Friday, March 30, 2007


We just celebrated my daughter's first birthday, which got me thinking back to the days leading up to and including her birth. I had a particularly long though not particularly awful labor that progressed quite naturally until it didn't. Despite all our best efforts (e.g. climbing stairs, doing squats, laboring in the tub, walking the hallways, you name it!), I never dilated enough to push her out. I chose to go on Pitocin which had the effect of causing some particularly nasty--yet ultimately unhelpful--contractions. My doctor tried upping the dosage as a last attempt to bring my contractions into a productive rhythm, but it only caused my daughter's heart rate to decelerate alarmingly. The birth team managed to stabilize her heart rate but after more than 12 hours of no progress, we opted for a Caesarean birth.

Her birth was beautiful. Our labor and delivery nurse and our doula made the atmosphere light and celebratory. We were so excited to finally see our baby. As soon as I was prepped I was wheeled into surgery where our over 10-lb. baby was delivered, healthy as can be.

Something my doula said to me afterward has stuck with me this past year. She said our birth proved that Caesareans can be real births--not just procedures. It seems that sometimes folks from the world of natural/home birth think that medical/hospital birth folks are wrong-headed and vice versa. I wonder if some women get caught up in these "wrong vs. right" birth discourses. It seems that this wrong birth/right birth discussion can lead to the very first seeds of parent blaming (see my previous post for more on that topic). It seems more useful to talk about when Caesarean can be beneficial (as when mom and/or baby seem at risk) and when it is seemingly unnecessary (as a means of convenience, for example).

As for me, given the circumstances of our birth, I could not have hoped for a better result. It was definitely the right birth for us, and that's all that really matters. Happy birthday, indeed.

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