I am a midwife, childbirth educator, lecturer, doula, and natural mother of eight children. This is not a medical reference; I do not proclaim to give medical advice. Anything stated here is from personal experience, research, study, and opinion. Each woman has the responsibility to do her own research, consult with her own medical team, and make her own decisions about pregnancy and birth.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Could it have been natural?

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

Although this story takes place over twenty-five years ago, you can tell the details are still fresh in the mother's mind.  Birth is such a major life event that it tends to stick with us forever.  What happened in her case isn't much different than what happens today.  One thing I feel from her story is that it seems this mother feels she was "robbed" of the chance to have her baby naturally.  Even decades later, you can feel the sense of loss for the natural birth she had hoped for.  In the end, though, she went home with a precious, healthy baby girl, and that's what matters most!

Special thanks to my dearest friend, Nesime, for submitting this story.  I love her dearly and am so honored that she chose to share her story here!

I hope you enjoy reading these birth stories.  Please let me know if you'd like to share yours. Now on to the story...Could it have been natural?...
I had been taking "the  pill" for five years when I heard that it was associated with a high risk for stroke.  I was naturally concerned and stopped taking it.  I immediately visited my doctor and asked for an alternate method of birth control.  He suggested I use a diaphragm.  It took one week for the pharmacy to order the size I needed and once it arrived I used it religiously.  

During that week between "the pill" and my new diaphragm, I assumed I was "safe."  After all, the pill I had been on was "strong" and most stories I had heard indicated that it could take several months after stopping "the pill" before getting pregnant.

But it turned out that was as effective as closing the barn doors after the horses have already ran out...just a wee bit too late!   Even so, I didn't realize for several months that I was pregnant.  I missed a few periods and took urine tests three times, but each came back negative.

I finally visited the doctor to find out what was wrong.   He advised me to wait a while because it can take some time for the menses to become regular after discontinuing "the pill."  Finally, a blood test was ordered.  Sure enough, I was pregnant!  Based on the lab results the doctor estimated I was about 10 weeks into the pregnancy.  

Next was an ultrasound.  I was shocked to find that I was actually 20 weeks pregnant!  I felt devastated when I realized that I had missed half the ride!

I remember clearly that it was a Friday, Christmas Eve, when I felt the first twinges of "labor."  It was my first pregnancy and I had never heard of "Braxton-Hicks" (false) contractions.   Even though I was still well before my due date, I rushed to the hospital, only to be sent home three hours later.  The next Friday, New Year's Eve, the same thing happened again!  January 6th, my mom's birthday, here we go again!  I was wise to it by now and didn't make the hospital trip this time!

Still a month until my due date, it happened again.  It was January 13th, 1984.  But this time was different; the labor pains came fast and hard!  After about six hours, the doctor finally came to examine me.  He announced that I was "only" five centimeters dilated.  He was afraid that the baby was under stress and told me that he was going to do a c-section.

I had never really considered a cesarean.  I had heard that the operation could be done using an epidural so that the mother could stay awake.  This was still a fairly new way to do things.  Nevertheless, I asked the doctor if I could be awake for the procedure.  I wanted to at least be able to see my baby as soon as she was born.

It was as if my request went unheard.  I was rendered unconscious under general anesthetic.  I woke around midnight to be told that my daughter had been born at 7:54 pm.  I had missed the first four hours of her life.  I still wonder today, had the doctor let me wait it out a little while longer, could it have been natural?  

As was standard in those days, they kept me in the hospital for ten days.  I am constantly reminded of the ordeal by the nasty scar it left on my abdomen.  Thirteen years later I ended up with fibroids.  I'm not sure what causes fibroids, but I would think that the scar tissue might have something to do with it. 

I have only had this one child.  Sadly, I've had a few miscarriages throughout the years.  I've always wondered if the c-section had something to do with my inability to carry to term, although I know many women go on to have more children after cesarean.   But  I would venture to guess that they didn't have the "zipper" of a scar that I have!

I only wish that I could have had one natural birth that lived.

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