her head was jammed up against my pelvis. If it had not been for c-sections, both my daughter and me would not be alive today. We would have died.

I could have tried a vbac, but ultimately decided that having a csection after laboring again, which is most likely what would have happened, wouldn't be fun. And I was right. My scheduled sections were WONDERFUL. My SIL delivered vaginally, yet she had all kinds of issues with sex and peeing as the result of huge tears, issues I never had. I got a few more days in the hospital to adjust to these huge changes, to get some help with the baby and with myself. And a scheduled section is breathtakingly easy. I was up walking around 5 hours after my second one.

All those hours in childbirth classes aren't wasted by any stretch. The breathing exercises were indispensible to me after my surgeries in helping me get mobile as fast as possible, and helped me take fewer pain meds - in fact, I had one percoset after the first birth and took nothing stronger than tylenol for the subsequent 3.

(a bit of practical assvice - get a small, firm pillow or a towel rolled up and secured with duct tape, and use that as counterpressure along your incision every time you need to use your abs, which is pretty much every time you move, plus when you cough, sneeze, or laugh. Trust me on this, this little trick is a godsend, and I didn't know about it until after my second surgery).

I want to reiterate, if not for my csections, none of my kids would be here. I wouldn't be here. I am no less a mother, their mother, because of how they got here. And you, friend of Joy, are no less of a mother, Jack's mother, because of how he will get here, either. What's most important is that you both come out safely in the end. Don't hesitate to do the hard work necessary to reach a place of peace about that. And if you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

Biddy said...

well, i've never given birth, but i have lots of friends who have had this issue. i just tell them that they are no less of a woman or mother because of having a c-section. you could still try to deliver the baby naturally, but the doctors are saying you should have a c-section because it's less risky for you and your precious baby.

you still MADE that baby, you just had some help. you've still CARRIED that baby inside of you and nourished him with your body. You will still give birth to him, with help from the doctors. and you know what? you'll be the one to continue nourishing him and helping him grow physically, mentally and spiritually!

Honeybell said...

Oh this makes me so sad! Not only have both of my boys been born by c-section, but I'm a labor and delivery nurse, so I see concerns like this a lot.

What we have to remember is that the ability to perform sections is a gift. The gift of ensuring the health of the mother and baby if it's needed. And one thing I always remind mothers of is, as hard as labor and vaginal birth are on the mom, it must also be a harrowing and painful experience for baby as well. And pgoodness is right on about the benefits.
There is nothing "broken" about needing medical help to conceive, or surgery to give birth. It is glorious. Miraculous. You will always have a birth story that demonstrates how much you wanted this child, and how loved he was before he even arrived.
The test of a mother is how she raises her children, not how she acquired them.

Cathy said...

I had to have an emergency C-section with my first.

I know exactly what you're describing. Afterward, I told my husband that I hadn't given birth. Rather, I'd had an operation, and that wasn't the same at all.

There's a grieving process, I think, in which you mourn the loss of that ideal birth.

Thing is, I know so many women who feel they were robbed of some divine moment -- and these had delivered vaginally.

There is no perfect birth. No body can meet the high expectations cultivated by 42 weeks of anticipation.

Don't focus on what you can't do. You have carried this baby. You will care for this baby. How the baby arrived is not a defining moment in motherhood. I promise.

Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

Wow - when you ask for the internets to respond, they sure deliver!

I've had 2 scheduled c-sections. I went into labor before the second one was scheduled, so I had to endure some pain before the spinal.

I do not feel guilty or even broken, but maybe a little ripped-off. Like I didn't get the chance to have what others thought was an amazing, natural experience.

Maybe also a bit like, I wonder if I could truly handle it. I think having a natural birth must be very empowering.

But. In the end, as many others have said, whether by vaginal or c-section birth, you will have a child.

Welcome baby Jack, however you come into the world!

Grim Reality Girl said...

Congratulations on Jack! A scheduled c-section is so much better than the emergency kind! I agree that it is good to continue the childbirth class -- they taught us a TON on early baby stuff. The breathing helps too when other injuries happen in your life :-) Guilt comes with the territory of motherhood -- consider yourself and early success! True motherhood is about you raising the child -- not how baby gets to the outside. ((((((((((((gentle hugs)))))))))))
You are already a great mother in that you are doing what is safe for you and the baby.

I celebrate you!

Best wishes to you and your family!

