I did not want a C-section.
I wanted to give birth the “normal” way, which is to say via a nickel-sized slit that had previously only been used for sexy purposes.
I also didn’t want an induction, but I got one of those, too. I was 43 weeks pregnant when “I don’t want an induction” turned into “induce me right now or I’ll slay you.”
I labored for 50 hours before they wheeled me into surgery. I was 5 cm dilated and decided I couldn’t labor for another 2 days before starting to push, if that’s what it came down to. My husband sat by my side and held my shaking arms down as they sliced me open and pulled out my daughter. That was birth.
Physical recovery was difficult. How does one recover from major surgery while also not sleeping and worrying constantly and feeling emotions that had not previously existed? Very slowly.
Emotional recovery takes even longer. While I’m grateful my daughter was born safely, I didn’t want this. I didn’t execute my plan. I failed to give birth the way I should have been able to. These are the thoughts that creep in and strangle whatever ownership I’ve managed to take of my experience. This is the shit that gets to me.
One night, I was laying in bed with my husband and just happened to brush my hand across my scar. I broke down in tears.
Shouldn’t I be over this already?
Does any woman, ever, anywhere, get over the experience of giving birth? No. You’re not supposed to.
This 6 inch slice that cuts across my abdomen exists to remind me that I cooked up Lucy right inside of there. Thanks for the sperm, but I did this myself. I made dozens of small decisions every day for 10 months about what to put in my body, how much to move it, and how to take care of myself in order to grow her exactly how she is. During labor, I made the best decisions I could through excruciating pain, tremendous fear, and piercing self doubt. When they carted me into surgery, I was unbelievably fucking brave. I meditated, I counted, I breathed deeply as they slit me open from one hip bone to the other. “You’ll feel some pulling,” they said, as they lifted my 9 pound baby up into the air. I did that.
Birth is birth, and it made me stronger, softer, braver, and better. And I got this kid to prove it.
You can read my full birth story here.