Tuesday, November 29, 2011

But Why?

I've made a lot of decisions in my life that have given my mother pause. Making those kinds of decisions have sort of become a past time for me over the past six or seven years. And while she eventually adjusts to the decisions I make (for the most part), she likes to make a bit of noise during the adjustment period.

Now you might wonder why I, a grown adult, cares about what my mom thinks. Well, why does any care about what their mother thinks? Because you love her. Because she birthed you and raised you and took care of you. Because she instilled important values in you from a very young age. Because you respect her opinion.

But sometimes you have respectfully listen to her opinion...then ignore it.

A couple of days ago I wrote about wanting to do a home birth. I know this is an event (if it takes place at all) that is some time off. But time moves quicker than we'd like sometimes, and I've become one of those, as I put it in an e-mail today, one of those weirdo planner people. So, today, I got in touch with a local midwife regarding her policy on doing home births with women who have previously had c-sections. As far as she's concerned, it's a go.

Now, it's not written in stone that the midwife I contacted today will be the midwife I approach several months down the road when I'm potentially pregnant (there are a few in the area and I plan on meeting with everyone to get a feel, though, being one of those "vibe" sort of people, I got a "vibe" with the one I contacted today, so we'll see), but she confirmed for me something I needed to be confirmed before I could go on dreaming about the birth of my next child. I needed to know that a VBAC at home was a least a possible option, if nothing else. And now I have that information and I can rest easy for a bit.

But I don't know if my mom will be able to. I mentioned the idea of a home birth to her tonight. There are certain subjects my mom will shut down on. Tattoos, my sexual history, previous decisions I've made that she's still uneasy about, and current decisions I'm in the process of making that she's uneasy about. Home births fit into the last category.

I mentioned home birth and she sort of shrank into herself. I could almost see the barrier she put up and knew immediately I should have backed off almost before the word, "What?" passed through my lips.

"It just makes me nervous. Is it safe if you've had a c-section? Maybe you should talk to a doctor first."

Translation: "Aw, crap. This AGAIN?!"

You see, whether it's a decision to make a butt-load of cookies or a baby, once I decide I'm going to do something, that I really, really want it, then it happens. (I mean, the one stipulation is that I have to really, genuinely, completely want it, and I have to have a feasible way of doing it--thus far, the option of having a home birth seems entirely feasible and right now it's something I really, genuinely, and completely want.) My mom knows this about me, and you'd think by now she'd just give up and roll with it, but I suppose that would be like asking a fart to not smell (not that I'm implying that my mother's persistence is...fart-like, but I suppose it can be just as annoying, though slightly more endearing).

So, I guess this next part is for my mom and for her desire to worry and argue and try to get me to not only hear her side of the story, but to also completely agree with her. This is my answer to her yet unsaid, "But why?"

Unlike some people who turn to home birth after a c-section, I did not have a horrible experience. In fact, I would say it was a really great experience...considering I was in a place where all I cared about was getting that baby out of me safe and healthy. And for some people, that's all that matters, for whatever reason, and that is totally and absolutely okay. It's great even.

I have become not one of those people.

As I've grown up over the last few years, parented my child, read, watched, listened, I've realized that for me, I want the birth of my next child to be the most intense and emotional experience I can possibly make it. It was difficult for me to muster the emotion I wanted when my daughter was delivered. I was fighting sleep, not unbound excitement, when I saw my child for the first time, because I was so drugged (which was completely necessary, because I was having major surgery at the time). While I didn't have a huge let down, like many women describe after having an unplanned c-section, I've instead had this feeling of slight disappointment eating away at me.

I don't want to say things "went wrong" at Lizzie's birth, because how could they? I was given a healthy and beautiful baby girl. But, in many ways, I feel as though I was NOT a participant in her arrival. I was just the vessel and everyone else did the work.

And therein lies the problem.

For a very long time (like, my entire life), people have done a lot of hard things for me. My dad helped me a lot with hard science projects and math homework. Mom helped me with chores, projects, and other responsibilities. Up until a year ago, family members drove my butt around because I was too chicken to get my driver's license (I was also an incredibly bad driver). Nice things were bought for me. I inherited money to pay for things that we otherwise would have had to save for a very long time for. Even school, where I powered through under my own steam while raising a child and keeping a home, came easily too me. A lot of things have been handed to me or haven't been difficult for me to obtain. And my daughter, who I would not trade for anything under the sun, was also handed to me.

I'm trying very hard to change that. It's nice to have people to help you, but I don't want that help to be my plan A. Going into my first pregnancy I knew (I promise I really, really knew, even if it wasn't what I thought I wanted) that I would have a c-section. A lot of things contributed to this thought process, which I'm not going to go into here, but we'll leave it with the fact that I had that expectation and it only grew stronger as I got closer to my due date and eventual birth of my daughter. Perhaps, subconsciously, I knew this birth would be one more thing that I would have excessive help with.

So, why go over the top and do a home birth rather than just insist, with an OB that I have a VBAC, or even go to a birth center or have a midwife in a hospital? Well, I haven't ruled any of those things out. I may find that for whatever reason, an OB is my only option. Or I may decide that I would prefer to be at a birth center rather than my home. Or I may decide to be at home (and right now, I'd really rather be there). The point is, I want to be in a place where my desire to give birth to my child on my own terms is respected the very most while keeping myself and the baby as safe as possible. At the moment, I do not feel a traditional hospital setting is the most conducive to that IF I'm having a normal, healthy pregnancy. The statistics and my personal experiences simply do not mesh with my current desire to have an unmedicated, midwife attended, vaginal birth. And to me, an unmedicated, vaginal birth is a decision that represents the obtainable goal of me making a plan, figuring out how to execute that plan, and having the outcome benefit both myself and my family.

I know I've written a lot, and I hope that I don't sound ungrateful for the wonderful things I have been given in life, and I hope, as each day passes and I take on more and more responsibilities, I start to earn those wonderful things. I appreciate and love and respect my mother immensely, and I get why she worries. And I hope she knows that I don't resent her or anyone for what I've been given. I simply feel blessed for it all. But now I want to make something for myself, to do it myself, and while there are a million little things I've started to take on by myself, I want to start claiming some bigger things, and this birth, however far off into the future, is one of those big things.

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