JaniceNW said...

All births are natural no matter the type as all children are natural. The baby is still your baby. He'll be worth it. (Until he's 14, then all bets are off, wink)

~JJ! said...

I send you positive thoughts friend.

All women have some sort of mommy guilt...If it's not from the birth experience, it's from the breastfeeding (or lack of being able to...in my case) Or the 'did I do the right thing?' thoughts...Or the 'sleeping alone vs. co-sleeping' Or....I could go on forever.

I'm sorry you feel so blue. I understand. Just look forward to holding that little bundle in your arms...That healthy little boy that you carried inside of you....He'll be here before you know it...and once he's in your arms, I hope you forget this blueness and love and appreciate the miracle of him forever.....

hugs.

Mimi aka pz5wjj said...

Oh, bless her heart! I had to have an emergency c-section with my first so was totally unprepared and had no time for the "guilt" -- I was more worried about the baby's life (and mine).

My 2nd & 3rd were miscarriages. My 4th was planned c-section.

I know she must feel worthless and like she said, "broken" -- but in the end, the doctors know what's best and so she knows this is the best for baby Jack.

Deep down, I'm sure she knows this. When she holds her little one in her arms, all those feelings will disappear.

And, after 30 hours of labor with Josh before the c-section, I can tell you it's the only way I'd have a baby!


Good luck friend!

Lottifish said...

I can understand your feelings but I'm so glad that you're having the c-section so that you and Jack can be safe. It's not about how he gets here, just that he's here safe and sound with a happy, healthy mama. Congratulations on your upcoming new baby!

Loralee Choate said...

I hesitate to say anything because I have never had a struggle to conceive or had to have a csection.

HOwever, I DO know the feeling of feeling broken and not being able to do things that women and mothers should be able to do.

Just know that there are a lot of people who relate and we all wish you and your family the best.

Wabi said...

I can understand feeling blue, because really, who wants surgery if you can go another route? But try not to feel guilty. You are picking the option that gives you the best shot at everyone getting through delivery in good shape. You are being a good mom by doing that.

And when it comes to uterine ruptures, I know of which I speak. I had one. You REALLY don't want to have one. So please take solace in following your doctor's lead. Getting a healthy baby at the end is the thing that matters most of all.

Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

Jess, I think you know this but of course your friend does not. My son Declan was born at 32 weeks via emergency c-section from a placental abruption. I was also a high risk pregnancy throughout because of my diabetes. I was poked and prodded the whole way, and then we nearly lost him at the end from something so completely different. And I am an A-1 control freak. So the sense of loss, the chaos, the fear - all of it - was overwhelming.

He was in the NICU for 6 weeks and struggled a teeny bit, but in the grand scheme, he was fine - and now is a very very healthy 5.5 year old boy.

And we have (for many, many reasons) decided 1 child is right for our family, so I won't have another go at pregnancy. At first, the send of loss and guilt over the abruption was very painful. But of course that is not a (sole) reason to have another child. So I worked through it... but I will tell ya, it took a while.

And even my VERY understanding and patient husband didn't get where my feelings were coming from, or why they were lingering, on that one.

The point of my rambling?

You are not alone.

Best wishes on a healthy rest of your pregnancy and trust me, snuggling with that little one will make it all better soon.

carrie said...

What you are feeling is completely normal. You are not alone.

My first was a c-section, as was my third (with one Vbac in the middle) so I understand what you're going through. You are not broken. It is just the safest way to get your precious Jack into this world.

While I feel lucky to have experienced a vaginal birth, it in no way made me feel like I did it "better" or the "right way."

However our children are born to us, it is a magical thing and please, please focus on the good, on the prize, your son.

You will be an awesome momma.

carrie said...

And yes, you will be well-attended to in the hospital. That is definitely a bonus!

Jo Beaufoix said...

With both my girls I had inductions so I really understand when you say;

"I felt broken because I can't do the basic things that all women are supposed to be able to do naturally."

I felt sad that althugh I could carry my babies, I couldn't seem to go into labour by myself. I longed for that slow build up that people talk about, the realization that 'it's time, we have to go.' But in the end I have two beautiful girls, and while at times I'm still a little wistful about not being able to do it all myself, I carried them, fed them, cherished them and nurtured them, and those are the really hard and really important bits. I wish you well in your delivery, and hope you get to cuddle your little boy very soon.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I've had a c-section and 2 VBAC's, and while I do feel like I have some interesting birth stories to tell, they have all resulted in the arrival of amazing little people who have totally changed my life for the better. I am so grateful for the c-section that delivered my upside-down daughter. I sense that after Jack is in your arms, how he arrived will matter little, just that he is there.

