Too Posh to Push?
Last year I had my sixth child by way of a sixth c-section. There isn’t a “zipper in the abdomen” joke I haven’t heard.
I’ve also heard a lot of surprise that a woman would be “allowed” to have so many c-sections. Even I consulted with my obstetrician to discuss the issue before my last few pregnancies. When it came time to consider the possibility of a sixth child, a review of my medical file and a discussion about the state of my uterus gave us the green light to go ahead.
Though I’m always keen to bring my gorgeous baby into the world, I don’t enter into the c-section process with much enthusiasm. Although I’ve had six of them, I find the entire procedure very disturbing. I am an anxious patient, I don’t like when natural events become heavy with interventions. And quite frankly I get a little freaked out being wide awake while my abdomen is being cut open. Like every mother, it’s a thrill to see that tiny face for the first time. But I can’t help but feeling that I’ve undergone a surgical extraction instead of giving birth.
And every time I’ve had a baby surgically extracted, I’m left shaking my head at the thought that some women actually chose this method of delivery over a vaginal delivery. I know pushing a baby out the traditional way is no easy feat, but after seeing so many mama friends within hours of them giving birth, I’ve been left feeling some serious pangs of envy. There she is – glowing, radiant and (gasp!) sitting fully upright as her babe nuzzles at her breast. One hour after I have a baby, I’m either having my guts sewn up, dry-heaving in the recovery room or suffering mild hallucinations from the pain meds. The hours after that are spent feeling like a truck has hit me. And then when my other children come for a visit, I spend a good chunk of time begging them not to jump on my stomach.
I try to be positive, I get a baby out of the deal after all. And if forced to look at the bright side of the c-section situation, this is what comes to mind:
Getting the big kids organized: for the “Mama of Many”, a 2:00 am labour kick-off can cause a bit of scrambling. A planned c-section allows for some pre-planning and avoidance of any last minute organizational panic.
A slightly longer hospital stay: For those of you who have hospital births then promptly scope out the nearest exit, this may sound strange, but I love staying in the hospital. A stay in the hospital is the closest thing I ever get to a holiday. I don’t care that the food is bland and boring because someone else is making it and bringing it to me in bed!
The joy of a catheter: Yes, you heard me right – I actually enjoy having a catheter for 24 hours post-op. After spending the last bit of pregnancy frequenting the “loo” only to produce a very unsatisfying teaspoon of urine, I appreciate a holiday from bathroom visits.
Daytime TV: When else do I get to watch Oprah, Dr. Phil and The View? Never.
While it’s clear hanging out in the hospital doing shots of Maalox is a far cry from sipping fruity cocktails on the beach, it’s the closest thing to paradise this mama gets and I’ll take what I can get. As for a seventh c-section? I think I’d better find another way to get my breakfast served in bed.
Julie Cole is the co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc. (mabel.ca) and the proud mother of six.