Your Birth Story: All You Wanted It To Be?

Babies 11-10-07 011

There’s been an interesting discussion going on at Esperanza’s blog about birth plans.

Here’s where I admit I have noticed there seems to be an increased emphasis in my circle (blogging and real-life) on putting together detailed birth plans and becoming upset if the experience doesn’t match expectations. And I have been shaking my head over this, feeling like I am missing something.

And I think I am. Truly. It’s not you, it’s me.

Even when I was a young woman, I never really imagined giving birth. I saw it as a means to an end, sure. To becoming a parent and that was the good stuff. But college friends and I shivered with fear when we imagined the pain, the scariness, the whole experience really. Why is this?

Well, my mother’s own labor with me was anything but textbook. It’s a family saying that I made headlines the day I was born, because I actually did. My mom was sent home from the hospital in the middle of labor (she had back labor, they didn’t notice) and she started going into the late stages of labor at our home. This was back before the days of 911. Luckily, my parents lived one block away from the local fire station. My dad panicked, ran down the street, brought the firemen back to their home and they helped give birth to me in the nick of time. I’m one of a very small number of people born in Sausalito, which is a source of pride for me, because I love that town and it is so beautiful and idyllic. But the birth took a heavy toll on my mother. She flatlined in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. We’re lucky she’s still here.

Meanwhile, the firemen were interviewed for the papers and a good story was “born.”

When I was diagnosed with infertility, then Diminished Ovarian Reserve, I honestly never thought I’d have children at all. When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I did nothing but focus on the day at hand. I made no plans of any sort.

My pregnancy was very complicated. Among the many complications: a low-lying placenta, one baby that was breech and one baby that was transverse. I don’t think there is a midwife or OBGyn in the land that would not have recommended a C-section. So I knew that I would have one. No question, no decision: it was what it was.

I wasn’t disappointed, either. Honestly? My expectations were nil. I wasn’t convinced the babies were out of danger until I actually heard them cry. I cared absolutely not at all for my experience giving birth. (Nor did it even occur to me to care.) I just wanted to be comfortable so I could greet them. Which I was. My OBGyn did an excellent job stitching me up (my scar is minimal). I did have a horrible day the second day (Oh, the pain! And the scary allergic reaction to a pain medication) but I was so focused on being a mother that I barely even gave my birth a second thought. I do remember that Darcy told me he loved me right before the babies were born, which he never says unless we’re about to die in a plane crash or we’re getting married. He believes his actions say he loves me every day. Still, it’s nice to hear 🙂

I don’t want this to devolve into a natural birth vs. medicated birth discussion at all. I respect both points of view and that’s not what this is about.

But I have noticed women expressing pain and remorse and sometimes blaming themselves if their birth plans don’t work out and that makes me sad for them.

I commented on Esperanza’s post:

“But I see the birth experience similarly to how I see a wedding. Maybe you’ll be lucky to have the wedding you always dreamed of: your parents have a lot of $ or you have the DIY skills to put on the most awesome wedding ever. But the wedding is one day. Just one day.

Your marriage is for life.

And so, your birth is one day. Maybe it rains on your wedding day, maybe you can’t afford a big wedding so you elope. Maybe you go to City Hall.
This doesn’t mean you won’t have an excellent marriage! My parents eloped and they’ve been married 45 years.

Similarly, your birth experience is one day. It’s such a small part of the overall experience of parenting.”

I don’t want to negate any feelings women have about disappointing experiences, but more find out why increasingly birth experiences matter? And I mean when a healthy baby was delivered, not with a scary or bad outcome. 😦

Was your birth experience all you wanted it to be? Did you care about what kind of birth experience you had or will have? Am I totally bizarre for being so blase about this?

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31 Comments

Filed under Infertility, Parenting After IF

31 responses to “Your Birth Story: All You Wanted It To Be?

  1. I’m with you: my birth story was a healthy, living baby. Yes, perhaps my experience was different in that I wasn’t actually giving birth. F and I agreed early on about her requirements for the birth (epidural). If she had wanted an uber natural birth, I might have been uncomfortable. Honestly, I think I failed to prepare for our birth experience. I’m still a little in shock at witnessing my son emerge from another woman’s vagina and uterus. If we do it again, I’m requesting a Valium for my nerves.

