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Tuesday, 15 October 2013 22:54

The After Birth

I wrote my birth story shortly after giving birth. I reminisced over the labor, the time spent with my husband, the process I took. Now, looking back, I realize that story was false. Sure, the facts were true. However, I left out my emotions. I left out my anguish, my grief, my sense of being unfinished. I had a cesarean birth. My baby was surgical removed from my body, instead of gracefully slipping into her Daddy’s hands, she was dragged out screaming. As I planned my home birth, I was blissfully unaware of the possibility of surgery. The midwives did nothing to prepare me for this life changing experience, the birth that wasn’t. In the months that followed I would open myself to the anger, guilt, sorrow, and waterfall of emotions that would come. I am still angry at my midwives, still feel cheated, still feel the pain from my scars. However, I look at things differently now.

All the birth tooting, natural minded mumbo jumbo like, “Trust birth” and “Your body was made to do this” are now insults to women like me. So, our bodies were not made to give birth? Our bodies are somehow wrong for not delivering vaginally? No, this is certainly not true. As Ina May said, “Your body is not a lemon.” But yet, there is that feeling of not belonging to the club. There is a feeling of missing something so important, so craved, of being invalidated. I use my experience in my doula practice to embrace all birth, to see all possibilities, to validate all women and their bodies. For so many women, a cesarean birth is not their choice. It blindsides them, punches them in the gut, and takes the light away. In my experience, as I said, my midwifes did not prepare for me the possibility at all. Was it their job to do so? Maybe. Though, mostly it was my job. For that is the ultimate end to it all, it is a pregnant woman’s job to be informed. No one can help you, if you do not want help. A doula can provide options, lay them out, explain the process, but if you do not open your own book then the story is never read.

So I carry these emotions around, even still. I carry them because birth matters. I carry them for me, for you, for the next woman in my place. I carry them so that I can remember my power, and take it further. The combination of my body and baby did not end in a vaginal birth. Yes, I have a beautiful healthy baby. Yes, I am alive. Yes, I am lucky. I thank the medical community for being there when I certainly needed it. The community of women who come to support each other though, has the greatest power. I will forever be changed by my experience. I do not “trust birth.” I am in awe of it. I do not think “my body was made for this.” I know my body made a strong baby, and whichever process that brought that baby into this world, I accomplished.

The rights of a birthing mother are what she makes them. Be informed, be strong, be precious. Take my story and every other woman’s as just that, our stories. Your book is yours to read and write!

Published in Mom's Recovery
Saturday, 27 July 2013 11:18

Tips before, during and after a c-section

I know that birth is natural and nothing can be compared to that process when you give life to your child (unfortunately I can’t live through it naturally). Moreover, I noticed that c-sections are like foster-children. No one likes to talk about them. But in Hungary (where I live) the rate of c-sections is approximately 35% which means that every third baby is born this way. (“The suggestion of WHO is only 15%!”[1]) When I prepared to write this article I searched for some articles which help me collect and organize the ideas and I was shocked when I realized that very few magazines and books deal with c-sections in more than 10sentences (all of them discusses just the operation, the reasons and effects but just from medical side, none of them gives you tips how to “survive”). Natural birth is dealt through pages but “there is no argument that there are cases when c-section is the only chance to preserve the health of the mother and the child as well.”[2]

During my pregnancy with my son I thought that I will start labor at home, go to the hospital, give life to him and it is not a big thing. Once I heard if birth weren’t a natural thing, people had been extinct. I agree with that statement pretty much. I attended classes before my birth, I learned everything about being in labor, and “all the staff” but nobody was talking about c-sections. Unfortunately I had both my children with c-section. I had genetic, uncontrolled pain weakness.

With my son I was induced as the result of his non-stress test was awful. I was in labor for 6 and a half hours, after it doctors decided to make c-section as my water wasn’t clear and I can’t dilate more than 3cm. I was disappointed but very happy that I have a healthy son. My daughter was born with planned c-section as the result of her non-stress test was not good for a while and doctors knew my birth history so on my due date doctors decided to make the operation. For the second time I know what will happen, how to prepare for it and how to recover from it as soon as possible.

With these tips I’d like to help mothers who have to face this operation.

