09 April 2011


I have seen two things online recently about the experiences of having twins via C-section and it has given me the urge to add my two cents to the universe of opinion and judgement on this heavily opined and judged subject.

First, here they are:


(the post from March 3 called "What it's like to have a C section")

First of all let me tell you that birthing classes - at least extensive weeks long classes like the one we took - are a waste of time because they tell you all about the perfect pregnancy and delivery. They spent maybe an hour of a 16+ hour course on C-sections and mostly discussed how to avoid one. I knew I had a 50/50 chance of getting one so I was rather more interested in the deets but they were not forthcoming.

We watched one video in class of a woman taking a hike up the side of a stream and then eating rice and beans with her fetching sculptor husband while in labor.  She gave birth in her hottub and then her whole family climbed in with her!  I knew that wasn't going to be me with twins, but honestly? How is seeing perfection supposed to prepare us for anything less?

I now laugh at myself and how much I agonized over what was to be my "birth experience".  Would I have a tub in my room?  Should I have an exercise ball to bounce on during labor?  Would I be allowed to drink water? I was in labor for two days and still had an emergency C-section and I don't regret any of it.

That's because about 30 seconds after the delivery, while I was still filleted like a salmon and staring at the white glare of the ceiling and my first baby let out a scream, and then my second baby let out nothing and was rushed off to the NICU I realized how utterly insignificant my personal "birth experience" was.

Nobody, midwives or birth class teachers, prepares you for bad news.  They never EVER discussed what would happen if your baby had a deformity, syndrome, disease, seizure, or anything else that sends you down the rabbit hole to the NICU.  There you are with all of the other terrified and bewildered parents of the other invisible "birth experiences", trying to figure out "gee, how do I put 'something neurological' on the birth announcement"? I saw my daughter with IVs and tubes and monitors stuck everywhere and realized that everything that was artificial and unnatural was keeping her alive.

I think natural birth is wonderful and is in many cases the safest and best way. But it is a luxury. It's a luxury of health, a luxury of ideals and best possible outcomes.

Ultimately, your birth experience will last a couple of days at most.  Your parenting experience will last the rest of your life and will most definitely not be what you plan for, even if you don't encounter the medical nightmares we have been through.

So if you have a less than ideal birth experience but you have a healthy mom and baby thank your lucky stars and move on.

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