Thursday, March 10, 2011

a rite of passage

This is something I've thought a lot about since October, when Judah was born.

I was looking at pictures of Megan Hutching's birthing experience (beautifully done by Kali Park, by the way. And congrats to the Hutchings on Eric's arrival!). And I know this sounds weird, but seeing those intimate and beautiful moments of labor and delivery makes me feel like I missed out on something amazing with my son. I know I shouldn't be complaining because in the end he is here with me, and he is healthy... but wow, this just got me thinking...

I really wish I could have had a natural birthing experience. I feel like I haven't gone through a rite of passage as a woman and mother because Judah was born premature by c-section. Even though I was 6cm dilated, I never felt contractions, and even though we made the best decision we knew to make at the time... I feel as if someone stole those precious memories from me... moments where my husband could support and encourage me through each wave of pressure and contraction. Where we can work as a team through the pain-- very intimate moments as we grow closer, minute by minute, to parenthood. Moments where I work my son through the birth canal and push him with my strength (and the strength of the Lord) to bring him into this world. Feeling, at the end of it, a great sense of accomplishment, relief, and overwhelming joy to finally see my son. My son. My son that I struggled to bring into this world. My son, that I met with sweat and tears and laughter.
I'm being a bit vulnerable here. I'm sure some who read this would throw up their hands and scoff while saying, "consider yourself blessed that you got to skip to the end without any pain!" But with pain comes a myriad of things that you might not otherwise see: A challenge to face and overcome, to see myself at my most difficult moments and see how I respond and handle the struggle. To become a stronger person, to persevere.
They say that you don't appreciate the mountaintops unless you've been in the valley, where you see them in their most glorious state. I feel like someone took the "skip" button and jumped over something I truly wanted to experience: climbing that mountain, if you will. Something that was robbed from me, and I am left to instantly become a mother, having carried my child more than half-way to term, but without that struggle to bring about the joyful end of his birth. Without that series of events that are naturally supposed to take place. My birth experience seems out of order, mixed up, half-done. There's a sense of guilt that I couldn't make it to the end, that I didn't have to go through the pain, that I took the 'easy way out'. I know most of those feelings aren't logical, but the creep up from time to time.

I don't blame God, and I'm not looking for pity. I know we had more than our fair share of struggle having a premature infant in the NICU for 3 months. But still, this is different. Perhaps a bit more personal than even all that.
Believe me, I am appreciative that things turned out the way they did. My son is a miracle, and I wouldn't trade these experiences for anything because they've made us better people, better parents, and gave me the opportunity to see God's provision and protection firsthand in Judah's little life and in our family.

You may think I'm crazy, but if I had the choice, if God had asked me how I wanted things to look at the end of my pregnancy... I would have chosen the pain of childbirth. I want to go through that experience, that rite of passage, that feeling of accomplishment, that miraculous and challenging moment.
And I pray and believe He will give me that chance some time in the future, if He blesses us with more children. I pray fervently that our future children will be full-term healthy babies, and I hope they come about naturally in His perfect timing.


  1. Charisma I could of wrote that post- minus the part about the premature birth. I just watched last night The Business of Being Born and is was SOOO true. As soon as you start an intervention in the hospital is just goes downhill. I had gone in refusing practically everything. What I ended up with was on pitocin, an epidural and an emergency C-Section. I had some complications towards the middle of the pregnancy that came back at the end and was in and out of the hospital 3 times before I was admitted in labor. With that being said that was an "in" for them to want to start interventions due to some things that were going on. I went 6 hours without getting any pitocin until I felt pressured enough to start some. I labored on the pit for another 7 hours without any other interventions (pain meds, epidural) but at that time I was getting exhausted and I was only 6 centimeters. I had been up for 24 hours and moving the whole time trying to get Adam to drop. He wouldn't drop though. They finally convinced me to get the epidural to get some sleep so that I would have the energy to push him out. After much debate and fear placed on me I got the epidural. I soooo did not want a CSection and thought well I would be so upset at myself if I had to have a CSection because I was too tired to push the baby out (which now I don't hardly believe at all, but I know it can be true when you are completely exhausted.) I kept telling the anesthesiologist that I really didn't want it and that I still wanted to be able to feel to push and to give me the absolute lowest dose. Right before they did the epidural they broke my water thinking that will help him descend since he was still had -3 station. As soon as they did those two things his heart rate dropped with every contraction. They did try some position changes, stopped the pit, and had me on oxygen but it wasn't helping so off to the CSection room. Let's just say I wasn't even numb from the epidural and they had to wait for it in the room before they could start. Anyways, the cord was wrapped around his neck 3 times (which is rare for that many times) and they had to cut it off so that does explain things (why he wasn't descending and what made his heart rate drop after they broke my water. The water was keeping the cord loose enough to not cause any problems.
    Knowing those things I probably would of ended up with a Csection anyways or Adam not being here. But it still hurts sometimes. I have done a ton of research into VBAC's and am definitely going to go that route if God blesses us again with another baby. I'm also going to go to a midwife.
    Will be praying for you that God will continue to bless your family. Will pray specifically when the time is right you will be blessed with a full term pregnancy and a natural birth the way God intended it to be.


  2. I have had 2 c-sections. One of which was not in the cards. When my friends talk about their birthing experiences, I feel left out. I don't know what it really is like to have contractions because when I thought that I was having them, they were just the baby pulling on the embilical cord.
    Although, the second time, It was amazing. I actually got to see Dominik being "born". That was an experience that no natural birth lady can ever say they had. Oh, yeah, they could have filmed it, but in the moment is different.
    I had the opportunity to be there for one of my nephews' birth. I was there holding my SIL's leg and watching my brother watch his son coming into the world as I too watched. That was amazing in itself!
    I may have not had the rite to passage, which sometimes makes me a bit jealous, but I have an experience of pure joy that can never be taken away.
    Thanks for sharing. I do feel like I am not alone!

    Lori Thibos

  3. Oh Char.... I know exactly how you feel. I felt the same "cheated" kind of feeling when I had Zach. And I never knew what I had missed until I had Eric. You are perfectly within your rights to feel like life cheated you out of something precious. Feel free to take some time to "mourn" that loss if it will help. Then pick your head up and move on look to the future! Enjoy your baby boy and know that the Lord will provide you with a second chance one day (and a third/fourth/fifth...!!).

    Be assured, what you are feeling is mostly hormonal due to early ending of your pregnancy. But you DID do EXACTLY what was right for Judah. And you are right, you've still had your own trial. You are every bit a woman/mom, regardless of how your son came into the world and no one will ever look down on you for it (and if they do I'll give 'em a knuckle sandwich! LOL).

    We serve such an awesome God. Rarely are complications like yours a set re-occurring pattern. I know that you will be blessed with just as many natural born babies as you feel you've ever wanted! I love you girl!

  4. thank you everyone for your responses... I'm glad I'm not alone in this... and I am grieved that so many women are pressured into unnecessary interventions that take away something beautiful... but on the flip side, I am extremely grateful that there ARE medical interventions available to keep everyone alive and well, when it is necessary. My son would not be here if it weren't for medical technology.
    I do pray all of us continue to use our discernment and wisdom in future pregnancies, and allow God to lead us to make the best decisions for those babies, and that He will bless us with the experiences that He built within us to desire as a mother.
    thank you for sharing your stories too- Our God knows BEST and works ALL things out for the good of those who love Him! :)