Rest assured, when you are up at 3am, holding a crying infant, wearing dirty PJ's and wondering when you last brushed your teeth, you will realize that you have earned the title of 'mom' just as much as the next person.

Many congratulations to you and enjoy the experience. A cesarean birth is still an amazing, mind-blowing, tear-inducing, magical experience.

Traceytreasure said...

This is TMI about me but I had my first (only son) in a hospital and it was very shocking because we'd prepared to bring him into the world via the Bradley Method. Being in the hospital bed strapped to a heart monitor (for him) was very hard for me. It was a complete nightmare. Just before he came out the doctor gave me an episiotomy and I tore. I had a 4th degree laceration that took over 40 stitches to repair. I thought the pain would kill me most days. I didn't want to eat anything for two weeks, I was in dire pain from all of the stitches. But we survived. Both of us! That's all that matters. He had a rocky introduction to the world but he's here and he's my hero! He just turned 16 and he lights up my life. I am wishing your friend well. However her son comes into the world doesn't matter. He's going to light up her life! Tell her congratulations from me!

DV said...

Amongst my friends whi have had babies, we have a very high proportion of women who have dlivered by C-Sections. Breech, cords in wrong places, trying to shove his huge forehead through first (mine), just not progressing and everyone getting distresssed are a few of the reasons.

This is why we celebrate 'The Dead Mothers Club'. We celebrate that we can have healthy babies and survive the process with thanks to modern medicine.

Embrace the fact that you can too and welcome to the club.

Kris said...

I have never had a c-section. But I do know that as a mother too many people are willing to offer me "advice". By advice in quotes, I mean they are happy to tell my why I am wrong and should feel guilty about whatever it is. I don't need other people's guilt I have plenty of my own!

Your friend needs to know that she is the BEST mama this baby will ever have. It doesn't matter how he's born, if he has sugar before he's 1, or if he's potty trained before he's 2. She is the one that loves him the most and would do anything to raise him strong and good.

Just keep repeating, "I am the best mama for Jack."

Blessings and peace.

Laura said...

My dear - please try to come to peace with the situation --- in the end, you will be well, and baby will be well - that is all that matters. Really.

For my first delivery I laboured to 10cm...was in active labour for 19 hours...had to have an emergency c-section.

For my second birth I wanted to try a VBAC. It was not to be. I had to have a c-section as nothing happened after my waters broke. We waited 21 hours...but baby was not ready and since it was less than a year since my last delivery I could not be induced. I started to have pains about 2 hours before they coudl do the surgery. Ended up my uterus reptured...I almost died...I am so thankful we did not try for a natural delivery. Baby and Mommy were saved.

For my 3rd delivery in Feb of 2007 - we opted for a planned c-section - but my water broke early and because the baby had some health issues, we were brought in for a c-section right away. Again - me and baby lived because of the c-section.

I am totally ok with having a c-section - but at times I get sad and think like you - I am broken and could not do it...but then I realize that medical intervention is there for a reason...no matter how it happens - it is the miracle of life, of birth.

I recommend you really have a birth plan made out. Yo ulearn about birth plans in the prenatal classes - I figured in my 3rd delivery I did not need one...but a nurse was wonderful and said - no, make one with all your wishes...we wanted skin to skin contact ASAP, we wanted to breast feed ASAP, we wanted as little fuss after the delivery as possible - and we wrote it all out - and the delivery was wonderful.

You are blessed...you will be having a baby...a little life - it does not matter how they enter this world...just that they enter surronded by love.

Best wishes and lots of love and postiive vibes to you.

Chantelle said...

That is exactly how I felt when I found out I couldn't breastfeed completely. After several days of pretty bad depression I finally talked to my mom about it. She had had to deliver me via c-section, and related immediately to my sense of failure, my feeling of being less of a woman. Hearing these things from her helped me greatly because never had I ever considered her less of a mother because she had delivered me one way rather than another and I knew that my son would never be less my son because he also drank formula in his first year.
You do the best you can and that is what makes you a great mother, not the achievements of some sort of motherhood ideals.

Kristin said...

