Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Saying it Out Loud ... *I* didn't deliver him

Starting a new posting category today . . . "Saying it Out Loud". This whole blog has been about the baby, obviously, but I haven't said much about myself, how *I* am handling this whole motherhood thing. I keep being mad that "no one says ___ outloud!" (fill in the blank with anything about REAL life with a baby). Well, that stops now.

Episode 1 ... "*I* didn't deliver him"
No, this is not about C-Sections. I read a lot during pregnancy about the post c-section guilt about not actually birthing the baby yourself. Lots of moms say "I failed at labor" or feel like they were cheated or missed out on the birth they wanted. That wasn't me. I have nearly the exact birth I had wanted: qualified for the Birthing Center; got there at just the right time (6 cm dilated); labored in the tub; no wires, no drugs, only one exam. But something has bothered me about my birth from day 1, and it's taken me until now (almost 10 months later) to figure out what it is.

I feel like *I* didn't deliver him. 

The day after the birth, the doula asked me "So how to you feel about how it went?". I said that I expected the pushing part to be different, that I had always imagined a slower, active pushing phase, where I was in control, present, and working to push my baby out. That's not what happened. You can read the whole story here, but here's the quick version: labored for a few hours at the Birthing Center; took a walk down the hall; one "I can't do it" contraction; started spontaneously pushing while standing in the hall; freaked out; Bag of Waters, still in tact, was hanging out of me; got to the room; one or two contractions; baby was born. From "I can't do it" to baby in about 4 minutes.

For heaven's sake, I only pushed for 4 minutes! I should be ecstatic about it! But I sort of feel like I missed out. I can't remember what it felt like. I can barely remember doing it. I feel like *I* did everything else -- *I* labored in the tub, *I* dealt with the pain, *I* kept myself together. But it's like someone or something else delivered him, like *I* was not a part of it. So the whole experience feels sort of unfinished.

It's not like I can go back and do it differently, but at least I think I have a handle on what the issue is. I wonder if this is why it was so hard to bond with the baby right away. I would look at him and sort of think "What are YOU doing here?", and now I think it was because I was feeling, "You're not supposed to be here. I haven't given birth to you yet".

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