Having a baby is such a wonderful event in anyone’s life. We are so thrilled to be welcoming a baby into our hearts and home in just a short time. Throughout this pregnancy, we have prepared, mentally and physically for a repeat natural childbirth at a birth center. At this time, though, it seems that our precious baby needs to keep his head up and we have been told that this could be his way of self-protecting, or telling us that he simply cannot turn down for his own safety and well-being.
I obviously want to do everything I can to provide health and safety for my son’s birth, but a breech position results in me losing a very important birth experience that I have planned for and looked forward to for many months now. I have done everything I can to get him to turn, but my midwife has told me that at this point, she does not see him turning. In fact, I have felt that he was not going to turn for a while now. So it is time to prepare for a c-section.
I have spoken with many medical professionals throughout this journey and they tell me that going from desiring a completely natural, out of hospital birth to a c-section can be very traumatic and that my emotional response is essentially a type of grief. Indeed, I feel as if I am grieving. I feel pulled in two different directions at all times, between wanting him to turn and adjusting to the fact that a c-section may be best for my little boy.
I wake up at night and feel his head in my ribs and cry, knowing that after everything I’ve done to prepare, I am losing so much. I am losing my ability to be an active participant in my baby’s birth. I am losing the ability to have my newborn baby placed directly on my chest, still wet from being inside me. I lose the intimate and beautiful beginning to being a new mom again. I lose the comfort of holding my baby first – until I am ready to let him go.
My most precious memories of Eliana’s birth were those first moments – when her body slipped out of me and Rebecca immediately cried out “my baby is here!”… Seeing her wet, tiny body, still attached to me but now placed on my chest… having my husband at my side and having Rebecca crawl up on the bed with me, meeting this precious new life together with me.
I am trading all that and more, for a cold, sterile operating room, full of people; heavy duty pain medication; major surgery and having my baby cut from my abdomen and taken away from me without more than a quick glance. I feel as if I am in fact losing the opportunity to give birth to my son.
I know that many women find a c-section to be a simple, even preferable procedure; a commonly performed surgery that is not that bad, not that big a deal. And indeed, in 3 months, looking back on my own experience with a c-section I may agree that it was not that bad after all – I still end up with a precious little boy to love and cherish. But right now it is a big deal. It is one of the biggest deals of my life – the prospect of undergoing major abdominal surgery for the health and safety of my child.
Friends ask me how I am doing. The truth is that I’m struggling. One friend who has helped many women through this exact same transition from natural birth to a c-section, told me that I am not making a bigger deal out of this than it is – that it is indeed a really big deal. Another friend, who recently went through this herself, told me that I have to grieve and process the experience and recognize that I am going to have major surgery but to remember that I will have my baby when it is all over.
While no one can tell me exactly how my recovery will go, or when I will feel up to visitors, both friends and every medical professional who has helped me to try to turn this baby have acknowledged that this is traumatic, and that my emotions surrounding this situation are valid. They encourage me to take the time and space I need to process and to recover after the baby is born.
I struggle to understand why God would allow this – why can I not have one pregnancy and birth experience that does not include a complication? Why after such a healthy pregnancy, does it have to end in an operating room instead of a peaceful birthing suite? The name we have chosen for our son, Zachary, means the Lord Remembered. My prayer now is that God will show me through each person I come in contact with as I walk this path, that He remembered me; that even when life is not ideal or easy, that He remembered me. That when emotions run high, when tears are plentiful and when pain is a big part of the process, that He remembered me.
And to all you moms out there who are facing a planned, unwanted c-section due to a breech position or other reason, here’s me giving you a big hug because I know how very difficult and painful the process is.