Having a c-section in no way diminishes the power of birth or the amazing act your body has accomplished... it's going to be a beautiful and surreal and mind blowing experience... and that is just minute 1 of the rest of your life with your new, sweet Jack.

Best of Luck to you!!

Kristin (also mom to a Jack delivered via C-section)

Barb said...

Hang in there and don't beat yourself up. You are still an amazing woman and mother and although this is disappointing, there are advantages to this method of birth, as many have shared here. Best wishes and congratulations on your little boy!

jeanie said...

Due to some serious neurosurgery pre-motherhood, my sister was denied the "joy" of vaginal delivery with her two (her boy is also Jack).

Having only experienced the "joy" of vaginal delivery, let me say that in the grand scheme of motherhood things, it falls WAYY below the importance of little things like "healthy baby" and "healthy mother".

If you can - great, if not - still great - YOU GET A BABY.

And then the world can start picking on you about every single choice you ever make, and you can learn, over time, to ignore them.

motherbumper said...

Ah yes, switching gears - think of this as practice for all the gear switching ahead. The plans you have will turn into the plans that you ALL have. Take care and with a friend like J you will have excellent support.

Corgimom said...

Jack's Mom (and don't kid yourself that anything else about your ID will matter to others for a very long time!),
I agree with all of those who reiterate that the best birth is the one that puts your child into your arms, whatever the method. That child who forever after holds your heart in his tiny hands is truly the point.
I have no C-section or natural-birth story to share; my son is adopted, another method of perfect birthing.
Hang in there and PLEASE give OTJ permission to post a picture of Jack once he is out here where we can all see and welcome him!

Day Dreamer said...

You're able to do more than some and less than others with this delivery. Just like most parents can do more than some and less than others. Sure doesn't make you less of a parent. But he's coming either way!!! Beautifully written. I hope everything goes more than well.

Marilyn said...

I just had my fourth c-section last week. These feelings about c-sections are so completely normal and nothing to feel bad about. But the long and short of it is that c-section is just another way to give birth. It doesn't change the (wonderful) outcome and doesn't make you any less of a woman. Just focus on the good, the beautiful baby. And hey, you KNOW when that baby is going to be born. That is a HUGE advantage! :)

My best advice (which I'm pretty sure someone has already mentioned but I'm just going to say it again) is to get up and around as soon as you can while in the hospital. Don't be afraid to get out of bed and work on walking around. It really does help with recovery time and every time I've done this, I've been completely mobile by the time I've returned home.

Maggie said...

I don't know if this has been mentioned above or if it will come across all wrong but I'm going to give it a shot. I think that how the baby comes into the world (while joyous and fun) is not at all as important as what happens after he arrives. True test of motherhood comes when you haven't slept in days and get up for another feeding which she will, when you haven't showered yet and you are once again cleaning up a potty training mess reassuring your child through a smile that everyone makes mistakes, when they fall and you swoop them into your arms and kiss away the tears and so on. Those are the moments. Difficult now to focus on I am sure, but they will come and overshadow this so much. I wish her well and hope that she begins feeling optimistic soon.

foop said...

Lots of wonderful insights and encouragement here. I love this place.

I had my heart set on a natural birth and I was crushed when I found out I had to have a c-section. Afterward, I felt a great sense of loss.

My son is now four and I no longer feel sad about the c-section. I'm too busy marveling at his beautiful, amazing self.

Congratulations on your miracle. Your child is lucky to be born to a mommy who wants him so very much.

With love from me, my little man and my smile-shaped scar.

Frumpy Luv said...

I was blessed to not have conception problems – but I can so empathize with c-sections. I have had three children all delivered by emergency caesareans. With my first, I never experienced one contraction. By my second, I was determined to go V-bac, and ten hours of labor later my daughter went into distress and in we went for the c-section. I had heard these magical mystical out-of-body experiences where you get to reach down and touch the baby’s head and it is such a special moment, blah blah blah and felt like I wasn’t getting the real mom’s delivery deal through c-sections. After my ten-hour very hard labor experience I feel like a lot of that is a bunch of baloney. Yes, it is a shame that because of complications after my epidural the first words I said to my daughter as she was laid on my chest was “get her off of me,” but despite all of the having her cut out of me craziness that happened, the bonding experience I had with her was still absolutely indescribably amazing and beautiful. It is disappointing not to be able to deliver a baby exactly the way you want – and I so felt a bit inadequate for not being able to do things the way lots of other women can, but I really do feel like we get those special magical mystical moments a bit later – but they do come.

kellypea said...

