Birthrites: Healing After Caesarean.

A Sad Story - from China...

In the hope of healing from the surgery I write my birthing story.
Only after I give birth by c-section did I realize how ignorant and inadequate I am.

I tried hard for 10 months after I fell in pregnancy. I doubt if I have infertility and I even went to the temple to pray and soon after I got pregnant. It may be a coincidence because after that I also put a pillow under my butt when I do it. But you can see I didn't get pregnant very easily and I am bit superstitious. I want a baby because my work is not very busy and I am turning 30. I also think giving birth is good to body. It is like a big exercise.

Anyway, after I got pregnant in April, my hubby and I attached great importance to it. I am a slim lady and it is good. But, I don't know I should keep fit during pregnancy, instead I eat as much as possible. (only after birth I realize it is not necessary and not good). And got the cavities in my teeth fixed when I was six month pregnant. I gained about 18kg till birth. The pregnancy is so smooth. But I did not educate myself much except for read one or two outdated books or attended several classes. I am also not determined to give birth naturally although all tests favor it because I just think it may be too hard and I will wait doctor's suggestion. My surrounding is very poor. During the last one month my mother began nagging how painful it was for her to give birth to her two daughters. Also how dangerous it is to the baby's brain if forceps applied. My elder sister yelled at me urging me to have c section to avoid baby's brain damage. All of these comments and talks really have it effect on a nine months pregnant woman. I have not a single clue what giving birth is really like. I just imagined it must be very very painful. My c-section is really a bad stroke of luck.

My mother must find someone familiar in the hospital or she won't feel comfortable. She finally find a school classmate's daughter working there as assistant? We are not familiar with her but she seemed eager to help. She is not a real doctor. We called her Jo.

I quitted my work at 36 weeks. And I stayed at home till 40 weeks. No sign. I became impatient because I really don't have much to do at home and got bored for those 4 weeks. My own home is noisy because the neighbour was decorating their house so I had to move to my parents' narrow apartment where my unmarried sister also live. My father turned out to be very disappointing at last because he insisted my hubby to live with me during night (he worked during daytime) so that if there is a show in me and I need to be transported to hospital, my hubby will do it and my father can just stand by. His thinking is soooo silly. You will never expect a first timer like me to deliver in 20 minutes from the first contraction. And he just stood by the whole thing as if I am not his daughter who got pregnant and he didn't go to the hospital even once when I stayed there for 7 days. I felt disappointed but put up with it. So five people lived crowdedly in the small apartment and impatience began building up. During last trimester, every night I woke up twice to pee I didn't have a whole night sleep. Especially last month, my finger became numb and felt hard to breath. I am getting tired with pregnancy. I want to go shopping. My mother stopped and said, so many people there and what about if you get flu? Last month I had nothing to do at home and nearly go crazy. My sisterŐs comments like "you are totally out of shape" or "how can you give birth naturally? You vagina will be as big as chimney!!" or "just go for a c-section, it is just a small nag and your baby is delivered!!" only later I realized how undermining these words can be. I said I want at least try. My instinct told me a natural birth. She retorted "why you don't cut your finger with a knife and see what it feels like?" (I cried when I wrote this, I feel I am such a poor pregnant woman, no support from family and hubby).

My mother began collecting small clothes and all sorts of thing for me. Looking at these clothes, I got more and more impatient. My mother also advised me a c section. She quoted one of her friends' words "only idiot give birth by herself!!" she repeated these words again and again, the up scale implication impacted me. Since I isolated myself with the rest people, I cannot get more information on birthing.

During staying at home, I read some superstitious books, saying what date is good what is not good. An interest at first became a belief later as I approached the edd (estimated date of delivery). The more I read, the more I believe. How can I allowed my perfect baby be born on a not good date? At last I grabbed phone and called Jo I may want a c section on my edd because superstitiously it is a good date and also my edd. In retrospect, I thought she would persuade me as a medical staff because medical staff always says natural birth is good. However, she just said ok and asked me to check in hospital two days ahead of edd for c section. I asked two days ahead? Isn't it too early? But she said it is safer just in case. Yes, I am fed up with living in the narrow apartment with my selfish father and I never live in a hospital before, and the expense should be covered by my company. So agreed. When I told my hubby I will have cs on my edd he said he will ask a leave that day. My mother also said it is a good plan. Later, my hubby said his colleague persuaded him letting me have a natural birth. Yes natural birth is good but I don't know special reasons. I got into hospital on Wed. planning have cs on Friday.

