I am not broken

A few weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I woke up in the middle of the night in a panic and remember thinking, "There is a human growing inside me, and it has to come out at some point." Honestly, the thought completely terrified me. Everything I've ever seen about birth portrayed it as the most painful thing a person can experience. It was horrible counting down the days to what I was sure was going to be a horrific event.
But at the same time, that knowledge kind of went against common sense for me. Why would birth be so terrible for us, yet not so for animals? Why would anyone in their right mind have more than one child after going through trauma like that? And WHY would anyone ever go without an epidural?
Luckily, the mother of the cute little girl I nanny had her natural and we talked about her birth experience a lot. I remember her telling me she had a friend who got an epidural and right before she had to push she was just sitting on her phone on Facebook, and that wasn't what she thought birth should be like. At first when I heard that, I thought, "That sounds great! Sign me up for that birth!"
But, being the person that I am, I decided to research it to death. I am so glad that I did, because by the time I went into labor I had no fear of birth, and was actually really excited about it. Even after having the somewhat traumatic birth experience that I had (two weeks post date, 28 hours of labor, 2 hours of pushing and finally a forcep delivery of my almost 10 lb child) I still have good, calm feelings about Dayens birth & I am actually excited to have more kids! (Go figure.)
But now that Dayen is all good & born, I have this head full of knowledge that is of no use to me until I have another child. And what's worse is having to deal with the amount of people who tell me, "Well just make SURE you don't go past your due date next time!" Or "I can't believe your doctor let you go that far past!" Because I have a huge rant built up in my head, but I don't get to say any of it or I sound completely crazy.
So, here comes the rant & the crazy!
First and foremost... You are NOT broken because you go past your due date. Calling it your "due date" definitely makes it feel like if the baby is not here by that date, something is wrong. I was surprised what an emotional blow it was to me when I didn't have him early, let alone "on time". It was a really disappointing and frustrating couple of weeks, and I wish I'd had less people texting me saying, "he's STILL not here?" and more people reminding me that all babies were born eventually! 
The truth that I didn't know at the time is that MOST first time moms, if left without any interventions, actually go to 41 weeks+ 5 days, which is exactly when I had Dayen. If I had known that, I could have relaxed a little more there at the end.
Usually when I explain that, people like to remind me that going past my due date was probably the reason I had such a huge baby. BUT, Dayen was 9 lbs 6 oz at birth, and over 11 lbs at his 2 week appointment. He has consistently been in the top 97th percentile for his height and weight. 
Yes, him being a bigger baby definitely made birth harder. But I really believe our bodies don't make babies that we can't birth. Dayen was posterior (meaning face up- picture trying to put a tshirt on a toddler from their forehead rather than the back of their head... It works, but takes a lot more effort!) and he had the cord wrapped around his neck so getting him to turn was difficult. I'm very grateful for modern medicine and for the OB who came to use the forceps, but I do believe I could have had him on my own.
Finally, everyone keeps telling me to just get induced next time. And I have to admit, that was a pretty appealing option. I like to have a plan, and it would have been great to know an exact date my baby would be here so everyone could plan on it. But, the truth is that induction makes you 50% more likely to have a csection. We already live in a csection happy country, where nearly 33% of births are now csections, usually not because of medical emergencies but just because birth can take awhile, and it's easier for doctors if they can schedule an exact time for delivery. Don't get me wrong, csections have their place. We are lucky to live in a world where babies and mothers can be saved in emergencies because of csections. But it is definitely not ideal! You don't want to be recovering from a major abdominal surgery while also being sleep deprived and trying to take care of a newborn. It's also very hard to find a doctor who will let you attempt a vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean) so usually once you have a csection, that's how the rest of your births will go too.
The comedian Jim Gaffigan has an awesome commentary on natural birth. His wife had all 5 of their children at home with a midwife. My favorite is when he says "the reaction we usually get is, 'oh we were going to do that too, but we wanted our baby to live!'" It really is crazy to me how many people thought I was completely insane for using a midwife instead of an OB, even though I gave birth in a hospital. I think the term "midwife" gives the image of a woman in a shawl covered with cats & moons who chants over your belly to make sure the baby will be born with 10 fingers and toes. And, there probably are midwives like that. But for me, having a midwife meant that I had support there with me the entire time. I didn't have to "wait to push" until a doctor got there, I didn't have to be checked constantly to make sure the doctor could be there on time. And again, I'm so glad I had a relationship with a great OB who was at home watching Dayens heart rate drop and was awake ready to come in at 2:45 am when they called him. But I can't imagine what that experience would have been like without my midwife! And she still texts me wanting updated pictures or just to say Hi. Show me an OB who will do that.
Ultimately, I realize every birth experience is different. But the fact is, you have a right to choose what your birth will look like. It doesn't have to be where you just walk in and get directed by doctors how to have your baby. You aren't sick, you aren't dying. You are doing what your body was built to do. 

Hopefully, this will stop me from going off on a rant to the next person who tells me I better induce next time. 😁

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