Today I read the tale of JenniferG - today is the 8th anniversary of her daughter's death. Reading the story of her daughter's, Emily Hope's, birth and death - brought tears to my eyes.
I make no bones about never wanting to have to have experienced a vaginal birth in the first place - I was perfectly okay with idea that I would never know what a contraction would be like, that I would never know if *I could* have a vaginal birth. I had no desire to "see what my body could do". I had my reasons for wanting an elective c-section with my first pregnancy. A whole raft of reasons - but I never really examined what was likely a very primary motivation for lobbying for an elective c-section in the first place - the minimization of the risk of a truly catastrophic outcome for my child.
My number one priority after having worried about whether or not I'd ever get pregnant in the first place (Juno was a vasectomy reversal baby) was that after 9 months of pregnancy, I'd bring home a healthy baby.
I was perfectly okay trading an increased risk of transient tachynpea of the newborn (read short-term respiratory problem, perhaps a couple days in a NICU), an increased risk that my child could be nicked during delivery, an increased risk of infection, an increased risk of a lengthier recovery, an increased risk of placenta problems in a later pregnancy (note: I have always planned on a family size of at least 1 and not more than 2), if it meant that my child that I was already carrying would have a much lower risk of lifetime disability or death. I was terrified during labour and delivery - terrified that things would go sideways, and that my child would pay the ultimate price of a vaginal delivery - particularly, after I had chosen to avoid a vaginal delivery.
I know that birth injuries and death as a result of the normal birth process are exceedingly rare. However, I also know that they happen. I also knew I didn't want my child to be that unlucky 1 in 2,000. I babysat a kid with mild to moderate cerebral palsy when I was a teen - a red-headed smiley boy with two brothers. There was something truly tragic to knowing that he wouldn't have to struggle with his disabilities if only his birth had gone differently. I also have an uncle who is disabled as a result of a traumatic forceps delivery. I'm sure their mothers would have happily traded a four-to-five inch cesarean scar and a slightly longer recovery if it meant that their children would have the same opportunities as their siblings. What mother wouldn't?
What mother wouldn't trade a "normal birth" for a much higher chance of a "normal life"?