September 24, 2014 11:16 pm

Four Months Postpartum – CBAC Feelings

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Thora’s birth, and how I feel about it now that several months have gone by.

I think the biggest thing that gets to me is feeling like a bad statistic. This is mostly in relation to the VBAC support group on Facebook that I’m still a member of. Instead of getting to be a part of the “I can do anything!” rah-rah VBAC group and feeling like I can share my experience freely, I’m inclined to not say much about my c-section in order to not provide “negativity.” I haven’t shared my birth story there yet because of this. I hate being the opposite of a success story.

And I know, “every birth is a success,” blah blah blah, but I’m still sad that I feel like I can’t participate or I’ll make people upset.

When preparing for a VBAC, everybody tells you to read all the positive stories you can and really get into the “I can do this” mindset. I hate that by posting my birth story, people will avoid reading it because it didn’t actually end in a vaginal birth and is therefore “negative.”

I’m sad that this was my only chance and it didn’t happen for me.

I’m sad that I still missed out on the first hour of my baby’s life because of some stupid hospital policy. Had I gotten my homebirth, I wouldn’t have been separated from her. To make matters worse, a few weeks ago the hospital updated its policy so babies can now stay with their moms in recovery post-surgery. I’m happy about that, but extremely disappointed they wouldn’t do it for me even though I asked.

I believe this c-section was probably necessary. I can’t really say that about my first. This makes me feel a little better because I don’t feel that I was lied to or misled, but it also angers me because I wouldn’t have been in the position of being a VBAC candidate in the first place if I wasn’t coerced into a c-section the first time.

If you labor in the hospital and end up with a c-section, nobody calls it a “failed hospital birth,” but because I labored at home, I’ve already been labeled a “failed homebirth” by a medical professional. That sucks, and it makes me feel bad.

The VBAC Facebook group terms what happened to me as a CBAC – a cesarean birth after cesarean – to indicate that the woman in question had attempted a VBAC versus going straight to a repeat c-section. I like that it acknowledges my effort, but I still hate that it ended that way.

I’m sad that my baby was weighed on a hard scale instead of inside the soft fabric baby hammock the midwives use. I’m sad that other midwifery clients get a “my midwife helped me out” onesie and I got a stupid blue and pink hat with the hospital logo – a constant reminder of what went wrong.

I’m sad nobody thought to take a photo of us as a family of four. Thora is almost five months old and I still don’t have one. Why didn’t anybody take a photo of us? (Why don’t they now?)

I still have the insomnia I came down with when I was pregnant, and these are all the things I think about at 3am when I’m not sleeping.

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  • Jem says:

    I can’t even begin to imagine how it feels not to have the birth you want – I mean, I experienced some disappointment with both my births but probably not on the scale that you did – so I don’t know what to say that won’t come across as empty or patronising BUT, I truly feel for you Meggan and hope that you come to terms with it completely in time.

    And make sure you ask someone to take those pictures!

  • Ali says:

    Oh goodness how I feel for you. And oh boy this is going to be a long comment because I’m not sure if I’m writing it for you or for me.

    I discovered your blog when I was pregnant with my first and I googled 14dpo bfp or something similar.

    Our stories are so similar. One mismanaged labour ending in a potentially unnecessary c-section. One well managed vbac attempt ending in a necessary c-section and a whole load of grief. Grief and guilt that you feel that grief because you have two healthy babies and so many people would love that!

    While I always acknowledged that a repeat c-section was a possibility, I wish I had spent some time reading some stories and truly making peace with it. I remember your pregnancy announcement with this new pregnancy – it came right as my second baby was born. I so wanted to wish you luck and post my story but, like you, I felt like it might not be welcome.

    It’s the first time in my life where something truly wasn’t in my control. Everything else I’ve wanted in my life, I could get it if I worked hard enough.

    The biggest thing I wasn’t prepared for is the jealousy I would feel for other people’s births. It’s lessening with time, but the first few times I heard of another’s natural birth I would have brief surges of intense jealousy. Today, my bff has had a baby and hours later after the elation that she and baby are safe, I feel melancholy. Which makes no sense as I’m watching my two delightful children play happily.

    The rational side of me knows that if this is the biggest regret of my life, I’m a lucky woman indeed. But there is that other side of me that is so desperately sad that I missed out on one of life’s greatest moments.

    Anyway, sorry that my comment is not particularly uplifting, but I hope that it helps to know that there’s someone else on the other side of the world feeling the same kind of sad that you are.

    • Meggan says:

      I emailed you already, but YES the jealousy. So hard. Especially when you feel you did everything “right.”

      Thank you so much for responding – I really appreciate your thoughts.