My Pregnancy: Week 34

My Pregnancy Week 34I would have never thought of myself as a C-section advocate. Now having had two, with a third scheduled for just five short weeks away, I do consider myself an advocate for the C-section experience. My first cesarean was not planned; it was after 19 hours of hard labor. I spiked a fever, heartbeats were slowed, baby was angled and never coming out (we would later see at birth). My C-section was not necessarily a statistical risk of induction but rather a life-saving procedure I’m thankful for every single day.

It was still an experience I had to “heal” from though. Some of the healing came from processing my own expectations. I planned for and deeply wanted that natural childbirth. That was what I focused on, and I gave little attention to the idea of a cesarean. I now give the (when asked for) advice to learn about and think through a cesarean birth plan as well as talk to mamas who have had positive C-section experiences. It’s not to scare her, test fate, or downplay the seriousness of deciding on a C-section. Instead, many of my feelings that I processed after the first birth had to do with the fear of not knowing, the lack of control, and general sense of a C-section as bad.

Healing and peace about my subsequent cesareans came from filtering out other people’s views on the method of delivery. For example, everyone focuses on the pain and recovery involved with cesareans. We often down-play the pain and recovery involved with vaginal birth. While “natural,” vaginal childbirth is generally a beautiful and wonderful process, it also brings months and even years of pain to some women. It inhibits their sexual interactions and bladder functions among other things. I’m not denying the seriousness of cesarean birth complications; I’m also not trying to compare vaginal birth to cesarean. I’m simply using this as an example of how our mommy culture downplays some of the difficulties of vaginal birth and plays up the horror stories of cesareans to the detriment of the women.

This culture of seeing vaginal birth as the “best” way to go can limit conversation for women who are struggling with healing from vaginal births. The culture of seeing cesarean birth as secondary status dampens the beauty of what can be a wonderful birth experience. It took about two years to come to terms with my first child’s birth story. My second child’s cesarean was a healing and empowering experience for me as I became more aware of the derogatory ways we culturally refer to C-section births.

As I think through what my hopes are for our third child’s birth, I see the sterile operating room as the place where we will warmly welcome our third baby into this world. It’s not a place to fear but rather the place where our world will change and never be the same again.

Annie is a mom of two boys, ages two and four. She enjoys the finer things in life, like compression socks and a full night’s rest.

Tags: birth, C-section, cesarean birth, new baby, pregnancy, third trimester, vaginal birth, week 34

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