Friday, October 30, 2009

My Story

The more reading I do the more I feel at odds with the terms I find.
The birth of my son was not "normal" or "natural". It seems that once I crossed over from vaginal childbirth to the other side I am alienated from all the things that I feel define me.

And I'll admit before I had a cesarean I had an idea about them that was formed by the media. I thought they were the easy way out. What else could the term "to posh to push" mean?
I pushed my first baby out- and it hurt, took over a day for him to be born, and it took just as much time to much time to sew me up as my cesarean did. I felt like a trouper that I had done it "all natural". I had no idea that the reality of being cut open to have a baby is certainly not easier, maybe a bit more predictable, but not easier.

To me there seem to be two camps, one driven by the "natural" side, advocating for vaginal births, home birthing options, midwifery care, and avoidance of medical interventions.
The other camp is the medical establishment with a "better safe then sorry" approach to childbirth and the use of modern interventions. This dichotomy has existed for hundreds of years and the fact that women have a choice at all has been hard fought. Midwifes have only legally been allowed to be primary birth attendants in B.C. for just over 10 years.

Before my cesarean, I knew where I belonged, I'm an all natural girl . Now I feel rejected by the natural side, like I lost the good fight. I failed to be a statistic that will help women get greater choices and more satisfying births. I'm now on the tallies of why we need medical interventions.

I often wonder why almost six months after my birthing experience I am still compelled to examine my experience. I know that there must be a reason, and as I listen to more stories of women in my community I feel that perhaps this purpose is to help bring more choices to families who have unplanned cesareans. There are so many little ways I feel the natural aspect of child birth were unnecessarily stripped away from me.

There are many books on repeat cesareans, vbacs, cesarean prevention and such, but I'm yet to find anything that addresses how to make unplanned cesareans better.

Maybe it's time to speak up and all us natural girls need to help each other find a new term.
"My natural cesarean?"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Holding my new nephew a couple of days ago, I ran my hand over his head I felt the complex pattern of texture to his scull.
The story of his path through the birth channel etched on his head.
I miss that in my new son. I was so very bothered by his head when he was new. The geometric roundness of his never "squished" head was unusual to me.
I wonder more about his now. Once babies are born we are very aware that their heads need to be protected. I would be fearful for his life if he was to have something happen to him that changed the shape of his head.
How will he be affected by having a brain that was never crushed through my pelvis? How will the millions of people birthed in this way be affected?
Perhaps there is some reason for these births in the cosmic scheme of things. Maybe these babies who enter our physical world in this way are gifted with a more celestial brain?
There is a theme that runs through out many mythologies that women are destined to feel great pain and sacrifice in order to bring forth life.
Surgical birth felt to me like a greater sacrifice then regular birth, perhaps this extra sacrifice has a purpose. I'll never know, but it makes me feel good to think that besides ensuring a safe delivery for him (in itself a great thing), that his method of arrival may serve a greater good. If I know anything it's that balance finds it's way.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Story

People call me an earth mama, I make art, eat orgainic food, drink herbal concoctions, do yoga and as my brother put it: Im the last person he would have thought would have a cesarean.
Still, I was surprised at the huge reaction I had to having a cesarean section -besides just not much liking having emergency surgery and the trauma of fearing for my babies life, I struggled to relate to what had just happened. I felt a bit like I had been swallowed by medical machine that had taken over my body, invaded me with plastic tubes, dizzying narcotics and faceless people who looked right inside the depths of my body. Yet this same alien system had produced my beautiful baby.
I felt compelled to find out as much as I could about cesareans. I searched my local library catalog and found myself looking at a list of books topped by one called Not Of Woman Born.
This was how I felt. Somehow I had brought forth a baby without him being born.
I really wanted to find a way to pull his birth back into myself, to accept that I had birthed him. He had been brought forth from my body, covered in my blood, even if I didnt know the exact moment we became two.
I was hungry for information.
Pouring over the medical intervention chapters in my pregnancy books and talking to everyone I knew who had one just brought me tears not progress.
I had my first moment of reconnection when I read about tribal people in Africa, shamanic healers with well developed methods of performing cesarean births long before they were common in western cultures. Even though Im obviously not a tribal African, I felt I could relate to the earthiness of those people performing cesareans by torch light.
I found a first step in re-finding me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

History of Cesareans

I found this interesting reading online:

Cesarean Section- A Brief History by Jane Eliot Sewell Ph.D.
"A brochure to Accompany an exhibition on the History of Cesarean Section at the National Library of Medicine" held in 1993

I found this to be a fascinating way to learn about the history of the modern cesarean birth.
It is an extensive article with interesting historical depictions of cesareans being preformed and an overview of historically recorded cesareans.