Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Birth Story. Pt Two

 For Part One Go:  HERE

I am told I was asleep for 45 minutes while they sewed me up. During this time Ike was over giving Orion a bath, cutting the cord, etc. This was not what I dreamed of for a birth. In fact it made me question who I was and why had my body failed me. It took me nearly 3 and a half years to realize that my body did not fail me. It was the doctors who failed me. Just like they are failing women and families all over the world. They are afraid to trust birth. They are afraid for the unknown. Birth is unknown. Every woman is different. Sure they tell you that and want you to feel comfortable about choosing their hospital. But once they get you in, you become a number, a statistic. You are pushed into the conformity of it all. You are given a time limit. You are asked a bazillion questions, ultimately in the end you had no choices in the first place. Because they all lead down to the same path of Birth Rape.

After I was stitched up we waited in the recovery room until I could move my legs. This was about another 45 minutes. The entire time I breastfed. Which is where the second part of my journey starts. Another failure.

We had been wheeled to my dungeon cell, and there sat my mother, and my mother-in-law. It was great to see familiar faces but it still was too surreal to want to enjoy the experience. I sat on the bed as my baby was passed around for everyone to see, and to touch. Basically to get the approval to join the family, it felt like. I smiled on the outside but inside I was torn. I was told that once I had this first cesarean that was it I would now automatically be scheduled to deliver this way each pregnancy afterwords.

I got angry with the nurses in the nursery. Night number one Orion would not stop screaming, I tried nursing, changing diapers, everything, nothing worked. But when I called for the nurses to see if they had any suggestions, instead of offering me new breastfeeding positions, they said, “ You look tired, why don't we take Orion to the nursery and let you sleep for a hours, we will come get you when he is hungry.” 19 and tired, I did it. I told them he is not to have a pacifier, well guess what he came back with. I was fuming with anger. How could I trust them again? (I am sure not all hospitals are like this.... right???)

Apparently I healed quickly. I stayed at the hospital a total of 3 days counting my labor. The pain of a cesarean is not just physical, it is an emotional trauma that happens to so many women. And unfortunately most don't go home as soon as I did.

When I got home the first thing I did was sit down with Orion, nurse and soak in his newborn nummy-ness. We went to bed and had our first night time feeding routine started. It wasn't until people started showing up at our apartment, and offering me some shuteye that bad things started to happen. I would go up and take a nap while grandmothers came and held the baby. They commented on how he had gotten skinny. One ever so kindly made up a bottle and proceeded to feed my child with it. My husband, was scared, they told him if he didn't eat he would die. And instead of coming up to get me which he tried to do. He gave in a gave him a bottle. Orion was then forever a formula baby. I only nursed one month. And felt that bond with him dwindle away.

Now not only had my doctors failed me, my husband had failed me, and ultimately I had failed myself. But I don't blame him, heck I don't even blame my doctors. I blame my self for being so uneducated in childbirth. That I could allow us to get so scared in the lies we were being told, that it resulted in a loss of connection, between my son and I.

It hurt so bad, I began to cut again, trying to bleed away the pain that had been put there. When I met my husband, my cutting had stopped. The happiness we had was slowly melting away, and our marriage was struggling.

To add to this, when I went in for my 6 week check up, I was told I didn't want to have any more children right now, and I needed to get on some type of birth control. And instead of listening to my instincts, I did. I was scheduled for an appointment to get the Depo shot. I only got it once. But that was enough. A while later, I can't remember how long it was. I miscarried. And ever since then, I have been pregnant at least 3 other times. All resulting in the same outcome. I don't take the Depo shot anymore, and I haven't since that first time. But I learned something scary about it.

The effectiveness of Depo-Provera against pregnancy may last longer than three months — much longer. If you think you might want to try to get pregnant within the next year, the shot might not be the best choice. It can take between several months and a year or longer for the hormone to get out of the system and for pregnancy to occur.”

I do not recommend the shot to anyone. After receiving help and being put on anti-depressants, I gained about 80 pounds and lost all the confidence I had built up in the prior years. I stopped cutting completely, but not due to the anti-depressants, but due to the love of my husband. I began getting really involved in natural health, and organic living. Researching as much as I could was the best thing I could do. It helped me to learn to heal myself. How can a doctor “heal” us when they don't know exactly how we are feeling? They can't, Western Medicine can't, they can only mask the symptoms. When I learned that. I started to wean my self from my anti-depressants. I did it slowly, but boy, I still experienced the same thing that an addict getting cut off from heroine does.

After self-healing over the past 4 years has been a learning experience, but the scars of Birth Rape are still there, they are still there more many women. I hope one day, there will be a surge of women, standing up for themselves, and saying “No” when the doctor decides he/she wants to cut you open to get your baby out, instead of waiting for birth to happen on its own.

 (I am very aware that cesareans are necessary in some cases. But upper 30's as a percentile is ridiculous. There are those of us who were rushed, or who fell into the downward spiral of intervention, which resulted in an unnecessary cesarean. In some cases the babies heart-rate would not have dropped if it had not been because of the pitocin that was being cranked into the woman. I could go on and on but I won't. This is my birth story for Orion, next time (whenever that decides to happen, it will be different.)

Artwork by Amy Swagman


1 comment:

  1. This is a very powerful memoir. Thank you for sharing.