Here are some of my least favorite myths about caesarian births: that all women can avoid them by being strong-willed/more informed. (If only I'd used my Jedi mind powers over that pesky preeclampsia!) That it's not a "natural" birth. (O RLY? What exactly are my babies, then? Cylons?) That they're "the easy way out." (*doubles over, slaps knee, throws out back because of decimated core muscles*)
For whatever reason, some people are just really, really, really opinionated about c-sections, and all I can say is that I hope for their sake that their lives continue to go exactly as planned with zero undesired consequences.
But I'd also like to address another increasingly pervasive belief, which is that any and all medical intervention during birth is horrible and unpleasant, and that hospital environments are always rushed and uncaring and uncomfortable.
I'm sure it's true for some people, but my hospital births -- surgeries and all -- were amazing.
There were disagreeable things, of course. I was scared silly about going into surgery, I was unnerved by the nauseating sensation of my intestines being moved around during the birth, recovery was achey and gooey and weird.
But mostly I remember both of my hospital births with happy nostalgia. I even remember feeling like I didn't want to leave, especially after my first son was born. My husband was eager to get back to the comforts of our house but man, I could have stayed for a week or more. At the hospital we had all kinds of experts checking on the baby, making sure everyone was doing okay, and even taking him to be fed if my husband was gone and I needed to sleep. A steady stream of friendly nurses were a button-push away from bringing me ice water, pain meds, and extra diapers.
Everyone says hospital food is awful, but I have fond memories of the little daily menus where I'd circle my meal requests. The shockingly delicious pushup popsicle a few hours after surgery, the blessed cup of coffee on the second morning.
I loved the big comfy bed that could be adjusted to suit my needs. It was crisp and white and even when the sheets got all bloody and gruesome and had to be changed out from under me it felt like this clean, safe, sterile place to be holding a baby. I could crank it into a Barcalounger shape and nestle my child in my lap while holding a book off to the side.
I dozed a lot, especially the first time around when I was recovering from magnesium, and since I went to a teaching hospital it felt like I had a new nurse every time I opened my eyes. Every single one of them was pleasant and patient and kind.
I remember recovering immediately after surgery, with my baby in my arms. The nurses had put a knit hat on him -- you know, the one with the little tied-off piece of yarn? -- and wrapped him like a burrito in that teal-and-pink blanket and the anesthesiologist came by to check on me and there was this bustle of professional good-natured activity in the room and I just felt like we were so cared for.
I have the same exact memory from both births: I'm lying in bed, just me and my brand-new son. The room is quiet and I'm looking at my child's tiny perfect face, while outside I can hear the muted murmurs and bleeps of a busy nursing station. All those people ready to help us if need be. It was like being in a pocket, or cupped in someone’s hand.
I know a lot of people have unpleasant hospital ordeals, and hate the idea of intervention. I didn’t plan on having surgical births either, but I couldn’t have asked for better treatment. Really, considering that everyone arrived in perfect health, I couldn't have asked for better births, period.
Did you have a positive hospital birth?
Image via Linda Sharps