Monday, August 30, 2010

Juno has arrived

Well, I am no longer awaiting Juno, she has arrived, not in the way I lobbied for - elective cesarean at 39 weeks, but rather on her own without an epidural, after 5 hours of labour. She is a healthy baby who I love being a mom for...and my dissatisfaction with her birth is strictly limited to her birth and not the outcome. I have a healthy baby, but realistically I would have had a healthy baby either way. I am disappointed that the health system failed us, she waited until the surgery date, even the day after, but we got bumped and when she decided to come on her own, there was no anesthesiologist available due to other emergent surgeries. I'm coping with the aftermath, but also struggling with the need to continue to defend my original choice, even after it didn't materialize. I get no end of well meaning people telling me that it was for the best that I didn't get the csection. To that I say bullshit.

So what have been the consequences of having my autonomy completely disregarded and being subjected to a vaginal birth that I did not want?

1. I do not reflect upon her birth with happiness, rather I find such reflection stressful, my jaw tightens and I find it difficult not to get tearful. I associate it with being unprepared, being in immense pain, being out of control, and fear that things might go sideways that there might be long-lasting repercussions.

2. A sense of loss. Loss of autonomy, loss of experience, loss of the way I was.

3. Uncertainty around wanting a subsequent child - before this I thought I'd want two kids, now I'm not sure.

4. A sense of being let down by my care providers and the system.

Having experienced a vaginal birth, and having experienced open abdominal surgery, in hindsight I truly wish I would have been able to achieve the birth I had wanted. I wish my child would have been born in the calm environment of a surgical theatre, I wish I hadn't had to feel her passing through me - changing me in ways I didn't want to be changed, I wish I had felt in control of what was happening, I wish I had felt prepared for what would occur. I wish I could have stood on the other side of the experience, proud of the choice I made and it's consequences - but instead I stand on the other side somewhat alone as a woman who wanted the opposite of a natural birth who got a natural birth (fentanyl and gas do little for the pain of labour and delivery).

I love that I have a healthy daughter - however, I am not as well off as I would have been had I been able to achieve the birth I wanted.