Tips before a c-section (if you know that it will be):

  • “Don’t forget: during a c-section a baby is born, a mother is born and a new family is born. Giving life is a saint thing, no matter where it happens.”[3]
  • Prepare your bags carefully

Ø  One bag you take to the intensive unit: tissues, glass, straw, mobile phone (fully filled), clean nightdress, clean knickers (disposable one is a good choice), sanitary napkin (the best one is which has “a soft cottony cover top anion sheet”[4])

Ø  Another bag with all the other staff – from it put the most necessary things onto the table next to your bed and onto the one where you will take care of your baby

  • Write a c-section birth plan if you feel that you need it. E.g. if you want to watch how they pull out your baby, whether you want to be informed about every little thing or not, etc. (Unfortunately in Hungary doctors can’t be adaptable as they have to work according to the rules of their hospital)
  • In Hungary you have to tell your baby’s name in advance so prepare with a male and female name as well

Tips during a c-section:

1.  Try to bear in mind:

  • “Birth experience is a unique and wonderful thing. If it is a c-section than it is.”[5]
  • “Everybody else wears masks and strange clothes because of YOU and YOUR baby. They help you. They serve you. The operation theatre is also the place of YOUR baby’s birth, even if it is not so natural.”[6]
  • You will never forget the moment your baby is born. Try to live it through as id it were a moment just for the two of you,
  • Don’t be afraid of asking, it can help you understand what is happening. (During my second c-section I asked a lot of questions and they answered all of it properly)

Tips after a c-section:

          In the intensive unit:

  • Have a rest, sleep. Think about this period as you have already started to recover.
  • If you can, move your legs – it will help when the time comes to stand up
  • When your baby is with you breastfeed and use skin-to-skin contact. “Use this time very intensively, for that little person you are the world, you and your love is much more important for her than the circumstances of her birth.”[7]
  • Do the first getting-up very carefully, don’t let them make you hurry (with my first baby after getting up I felt that all my organs are falling down to my ankle)
  • Walk very slowly

          In your hospital room:

  • Practice getting up – the more you do it the easier it will be
  • Walk – moving is the best therapy
  • Relax when your baby is sleeping. You can co-sleep as well!
  • (of course) Breastfeed as much as you can. Try different positions. With my second child different positions were comfortable then with my first one.

          At home:

  • Write down your birth story. You can write more versions – e.g. just for yourself, for a friend of yours or as if it were a letter to your doctor. Mention everything which is important for you. Try to stress the best and worth thing. It can help you accept the situation.
  • Don’t care about the housework. Write a list about the most necessary things and give it your family members to help.
  • Relax and sleep when you can. When my baby slept, I slept, too.)
  • Wear knickers and trousers which don’t hurt your wound
  • When you wear clothes use bandage on your wound if it makes you more comfortable in the first few days/weeks, but when you just relax at home try to hold your wound on the fresh air.
  • Avoid lifting heavy things – if you have a bigger child try to hold him in your arms just when you are sitting – it can be a golden rule not to lift heavier things than your baby
  • Your wound will heal fully just after 6 months, so don’t hurry yourself![8]

Your birth story is that how you saw, heard and felt it – the miracle is inside it, where you can find it!!!


[1] Szentendrei, J.: Császármetszés a világon (C-sections around the world) Retrieved July 27, 2013 from http://kangaegyesulet.hu/2012/09/04/csaszarmetszes-a-vilagon/

[2] Szentendrei, J.: Császármetszés a világon (C-sections around the world) Retrieved July 27, 2013 from http://kangaegyesulet.hu/2012/09/04/csaszarmetszes-a-vilagon/

[3]Csodálatos császármetszés (Wonderful cesarean). Retrieved July 24, 2013 from http://felicitasz.blog.hu/2010/10/06/csodalatos_csaszarmetszes

[4] On the box of Crystal Anion sanitary pad

[5] Csodálatos császármetszés (Wonderful cesarean). Retrieved July 24, 2013 from http://felicitasz.blog.hu/2010/10/06/csodalatos_csaszarmetszes

[6] Csodálatos császármetszés (Wonderful cesarean). Retrieved July 24, 2013 from http://felicitasz.blog.hu/2010/10/06/csodalatos_csaszarmetszes

[7] Csodálatos császármetszés (Wonderful cesarean). Retrieved July 24, 2013 from http://felicitasz.blog.hu/2010/10/06/csodalatos_csaszarmetszes

[8]Császármetszés utáni lábadozás (Convalescence after a c-section) Retrieved July 24, 2013 from http://www.csaladivilag.hu/cikkek/szules/csaszarmetszes-utani-labadozas/298/

 

Published in Birthing Styles

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