    I don’t think I would have been much different if I had been able to carry & give birth to our child. I read Naomi Wolf’s Misconception years before thinking about TTC & I remember being impressed by her info on how birth differed in the US from other countries.

    I’m practical, though. I thought giving birth without pain meds was barbaric. I wouldn’t undergo surgery without relief; why should birth be different? I never had any fantasy about a perfect, primal birth. Maybe I’m squeamish, but birth seemed like a necessary means to the end of getting the child here. Why make it more difficult or painful than necessary?

    But that’s just me.

    • I read “Beauty Myth” but not “Misconception” – is it like “The Business of Being Born?”

      • Misconception was more about the entire pregnancy & child rearing experience & how women get the shaft basically. It’s a good read.

        I apologize if I offended anyone w/ my use of “barbaric.” It probably wasn’t the best word to choose. I was trying to comment quickly & yesterday had been a rough day.

        Despite having no expectations about D’s birth, I will say I was a little disappointed & surprised b/c his labor progressed so rapidly that when we all got to the hospital, F was almost fully dilated and ready to push. She was in a lot of pain & just barely had time for the epidural. I felt humbled and awful that she was going through that for us. Seeing someone in late labor is astonishing. I had thought we’d have more time and I pictured us chatting in the room as she dilated, getting ready for D’s birth.

      • Love you KeAnne. I truly wasn’t upset – it’s just hard for me to see words like “barbaric” used because terms like that get thrown around and (I feel) needlessly scare a lot of women. Birth has gotta happen and the baby has to come out, one way or another, and too many pregnant people are petrified of it because all they see is the dramatized crap that sells movies and makes good TV! I guess I need to take that up with the producers though, eh? 🙂

        I can’t even imagine being in your position in the birthing room – watching your own child be born. I really can’t!

  2. I don’t get it either, and I truly worry about people who let it be EVERYTHING to them. I have been stunned by comments on blogs encouraging natural births for situations that the blogger’s physicians aren’t comfortable (breech presentation, twins, VBAC, gestational diabetes). There seems to be a real push for “the ideal birth” which is often described as un-medicated and fully natural. The ideal birth to me is the one that places my baby safely in my arms. Period. I have a doctor or midwife for a reason and for their professional experience. I hate saying it, but I am just the patient and I need their professional opinions and decisions. Just because I’m the mom does not mean I know what’s best, even for myself, all the time.

    Because of this recent fascination/desire for the ideal, natural birth, I find myself feeling the need to defend the medical decisions made by my medical team to ensure the safest delivery of my kids. I’ve put disclaimers in my posts asking that people not comment on their opinions about my medical situation, and that’s troublesome to me. Yes, it’s my own problem, but I don’t want to be judged. From reading comments on others blogs, I know this judgment happens a lot.

    I respect you a great deal for putting this out there, and E for starting it. Bravo!!!! (I knew you’d post something on this, and quickly!)

    • I understand how you might feel judged. I feel that way about breastfeeding (it didn’t work for me).

      I guess perhaps the biggest concern, which you touch on here, is that so many of us in the infertility community fall into the “high-risk” category, High-riskers are a different animal, we don’t have the same choices as many others. In my case, I didn’t have any choices. Which I think maybe might have been a blessing in disguise?

      All paths are valid.

  3. SRB

    I wrote a birth preferences document for both births. Doing so was important for me to be an active participant in my experience and learn with my partner, among other reasons that are very personal.

    My first birth experience was devastating because I was not treated like a human being. . It was traumatic. It contributed greatly to my PPD. It was not because my “plans” were not respected. It was because *I* was not respected. As a person, as a woman on the most important day of my life. A day I went through hell to get through. It was more than just a day to me. It wasn’t that it didn’t go according to plan. It wasn’t being disappointed or high expectations. It’s that I was treated like I didn’t matter. And that MATTERS. I deserved better. I don’t believe that a healthy baby is the only thing that matters, especially given the pain I lived through to get there. I mattered, my partner mattered but we were devastated by our experience and “care.” I grieved it, enormously. I won’t ever apologize or be made to feel ashamed of that again.

