06 May 2015

A Childbirth By Any Other Name

Earlier today I read this post on the Scary Mommy blog, which was biting back at all those people (mostly women) who seem to think that if you aren't squirting babies out of your fun house after hours of excruciating and unmedicated labor, then somehow you aren't a "real woman."  Personally?  I think that's one of the biggest crocks of bullshit I've ever heard.

Furthermore, I applaud Lola Lolita's snarky take on the debate (and I use that term 'debate' loosely, considering it's not so much a debate as yet another judgmental attempt for some women to feel superior to other women by denigrating them or their personal birth experiences.  Was slut-shaming not enough?  Do we really have to run around birth-shaming as well?)  By Lolita's description, I too am "not a real woman" because I took the "easy way out" and didn't "actually give birth."

I went to the hospital 2 weeks after my due date to be induced because my very stubborn daughter was in absolutely no hurry to arrive (she still loves to sleep in).  In spite of this, I fully intended to be a "real woman" and deliver her naturally and without medication (well, other than the Pitocin required to drag her lazy ass out of bed).  But that's not what ended up happening.

Eighteen hours later, she still hadn't fully dropped, I'd only dilated to 7 cm, and she was starting to experience some distress so the doctor decided enough was enough.  It wasn't one of those "OMG C-SECTION RIGHT NOW OR ELSE!!!" kind of emergencies, but things were definitely headed in that direction.  Nor did I start freaking out over the fact that I wasn't going to be able to "actually give birth" like a "real woman" because, strangely enough, I was far more concerned about my daughter arriving healthy and, you know, alive than whether or not I'd be shooting a bowling ball out of a straw like God intended.  I definitely prefer a "non-real" but living child to a dead one birthed naturally.  Call me selfish that way.

Sure, having my daughter by fauxmergency c-section was "taking the easy way out," provided you consider being slapped on a narrow table and having your arms strapped to pull-out planks at your sides crucifixion-style while some lady doctor climbs onto the table with you so she can launch push the baby out of your body and into a waiting resident's catcher's mitt "easy," never mind getting to watch medical personnel and family members pass around your newborn infant like a bag of pork rinds while you yourself are trapped on a table and shaking violently for hours from the post-op effects of your epidural.  Because it's "easy" to go through months of uncomfortable pregnancy then have major abdominal surgery after which you get to watch everyone hold and coo over your brand-new child but you.  I know I enjoyed that part...it was so relaxing.

Wanna know what else is "taking the easy way out?"  Spending four days in the hospital being awakened every 10 minutes to have a thermometer or some other instrument shoved in your various body parts while suffering the indignity of having orderlies swab your bits and empty your catheter bag because you couldn't move to do it yourself, that's what.  Not to mention being further deprived of your child for the entirety of your hospital stay because she developed jaundice and had to spend most of her time in a tanning bed toaster phototherapy unit.  I saw her for feedings and that was about it. So yeah, after 9+ months of pregnancy, 18+ hours of labor, 4 days in the hospital, and major surgery, I got to see and hold my extra-crispy newborn daughter for a few minutes every several hours...because that's "taking the easy way out."

Just the same, I wouldn't change a thing.  While a c-section was certainly not part of my original plan, at the end of the day I went home with a beautiful and healthy baby girl.  And that's all that really matters.  All this nonsense about what constitutes "real" birth or "real" womanhood is just that...nonsense.  As far as I'm concerned, if a woman is pregnant and a baby is removed from her body, then she's given birth regardless whether that child was pulled from her hoo-ha, her abdomen, her left nostril, or shot out of her right nipple.  Why try to belittle someone else's experience?  What's the point, really?  Are you just jealous that we didn't have to suffer through an episiotomy and you did? As long as a woman and her doctor are deciding what's best for her and her child, that's all that counts.  Birth is birth, in my humble opinion...and I don't give a rat's patootie about those who say differently.

Hell, if a c-section was good enough for a Roman emperor, then it was good enough for me.

Feel free to add me to the list of Not Real Women, Ms. Lolita--I'll claim that title proudly.

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