“Did you just decide it would be easier?”

Baby girl was born via emergency c-section due to severe pre-eclampsia and fetal distress, according to the doctor who cut me open.  I’m not sure if it was indicated or not (as in, maybe they could have tried induction?  or something?) since the doc in question really likes cutting people open, and the hospital where I delivered has a really high cesarean rate, but that’s how it went down.  Maybe it really was the only way, maybe it wasn’t.  Either way, they didn’t really give me a choice.  They just told me “this is what we’re doing now.”

Some background: I have some pretty serious medical anxiety, which, combined with some parts of my personal history made the whole giving birth thing pretty fraught to begin with.  Early on, my doctor suggested a planned cesarean because she thought it might be easier on me.

But  I really didn’t want to be unable to move, and was honestly considering skipping the epidural for this reason, so there was no earthly way of was going to sign up for surgery.  I know the no-epidural thing makes me sound like a crazy person, but you know, I am a crazy person, so there’s that.  Anyway, I had done all this prep to help that happen, learned self-hypnosis, done a natural childbirth course, hired a doula, the whole nine yards.  I even did exposure therapy to help me deal with my fear of IVs (which turned out to be a really good thing since I spent just over 24 hours with an IV of magnesium, not to mention whatever they gave me for the surgery itself).

And then it all went sideways.  At the last minute, I decided I didn’t want my doula there, because she had said some kind of sh*tty things towards the end re: my mental health issues, and I didn’t feel like she would be safe or supportive.  Honestly, I’m glad that I made that call, because afterwards when I told her I’d had a c-section, she said “Did you just decide it would be easier that way?”  And I’m sitting here like, “B*tch, I didn’t decide anything.”  I realize she said it without knowing the details, but implying that a c-section is the easy way out is a sh*tty thing to do, especially when you’re supposed to be in the business of supporting and empowering new mamas.

Here’s the thing: I didn’t get to decide anything.  They didn’t even explain to me the risks and benefits.  They were probably on the paperwork I had to sign, but they didn’t give me a chance to ask questions, or talk to me like I was a person.  They just told me what was going to happen.  I guess maybe it was that much of an emergency.  I don’t know.  I still feel like it could have happened differently, even if the outcome was the same.

It was one of the most disempowering experiences of my life.  There was nothing easy about it.  I’m still torn up about it.  I still can’t drive past the hospital where it was done without tears or panic.    And I hate it.  I know that I’m supposed to be grateful for my healthy baby, and I am, but that c-section was really traumatic.

Maybe it was the right call.  Maybe it was a true emergency, and the only safe thing to do.  But the way they handled it, the way they treated me (which maybe I’ll go into one day when I’m ready, but that day is not today), the way it all went down, left me feeling like I had no say over my own body or what was done to it, and there is nothing easy in that.

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