Birthrites: Healing After Caesarean.

Heidi's Story.

I just love this web page and wanted to contribute my story as well. I don't talk much about my story because people have told me numerous times that nobody wants to hear bad stories, especially ones about deliveries. So I usually keep my mouth closed. So I feel good to find people who actually care and share the good with the bad. I, like so many others was very ill prepared. I didnt even read or learn anything about c-sections because I was sure I was never to have one. My pregnancy went smoothly and went long. I was 42 1/2 weeks when I was finally induced, I was so big and so tight that my stomach actually was tearing in small places causing drops of blood on my clothes. I labored for 32 hours until my doctor requested prep for surgery. I had only dialated to 1. I feel like maybe if they had broken my water or given me pain relief, but one will never know.

I was given an epidural, I was pricked with a pin on my tummy and could not feel anything, although I could feel the follet catheter inserted. It was very painful, but they commented I must be feeling something else, since I did have an epidural now. But I could feel that follet all the way to surgery. When I got to the operating room, to say the least, I was scared, but nothing was to prepare me for what was to happen. They began to cut, and everything seemed fine until...I could feel them cutting! The searing heat and pain and I began to scream out, and I mean really scream out! All of a sudden there was a flurry of commotion in the room, I was on the brink of passing out when they ushered my husband out of the room and then I heard my baby cry and then it all went black. Apparently they gave me gas, because I didnt gain consciousness for another 24 hours.

Aside from all the infections and the physical pain of healing from surgery, the greatest pain was the emotion side. I was the last in my family to hold my daughter, in fact I was the last to even know that she was a girl. I missed out on the first momments and the first day of life for her. I felt that I had never given "birth" to her and I fell into an awful depression for about 3 weeks. What was wrong with me? I had a healthy baby and I had survived! So why was I crying?

In America, I feel like c-sections are not much talked about. You dont see them in movies and you dont read about them in parenting magazines. I felt almost branded as different from all the other women friends I had who had had "normal" deliveries. It wasnt until many months later that I learned that c-sections are actually becoming the norm for millions of women, but you just dont hear about it unless you research it, its not something we as a people talk about. And I have learned that its not something people much want to hear about. I have felt isolated for along time.

Now about my second birth of my son..it was much different. We were told that he had Down Syndrome at 20 weeks gestation, and then we had two more ultra sounds that verified it later in the pregnancy. This obviously was a whole other issue that we had to deal with. My doctor and I were set on a trial of labor for VBAC, but this time were werent going to go as long. So at 37 weeks I went in for a final ultra-sound to see the position of my son. On the table, at that very moment my uterus ruptured. Thankfully I was already at the hospital. I was rushed into surgery and had an emergency c-section.

This time I was given a Spinal. I was paralyzed from the neck down, but yet felt NOTHING. I heard my baby cry, and found out that he was PERFECTLY healthy. No Down Syndrome! I saw him and I even got to hold him in recovery just an hour after he was born! It was awesome. I had no depression and no infections!! The same outcome on both stories, healthy babies.

I feel so guilty so often when I look back and wish for vaginal deliveries. Here I have two wonderful children, so what is my problem! So many women in this world have vaginal and so many babies die or are deformed or have problems. I am so fortunate to live in a country where there is the medical technology to do these surgeries and have both parent and child live. But there is something there that I just cannot put my finger on, something not right about the c-section way, the common feeling that women have of not actually giving birth, but rather something taken from them. There also is a silent stigmatism, that I also cant seem to figure out. Nevertheless, my story is told, and like so many others...its bitter sweet.

Heidi Johnson,
Boulder, Colorado