Ahhh...the things we take for granted. You are such a good friend for doing this.

Although I did have three routine pregnancies and three normal births, I have recently had a complete hysterectomy, so have spent the last year of my life thinking about no longer having what made the birth of my three boys possible. But I am still me and I do have them.

Nothing else matters. Cherish this time!

Jennifer said...

I have had three c-sections. The first was unplanned, the second two were planned from the start. Please tell your friend that she will, indeed, be delivering her baby. Perhaps not in the way she imagined. But she will, most definitely, be bringing that baby into the world. Not one other woman would be able to birth her Jack: SHE is the mama, and SHE will be delivering her baby. In whatever way necessary to keep them both safe.

Lotta said...

They say that women that have difficulty getting pregnant tend to have more depression during the pregnancy, and are more susceptible to postpartum depression afterwards.

And nothing like depression to make you take on a heaping pile of ridiculous guilt!

Mamma said...

I tried to deliver vaginally both times, but the babies wouldn't cooperate. Yes, there is a part of me that wished I had given birth differently, but as my friend told me--there is no merit badge for birth. Undergoing the c-section is a birth process. And once those babies were in my arms, I honestly couldn't have cared if they had pulled them through my nose.

Good luck to your friend. I can't wait for her to experience the empowering feeling of bringing a child into this world. It is overwhelming.

Loth said...

I've had two c-sections, the first planned due to pre-eclampsia and the second emergency due to 2 days of labour followed by the discovery that my bouncing eight and a half pound son was breech. Ooops! The fact that you have carried and nurtured the baby is a miracle in itself. Your son, in the future when he is thinking of you as his mother, will not give a second's thought as to how he was delivered. All of his memories, all of the skill and effort of motherhood that really really matters starts to kick in the moment you hold your child in your arms. How he arrives is, in the great scheme of things, incidental.

Paige said...

I was induced and had a very rough time delivering. It took me some time to recover from that emotionally and physically. I have had friends who have had c-sections, one of whom told me "Honey, it was wonderful. Fifteen minutes and then you've got a baby."

Yes, all women are supposed to be able on some level. I understand the guilt and sadness and fear attached to delivery. But in time, the hardest, most guilt-inducing part just becomes the mere act of raising this little person who was once inside you. That's the most important part anyway.

Christina said...

My first was breech and I had a scheduled c-section as a result. I went through many of the same feelings of failure.

I had a VBAC with the second, and while I'm glad I got to experience it, I can tell you this: there is NO easy way to give birth.

Vaginal birth or c-section, you're still putting in a lot of work and a lot of recovery to have that baby. And having a safe delivery is all that matters.

Making the choice to sacrifice your own feelings of how this birth should go to ensure the safety of your son proves that you're already a great mother.

Candy said...

I guess every woman views this differently. We are raised to believe things will be a certain way, and we spend our lives fantasizing about every minute detail of it, until we begin to think it is The Truth.

I had two C-sections, similar to your first commenter, and I did not feel less a mother either. There are definite advantages and disadvantages. Now, they are 17 and 15 and I never look at them and think about the circumstances of their birth. In fact, it's all a bit hazy now anyway.

ImpostorMom said...

I had a C-section after 12 hours of labor and a baby that would not come down. It is an adjustment but ultimately motherhood has very little to do with the logistics of how the baby gets here.

I don't regret my decision because it was what was right in getting my son here safe and sound. That is my responsibility, to keep him safe. That started right there at the beginning.

It is perfectly fine to mourn the idea of how things "should" be but then you have to move on and prepare for how things are. I promise all the anxiety of what should have been will be forgotten when you hold that little man in your arms.

Honestly, I'm thrilled that if I have another it will be a scheduled C-section. Really, in my opinion that labor nonsense is totally overrated. :P

Oh and if your doc can use Dermabond instead of sutures or staples the recovery will be oh so much easier, no bandages or removal required.

Jen said...