    My second birth was the polar opposite – a healing and empowering experience for me. Not because of how or where I gave birth, but how I was treated throughout my pregnancy and birthing time. That’s what it’s about for me – respect for the woman, her partner and their preferences. It matters. I wish every woman peace in her birthing journey, whatever it may look like, however long it takes her.

    If you’re interested, I discuss the emotional aspects of both in more detail here:
    #1: http://littlechickennugget.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/yes-at-least/

    #2: http://littlechickennugget.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/there-is-a-placenta-in-my-freezer/

    • First of all, thank you very much for sharing your story. I wanted to learn.

      I just read your account. Yikes. They were jerks, especially that doctor. I’m really sorry. 😦

      This really struck me:

      “That is how it felt. After all the failures in trying to even conceive this baby, I couldn’t even birth him properly. I had failed again.

      That feeling of failure was REAL and pervasive. Another in a long list of failures in my journey through infertility and loss.”

      I have felt this way from time to time about breastfeeding, which I failed at. Most of what I did with the twins: conception, birth – it was all out of my control. And sometimes I think in this world I live in were being natural is revered, (where E and I live, home births, extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, cloth diapers, staggered vaccinations is the norm and not the exception and Ana May Gaskin is the ultimate birthing authority) I am mostly a freak. So I get your thoughts on this.

      I’m really happy you were able to get your great water birth experience. I’m proud of you for doing that and really glad it was everything you hoped it would be.

      I guess I wish we lived in a place where there was no stigma on feeling like a failure, no matter what path we’re on. But that’s probably impossible…

      I know birth plans can be a contentious topic for everyone, but I think dialogue helps us to understand each other.

      Thanks again.

      • SRB

        Talking helps reduce the stigma. Truly. It’s important as a community of women that we talk openly and without judgement about. Wishing each other peace and fulfilment in our mothering will only serve to better us. An honest conversation like this is a good step.

      • I just wanted to say Ditto to all of this. I really appreciate this respectful dialogue and I definitely better understand where others are coming from hearing your story, SRB. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. I wonder… I guess I wonder a lot of things. 🙂

    First off, I wonder how much this was a non-issue for you because you knew early on that a c-section was the route you would take? It would obviously have negated a bunch of the research I have done / questions I have had if I knew that I would be high-risk in any manner and the home birth I am hoping to have was out of the question (same goes for the hospital birth I had the first time). I would think your mindset about birth would be totally different if you were going into it from that perspective early on – I’m sure it would have been for me!

    Also, while I definitely never dreamed of giving birth when I was younger, nor did I dream of my wedding day or anything else like that. I also never feared giving birth, and I think a lot of that has to do with MY mother’s experience. She gave birth to 5 kids – all natural – all in a hospital – and the only complication was caused by the hasty OB with #3 when he tried to manually dislodge her placenta before it was ready. She wasn’t doing “natural” to prove a point or be cool or follow a trend – she did it because she felt like childbirth was a natural part of life that women all around the world are doing at every second of the day, and she didn’t understand why it was becoming so medicalized. She did it because it felt right to her. The doctors thought she was crazy (based on their notes – which are pretty funny to read actually!), but she was only requesting basic things like the freedom to move around during labor instead of be given an epidural and strapped to the table with legs in stirrups (which was the norm back then).

    So yeah, I guess I’ve always had this mindset that birth was a pretty normal thing, and it isn’t “barbaric” to give birth without meds at all. I truly believe a lot of the pain women experience is caused because of their own fear and tenseness (and FWIW, I had back labor and pushed for 2+ hours to get her out). It was still totally manageable for me with using my HypnoBabies techniques (intense, yes, but manageable), and I was 100% alert and aware and present when I pulled my baby onto my chest (which was the #1 goal I had with giving birth that way). It wasn’t to prove a point or be cool.

    Finally, I can’t remember the last time I read anyone say anything negative about their birth story because of plans going awry unless it involved something truly traumatic happening. For me, I was definitely one of those people with a pretty detailed (yet simple) birth “plan” – and that was the right choice for me because it helped me feel prepared and relaxed going into my birthing time. I wasn’t going to lower my expectations for how awesome my birth experience could be just to avoid being sad if things changed. The ultimate goal was always the healthy baby in my arms.

    • Thanks Josie. That’s really interesting about your Mom!

