Sunday, September 2, 2012

Part One: Seven Years and Women's Health


Have you ever heard the saying that says something about how we are completely different people every seven years? As I have not yet entered my third decade of being, it is safe to say I am experiencing this for the first time in my life. Seven years ago I was newly married, beginning my first official grown-up job (at which I would last three months before resigning) and still deeply mourning the loss of my Grandpa. I had yet to fully enter the tail-spin that his death would send me into, but the nightmares had begun and I was desperately trying to figure out how to be married.

It is difficult to believe that he has been gone for that long. The last time that I saw him alive was on my wedding day. He was the happiest I had ever seen him and while the fact that I did not make it home in time to see him before he died tortured me for a good year, I am now content remembering him as he was on that day.

As for the other life altering event seven years ago, I am still trying to figure out how to be married! It is much less desperate these days, and more exciting with the addition of the offspring.  There are challenges of course, but our marriage definitely benefited from aging nearly five years before our first child was born. When I get to thinking about it, I am barely recognizable in some ways to me before motherhood even.

When I was pregnant with my son, I decided that I wanted to have an unmedicated hospital birth. I knew there would be pain, but that it would be the best kind of pain. I wanted to have him naturally and feel the end of the pregnancy turning into his birth. As my due date neared and I looked as though there were triplets arm-wrestling inside of me, I began to panic. I was having trouble fitting into any of my maternity clothes and the heartburn and leg cramps were horrendous. At my 39 week check-up, I was armed with a plan to convince my doctor that I could not wait any longer to give birth: I was going to cry. I had my charts in hand and I was going to show him that he obviously had read them wrong the first time and I had to be overdue by now. I walked in and the first four words he said to me were “Let’s talk about induction.” I nearly cried I was so relieved. It was a Monday and we set it up for Wednesday. I went home to go to class for the last time. Two minutes before class started he called to tell me there had been a mistake made and I could not be induced until Sunday. Then I cried.

Sunday meant I was overdue by a day. I was ready to have my baby and find out which name we had spent hours choosing would apply. 27 hours after the induction began it was as though seven years had passed: I was a hollow shell of my former self and began lashing out at everyone except my doctor about how tight the damn BP cuff was. When it began to tighten after the three second break I had between contractions, I could not take anymore. I had not eaten in over a day and I just couldn’t hang in there any longer. My son Calvin was born via c-section and the feelings of defeat did not last very long after I joyfully held him for the first time. The anger returned an hour later when they still would not let me eat. It resurfaced again the next day when they wouldn’t let me have chocolate cake.

(I would like to take a moment to tell you all how much I truly LOVED my OB. He is wonderful and would have seen me through any path I would have chosen. He was absolutely not eager for the cesarean to take place, and he spent the first five minutes of each follow-up with me apologizing profusely for how things ended up. He is truly one of the good ones and if I could have packed him up to move across the country with us whilst pregnant with our second child, I would have done so. )

Without much detail, I had a c-section with my daughter as well. They still would not let me eat. The food was terrible, and I really was uncomfortable with the hospital in general, with the exception of my OB.  So less than three years after the birth of my first child, I look back on my birth stories, and can’t help but think, “Who the hell was making those choices?!” In less than half of the seven year span, I have begun researching c-section rates with induction, VBA2Cs, and countless other related topics to prepare myself for the next time we are pregnant. With a few years of motherhood under my belt, I never would have made the decision to induce, regardless of my comfort level.

My long and drawn out point for this portion of the story is that I am incredibly grateful that who I am changes with every passing day. I am still me. My values and beliefs may have adjusted slightly, but they have deepened. I am capable of things today that I would never have been capable of seven years ago. I am also dropping down on my knees thanking the Lord that I am not clairvoyant, psychic or capable of seeing my future with any sort of clarity or accuracy.
 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jess,

    I am a VBAC mama myself! I'm passionate about making sure moms and families are educated about all their options, so they can make informed decisions that are best for them and their families. Good luck on your VBA2C journey! It can be challenging, but I know quite a few women who have done it. I encourage you to check out www.improvingbirth.org for more info on childbirth issues.

    And thanks for your blog!! I too find myself in that strange place of identifying myself as a staunch feminist, but also pro-life. Your thoughts are so encouraging!

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