I realized that in order for our journey in parenting to make sense to the outside observer, I should share how we got to our home birth after a c-section. Beginnings are important. Vitally important. However, that means I have to talk about my c-section. But really what I want to write about it my little girl. If you could see her long hair, big brown eyes, and the hysterical and unbearable faces she makes when angry, you would know that she is a perfect delight. How she was born is one of the most difficult stories to write.
The short version is that I should have waited and never gone to the hospital that early. It set us on a time clock of induction and then c-section. I should have been more educated. At the end of the pregnancy, I was so spent with our ministry and career dramas that I couldn't even see straight. I had no idea of what the hospital had in store for us. And yet, I take the majority of the blame. I did not take responsibility for myself like I should have.
My doctor had left for New Jersey for a wedding. I got her partner on-call. He wanted to be home by noon on Saturday. It was Friday night. My labor stalled, pitocin was added. I couldn't breathe. My husband was disregarded by the staff and not given the opportunity or tools to help me. Nurses yelled at me. I was in labor for 12 hours with pitocin and pushed for 2 1/2. Andrea had the trauma of attempted and failed vacuum extraction and then a c-section. I was still pushing in the OR. I told them to check before they cut she was so low. I felt the entire c-section because after two attempted epidural blocks, they missed the right place in my back and I could feel everything. Each cut, I felt.
She was so white when they showed her to me, I was terrified. Kurt stayed with her every moment from birth except when he ran down to check on me in recovery. We both sobbed when Kurt brought her to me. I wish that I could say that was the end of the horrible experience and we were fine after that, but it got worse. The complications were horrible. The recovery for Andrea and for me were long-term. My scar still hurts almost six years later.
Running after the c-section took 18 months. With natural childbirth, I snuck around the block at 3 weeks.
The real recovery has taken place every day I work on my relationship with my daughter. I have had to covenant with her from the time that she was an infant to repair what was lost in our bonding time at her birth. Kurt also has had a journey in finding his role in birth as a father. We found that he is not just a bystander, but an integral and vital part of the whole processes. He is the protector and head of our family. He is supposed to be there to greet and hold his children as they enter the world. Joseph is the only one mentioned as being with Mary prior to Jesus' birth - did he deliver his Savior and son into the world? I wouldn't be surprised after experiencing how Kurt helped deliver Ethan. There is a connection there that is tangible and substantial between a father and infant. It was completely dismissed by the all the medical community we worked with except for our midwife.
I write this as a first puzzle piece and hopefully to encourage first time parents, mother and fathers to be educated about birth choices. I highly recommend The Christian Childbirth Handbook and the Bradley method books as good resources I wish we had read.
But more than that, I want to encourage parents that beginnings matter. Beginnings are vitally important to you and your children. Our culture has so deceived us into thinking that if everyone is simply alive at the end of the process, that it was a success. And on one level, yes it is. But birth is so much more important than that. It is the metaphor God uses for salvation. It begins our children and shapes our families. It is the most important work each father and mother will ever do. We are life-bearers and birth is a spiritual as well as physical act. When we lose sight of our place in God's plan and His creative work, we lose a portion of wholeness in Him. Birth is a spiritual issue, and my prayer is that parents will blessed in their important role in God's kingdom - welcoming new souls into existence. To welcome these tiny gifts and to teach them to love Jesus each moment of their lives -even from their very first breath, is the most important work we could ever do.