I’ve always had high aspirations when it comes to parenting. The key word: aspirations.
I recall proclaiming I would use cloth diapers because I’d read it was better for the baby’s bum. I also swore I would nurse my babies all the way to kindergarten if they’d have me. And I was committed to a drug-free, all natural delivery.
Well, the Tidee Didee guy made exactly one delivery to our house before I was completely grossed out by the cloth diaper process.
I nursed my babies for what I thought was an admirably long time, considering I was working, pumping in a broom closet there, but I never got past the six month mark.
But the most dramatic change of plan has to have been my c-sections.
Yes, that was plural.
I’ve had four.
My first was a fluke.
Our first baby was up to some mischief in there. I hung in there a long time drug free, but I started changing my tune after about 8 hours. I finally called for my sister to come save me. Why my sister? She’s an anesthesiologist. And she does a perfect epidural. It was a good thing we went the route we did when our baby started showing signs of distress. Turns out she was all tangled up. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her tiny neck and tied in a square knot. Excellent photo. I was exhausted. Named the kid after my sister. Successful delivery. C-section #1.
Two years later, I was back in the natural delivery camp. With the backing of my dear husband and our devoted midwife, I was now sold on epidurals so I started with one. Turns out it doesn’t help your otherwise natural pushing instincts. When I was told to push they had to wake me up from a lovely nap. Because I couldn’t feel anything, I had to mimic a bowel movement from memory and hope my pushing was effective. It wasn’t. Two hours of it …effects of the epidural falling away and searing pain kicking in….and finally I demanded a doctor….any doctor…and a C-section. I got my way, and our second daughter was born. I was weak and spent. Another successful delivery. C-section #2.
By now, the aspiration of a drug free, natural delivery was a distant memory. Our midwife had moved away, I had a new doc, and he was very realistic about our “birth plan”. We were doing a c-section. Done and done. I was a huge fan of this new plan, and so was John. We picked a convenient date and time, I had my hair and nails done. I enjoyed a good night’s sleep. We checked in at 6:30 am and got my IV’s put in. I walked to the operating room with my IV wheeling along next to me, hopped on the table, got an epidural, and delivered our son. We were receiving guests with me in my beautifully coiffed hair within 30 minutes. It was like Club Med. I was sold. Successful delivery. C-section #3.
Naturally (irony noted) I had a planned C-section for our fourth baby. A repeat of C-section #3, this one brought crowds who had learned I’m downright perky after my planned C-sections, and the party is worth attending. The throngs of visitors warrant a private room if one is available, and one was. It was a joyous occasion. Not bad for major abdominal surgery. Successful delivery. C-section #4.
So there you have it. My aspirations were fine, but one must stay flexible. And drop them like a hot potato when actual wisdom comes along.
I, like almost every other pregnant American woman, read every word of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. So I know it is generally preferable to deliver a baby vaginally. But I’m here to tell you that C-sections – when they become necessary – are actually something I’m a fan of. I’m no Ethel Kennedy, but if they’re looking for a poster child, I’m in.
Breast feeding – for any length of time – is a divine experience. It is not, however, a contest.
And finally: disposal diapers rock.
(I am much wiser these days.)