It’s Day 5 of my NaBloPoMo, which means we’re already 1/6th of the way through November, folks. I’m having a blast exploring topics like how my husband is a doofus and how working for biglaw is like working for the devil. Today’s NaBloPoMo theme is Jealousy, that beautiful green-eyed monster. Ugh, why does she have to be so beautiful?
Confession time: I struggle with birth story jealousy. Is it just me, or do people classify birth stories based only the the level of perceived bad-assery? If you had a vaginal birth after 105 hours of drug-free, doctor-free labor, you are a warrior. And if you had a c-section after 2 hours of laboring on the good stuff, you are a wimp.
Well I think that dichotomy is really fucking stupid, but I still can’t help but feel jealous of women whose birth stories resemble the former rather than the latter. I guess I want to be regarded as a warrior, too?
My birth story jealousy started before I even gave birth to my first kid. I had a “we’ll see” mentality about the epidural, and I was most definitely planning to have my son in the hospital. But, I was surrounded by women who had the most natural of natural births. Both my mom and my sister — six children between them — birthed at home without epidurals or doctors. I mean, my sister freaking squat-pushed her first baby out onto her living room floor. Even if I didn’t want to do that, I felt incredibly inadequate because I wasn’t willing to try.
As much as I yearned to tell an epic, amazonian birth story, I was actually terrified of — and grossed out by — the idea of childbirth. Maybe even a little bit hopeful that I would end up with a c-section? Is that awful?
So you can probably guess from the preamble that both of my children were born via c-section. With K-Man, I developed hypertension and suspected pre-eclampsia at 37 weeks. I was induced with pitocin, but failed to ever progress past 1 cm after about 20 hours. So when K-Man started having decelerations, I was taken in for a somewhat emergent c-section. With Ell-Bell, though I was hoping for a VBAC, I developed that darned hypertension again at 37 weeks. My OBs didn’t really want to induce me for a VBAC when I was not even a little bit dilated, so back to the OR I went.
In case you were wondering, both of my c-sections were actually great. I was awake and lucid, I experienced overwhelming love when my children came into the world, and my recovery was A+. But I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed that I was “just” a c-section momma — like I had copped out somehow. (Why did I feel like that? I was fricking cut in half, is that not badass?)
It didn’t help that my sister-in-law (SIL) had both of her children at the same time I had both of my children, and that both of her births were, well, warrior status.
A few weeks after after I had K-Man, SIL was overdue with her first born and developed actual eclampsia. When her doctor prescribed her magnesium sulfate — the supposed death knell for any natural birth plan — her midwife reportedly cried. (Major eye roll.) But of course, SIL powered through, labored forever, refused the epidural, and had a vaginal birth. Of course.
And a few months after I had Ell-Bell, SIL accidentally had her baby at home. Like, she didn’t make it to the hospital. I guess her cervix was just too ripe (why even is that a thing that I am jealous of?) But seriously, how gross is it that when I heard my precious niece was born, my first reaction was a jealous “ugh, of course.” I’m a bad person.
But anyways, I know — I know — it’s time to let this jealousy go. There is a much bigger picture here, which is that that I am so incredibly lucky to have two beautiful, healthy children. Who cares whether they came out of my vagina, or my abdomen, or some other woman’s body?
Until next time,