When I got to hospital, the doctor who is issuing check in permission said I do not have any sign yet and it is too early to live in hospital. I asked can I deliver naturally? He said yes you should be able to and your tests showed you are all right. But I turned a deaf ear to it and mentioned Jo's name. He issued the permission and I lived in the waiting ward there Jo worked ten days ago. Jo left that ward and worked in another section in the hospital ten days before my edd. (it is also important in my later cs). And she need to ask her old colleague to arrange me a cs.

After checking in, Jo's old colleague, called Shiping, knowing I want a cs, said, "ask your hubby to come to sign the consent form" and left. I was pretty shocked because I am not determined to have cs yet and her tone is so flippant as if cs decision is far from a big deal. At noon my hubby came and another medical staff explained some possible complications to us. (We never see all these staff before and do not even know their names). We did not sign the consent hearing the complications. And my hubby left for his work. I lived in a semi ward and later came a girl with her hubby. She had mild contractions.

At night in the hospital, my roommate's contraction became stronger and stronger. She couldn't even stay in bed, she walked around and around the whole night, try every position. She was in a miserable situation because no hubby or family member beside her, she suffered it all by herself. (Family members are not allow to be with her in the waiting room. Maybe allowed in the delivery room if she is really noisy). That situation upset me and I think in theater at least many people surround me will make me feel better. I don't know anything just asked the nurse. Medical staff (I don't know if they are doctor or nurse) came in and check her nearly 1cm dilation. At that time, I felt really scared because I never know what contraction like and never expect it will be like that. I called my hubby and told him my roommate's situation and asked him to sign the consent I also asked should I have cs or natural delivery, he said natural one.

Thursday morning, hubby came. The medical staff showed him the consent form and just want to explain something. My hubby said, "I have known it, you don't need to explain any more." Maybe he just meant someone explained verbally to him the day before and he wanted to save time and went to work. In retrospect, he didn't understand a bit and his manner hurts me. It is me who will go through and live with the whole thing and why should I even discuss it with my hubby or mummy? He and I just signed the form. I still think signing a form doesn't mean everything and I still have time to change my mind.

During the day, my boss (he is also a friend of my hubby) called and said I should not have cs unless I have to. I joked that he won't like to pay more medical fee. (cs is more expensive) I would listen to him if his son was not delivered by forceps and left a bruise on his head. During the last month of pregnancy my mother and sister advised me to have cs not only they think it less painful, but safe to baby. I was too silly to not trust them. I would not risk my baby with forceps. My sister also called and insisted that c section is human's way of delivery while natural birth is animal's way of delivery. Yes my instinct is for natural one but I am afraid they think I am animal, down scaled and can only suffer a lot of pain. (My knowledge on cs is sooo shallow! Anyway, so many people have cs and it seemed ok). I still worried about cs and I suddenly became scared. I don't want a cs and I don't want a natural one either!! Why am I pregnant? Why am I lying on hospital bed with a big belly? Jo came to have a look in the afternoon and I told her my concern. She said, anyway, you need to get it out!

In the afternoon, my roommate came back and she delivered her son naturally! She described that she was not herself in the delivery ward. She screamed and screamed, there was no epidural or spinal. She just received pitocin or she will not come out so early. She asked me to try a natural one. I thought it over and over. In the evening, my hubby left work so late that he didn't come to hospital to see me. He just went home. I called him and say should I really have cs? How much shall we pay doctor as bribe? (Hospital already charge operation fee but my mother want to pay doctor and anesthetist more to let them treat me better. So silly!) my hubby called Jo but cannot get her. I worried and worried and it was 10:40 pm. I switched off my mobile and tried to sleep. I hardly went to sleep because next day maybe the operation day. I thought I won't have cs tomorrow!! I will quit the hospital and went home and wait!! Tomorrow is only the edd and I could wait two more weeks! Yes I signed the consent but I will say I want to delay the cs and later cancel it if they are not happy with my cancel it!! Or I can pretend that I have already had breakfast tomorrow morning so that they have to wait to give me a cs and I will escape it!! I think loudly and want to call my hubby at 12:00 pm. But I am afraid to bother them because my sister said I often call at the wrong time.(actually, both my husband and my mother cannot sleep till 3:00 am. They later said they felt their brain were numb. They are also very worried as well. My hubby tried to call me but my mobile switched off. Another fatal mistake!) I decided that tomorrow when Jo came I will tell her I don't want cs yet. Jo said she will come to see me by 8:00 am tomorrow morning and they scheduled me as the second operation. The first one is a diabetic patient so I will have cs at about 10:00 am so I will discuss with Jo first. I think problem solved and went to sleep.

