The theme this week is something I’m rather familiar with, since I have birthed two kidlets. But the term signifies so much more than “Oh, I had a baby.” Most mothers who have had vaginal childbirths can commiserate on the whole procedure… from the bearing down, to the breathing, and the eventually escape of the inmate, so to speak; and the immense relief once it has vacated the premises. But that’s not to say that women who had C-sections know any less about birth. From what I have been told – by friends and my mother (whose two pregnancies both ended in C-Sections; more on this in a second) – the recovery from that operation is entirely different. But I can only tell you what it was like for me.
When I hit about week 34 or 35 with Elliot, my mother and I reached the point where she had nothing else to offer me in terms of advice. I was freaking about the eventual labor and the PAIN, but she recalls how I was not only bordering on almost two weeks late, but she was put under entirely when I was scheduled to be removed. I was breech and had to be; I suppose in 1979 the doctors put women completely under. She reminisces on how awful she felt when she came to; the nurse asked if she wanted to see me and she actually said NO! My mother didn’t see me until the next day… and I was born at 12:31 PM. I feel a little sad that she never got to experience with me and my sister what I did with the boys.
One of the things I claimed I never wanted to happen during my births was the thing where the doctor pulls the baby out and flings it up onto the mom’s chest, all covered in bodily goo and wet and wrinkly. I saw enough TLC baby shows to know that was… undesirable. And yet, after two exhausting hours of pushing with Elliot, my doctor let Ash pull him free, then he promptly delivered him not me. And of course, I was overjoyed and overrun with emotion and so freaking happy.
So to me, when I really think and analyze the word “birth”, I see so much more. I see images of my kids entering the world, and the quiet hours after when it was just me and this new tiny creature in a hospital room. And the tumultuous first few weeks that nothing – not books or friends – could ever prepare you for. But soon after, the little milestones, and their first steps, drinking from a sippy, eating solid food, saying my name. It’s all so worth it, of course. And though I am willing to give into the fact that all births – no matter how different – are magical and beautiful, I cannot help but feel sad for people who say they never want kids. Because there’s so much more to it than just the birth.