A momentous ride and then an even bigger gift: the recovery takes days rather than weeks. You’re a new mother, not a new patient. Things just work. Even with an episotomy, even with stitches, even with the inability to sit properly. Healing is easier, breastfeeding is easier, caring for your baby is easier. Things just work.
I’m in the unenviable position of having experienced three types of birthing. I’ve done your 40 hour labour followed by an emergency CS. I’ve done your standard vaginal delivery. I’ve done your planned CS. So, without ever really wanting it, I’m really the ‘go to’ girl for discussing which ‘method’ is ‘best’.
Now, before we go on, I wholeheartedly apologise if I am about to offend anyone, that’s really not my intention. All I can do is speak about my own experiences and how they made me feel. That’s what makes the blogging world go around, after all. We’re here to speak our truth.
For me, birthing is the most primal, most all-encompassing, most living thing you ever get to do. It’s bloody horrendous, really, but in the best possible way. A bit like a running a marathon (I imagine). But you can take your ‘runners high’ and multiply it by about 1000 and that’s the high you get when you’ve worked and worked and worked and the agony of contractions finally goes away and you’re holding your prized bubba in your arms. It’s a moment that swallows you whole.
So, imagine if you never went into labour. If you went to hospital as a healthy, pregnant woman and suddenly became a patient. They wheel you in, the lights go bright, they stick a needle in your spine, you get hooked up to machines, they cut you open and pull out your bubba and… well, it’s still an impossibly amazing moment but… but.
It’s no secret that I preferred the draining, ripping, screeching agony of 40 hours of contractions only to be given an epidural and an emergency CS to the planned CS. The outcome was the same. Bright lights, let’s open her up, here’s your baby. But the labour was missing. It’s the labour that grounds you. That makes you whole and strong and invincible and able to say “I’m ready, baby. I’m ready to take on the world for you.”
And, oh, a vaginal birth. The satisfaction, the sheer relief of birthing that baby down the vaginal canal. It’s like crawling for days to reach the summit of a mountain and then being given a toboggan at the top. Sheer, blessed, outrageous joy. Every sense alive. Every nerve in your being at one with the wind.
If I was given one wish for mothers everywhere, it wouldn’t be for easy breastfeeding, or support for all or even for a sleeping baby – although all these things would be amazing. Instead, it would be for every mother to be given the luxury of experiencing labour followed by a vaginal birth.