Friday morning, my hubby, my mother and my sister came to hospital at 7:00 am. I said I am considering quit hospital and went home. My sister yelled at me "you have already booked a cs why bother even more!!" my roommate's labor was very painful but I said "maybe my labor will not be that bad" my sister yelled again "your labor could be ever worse!!" I said to my hubby that my boss also suggested no cs. My hubby said cs is expensive and he would not like to pay more. I know he joked but a joke at that critical moment works!! It was already 8:00 but Jo did not show up. According to hospital policy family members cannot be in the waiting room with patients. So I am alone in the room while they wait outside in the corridor. My mother-in-law called and asked if I delivered or not. My hubby said not yet, but will soon. How stupid he is!!! My mother-in-law is a peasant knowing nothing and she must think I was in labor at that time or how will my hubby know I will deliver soon? It is elective cs!!! After the phone call, I asked my hubby for last time, shall I have cs or natural one??? He said, let's do the cs! My sister said mother put up new dress this morning to welcome her grandchild!! I felt very exhausted even before any labor. I went back to my room and they wait outside. (I thought Friday morning is a good time and I don't want to miss that time. So I unconsciously set up a deadline for me!!)

Five minutes later, Shiping and the doctor came in. (many times some staff came in and out. I don't know who they are and why they came). The doctor touched my belly and asked, "You are the diabetic patient, are you?" I was shocked and Shiping said the diabetic patient had contractions last night midnight and had a cs then, so I will be the first operation!! I just consider what to say and shiping reassured me that my operation will still be between 9:00-11:00 in the morning (a good time I asked her before). I actually not firmly believe in it but Shiping kept reminding me this so I didn't say I want to cancel the cs. And the doctor quickly left. Soon, two nurses came in and insert catheter. I asked do I have cs here? They said, no, in the operation room. I know nothing. I suddenly realized and called my hubby by mobile (he is in the corridor outside) they want me the first operation and they inserted the catheter!! My stupid hubby has no good suggestion at all. I think, I am tired, just get the baby out as soon as possible!! The nurse wheeled me into the elevator heading for the operation on the tenth floor. My hubby, mummy and sister accompanied me to the operation room. They were quiet and didn't say anything and they are not allowed in the theater. My hubby was worried because he wanted to give bribe to the doctor before the cs but he didn't meet the doctor (he even doesn't know how she looked like) and cannot give it!! In the operation house, everything is in hurry and my hubby wrapped the money in an envelope and handed me, asking me to give the envelope to the doctor before the operation. How can I do that? A naked woman, holding an envelope of money in hand and gave it to the doctor before all the nurses in the theater? I refused and was wheeled in the theater. I was very nervous at that time. I was asked to sign another consent for anesthetist before the epidural. I don't understand why they don't let me sign it the day before. Do I have time to and can I discuss the complication of epidural with anesthetist line by line? No! I signed it. Later, I know he also asked my hubby sign it and my hubby gave him money as well.

There was no pain in cs but no euphoria as well. (How can I experience euphoria without pain?!). Minutes later, I heard a cry from a baby. Is it my baby's cry? So unreal! Shiping said it was a boy. My boy cried and cried, how unhappy he was being taken out while he was happily sleeping in my womb? I don't know. I cried. He left my body forever!!! He is no longer inside me!! The anesthetist whom my hubby gave money to said don't cry, otherwise you will have more bleeding. I tried to stop. About ten minutes later, Shiping hold the baby and showed me while I was being sutured. He looked as if he looked down upon me. (Yes, he is higher than me while I was lying down but I felt his looking is that he looked down upon me!). Shiping showed me his scrotum and asked boy or girl. Boy of course. I think it is good my son will not suffer all that I suffered that day. I also felt sad that it took me so much sacrifice to bring him into the world and he will leave this world some day. (does any woman think of that when give birth?) Shiping also let my son kiss me. There is a touch of skin. I also feel very regretful. Look at my son, he has everything should have, eyes, ears, feet, hands, nipple, everything. I can make a perfect person!! How great I am!!! But this ability has been weakened by cs!! After I was closed, they put me on a wheel bed, putting my baby in my arm and wheeled me back to recovery room. I shaked a bit and my son also shaked. I firmly hold him and said inside my min "don't shake, mum is here!" he stopped shaking! Maybe because of the warmth of my hands. My hubby came in later and told me he gave money to the doctor after the surgery. Do I care??

