I have been asked this question several times since Mae’s birth. I decided pretty early on that I wanted to blog my thoughts on it, but it has taken a few weeks. Honestly, while I want to talk about it, I’m a little afraid to do so. I don’t want people to get the impression that I think one type of birth is superior to the other. Or that someone should get more awesome-sauce points for bringing a baby into the world a certain way. Or that birth is, in any way, shape, or form, a competition.
So this is my disclaimer. And it’s kind of long:
I am a supporter of any type of birth that insures the health of both the baby AND the mother. The physical health of our babies is very important…DUH. But the emotional and physical health of mothers is important too!
Unfortunately, the emotional well-being of mothers is often overlooked when it comes to bringing babies into the world. And it seems that when moms do suffer birth trauma and try to talk about it, more times than not, they’re met with “a healthy baby is all that matters” or some other similar line.
I’ve actually experienced this several times myself via comments made in person and on my blog posts expressing disappointments in my births.
Regarding that sentiment, I’m just going to leave this here 🙂
“Many women, on telling stories of how they felt abused or traumatized during birth — or some other negative feeling, like having failed as a woman after having a C-section, or something — have their feelings dismissed with, ‘at least you have a healthy baby.’ While there is certainly a place for looking for the ‘silver lining’ in the midst of any cloud, no matter how dark, there is also a place for just putting your arm around somebody’s shoulders and ‘weep with those that weep, and mourn with those that mourn.’ Dismissing a woman’s feelings does not help her — if anything, it only makes her feel worse, because then she has the added guilt of not being able to ‘just be happy’ that her baby is healthy. Certainly she is happy that her baby is healthy… but can she not also be sad that it came at the cost of severe bodily trauma? — Especially if she is fairly certain that the C-section or whatever else that she endured during birth, was in fact not necessary for her baby to have been born healthy and well.”
I am not a fan of that line, so please don’t use it on me, or any other person expressing sadness over their birth experience. Please, and thank you.
So…I am a supporter of whatever kind of birth a mom wants: C-section. Medicated vaginal birth. Unmedicated vaginal birth. Homebirth. Whatevs, man. Do whatcha gotta do to be healthy and whole.
For me, that was attempting a natural vaginal birth, which turned into a medicated vaginal birth, after two (very) traumatic c-sections that left me feeling sad, among other things.
The pros and cons that I’ll be listing in this post are strictly my own. They aren’t meant to speak for anyone else’s birth experience 🙂
So without further ado, here they are:
- It was quick.
- I was left alone after the birth.
- The room was cold, lonely, and sterile during the birth. I was afraid.
- I was strapped to the table.
- I had to be put to sleep because I could feel the cutting.
- I have no memory of meeting my Em.
- With my Harp, I experienced a long wait time between the birth and actually getting to hold and breastfeed him.
- I was never given the opportunity to have skin to skin immediately following the births.
- My husband wasn’t allowed to cut the cord.
- I had no involvement in the birth process.
- I had a long recovery time and didn’t even begin to feel normal until 4-6 weeks postpartum.
- The recovery was extremely painful and scary. I constantly felt like my incision would come apart.
- I was unable to lift or pickup my newborn baby. When Em was born,this limitation was a nightmare because it meant I couldn’t pick up my baby OR my toddler.
- Delayed cord clamping wasn’t allowed. Both babies experienced jaundice.
- I experienced depression/anxiety for months following the births.
- Both Em & Harp missed out on exposure to normal bacteria, which increases risk of allergies, etc.
- I got to have immediate skin to skin.
- I was able to breastfeed immediately following the birth.
- The room was joyful and bright during the birth. I felt excited and happy.
- I was given uninterrupted time with my baby afterwards – medical examinations, etc. were delayed until after the first hour had passed.
- I was never left alone.
- We got to do delayed cord clamping – Mae was my first baby not to be jaundiced.
- I was able to take an active role in Mae’s birth and I delivered her with my own two hands.
- My husband got to cut the cord.
- Mae was exposed to normal bacteria, which is good for the gut.
- I had a much shorter recovery time. Minus my leg complication, I felt normal at two weeks postpartum.
- I had very little pain. The pain of my vaginal birth was like a skinned knee in comparison to my c-section pain. No competition.
- I experienced a birth high, and was much more emotionally stable after birth.
- So far, I have experienced no feelings of depression or anxiety. Admittedly, this could still come, although I’m hoping not.
- Labor pain. Some people love it (or so I’ve heard). I am not one of those people.
- Tearing. I had a 2nd degree tear, and while it wasn’t THAT bad…I’d still consider it a con haha.
- I had to have a Foley catheter in for a week due to not being able to urinate (Mae “stunned” my bladder). This isn’t a “normal” complication, but according to my OB does happen occasionally.
So there are my pros and cons. I could probably come up with more if I sat and really thought about it, but this post is already long enough…so we will just leave it at this!
Which birth was better?
For me, the vaginal birth was WAY better. Even with my leg complication, it has still been so much easier than the recovery of both of my c-sections. Yes, I have been limping around for the past month, but I did that with both of my c-sections too. At least this time, I can pick up my babies and adequately care for them. And I can laugh without being in pain. Laughing is a big part of my life and you can’t laugh after a c-section. Seriously! I can also drive (I use my left foot) and ride in the car without fearing speed bumps (ouch!) – both things I couldn’t do for a long time after my c-sections.
BUT…while an easier physical recovery has definitely been a perk, the absolute best part of this whole experience has been that I just feel better emotionally. I feel like ME. I’m happy and energetic and just…my normal self. I feel amazing, and this is the first birth I’ve ever been able to say that about!
So for me, the vaginal birth was definitely the better one! HANDS DOWN.