      I’m sure I WAS in an easier position to accept my C-section, since it was without a doubt the only option. How rare that is in today’s Google age, where every option you could make has 10 different possibilities? There was no research to be done, no questions to be answered. High-risk pregnancies are a totally different animal, no question.

      In reading Soulemama’s accounts (You may not know this but I am actually fairly crunchy, all appearances to the contrary. 😉 I grow my own vegetables and fruit and can and do all organic and local, and Amanda Soule is totally my Martha Stewart. If you’ve never been to her site, you’re in for a treat! http://www.soulemama.com/) I understood for the first time how cool birth could be while reading about her home-based births. (Warning: she’s super fertile. She’s had 5 kids.)

      I am learning from you and SRB. 🙂

    • Your point about your mother’s exoerience reminded me of my own mom’s. When she gave birth to me in 1977, natural birth was all the rage in NC. My birth was fairly painful for her b/c they had to break her tailbone to get me out. I grew up hearing that story & how she marveled at seeing laboring women w/ epidurals now (she works in a hospital). Undoubtedly that story influenced me as I’ve always felt bad for her and somewhat guilty about her birth experience.

      • jjiraffe – I really do read your blog often -just rarely comment. 🙂 FWIW – I don’t think that a person has to parent a certain way to be a great parent! I truly don’t care if a person cloth diapers or not, has a “natural birth” (whatever that is supposed to mean – I prefer “unmedicated,” because all birth’s are natural!! though I’ve been failing at being clear with that terminology lately), etc. If you’re doing what you believe is best for you child, you’re probably doing a pretty good job. 🙂 I’ll have to check out soulemama!

        Keanne – I was born in 1981 in rural MN, and natural birth was NOT the rage there. It’s so interesting to me how different parts of our country are consistently so different on a million things – even birth. I know I live in a pretty “crunchy” part of the US now (my birth plan is easily accepted here b/c it’s SO common, and I’m sure I get looked down on for more often using my stroller than baby wearing *grin*), and I’m also sure that affects my beliefs on things too! Ugh, shitty about your Mom – obviously not your fault, but still one of those things you somehow feel guilty about!

  5. Most of these apologies are related to my Mormon mindset, but I will start with one that has no relation to the faith of my childhood. While I was pregnant I wrote a post called I’m Gonna Climb That Mountain (those who were hurt by this post have requested that it be made unavailable to the public so that the hurtful messages I voiced within it can’t be spread any further). I’m not sure anymore what I was trying to convey, but reading back over it I can see that it was a terrible post and I said a lot of hurtful things. I’ve been ashamed of that post for a long time, but haven’t allowed myself to take it down because I didn’t want to hide behind my ability to make posts private or delete them altogether. I think women should birth how and where they want. I am sorry that I made any woman feel like her birth plans or birth experience weren’t good enough. I think mothers should have every opportunity to choose the birth experience that leaves them feeling empowered and triumphant, because that is how I felt after the births of my babies and that is what I want every woman to have as well. I think that some women do everything they can to give birth a certain way and it turns out to be something else entirely. Those women should have the opportunity to grieve the loss of a great dream while they simultaneously celebrate the arrival of their little one(s), and no one should ever criticize them for doing so. There is no mountain. There’s just a pregnant woman doing her best for the life she carries inside of her, and then there is a beautiful mother doing her best for her child.

  6. Interesting. I blogged reasonably recently about my birthing experience in more detail, but will try and keep it brief here.
    My ‘ideal’ was the natural drug-free experience and I hoped to birth in water although I wasn’t fixated on this, just that I get to go in the tub *at some point*. If drugs were required and my wussy pain threshold proved to be as remarkably low as I half-anticipated, then I was rather looking forward to the opportunity to sample hospital-grade opiates in a ‘safe’ environment. My birthplan reflected all this, all the while I was aware that births don’t always “go as planned”, so it was very much just that: an ideal.
    The labour started off normally enough and I think its because that aspect of the birth experience was the part I had ‘visualised’ and it happened that I had that private time with Mr Stinky. That was easier to resolve when things failed to progress and one by one, everything I had indicated on my birth plan that I *didn’t* want started to eventuate.