The right way and the best way to birth a baby is whatever way is nessecery to keep baby and mother safe and healthy. It's ok to be dissapointed and sad but just keep reminding yourself that when all is said and done what really matters is that your little guy is in your arms. It doesn't matter how he got here, it just matters that he's here.
I recently gave birth to a surrogate child and the labor and delivery did not go how I hoped it would (more intervention that I would have liked) but honestly, none of that mattered once that baby was in his parent's arms. I bet it will be the same for you. Once you're holding your son you'll be so overwhelemed with how wonderful he is that you won't even care anymore how he got there.
Best wishes for you my dear, I'm sure you're going to do just beautifuly!
(Please keep us updated!)

ex-Expatriate Chef said...

After two hours of pushing and watching the kiddo's heart rate drop every time I pushed, enough. My pelvic bone is not shaped correctly and angles in. The only safe option was a section, and at the moment of deciding (they could have gone ahead and done it ugly and brutal with forceps) I only cared about my baby. And, that's all the matters, right? Birth is a few hours, a child is a lifetime.

If I read this right, she's having her second child? My husband doesn't want another child, and I would love one. That breaks my heart letting go of that wish as I get too old.

She's doubly blessed, and thank God that we're all in modern day when c-sections and fertility are possible so we CAN have a beautiful child we would not otherwise.

It's definitely not a time to dwell on the negatives of a c-section, but a time to celebrate a new baby and how much that means, and how great it is that is possible.

Janet said...

I can't do the basic things that all women are supposed to be able to do naturally.

I have a friend who said the exact same thing to me after her first resulted in a c-section. She now has two beautiful boys, one delivered by c-section, one not, and she views them equally as the extraordinary gifts they are.

All the best to your friend.

Carey said...

I understand how she is feeling. With my daughter, I was convinced that I would be able to experience a natural birth, like many women...but instead, I felt robbed. I sat through 8 weeks of child birth classes, coincidentally, missed the c-section part due to being sick and then when labor day came, I was rushed in for an emergency C-section. Not in my birthing plan.

For weeks I felt I failed as a mother, (on top of the c-section I also had trouble with breast feeding) I cryed and was angry...but in the end, I realized that how you deliver isn't what is important, it is what you are bringing into this world. And they won't think twice about how they were delivered, only that they have 2 great parents that have so much love for them.

Anonymous said...

My sister and I both had c-sections within a few weeks of each other. I realized that a hundred years ago, we both woudl have died within a few weeks of each other, leaving two grieving husbands, our parents, two siblings, and maybe even the babies behind.

I never felt bad at all about the surgical route. I feel greatful to modern medicine that I did not die from eclampsia, or post surgical infextion, or blood clots, or anything else that cousl go wrong and regulary kills women in other parts of the world.

I don't know if thinking of it that way will help you friend, but it pushed all thoughts of guilt out of my mind.

LaskiGal said...

So many amazing comments. So much love and support. I do hope you think about starting a blog . . .

All I can add to the wonderful comments (and it has been said, but can never be said enough)--being a mother is what it is all above. The birth is merely the entry way into the world. Holding his hands. Wiping his tears. Guiding his soul. Showing him the world. Giving him love. That is what it is all about. That is what matters. That is a mother . . . best to you.

Sugarplum's Mom said...

I'm behind in reading, so I didn't get to see this yesterday and I haven't gotten to read all the comments, but please give my best wishes to your friend. For us, the child birth classes helped give me some tools to deal with labor. It might be worth her while, if it doesn't make her too sad, to attend the classes anyway. My best friend is diabetic and both her children were scheduled c-sections. Her son decided to show up a week before his appt so she did experience labor for some time before she went into the operating room.
In the end, the goal is a healthy mommy and baby, and that's what she'll have. This will be the first big lesson that you can't plan everything about how your day will go with kids... this will be the first of many times her baby Jack will have other ideas. :)

FUN-ky Mama said...

I felt the same way. I was so disappointed to miss out on the age-old womanly rite of passage: childbirth. Sure, I had 3 kids, but I didn't push them out screaming and crying. It's ok to be disappointed about it. It is what it is.
And, congrats! =)

sparklykatt said...

After 7 years of infertility I finally gave birth to our little miracle last November. I was so sure I wanted a vaginal delivery and did every thing I could to not have a c-section. You wouldn't believe the things I did to get him to turn so he wasn't breach. Then during the delivery he just stopped moving down. They ended up going in and getting him with forceps. Turns out he had a nuchal cord that just was't letting him move down any more.

