Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Things We Do For Love

Five months, two days out. And some days, the Cesarean section is still firmly on my mind.

I think there are a few different types of people out there. To some, having a C-section is sort of like getting a cavity filled. No huge deal, it's done every day, blah blah blah. To others, of course a vaginal birth is ideal, but good old technology is always there to lend a helpful hand, so get over it. As always, there remains that ever-present refrain:

"At least you have a healthy baby."
Of course I do. I grew her myself. I prepped my body for one whole year pre-conception. I ate organic produce and milk, took prenatals, ran and did Pilate's. I read, did research, and listened to my instincts. During pregnancy, I ate organically, took prenatals, did Pre-natal Yoga, did research, and listened to my body. The big difference is- we did not choose a hospital birth. Not for us, and sure as hell not for our baby. Not at first. A huge difference in our eventual C-section was that it wasn't programmed out by doctors, our labor wasn't on the clock, and together, in the dark bathroom of the green room at the birth center, Mr. Clarateaches and I both made the gut-wrenching decision to choose something we absolutely did not want, in order to make sure that tiny, wrinkly little girl was okay.
One persistently asynclintic head later, one ambulance ride later, one hoarse command-fest to the entire OR staff later... my abdominal skin, muscles, peritoneal cavity, and uterus were sliced open and my little girl was pulled out of me. My incredible surgeon, God forever bless her, took a lot of time stitching everything separately so that a VBAC is a huge probability in the future. I think she realized, as I was shouting (in my laryngitis voice) at the surgeons, anesthesiologist, nurses and techs all of my "Do Not Consents," that even though I was a first time mom, I had clearly done some research. She saw my heartache, and she was what she is supposed to be- a doctor. Not a medical business practitioner, she was a true, good old fashioned service provider. She did no harm.
Laying on the OR table, with my arms stretched out to my sides (and blissfully, not tied down), in my darkest moments, I tried to imagine what Mr. Clarateaches was going to do by himself with a baby. Surely I was dying- this had to be the way dying feels. It feels like your world is upside down and everything you worked so hard for was shaken and blended and poured onto the ground and stomped on. As the doctors worked, I mentally wrote my will.
Then, she was there.
With my nose. And my forehead. And my cleft chin. What an odd thing for a girl to have. There was the bump on the side of her head where she originally crowned, so many hours ago, when I left the birth center. Death vanished. I had a job to do. Even though I had made this choice for her, I still remained firm and unmoving about everything else we had decided: no over the top meds for me, we were breastfeeding and she was not leaving our room without one of us, and no one was injecting her with a single, solitary substance. Each and every shift of nurses made sure to mention to me that they don't give out medals to C-section recovering moms who only take Tylenol 3 and breastfeed their baby over the layers of incisions. They had obviously never failed their child on her first birth-day before.
The next several weeks were not pretty. Baby Blues is a song about eye color, not the name of what I went through- not even close. They need to rename it- maybe call it Dark Time. Nothing Time.
Five months out, though, I can safely say I'm fine. I'm good. In fact, some days I feel great. The new me actually believes in her body again. Most importantly, I look at the way Mr. Clarateaches and I are forming our family, and feel blessed. I'll always mourn my C-section. That has nothing to do with my little Gianna, though. The best part is that the C-section gets further and further behind me every day, while my girl grows and thrives.

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