The other day I started thinking about elective caesarians.
I had just finished reading a book written by fathers about the birth of their children. It struck me that, no matter what kind of birth their partner had, all of them had been joyful. And it made me wonder, if next time (if we are blessed with that) we should go with a planned caesarian, so we can also have a joyful birth.
I have a hard time remembering any joyful moments from Squirm’s birth (I have trouble remembering a lot of the labour). I remember walking around and singing to my favourite songs during the early stage. I remember the midwife dancing because she had picked that Squirm was a boy. I remember the relief when I heard him cry and quoting West Wing when they laid him on me (‘Babies come with hats’)
But now, 10 weeks later, I’m still processing all the things we missed out on. Like going into labour naturally (though I had been having small contractions for 24 hours). Like getting in the shower. Like delayed cord clamping and Mr Pilot being able to cut the cord. Like skin to skin contact with either of us. Like Mr Pilot and myself being the first people to hold him. Like having him with me for the first 24 hours.
I realised this morning, that I didn’t feel like I had a baby until I saw his pictures and finally fed him – nearly 10 hours after he was born. I feel like I was robbed of this precious time because things went so badly and he was a whole floor away.
I’m beginning to understand that this is grief I’m feeling. I’m grieving for the natural birth I wanted. I’m grieving for the moments I should have been able to share with Mr Pilot. I’m grieving for those lost hours of my son’s life. I’m fine – I adore him with every part of my body and I love being a mother. I’m more emotionally stable than I’ve been in years. But there is a loss there and I am acknowledging that it exists and that it will always exist.
I love the idea of VBACs. I know people who have had them successfully. But the idea of things going badly again, the idea of being robbed of those moments with another baby just makes me want to cry. I know we couldn’t get everything we wanted with Squirm if we elected to have a caesarian. But we might be able to get some things, especially those first few hours. It would be a decision to make with the doctors, and my feelings might change by the time we get there, but at least I can name what I’ve been feeling, and feel like there’s some way to prevent this happening the same way again.