After went home, I came to realize how wrong the whole thing is! My mum was so excited and called all relatives that I delivered a boy! I wondered why she is so excited? I don't feel excitement at all! I didn't deliver myself! From the next day I began feeling the pain. What on earth did they do to my belly!! 10 days after the surgery, extremely painful (I feel I am going to die). One month later, very painful. two months later, quite painful, three months later, rather painful. Now after fourth months, still painful. After one month, I left my son at home with my mother and went to national library and devoured every book on delivery. I realized that cs should be avoided as much as possible. One of the biggest national libraries in Beijing does not have books like Silent Knife, or good birth, safe birth, etc. but enough to stop my cs if I went there before delivery. I have one middle school classmate became a doctor and I nearly called her every other night till the fourth month on cs, complications, VBAC, etc. (I owed her so much.) I was much relieved that there will be a VBAC option in future. Six weeks later I went to hospital to check my recovery and I had a look of my medical record. On it all my test results are good and normal. The fluid is clear and there is even no cord around his head. Placenta was not fully mature yet. Ultrasonic predict him 3300g and he is 3320g. Station is -2 and 60% efface, no dilation yet. And there are lines like that: the medical staff tried hard to persuade me and talk me out of c section but I insisted to have elective c section so that they gave up. It is sheer lie. No one persuaded me or my family. Shall I sue them? The scar is already there and will not leave ever.

After got out of hospital and saw pregnant woman in street, I bursted into tears. I am no longer pregnant, my pregnancy was terminated by a surgery. How I miss my pregnancy! No more kicking inside. No more little person in my abdomen. I just cried. The feeling is so real. I never seriously think of the one-child family planning policy in China and now I resent it. And hubby said he cannot afford one more kid. Reading the delivery book, I wonder what it will feel like to push? I even don't feel any contraction, let along transition, pushy. I want to push but there is nothing to push. He is already out. One month after surgery, I don't feel my mind is clear. Every morning I woke up, first thing is to flashback what happened in the hospital. Everyday I only think of the pain and scar. I woke up during night, wondering, did I really receive a surgery?? Did my uterus really have a scar? Yes, it is. I cried in library, in bookstore, in front of my family, under my quilt. Mother said I am not a good mother and she just minimized my feeling. Everyday so many people have cs and only I have problem! (cs rate in public hospital is over 40%). What do you mean no problem? Recovery after six months or not dying on the table? I also wonder why I married my hubby? Is it not for convenience or lonely? He had no rapport with me on that critical moment or he just neglected my intention. Good birthing can reinforce a marriage while a bad one may rupture a family. As long as the scar exist, it will exist forever. If my hubby is a prince will I be treated like that? (yes I have crazy thoughts) He bought nutritious food and hope I could recover soon but finally gave up. I just cannot stop nagging the whole event till now and will not in future. After this, I want to be away from my family, as far as possible.

Yes I can learn something from it. I should be brave, much more educated, assertive, independent No matter how good the date I chose for my son, the day became very bad because I had unnecessary cs. I wonder what did I do to deserve all of this? I am not perfect but I love my baby and want to be a good mother. Do I deserve that????? Pregnant woman are so vulnerable.

I feel guilty for not giving my son a good start although he is so handsome and healthy. How can I explain all these to him when he grew up? How can I tell him that his birthday is not a real birth day, it is a surgery day? Only if I birth him myself, everything will be perfect. At least I should try.
I wish to remain anonymous, in telling this story.
But I would welcome feedback via my email address: meelin@sina100.com

P.S. about one month after my delivery, my mother's friend who said "only idiot deliver vaginally" Her husband was found to have cancer. Also, my sister missed a very rich bachelor. (she is not married at 38). I don't think she deserve good fortune or wealth although my mother felt very pitiful.