Saturday, June 28, 2008


Every mother has a birth story. I was going to say that every baby has a birth story, but those stories aren't really about the babies. That day belongs to the mama. Your life is forever separated into two distinct phases: before I had a baby and after. It's a weighty thing. Try as I might, I can't quite get past the disappointment of having a birth story that was not what I envisioned. The short version: Claire got stuck and ended up coming out many hours later, via c-section. Not many women would hope for such an outcome. All of this time, I thought I was over it. I have Claire and she is fine. I am the one left scarred.

Months later, I went back to the hospital to see a friend with her newborn. I held the baby, talked with her for a few moments and hightailed it out of there so that I could cry in the parking lot. If you haven't had an emergency c-section, you won't understand what it can do to you. It doesn't seem like a big deal. I wonder if I will always feel that the very first thing I did as a mother was a failure? I know that I am a good mother. I know that my girl is fine. But I am scarred. It's a small scar, and I eventually regained feeling there. The sense of fear takes longer to heal.

I have been quiet about the birth of this baby because, honestly, I can't hear any more opinions. I don't want to hear about your aunt whose scarred uterus ruptured and her baby died. I don't want to hear about botched scheduled c-sections and the NICU. I don't want to hear that the most important thing is a healthy baby; obviously, I get that. I have been stuck. Stuck between trying to give birth and scheduling another surgery. Stuck between hospitals and birth centers. Stuck between fear and certainty. I've read all of the books and the websites. I've prayed. I've talked this to death and I am tired of being stuck. I'm tired of not trusting that my body can do this thing that it was designed to do.

Claire's c-section was preventable. Imagine coming out of a major surgery knowing that it was unnecessary and then trying to care for a screaming newborn, while you are unable to rise out of bed unassisted. Imagine thinking about doing that again, all the while listening to the voices that tell you that your scarred uterus is no good. But my scarred body has gone and grown another child. It has healed and held him all of these months, even as I doubt my own ability to do so. Maybe I'm not so scarred. Maybe doing this thing, knowing what I know means I'm not so scarred. Maybe.

Here she is, in all of her glory, the first product of my imperfect reproductive organs. How I love her. How she is worth all of my scars.