My dream was to have a home birth. Her’s was to have (med free) labor + delivery at the hospital.
She prepped her mind and body with all the right things, as did I.
We both decorated our nurseries, took a birthing class, read all the right books, avoided the foods we were told to and consumed all of the best prenatal vitamins. We created our music playlists for labor, chatted on the creams and diaper brands we would try first, and wondered about the challenges we would face while learning to nurse. We each took our pregnancies serious and up until the day of delivery, did our VERY BEST.
My labor was quick and predictable. No red flags or issues, unfolding just as my doula and midwife both expected. I delivered my daughter into our porcelain tub full of water, with orange essential oils diffusing and my beautiful music list playing in the background. She was placed right on my chest and latched to nurse right away. We spent the evening in my bed together eating Italian food and bonding. It was a dream come true. I felt strong, proud and overwhelmed with gratitude.
Two weeks before my friend’s due date however, she began to have pelvic pains. These pains weren’t the typical Braxton Hicks or round ligament pains. These were something entirely different. At the hospital, the beeping monitors showed signs of a baby in distress. The doctors wheeled her in for an emergency c-section, and right after removing her son from her womb, took him to the NICU because he was having trouble breathing. Tears began to roll down her face, as she was left to stare at a white curtain and wait for the numbness to wear off. Thoughts began to flood her mind. There would be no laboring and breathing through the contractions. No birthing play list ever played. No baby placed on her chest right away. Thoughts of failure. Thoughts of heartache. Thoughts of disappointment.
She would soon be reunited with her newborn son and both were healthy enough to go home later that week, but it would take months before she would fully grieve the birth she never had and accept the one she did. Other mommas would say “don’t worry about it! At least he is here now and you two are both healthy. How he got here really doesn’t matter.” And while they were right, it still hurt. It did matter to her.
As part of C-section awareness month, I think we as mothers need to honor each other and these varying birth stories. When I asked my friend today what she would have liked to of heard during those first months when she expressed her disappointment and heartache surrounding her emergency c section, it was this:
“I want people to know that of course I was grateful my son and I were both healthy and safe. But I still needed time to wrap my mind around what had happened. It was a scary situation that I had never gone through before, and while my body had healed rather quickly, my mind and heart needed more time. There was such a rush and pressure to forget about it and move on. I wanted people to tell me it was okay to take time to really allow myself to feel and acknowledge what (and how) it all happened. I want other mothers to know that it is okay, perhaps even necessary, to experience BOTH grief and joy- and to remember that there is no time limit on healing.”
Know a momma who had a c-section? Express your support for her journey by sharing this post.
No matter the birth experience, we are ALL GOOD MOMMAS.