    I also think that I would have possibly found this harder to come to terms with had I given birth 4 years ago (wanted homebirth, hired tubetc), but that the ‘blessing’ of loss and infertility issues led me to not really be surprised by anything not really turning out as planned. And I know its cliche but I really didn’t care once NB was out and shown to be ok. The extra time in the hospital, as opposed to being turfed out the next day, gave me time to get my head around breastfeeding a bit more. I know of people who have struggled to come to terms with how it all unfolded, and I think its all real and valid however you feel but for me, personally, I was fine with it. The epidural was a blessed relief, and the C section meant I retain intact ladybits, just a funky bikini scar to show for my troubles!!

  7. Hi J– it took me forever to get to an actual working computer…I meant to comment on this earlier.

    I’ll preface this by saying that I spent five years trying to conceive and finally doing so through IVF. I had a very difficult time coming to peace with how medicalized things had been with the process of conceiving and so I sought to have a “natural” birth.

    Ricki Lake’s documentary was making the rounds then (this was 2008) and I had long been involved in more “non-traditional” or homeopathic circles — not seeking out allopathic medicine as the first line — obviously — since I tried every avenue before finally turning to IVF.

    My mother gave birth to me three months early. I was 2lbs 5 oz and it was 1972. This is all to say I didn’t have a parental model to follow — and my own mother’s story was so extreme that I didn’t look to it – she couldn’t help me with either the experience of birth, nor newborn life — none of it.

    I set up a birth plan with a doula — but when at 40 weeks Z hadn’t moved and my doctor assessed everything she said I could wait — but she’d recommend I go to the hospital and be induced. I wasn’t confident enough to wait it out — I went — and my water broke that night. I was able to be reasonably free of machines — though I can’t remember now but I had an RH factor that required what, antibiotics? Anyway. I tried to labor naturally — no pitocin, nothing — and I did — I had a sanskrit mantra, soothing music, a shower, a ball — changed positions — in and out of the shower, on the bed, on the ball…(on the ball on the bed? It’s a blur) from 4am — and around 5pm they tried increasing doses of pitocin — and I still labored without medications — for me it was like running a marathon — I wanted to know if my body could do it — ultimately she wasn’t going anywhere — she was over 9lbs — and entirely comfortable where she was. I hardly dilated even (it didn’t help when my mother arrived and my stress and anxiety skyrocketed — I’ll always attribute my c-section to this — even my doula thought I was progressing swiftly — until my mother arrived…)

    I’ll never forget the moment when I looked over to my husband at my feet and asked him if it was okay if I got an epidural…he looked like he was going to burst into tears — because I saw it in his eyes — how in awe he was of the hard work I’d done — and that’s what I wanted … I didn’t particularly want what came next — the epidural (and subsequent convulsive muscle shaking) the wheeling into the operating theater — the surreal chatting of the doctors as they talked about traffic, whether or not they were getting their child an ipod for Christmas…However – she latched on when she was finally brought to me. It was a rough few days and while I occasionally feel a pang of envy for those beautiful “natural” birth stories — I’ve made peace that it wasn’t to be for us. The truth of it is that my cautious nature would never have allowed for a homebirth — and maybe in the end what I envy is their belief in themselves — in the world they inhabit in which things unfold rather than fall apart, as it felt mine always had.

    Your analogy about weddings really struck me as well — there is something larger at play here (and by here I mean society at large not just in this particular community) that seems to have shifted; it isn’t simply about experiencing a natural birth — but there is an entire lifestyle that has become reified in a certain strata of society that is commodified (ironically) and tied to this birth experience that plays out a certain way. In its own way it seems as prescribed to me as the expectation that my mother would be strapped to a table and be given alcohol intravenously to stop her early labor with me — and by prescribed I mean that the weight of cultural expectation is such that while you certainly have a choice — it may not feel like a choice.

    It reminds me in some ways of the tenor whenever the women’s community begins to discuss whether or not we can have it all — wasn’t feminism supposed to offer us the choice without judgement — rather than deifying one choice and demonizing the other — I certainly believe everyone deserves to be respected in their journey towards birth — I wonder if what we aren’t seeking really is a ritual surrounding birth — we are a society that has become so unmoored from any real sense of communal ritual — in ways I think as technology continues to move at hyperspeed and we are continually feeling displaced that we are going to keep coming back to these life moments — seeking some sense of grounding.

