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Entries in Anger (3)

Thursday
May032012

Cesarean Scar: Kate

My scar is a source of physical pain and emotional torment, it is lumpy and the skin is all in the wrong place.  The rest of my tummy is flat and taught, but the scar has a saggy bit of fat which does not go.
 
I hate my scar, every time I see it it reminds me of the day I was stripped of my rights as a human and physically forced into surgery I didn't want and didn't need...  Worse than that, it reminds me every 
day that in a following pregnancy I had placenta percreta, nearly lost my uterus, nearly lost my baby and nearly lost my life, all because I had a previous section for failure to let nature do its work and the placenta stuck to that scar inside me.  Before that I had three miscarriages, at 6, 10 and 17 weeks.

Even my blissful home birth between the sections does not dull the fear and pain.  My body and my mind are scarred, my children deprived of their mother for the hours they were cared for by a system which does not much care, deprived of that human touch, taught that the world is cruel and they can be abandoned when they need the most support. 

This is my scar, which is considered 'healed well' according to my notes ...  The first is lying down, the second standing. At 8 months old it is probably as healed as it will get, but it is a source of constant pain and irritation, never mind the aesthetic issues.  The two scars are evident and there is considerable tethering of the scar to the underlying tissue and a gap in the fat layer.  The scar is also about 3cm above my pubic bone, and actually was much higher than that when the skin was stretched during pregnancy...  The first section was unplanned but not emergency, so it is not as though there was no time for preparation or to be careful about the position. This is apparently a 'good scar' according to the obstetrician who did it, although I'm not sure how much experience he has of scars well after the event.  I am waiting for a second appointment with a reconstructive surgeon to repair the tethering which is causing pain now I've seen the obs. team to rule out any internal damage.

Tuesday
May012012

Cesarean Scar: Jennifer

 

My scar is still numb, almost sixteen years later. I'm still angry about it all, the whole thing should never have happened.
 
I planned for a normal, unmedicated, midwife assisted delivery and then two full years of unhindered breastfeeding no supplements.
 
That's not what I got!
 
What I did get was a midwife who had no idea how to support me, whom I saw twice throughout two days of being induced! She loved the idea of inducing me for big baby late date fears, then went on to breaking my waters to bring my baby down, she didn't allow me to have food for then entire two full days of induction,(my mother snuck me in a hamburger and fries when they turned off the pit that night!). I didn't want drugs of any kind, so no epidural or narcotics for the intense back to back contractions the pit brought.  IV fluids of course, so swollen feet and legs, no mobility outside of using the restroom, 100% of the time being hooked up to a monitor which really annoyed me! I basically pushed flat on my back with no urge to push at all but being instructed to do so anyway.... for two in half hours! 
I did finally get an urge to push, but I was already rolled into the OR and the doctor was already putting in the spinal, so I was YELLED AT TO STOP because they didn't want to have to shove him back up into the birth canal. They had to anyway, because being upright for the spinal was what I needed to help my baby get down. Nobody talked to me during my surgery or told me what they were doing, I felt like throwing up the entire time, then they sliced my bladder, so I now have chronic UTI's. I got postpartum infections back to back, mastitis so severe that I ended up bottle feeding. That surgery then lead to two more for adhesion's and then the third for a ruptured ectopic that resulted in removal of my right tube, not to mention almost dying.... The top of my left thigh is forever numb as well..... Good times!!
 
There are times however, even with all of that that I am indeed grateful that it did happen. Why? I went on to HBAC four beautiful children (whom were all bigger!). I am now very educated about my body and how it works and help others become educated as well.
 
All in all I'm still pissed........... fifteen, in June 16 years later. I don't believe that will ever change. AND I don't trust OB's as far as I can throw them!
Monday
Apr302012

Cesarean Scar: Paige

If you'd asked me what my scar said to me when I looked at it or touched it a few years ago, I'd have said it was mocking me. It said, "Look what you let happen. Look what you let them do to you. Look how weak you are." It was a constant physical reminder that I failed at birth. I knew intellectually that I didn't fail, that it was the broken system that failed me, but emotionally I felt like a failure. I didn't mind the stretch marks or the varicose veins as visible proof of my motherhood, but that scar was a different story. I'd loved being pregnant, every second of it. And even though I went well past my due date I never felt "done" with being pregnant like so many moms do. But the medical professionals felt differently and even though looking back I can say that I did everything reasonable to avoid it, I still felt guilt for giving in to the fear and agreeing to an induction that I KNEW would not work. I KNEW my baby wasn't ready to come out yet.

As c-sections go, mine was actually not that bad. I was not separated from my daughter and I was able to nurse her within about an hour of her being delivered. She was perfectly healthy and my recovery, while difficult, was nothing out of the ordinary. But emotionally I had no idea the kind of fallout I would face. I couldn't acknowledge the shame and guilt. I hid in the bathroom of my hospital room and cried when my midwife came to visit and I didn't even know why until much later. It wasn't until I started talking to other moms who'd had similar experiences that I realized it was normal, or at least very common. Most of the people around me didn't understand and my inability to be happy with my experience made them noticeably uncomfortable. But once I was able to talk about it with people who didn't just reply, "your baby is healthy and that is what is really important" I started processing those mixed up feelings and even started to heal a little bit at a time.

The anger came first. Anger at the medical community, anger with myself, anger at all the people who had been present at the birth. Then came the acceptance of what happened along with a determination not to let it happen again. When I got pregnant with my second child the fear reared its head again, but I faced it head on this time and really examined what I was afraid of, how I could avoid it, and made lots of "what if" plans. I fought like a mama bear through most of my pregnancy to make sure the birth would go the way I wanted it to go and finally I had to just give up my false impression of control and trust my body to do what it was made to do. And it did. And it was the most healing experience of my life.

So now my scar says something different. It says, "Look what you can do! Look what you can overcome. Look how strong you can be." I may not be a the point yet where I can say I'm proud of my scar, but I don't avoid looking at it in the mirror anymore. I don't avoid washing it so I won't have to feel it, in fact I can barely feel it at all unless I really try. It's beginning to fade into my skin the way the memory of the birth is fading into the past, becoming a small part of my life experience. That doesn't mean I'll forget and it doesn't mean it's not important, but it doesn't have the rawness of a fresh wound anymore.