Birthrites: Healing After Caesarean.

Continued from the Healing Page -

...My Dr. continued to state his opinion and I mine. He believed the risk to the baby was too great to even try a vaginal delivery. I had had two babies vaginally, with no drugs....how could I possibly be expected to ELECT to be cut open? At one visit I asked my Dr. if he was uncomfortable with my decision not to have a c-section and if he thought I should find another Dr. He assured me that he was there to offer his opinion, but that this was my birth and my experience and the decision was mine.

My Dr. was on vacation when I went into labor. As soon as his backup Dr. heard of my prior shoulder dystocia, he lectured me about why I should choose to have a c-section. In between contractions at 1:00 in the morning, I stated my case calmly and clearly. I had been through 2 deliveries before and knew how to ask for what I wanted and not be bullied. You realize you're putting your baby at risk he said and told me the odds. I told him that that was why I was at this hospital, the best in the area, with a Dr.--at least I wasn't attempting a home birth with a midwife (something I've always wanted, but didn't want to take the risk that something might go wrong). I realize your position and understand your opinion, I said, but I feel differently. I mentioned the alternate positions and he said he would never let me try that with a prior dystocia. I suggested I get a different Dr. from the hospital since he was obviously uncomfortable with my decision and since I was uncomfortable with him. He told me no Dr. in the hospital would take me. Ultimately, he said the decision was mine and stood over me saying he needed an answer. I told him I did not want to elect to have a C-section.

When it was time to push, he took me to an uncomfortable room prepped for surgery, "just in case." He let me push maybe 6 times with no encouragement or counting from him or the nurses. He said the heart rate wasn't recovering well enough on the last few contractions, although my husband saw that it was, and said he had to do a c-section. I turned to my husband and said, "They didn't even give me a chance," right before they gassed me and cut my 3rd son out of me with a vertical incision below my belly button. The Dr. who only visited me when I was still all doped up said the incision was necessary because of the concern for my baby. My baby was born with an apgar of 8. I know women who've had emergency c-sections, and know women who know women who've had emergency c-sections and not one had a vertical incision.

It has been 2 months and my Dr. keeps telling me it will stop hurting soon and that I will have no problems for the rest of my life and that people throw the term "emergency" around too loosely when describing their c-sections. It still hurts when I laugh or cough or sneeze or turn the wrong way and I am still scared my older sons will run into my stomach or hurt me while hugging me or sitting on my lap. I am still trying to let it go--to stop thinking about it, but am reminded every time it hurts or every time I take a shower and look at the seam down my belly.

I am comforted by reading the other stories on your site. I am comforted knowing that I am not the only one who has difficulty just letting it go. I am comforted that another woman has described the experience as a "rape" because I could find no better word myself to describe what happened to me. I am comforted that another woman missed the experience of holding her baby immediately after birth, because I missed it terribly with each one of mine. I am comforted that I am not alone and that someone, somewhere understands how I feel. I am comforted that I have just taken the first step on the road to letting it go by sharing my own story.