The PAIL monthly theme post is focused on birth. I wasn’t going to take part, because I’m sort of over the whole birth story/birth process obsession. I don’t like calling it that (an obsession), but I do feel that that’s what it is. When my older sister was having her kids, people weren’t asking her what her birth plan was, if she was going to try going natural, or telling her that her induction was a bad idea – and that was just 12 years ago. I don’t know what has changed since then, but something has. And that’s fine, but it’s just not my thing, you know?
I worked hard to conceive my kids – harder than most people I know. I’m not saying that to boost myself up or anything, I’m just saying it because it’s true – and it lends itself to my feelings on birth plans and birth stories. Because we struggled so much, with so many failed interventions, so many drugs, so many emotions, so many personal intrusions – I was just happy to be pregnant. How our kids got here after so much effort, failure, heartache, and marital agony did not matter to me. It just didn’t. Prior to IF, I was all about trying to deliver naturally, with no interventions at all, because my mother had and she said it was just no big deal. We have high pain thresholds in our family and I figured if I can handle the pain, then why the hell not, you know? But once IF hit, and we couldn’t get (or stay, if you count my way early loss) pregnant, I just didn’t care anymore how I brought that baby into the world – just as long as I got him here. That’s not to say that others care less than me about delivering their babies safely – I’m just saying that that’s ALL that mattered to me. Sure, I was disappointed that Matthew was breech and that I’d need a scheduled C-section, but I got over it quickly and actually embraced the idea.
So I wasn’t going to write this month because people are probably sick and tired of me saying I don’t give a hoot about birth plans (because I don’t). I do love to hear about birth, and I love an emotional birth story as much as the next gal, but birth plans in general – meh. To each his own, and I do envy those who have the will and guts to deliver at home (those are my very favorite birth stories), but to read in the comments of birth plan posts that you should try this, do that, change providers, hire a doula, flip that baby, fire your midwife? No – that’s not for me.
But I also wasn’t going to write this month because I just don’t feel included in the conversation when it comes to birth, because I have scheduled C-sections. This happens online, with my girlfriends, at the park, at the grocery store, at baby showers, etc. Anywhere and any time the topic of birth comes up, no one has interest in hearing about my stories – because all I did was wake up one morning, put some makeup on, show up at the hospital, sign some consent forms, and get cut open hip to hip. No biggie. There was no drama, no breaking of waters, no questioning of contractions, no rush to the hospital, no epidural, no urge to push – nothing. And no one wants to hear my war story because it’s hardly a war story.
I didn’t have the courage to write this until I read Keanne’s and Mrs. T’s posts, and let’s face it, how I’ve been made to feel by being ignored by other mothers doesn’t hold a candle to the feelings they describe. But I did read their posts and thought to myself, “oh I feel the same way, but different, but in so many ways the same. I get it!” I started to comment on their posts but then my comments turned into novels, making me want to put this out there for the world to see, and for my boys to read one day. When you don’t rush to the hospital in a panic, or make decisions for epidurals or emergency C-sections, or have a 3rd degree tear, or spend over 24 hours from start to finish to actually cross the finish line – no one wants to hear it – because they can’t relate.
My sons’ birth stories are valid, and believe it or not, they are interesting. They may be different from what you experienced, but they’re still birth stories of precious babies who were hard-won (like ALL babies). I can guarantee you that I was scared to death the first time I delivered via scheduled C-section because I didn’t know what to expect, just like you were scared to push your babies out of your vaginas. I promise you that I was even more scared the second time because I knew what to expect, and what I was expecting wasn’t fun. I have war stories to tell, they’re just not stories that most people can relate to because they think I “took” the easy route (as if I had a choice).
Every single birth, adoption, conception, and loss story is valid, whether you relate or not with the story-teller. Next time you talk about your birth, and someone says, “I had a scheduled C-section,” please include them in the discussion. Please ask them what their experience was like. Please don’t dismiss them because they didn’t have the same, or even remotely similar, experience as you. Please don’t shut them up with your sideways glance when they chime in and try desperately to relate to the rest of you.
Birth – in the end – it doesn’t matter how we got there – just that we did.