I didn't get my VBAC.
I don't want to center Mila's birth story around the fact that she was born via cesarean. My focus is this beautiful and healthy baby girl. I cannot allow myself to dwell on her being cut out, or the unpleasant reaction I had to the epidural during surgery, or the recovery I'm now dealing with. Instead I'll put my thoughts toward Mila looking for me as soon as she was born, rooting and searching for my breast within seconds. As soon as we were wheeled to recovery we lay skin to skin and it did not feel as if though I were meeting her for the first time. She had a full head of dark hair, soft pink skin, and a full pouty mouth.
After surgery the doctor told me that although she advocates VBACs, mine could have been dangerous. Apparently, my uterus was paper thin surrounding my previous incision and this could have put me at great risk of uterine rupture. There is no way to check for this unless a.) I get cut open or b.) I labor and my uterus ruptures.
I was entirely present throughout the entire process, remaining calm and collected with a loving and supportive husband. As they took me into prep for the OR he gave me a kiss and I was reminded once more how lucky I am. I was focused on the operation and he was focused on me. My mom waited anxiously outside. The c-section began and I went over each step in my head and it was all so familiar. The first time around I was scared and shaking, this time I welcomed the process because every step would bring me closer to meeting my baby honey.
As the doctors performed the surgery they chatted casually, of Zumba and weekend plans. Mine was their first section of the day and they were fresh and relaxed. I took comfort in this and continued to pray and center my thoughts around my happy place. I asked Todd not to film this time and instead take pictures. I told him I wanted some cool gory shots to look at after. I glanced at them briefly a couple of days ago and stopped. Maybe they will be cool later on.
Mila came out crying instantly, an angry cry as if she was real pissed her stay in my belly was cut short. She looked so strong and vibrant as the doctors held her over the surgery tarp so I could see. Tears of happiness ran down my face. Seven pounds and ten ounces of healthy baby girl. Exactly 9 ounces and half an inch larger than her sister.
As she was assessed by the baby nurse in the room with her daddy by her side, I began to feel very sick. The anesthesiologist told me it was normal and to be expected. I'm not sure how long I was sick for but I tried hard to move through it so I could go back to focusing on Mila. Before too long the nausea wore off and I was stitched up and ready to go cuddle my daughter in the recovery room.
I consciously sought to find warmth in the cold and sterile hospital environment and made our strange hospital bed a cozy place by placing her on my chest inside my hospital gown and covering us up with the blanket. The experience of her first hours of life couldn't have been better than it was in a cesarean birth scenario. I owe it to my husband's comforting presence, my mom's loving urgency to witness everything, and primarily Mila's instant and magnetic attraction to me. Even now as I type this she is sleeping on my chest which seems to have been cut out in the perfect shape to fit her body.
In the hours and days following her birth I fell in love with her several times, feeling an overwhelming gratitude in my entire body. Olivia took to her right away and I just knew that she understood exactly what was going on. That that tiny wrinkly body perched on her mama's chest is her sister. How could I dare feel cheated?
I will continue to hate unnecessary cesareans and hope that the rate of cesarean births quickly starts to decrease. I don't know if my birth experience was a blessing in disguise and if a vaginal birth really could have lead to an extremely dangerous uterine rupture and I'll really never know. What I do know is that when I think of Friday, June 17th I'll be remembering the day the missing part of my soul found it's place back to me, a piece of me I didn't even know I was lacking. It's as if Olivia brought so much heart into my life and Mila brought me peace and more joy. During her birth I found the strength gained in my past twenty months of already being a mother and used it welcome my second child into the world exactly as I dreamed I would.
Present, focused, excited, and euphoric as she lay in my arms because she was safely home.