Friday, April 9, 2010

Birth Matters: Part II

Part II: The Trauma of a C-Section

My son did not get an easy transition into the world. He did not get to feel my uterus wrap around his tiny body and make his way down the birth canal. In the only place he ever knew as "home", as safe, he was suddenly and forcefully pulled from my womb into a cold, bright room. With no hormonal releases from his body or mine to say, "this is it, let labor begin" he came out like a white cold turkey not knowing he needed to breath. The first hands to touch him were not mine, and the first voice he heard was not a familiar one. The first people who saw him, who touched and caressed him were not that of his mother or father. The first thing he felt in this world was not my warm chest, but the hard sterile warming table. The first eyes he gazed into were not the loving hazel eyes of his mother, but that of a nurse who viewed him as nothing more than another patient. My joy, my life and my vocation viewed and held as just another baby in the first seconds of his life. This was his introduction to the world. 

And me...I was left numb to it all. I was brought into the hospital crying instead of full of excitement. I never felt a contraction or the intense pain that comes with childbirth. I had no active part whatsoever in my own child's birth. I was left to lay on the operating table and ask a thousand times, "is he out yet?". I was left shaking from head to toe from the drugs and felt completely out of control of my own body. I had to manuveur my head in every direction I could just to get the slightest peak, the slightest glance of my child! I had to listen to every word said around me, just so I knew he was alright. And worst of all, after NINE months of waiting, I had to wait to hold him in my arms and kiss his tiny face. 
Looking Towards the Exam Table at Our Son
Finally Getting to Hold Him

Many people may think that I have over thought this event, or that I am making too big of a deal out of a simple c-section. Trust me, I have asked myself this many times. But the truth is, this is the way I feel about what happened that day. I did not write this post so that you will feel sorry for me or to try and over dramatize my experience. But I will say this: over 1/3 of all babies will be born via c-section, often times elected by the mother herself (on a side note, I am not at all against c-sections as a whole. If they are medically necessary, then by all means do a c-section. But I don't think that all c-sections done today are "medically necessary"). I believe very firmly that the way a child is brought into the world does matter. I  believe in letting things happen naturally so as not the impede the awesome bonding experience between a mother and her baby. This is a hard view to hold in a society that views birth as a medical procedure instead of a natural event...but perhaps I can explain myself a little better.  

Part III to Follow 


  1. Andrea- I'm sorry for every time I made you feel like you were over-dramatizing the situation, I know you did what you had to to make sure y.s. was safe even though it was crappy. This post made me curious about your opinion on other aspects of his birth. Did you think your own C-section was medically necessary? Do you feel like that Dr. you didn't even know rushed you into it? I will start praying more for your next birth, that it will be a good experience and that you'll have the grace of bringing her into the world as naturally as possible.

  2. Hi! Welcome to the Catholic Blog Directory. I'd like to invite you to join us for Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. We are a group of bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other. This week's host post is

    My first baby was a c-section and I know I felt I missed a lot--even though with a prolapsed cord, I know there was no other choice.

  3. Our Wyatt was a c-section, and I felt exactly the same way, as though I were an observer rather than a part of all of this. I keep praying for you to have the birth you want and that it is all you imagine that it will be.

  4. the mom: I thought about you a lot when I wrote this post, because your experience with Wyatt must have been 10 times worse than mine, and your waiting to hold him must have been ten times longer. Thank you for your kind words. You are such an awesome woman and example.