Let me just say...if a true miracle happened and I ever got pregnant again...I would have a scheduled c-section. Four plus months out and I still pee myself. Coughing is a disaster. I was in terrible pain for over two months b/c my episiotomy didn't heal right. I just finally had sex for the first time last week. And, I swear what used to be inside my vagina, is now kinda hanging outside.

So in hindsight...wish I had gone the c-section route.

Something our child birth educator and doula said to us...which really helped us keep things in perspective...is that the ultimate goal is a healthy baby and healthy mommy. If a c-section is what is needed to get there...so be it.

Besides...labor effing hurts! My first words after Kiel was born were "people really do this a second time? on purpose?"

kittenpie said...

I just have to add another comment because I just realized something...

We are loading this up as a new phenomenon, a western problem, a modern medical intervention disaster, something unnatural that women are now facing when other women have just been doing it for millennia. And you know what? That's just not true. Think about this for a little different perspective:

-women and babies used to die in childbirth because if it didn't go well, that was the result. The natural result of the occasional natural childbirth that doesn't go smoothly. I'll take unnatural over dead.

-C-sections have been performed for hundreds of years as a solution to this not-so-uncommon problem. Remember the end of MacBeth form high school? How MacDuff was untimely ripped from his mother's womb? C-section. Shakespeare was born in 1564. Not new.

-Women in Africa who have trouble delivering often have to wait until the child dies and shrinks within her until she can deliver it in this smaller form. I'll take a live baby over that horrifying experience any day. Need to gut me like a fish to make that happen? Carry on.

I just think we lose sight sometimes of the fact that this is nothing new, nothing that humans haven't faced even in the absence of hospitals for eons. We just like to load stuff up with guilt now, whereas before, it was tough to make the dead mom feel bad. Can you imagine how the moms whose babies needed to die to come out must feel? Honestly, nature isn't kind to humans, because all the progress, all the evolution, has left us with brain cavities too big to deliver easily and naturally, so we have to just stop comparing ourselves to animals who whelp themselves alone in the wild without complications. We are a whole different creature, and it's in fact quite natural for us to have trouble in birthing.

Sorry to be so long-winded, it just occurred to me that we are so focussed, we lose the long view, and sometimes, it can help to see it in a different light.

Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus) said...

I can't tell you how many times I've felt that same way about a plethora of things relating to my son. When his second ultrasound revealed that his heart may not have been fully formed and he may die, I felt like a failure. When I realized that my epidural (my choice) may have slowed labor and possibly contributed to him inhaling meconium and experiencing respiratory distress right after birth (he was limp like a rag doll), I felt like a failure and a horrible mother. When he was allergic to my own breast milk, causing his intestines to bleed, I felt like a failure physically. All those times, I thought, "I have not been able to do what a mother is supposed to do!"

Since then, I have fretted many a time over this or that that I am "not a good enough mother." It is our curse. And it is our children's blessing.

It means we care enough to worry.

It means we are good mothers.

When you are holding Jack, and imparting your great love upon him, the way he came into your arms will no longer matter.

I wish you peace, strength, and happiness.

Anonymous said...

As a hospital chaplain, I've been called too many times to labor and delivery when a baby hasn't made it for whatever reason. A live birth is a wonderful, 100% perfect birth, NO MATTER which method brings it about. The cries of a newborn sound the same, and bring the same surge of joy and awe, whether they come after a vaginal birth or during a C-section.

Damselfly said...

The mark of a true mother isn't in how you conceive or deliver a baby, but how you love and bring up your child. How wonderful for your friend to finally have the baby she yearned for!

BethGo said...

All I can say is thank God for c-sections. About two weeks before having my second child, my OB said some thing to the effect that I was going to have a great L&D. She jinxed me. We ended up with an emergency C that saved my son's life.
I have never felt a minute of guilt about my c-section because I know that without it, I would not have my beautiful son. And that is the truth.

catnip said...

I had an emergency c-section after 16 hours of labor. I was told later that 100 years ago both of us would have died. That put it all in perspective for me and I never regretted it. Later I realized the actual birth itself is such a small thing compared the total mothering experience. When we're pregnant all we can think about is giving birth, and how and when, but no one tells us how quickly it's forgotten once you have that baby in your arms.

I agree with the other posters about the benefits too! No cone headed, scrunchy faced baby - he'll come out perfect! No need for kegels, no episiotomy and all that goes with it! C-secs heal so much faster and with less pain.

No matter what, having a safe birth and a healthy baby is the most important thing. Wishing the best for you.