The other day I saw a conversation starter on Facebook. It went something like this: What was the first thing you did after giving birth? My immediate thought surprised me: I don’t know, I haven’t given birth. You see, Little M was born by caesarean.
I honestly feel that way. Little M was a breech baby, and so was delivered via caesarean section. And that’s how I think of it. She was delivered to me. I haven’t written Little M’s birth story yet. I think this might be what’s holding me back. At first I felt like less, somehow. Less of a mother. But then I had a stern word with myself and told myself that I still love Little M just as much as if I’d ‘given birth’ to her. I’m just the same parent as I would have been if she’d come out the natural route.
I still feel like I’ve missed out, somehow. No excitement of waters breaking, no story of how the labour unfolded, or swearing at my husband (I feel it’s quite likely that this would have occurred, not because of my husband’s nature, but rather my sharp tongue!). But worst of all, no memory of my baby rushing out of me and being placed, warm, wet and screaming, onto my chest.
Instead she was held up over the curtain for me to see, blue and writing, like some form of alien being, and handed to a nurse, who took her to be checked over and weighed. At my c-section pre-op, I had asked for her to be placed on my chest immediately, but this request was denied. I still don’t really understand why. Something about the baby needing to be checked over.
This was done just over my right shoulder, where I could only see by straining my neck, so I reluctantly turned back to hear the surgeons who’d carried out my caesarean debating whether or not they could ‘squeeze another one in before lunchtime’. Hardly the magical birth moment that I was hoping for.
I’d dreamed of one of those perfect photographs of mummy, daddy and baby, our perfect Little Family together. I imagined Little M on my chest, sleeping and peaceful, hubby with his arm around me, both of us displayed broad smiles of contentment. Instead, I have a photograph taken by the anaesthetist in an operating theatre, my husband awkwardly holding the swaddled baby while I smile an empty smile of someone who wishes she wasn’t lying helpless on a large metal tray at possibly the most life-changing moment of her entire existence. Oh yes, and I look like I’ve been morphed by one of those hilarious* apps that make you look like a morbidly obese person. Let me tell you, that anaesthetist won’t be winning photographer of the year anytime soon…
Was this the birth story I’d hoped for? Definitely not. Did I give birth to Little M? No, I still don’t think I did. But I did give her life. And that’s fine by me.
*Not hilarious at all.