    Whew! That was a novel — sorry about that — maybe its a good thing I don’t actually get to a keyboard very often 😉

    • So many great points and questions here.

      I know others have talked about the burden of choices in our society. How it might be easier if there was one way of parenting or eating instead of all the choices (Bringing up Bebe vs. The Sears vs. Ferber vs. Dr. Spock, et al). The different parenting philosophies lead to division and defensiveness and a lack of understanding on all sides.

      I think it’s fascinating that you marvel at those who have the faith to believe that nothing bad will happen during a home birth. I think you’re on to something. In the infertility community, we are perhaps more accustomed to the other shoe dropping than others. I find in general it’s much harder to look on the bright side than it used to be, Pre-IF.

    • Wow. I adored this response. Simply amazing. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. This contribution to the conversation was sorely needed.

  8. It was also a bit of a non issue for me. I was just glad to be pregnant. I had to have a c section due to a large fibroid that had been removed 3 months prior to me getting pregnant. I also am an older mom and was hospitalised for high blood pressure. For me, I’d rather be safe.
    It was discouraging, however, to attend all those birth classes and hear how much better natural birth was when I knew I had to have a c section. But what could I do?
    I was just so happy to have my baby. 🙂

  9. My birth plan was: get the baby out in the safest manner possible. I didn’t care about the birth, I just cared about the safe arrival of the baby and I’m with you about the wedding, we had a lovely day but I never really cared about the day, I just wanted to be married to my sweetheart.

    I knew before I was pregnant that I couldn’t labour because of the shape of my uterus so obviously that coloured my willingness to even consider a birth plan. I have 2 sisters, one who is natural all the way and one who is more to my thinking but she had a pretty detailed plan. I support all of their choices because we are all different.

    For me, I think the saddest part of these debates is the lack of many people’s willingness to support others’ choices. I think it’s fine if someone has a birth plan, a water birth, or they want to have an epidural or they want a scheduled c-section. We do not know all of the intimate details of people’s lives and what has occurred for them to make the decision, so I try to advocate lifting people up with support rather than tearing them down with judgement.

    A lovely, thought provoking post.

  10. K

    Yes! I feel similarly. I don’t understand the birth plan phenomena at all. There is no judging from me, I am more curious about it.

    Owen was breech and I was terrified my entire pregnancy that he might die; when my OB told me that it was unlikely he would turn at 36w (and he did not, when he was born a week later, during my c section the doctor remarked “there are the baby’s toes!”) all I felt was relief. A c section limited the things that might hurt him.

    And I felt that way the whole time I was in the hospital – do whatever you need to to my body, but make sure he is ok.

    I can’t tell you if it was a product of years of infertility and IVF, but all I cared about was making sure that my baby got to the outside alive. The WAY it happened was not important to me.

  11. I love this post, and couldn’t agree more. My goals for birth, in this order, were:

    1. Everybody lives.
    2. Nobody is permanently damaged.
    3. Baby doesn’t suffer even temporary damage.
    4. Temporary damage to me, although, inevitable, is minimized.
    5. The birth doesn’t create conditions that interfere with the establishment of breastfeeding.
    6. Suffering during the process is minimized.
    The end.

    I feel incredibly lucky that the first five of these goals were achieved, and can live with the fact that we didn’t quite manage #6.

  12. I’ve been thinking about all this a lot since yesterday, and really been thinking about why I wasn’t passionate about my birth plan. I think it’s because what I am surrounded by. I have a lot of friends with babies, but none of them did natural childbirths or even had written birth preferences, that I know of. There were C-sections and vaginal births with epidurals. Period. Before I had my son, that’s all I knew about. I guess I thought those who gave birth at home or even without drugs were a very small minority with a very different lifestyle than mine. I’ve since made blog friends who have done it and realize this is not the case, and I totally respect and admire their choices- but they are their choices, not mine.

    I had a fabulous experience giving birth to my son- in a hospital, with an OB, and epidural. I guess since it was (to me) so ideal and wonderful, with my daughter, I just wanted a repeat- and I am so blessed that I got it again. I am totally and completely satisfied with my birthing experiences- I guess because there was no trauma, nothing that went wrong. Again- I am BLESSED.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is we usually do what we know and what works for those around us- unless something happens that really makes us question that and spurs us to make a change (controversial example, but all I can think of right now in my own life: I do not vaccinate my children even though it goes against the norm- because my son has a neurological disease and I have several friends with vaccine injured children- these prompted me to do a lot of research on the subject and make the change).

