When I meet a fellow mom for the first time, it is not long before the conversation comes around to the following topics:
– how were your pregnancies?
– how long was your labor?
– morning sickness — yay or nay?
As a mom I have an unbreakable bond with anyone who has gone through childbirth. Now I’m certainly not knocking anyone who has had a child through adoption, fostering, or surrogacy. I would have much in common with any mom no matter how her baby was delivered, but childbirth stories do give two new friends a jumping off point for a friendship. I have a special affinity with moms who have had c-sections — I had all three via c-sections.
My babies are 6, 10, and 13. No longer babies. I may not remember what anyone’s first word was, but I can remember the childbirth experience with all three down to the minute.
With my first child, I assumed — wrongly — that I would have contractions, realize I was going in to labor, get to the hospital STAT, have a beautiful bouncing baby, and go home. I attended the childbirth class. I read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Third Edition. Nothing about my labor was normal.
I was almost 2 weeks late. I had the usual Braxton Hicks, but nothing progressed to labor. I was not dilated or effaced before going to the hospital. After an epidural, pitocin, and 8 plus hours, I was barely 3 centimeters dilated. I was, in short, a hot not-in-labor-mess!
I remember wondering why my labor was going so haywire. What was wrong with me? After child #2 and child #3, I now know that I do not go in to labor. I had scheduled c-sections with these two babies. It was quite relaxing in a way — as much as childbirth can be called relaxing. I “checked in” to the hospital and “checked out” with a baby!
The downside to the c-section — you know there will be one, right? The recovery with all three deliveries was different and awful and painful and traumatic and uncomfortable and…well, you get the picture. No one prepared me for the c-section let alone the recovery from one. The c-section was the “it will never happen in most cases” scenario. I never planned for it — at all.
Since I never went in to labor I never used the breathing techniques until my catheter was removed and I needed to use the bathroom for the first time. I remember spending a solid 10 minutes moving around in bed, so that I could swing my legs over the bed. It probably took me 20 plus minutes to get to the bathroom. My incision hurt after the epidural wore off. My stomach was stuck to the plastic bandaid/tapes. I was, in short, a hot recovering from c-section mess!
Mark Sloan writes in detail about his rotation as an OBGYN intern. Sloan, a pediatrician, explains in laymen’s terms the processes of childbirth. I found the medical descriptions of the births he witnessed to be compelling. Sloan as a young, inexperienced physician, reminded me of the OB who delivered my first child. I was probably one of his first patients. I saw this doctor a few years ago — he seemed so much more at ease with his patients.
This book brought back memories of my childbirth experiences…both good and bad. I am far enough removed from pregnancy, childbirth, and recovery that I can get a wee bit nostalgic when reflecting on my experiences. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not willing to dive back in to the baby fray, but the book made me think about my childbirth experiences in a new light.
Click link for a copy of Birth Day: A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth. You won’t regret it.
Thank you to the Silicon Valley Moms Group for the opportunity to enjoy this book.