Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Maternal Pride

I've been pondering the pheonomenon of maternal pride, specifically pride surrounding the nature of one's birth (we are all supposed to be Very Brave and have Quick, Unmedicated Vaginal Births as the Good Lord Intended). It is, in fact, all Leery Polyp's fault that the trauma of my very medicated, emergency cesarean has come to the surface.

Looking now at my two and a half year old son, contorting himself into weird positions on the sofa and answering Steve on Blue's Clues with a fanatical devotion unrivalled by the studio audience of Jimmy Swaggart, I know that he was the point of the whole Birth Exercise. But for those of us who "fail" at giving birth, it is easy to be jealous of the woman who can say: I slogged through it all, and I made it. I had the birth I intended to. The agency, the moment, were mine. I perservered.

I gave birth to CompaĆ­to in a small clinic in the Latin American Country which Dare not Speak its Name (although I am thinking more and more of giving up on this whole "anonymity" thing). It was tiny, and clean and had an Exagerated Hospital Smell.

I had been in labour for ten hours by the time I went in, and would be in labour for twelve more before before I finally gave birth, by emergency cesarean. The official story of why he had to be born by cesarean was because he was not descending or turning properly. I asked if forceps could be tried, and the ob/gyn said no.

When my water had broken earlier, it was greenish yellow. One of the attending doctors had been worried, but the only OR was being used by another woman having a cesarean. When CompaĆ­to was born, they told me his umbilical cord was wrapped around his foot. He stopped breathing almost immediately after being born, and had to be recessitated (sp)?

I was given a mandatory IV, shave prep and enema (which they didn't tell me they were going to do. They just said "roll over".)

They didn't bring my son to me for six hours (they said it would be five.) I was positive he was dead. Even after they brought him to me (I was unprepared for how motionless sleeping, swaddled babies look).

I KNOW the point of giving birth is to have a living, breathing baby. I know how lucky I am- the most unbearable moment was thinking that my son had not survived. But I also know that I'm not the only one who was left with a lingering doubt that maybe it could have unfolded another way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here I am de-lurking dear CA friend! I can totally relate to the whole c-section thing. I've had 4!

Really enjoying reading your blog! Keep up the great work! And thanks for the hints on commenting!

Take care!