I wanted it. I wanted it so bad I could feel it in my bones. I meditated and tried to picture the birth, but nothing felt right. I focused on the birthing process, anticipating what my body might feel. Somewhat like what an Olympic skier might visualize before their run, going through all the different paths and obstacles that may come in front of them. But nothing felt right, nothing clicked.
My husband and I had gone through four heart-breaking years of trying to get pregnant. In the beginning it was fun, at the end it was clinical. A natural birth was my way of being a part of it, embracing what I knew my body could do. I had had a glorious pregnancy. And even with the development of gestational diabetes near the end, I loved being pregnant. It was the culmination to our four years of dedication and the start of our family.
I took natural birth classes, read books, talked to my other Mama friends and tried to meditate harder. My husband and I watched Ricky Lake’s documentary, The Business of Being Born; I knew what the U.S. hospitals were pushing and I wasn’t going to be a part of it. I was adamant about having a natural birth, which was welcomed and praised by some and ridiculed by others. We found a doula, I got my birthing ball, had acupuncture, and wrote my two-page birth plan. I found a hospital that suited my needs and things began to flow. But still, when I tried to visualize the birth… nothing.
Coincidentally, my sister-in-law was two weeks further along than I was and she wound up having a C-section due to complications. I started researching the process. I reached out to my diverse birthing community for information and got so much, including a video out of England that personalized the C-section. Whenever I spoke to friends who had C-sections they felt so removed. They said they felt cut up and clinical, they said that there was no warmth in the process. But this video was amazing; it made the caesarean seem natural. I watched the video and something clicked, and I decided to put an additional section in my birth plan.
Then the whirlwind 39th week happened. Things just started to feel like they were out of control. I was informed that I needed to be induced due to the baby’s size. What? I had done everything right, I had only gained 17 pounds during my entire pregnancy. I closely watching my diet, I went on walks and monitored my sugar intake and yet my baby was measuring large; they estimated 10 pounds.
I cried at the loss of doing things naturally, but eventually, I found peace with it. We went in for the induction with packed bags, pillows, 10 copies of my birth plan and the entire checklist of things they say you will need but no one ever uses. Family was called, friends were informed and we were giddy. We had called our doula–I really needed that extra support. We went in; I changed into my gown and held my hubby’s hand. We could see the fear and excitement in each other’s eyes. There was no turning back now… or so we thought.
Next thing we knew, we were on our way home because the on-call doctor felt that there would be too many complications for me and the baby with a vaginal birth.
The next morning we met with the head of the birthing department, who was a breath of fresh air. She totally calmed us down, listened to all we had to say and had already reviewed my birth plan. Then she helped me to visualize what would happen if I were to have a C-section, who would be in the room, and went through the process step by step.
The following morning, before the birth, our doula led a meditation that allowed me to finally feel what the birth would be like. My amazing husband had tears and concern in his eyes when he sweetly kissed my face.
I entered the operating room and called on to my ancestors to hold and support me. I could feel my grandmothers and their mothers. I called on all the mothers who had given birth before me. I called on my friends and family. I could feel them all around me. The anesthesiologist administered the epidural and the rest of the team entered, including my husband–even our doula was allowed in. The team began the process and talked me through each step. Once they had made the incision they did just what I asked and dropped the curtain. I saw our baby come up and out of me; I had birthed my baby. (Don’t worry, I could not see my insides, as some have asked!)
The doctors delayed clamping the umbilical cord, and after my husband cut the cord, the next thing I knew, he was holding our beautiful 9 pound 15 ounce baby girl. The doctors sewed me up while the baby rested on my chest. She was never far from my husband and we gently held her during all examinations. The birthing team listened to every request we had made. By the time I entered the recovery room I had already begun the breastfeeding process. I had had my connection to the birth–my natural cesarean–and I was at peace.
Well, who are we kidding… that only lasted for a minute.