in just a few days, 18 months will have passed since the day a doctor cut open my abdomen and uterus to pull my son out. the act saved my son's life. while his heart rate had started to drop with contractions, more importantly, we had no idea that his two vessel cord had very small amounts of Wharton's jelly around it. this is the substance that keeps the umbilical cord from collapsing, twisting, etc. so that it stays open supplying oxygen and nutrients. if Asher had been born vaginally, it's very likely that he would have suffered brain damage and possibly even have died as a result of this. it's the reason his heart rate was dropping during contractions. as it is, we're pretty thankful he didn't pass away in utero.
but, that's not entirely what i'm here to talk about it. C-sections are often seen as the easy way out. no work. no pushing. you get a spinal block so you don't feel the contractions. it's like you didn't even really experience birth.
there are reason upon reason people have a C-section. some are medically necessary. some are by choice. not a single one of them gets my vote of disapproval. i'm learning that the best thing we can do is support other people's decisions, even if they're different from ours. even if from the outside, they make absolutely no sense, at all.
i'm not sad, at this point, that I had a C-section. it was necessary. it happened. my son is alive, and doing great.
but, let me tell you a few things about my experience so those who think that delivering vaginally is somehow better, can possibly empathize.
some people have to be put completely under for a C-section. my epidural, and then spinal block only worked on half of my body. I missed my son's first cries. I don't even have a video of it because things happened in an emergency fashion. I didn't get to see him at all until 8 hours after he was born. then, I was wheeled to the nicu where I got to look at him and touch him for a few minutes before going back to my room, because one of the many meds I was on made me unable to walk, stand, or stay awake for long periods of time..
I woke up from surgery, on my abdomen, to someone pushing on my abdomen. it's probably the closest I've ever come to punching someone. for me, I couldn't have Tylenol because my liver was failing, narcotics because I had, had a spinal block (that didn't work), and ibuprofen because of one of the other meds I was on. I woke up from abdominal surgery with NO pain control on board, and someone pushing on me.
getting in and out of my hospital bed, literally, required me to sit the bed up, and still took me at least five minutes because of the pain. coughing required holding myself, and bending over. and, when you've been intubated, you cough.
I couldn't lift anything over ten pounds for six weeks. at this time, I had a 25 pound three year old who couldn't walk, or climb, and a two story house. so for the next six weeks, I had to have someone home with me at all times to help me care for little. while i'm SO thankful to the friends who stepped up and sat with us, it was hard on the days that I wanted to just spend time figuring out breast feeding, and being a mother of three all by myself.
there is not a day that goes by that i don't see my scar. when i go to the bathroom. when i shower. when i change clothes. there it is. the reminder that my son was cut out of me. i can physically run my fingers over the place, and feel where the scalpel was.
but, the real kicker, for me, is that almost every day, for eighteen months, I've continued to have pain. I've had growing issues, and am amidst appointments and imaging. i likely have adhesions-a type of scar tissue that can happen with abdominal surgeries, and it's likely bad enough that i'll have to have something done. sometimes, when i cough or sneeze, i still have to put counter pressure on my scar to keep the pain at bay.
i'm not looking for a badge of courage for the way my son came into the world. i'm not looking for sympathy because of everything that went wrong. what i'm looking for is people to just walk along side and encourage others on their journey. everyone's journey can be different, and still good. it can be different, and still right. it can be different and still beautiful.
also, C-sections aren't an easy way out.