    I appreciate the discussion that’s been going on the past few days- lots to think about!

  13. Some time ago I wrote two pieces, one called “Birth vs. Delivery Experience” which draws a distinction between the two and while important to me may be semantics to others and “Hatched” which ties my desire to have a c-section, long before I was even pregnant, to my being adopted. They are at least tangentially related to this discussion, but from a different viewpoint.

    http://itiswhatitisorisit.net/?p=1256
    http://itiswhatitisorisit.net/?p=1230

    I ascribe to a live and let live philosophy of life so long as your choices/bahaviors don’t directly infringe upon mine or the rights of others. However, I think expectation, in general, is the undoing of many. And, being tied to a detailed birth plan for a birth that might not go according to plan and then forever being haunted by not having the experience you ‘dreamed’ of is kind of like borrowing trouble. Dreams are dreams for a reason.

    In the end, I had two relatively flawless c-sections, but my experience now, parenting a 6 yr old and a 6 mos old having nothing to do with how they came into the world except to say that I am SO glad that they did and that my body ended up being the vessel for both.

  14. My twins were in the same positions as you describe yours, I knew I was going to have a c-section, and was not disappointed in that. But I am sad about my birth experience and I had no expectations. My daughter was not shown to me in the operating room, I barely saw her for almost 2 days. My nurses were very forgetful, letting my pain medication completely lapse in the middle of the night, leading to me screaming in pain when I needed to go to the bathroom. The nurse I had during most of my stay chastised me regularly for wanting to breastfeed the babies even though both of them were latching on and sucking because I was going to malnourish them because they weren’t strong enough. (Despite the consultation of two lactation consultants and two pediatricians to the contrary.) I barely bonded with my daughter. I still have lingering issues I believe go back to that. I felt like she wasn’t my baby – I saw my son right after he came out but my daughter was invisible to me.

    My scar is healing really nicely and the operating room was a calm, happy place. But I was kind of left out of the process, and then felt ignored and neglected.

    So no, I did not have a good birth experience, even though I had no expectations of what it would be like. I had no birth plan, no wish list. I wanted healthy happy babies. I didn’t realize I also wanted to feel like an important person, too, until I didn’t.

  15. nonsequiturchica

    *sigh* This brings up a lot of emotions. I have been told by three different doctors that I need to have a C-section because of the removal of fibroids during my infertility journey. Even though I have known this for 2.5 years, I am still having trouble coming to terms with it. I think that it is more that I don’t have a choice. And if I did have a choice, I would chose an unmedicated vaginal birth.

  16. I don’t have personal experience giving birth, but I asked my SIL if she had a birth plan. She’s a doctor and told me that there is a superstition among doctors and l&d nurses that the more detailed the plan the better chance it’ll fall to pieces. Hers was minimal and didn’t go according to plan so….

  17. just getting to this now…
    how cool that you were born in sausalito! not many people can say that.

    I have 2 such wildly different stories for the births of my girls — one born (not to me) peacefully and beautifully at home just after sunrise on her due date, in a dimly lit warm room surrounded by loved ones; the other taken before she was ready to come out, along with my damaged womb, on a cold metal table under fluorescent lights, surrounded by about 17 medical workers who watched and revived me when I lost more than half of my blood…

    let’s just say that both experience were tremendous exercises in LETTING GO. of everything. I could go on but it’s late and I’m tired. but I love this post!

  18. I don’t think you are bizarre to think this in the slightest. Before my heartache began, when I thought I would get pregnant and nine months later have a baby, I imagined my ‘birth plan’ and what I wanted it to be like. I’m somewhat of a planner, I might add this was all within the space of hours after getting my first bfp! But now, I can honestly say I have come to realise that it just doesn’t matter. I will be so overjoyed to reach a stage of pregnancy where I am supposed to consider my options… In simple terms, I won’t give a flying f*** how my baby enters the world! It’s the safe delivery that counts. One virtue that comes out of loss and struggle; it is very humbling.

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