Can I ask a favor?

Somebody please disagree with me if this is not you experience.

This is my request.  Please, please, do not tell me that “the only thing that matters is a healthy mom and a healthy baby.”  I’m not saying I don’t want a healthy baby, or that I would rather bleed to death, or that I don’t appreciate that I live in a place where I have the opportunity (not to mention the medical insurance) to allow us to catch a placenta previa and do something “safe” about it.  But what I hear, although I know it is not what it intended, which is why I try not to get upset about it, is, “don’t get so worked up about your birth.  Your experience of it doesn’t matter.  Stop being upset.”

I know that’s not what people who say this mean.  But I also know that I need to mourn the birth I was really, really hoping to have.  And it is mourning.  I am between “denial” and “bargaining” at the moment, and in a way watching myself work through it.

So I know, of course, that the most important thing is a healthy mom and a healthy baby.  Otherwise I would not be signed up for surgery in two weeks.  But it is not the only important thing, by any stretch of the imagination.  And it rings empty to hear it in the midst of the emotional pain that comes with this kind of change of plans.  It strikes me as the rationalization of a society that isn’t comfortable with suffering, that doesn’t want to admit that what it often forces women to do with their bodies is suffering, and that focuses on the ends to the exclusion of the means.  ( I had to throw some psychology and philosophy in here sooner or later, right?)

And I’ve been there, so I know that holding a beautiful, healthy baby does not make the experience of birth go away, no matter what the birth was like.  Particularly when you can’t nurse the baby in your lap because it is too painful, or wear your favorite baby sling for two months, and you are constantly reminded how the birth went.  I do not love Lucy less because she was born by a c-section.  But if I could go back and change the way she came into the world, I think I might.  Of course there are lessons to be learned from every situation, and I do like to think that things happen for a reason, but adding unnecessary suffering to a situation (and a lot of it with Lucy’s birth had to do with the way we were treated, not just the fact it was a c-section rather than a vaginal birth) doesn’t make sense to me.

So even if it’s meant to be comforting, I’d rather not hear about how lucky I am right now.  On the other hand, I am curious if anyone out there did actually, truly, find the “healthy mom, healthy baby” argument comforting.  Particularly at this stage of things.

So I’m really looking forward to meeting this very wiggly baby in two weeks.  And I’m looking forward to enjoying the last two weeks of this pregnancy as much as I can.  But I can’t simplify my feelings (blame it on the hormones if you want) to “thank God things are going to be ok”.  I do, repeatedly.  But I’m stubborn, and I’m an oldest child, and I’m still going to be upset that things didn’t work out “my way”.

Enough ranting.  I should say that I do appreciate all the prayers and well-wishes we’ve gotten over the last couple of weeks.  We certainly need more prayer for the next month or two now.  I’m sorry I’m keeping you all so busy!  But like I said before, it has been a true blessing to know how many people care about our family.  And in looking for a bright side, I certainly find one there – how many people have spent a little more time in prayer these last few weeks than they would have otherwise?  How many people have I reconnected with because they heard one way or another about what was going on and reached out to us?  I don’t think I’ll ever doubt our support system again.

I know there’s reason to all this somewhere.  Our OB thinks maybe she had such disappointing birth experiences so that she would become an advocate for fewer c-sections and interventions, so that more women could have experiences they could remember with more joy, healthier bodies, fewer complications, etc.  And she has been a great blessing to us, especially when I think that some women go to doctors like a couple of them I’ve met over the last few weeks – lacking sympathy, lacking anything that could be called “bed-side manner”, very nearly lacking respect of me as a person (as opposed to a condition).

Apparently I babble when I don’t sleep well.  But since all this is what has been keeping me awake, I thought I might as well record it for posterity.  If you’ve read this far, thank you, and I’m sorry.  I’ll quit now.

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