Grieving

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.

Adventures of a Subversive Reader

An early photo taken of Squirm, thanks to a wonderful midwife. See – babies come with hats . . .

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11 comments

    1. I’m just grateful I don’t seem to have any signs of PND – I think that would have made dealing with this even harder.

      I think the hats are usually made for premmies – they must have pulled out the biggest one they had for Squirm!

  1. You put in words what I have not been able to for nearly 30 + years.
    Thank you for being you and a not quite perfect start has made it all worthwhile.

  2. I had a lot of grief after my last labour, though I don’t think I realised it at the time. It’s still a hard thing to process 2 years later.
    I’m glad you’re able to name the feeling though; hopefully that will help you deal with it better. Xx

  3. It always helps to be able to put a finger on things we feel so deeply. As you have expressed, I’m a big believer in acknowledging such things so we can process them. I had two c-sections and have never had a natural birth. I’ve asked myself if I ever felt I was missing out since I know people who have felt they did after c-sections. I think I didn’t really feel I missed natural birth too much because of where my expectations were set. In the end, I just wanted a healthy baby. I now it differs for everyone, but for me, the birth was merely the doorway into my journey towards parenthood.

  4. This is summed up so well and grieving really is the right word. I am in a similar situation and next time will most likely go for elective caesarian. My OB said I could try natural again but I should be prepared the same events could occur.
    Take your time and don’t push the conversations away. Talk to your husband, friends, GP. I agree with Catherine, it is important to debrief your birthing experience.

  5. I also didn’t go through a natural birth (scheduled c-section for twins) and I still have yet to write about my experience. I didn’t realise how much it effected me until I spoke about it to a friend the other day and started crying. Maybe it’s time I “debriefed” too. Thanks for sharing.

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