A handmaid of the Lord

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. These are the thoughts and experiences of my journey toward being a handmaid with Mary as my example.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Scar

Two years ago today I went to visit my OB/GYN, as it was the day before my due date for Felicity to be born. This day completed a long journey for me that had started 9 months earlier when I suddanly realized that, based on my NFP charts, I should take a pregnancy test. I was 20 years old, and married for less than a month. I was in college. We lived in a city where I knew literally nobody. Charlie had just started a job that paid a salary so far under the government's poverty line, it wasn't even funny. Needless to say, when I looked at that little stick - and there were two little pink lines - I lost it. To say that I cried, would be a gross understatement. To be more accurate, first I threw up (too soon for morning sickness...out of sheer emotion)and then I sobbed - for probably about 3 weeks. And then on a pretty regular basis after that. I felt like I had been ripped off. I felt like Charlie had just married me and then, I was going to be this huge, disgusting creature and he would be embarassed of me. I felt like all the dreams that I had for my life had been wadded up, stomped on, spit on, and flushed. I was so angry and hurt and taken completely by surprise.
Slowly, God worked.
Although it was a hard 9 months with financial, emotional, and spiritual disaster, looking back I see all of God's perfect plan. The church where Charlie worked was 2 hours away, so I would go with him every single day because I had quit school and didn't have a job. That community embraced us with such love, and there were so many times that their random acts of kindness that year absolutly saved us. I met a woman, who to this day is someone that I absolutly adore and look up to, who was a mother of teenagers at the parish. She and her family were there for us the whole time, and one of the greatest things that she did was tell me what I needed to hear in an objective and loving way.
As the pregnancy went on, I got better about my feelings. But my heart was hardened and selfish. I can not honestly say that the entire time I was pregnant I was ever excited. Isn't that sad? It breaks my heart now to think about it.
Then, two years ago today, my doctor said I would be induced the next day. After a c-section, out came this tiny perfect child. The moment I heard her cry, 9 months of selfishness, anger, and self-pity literally melted away. Not a moment has passed since Felicity's birth that I have ever felt those same feelings. She came into this world and taught me such a lesson about God's plan. God's plan brings joy - HE knows what what our hearts truly desire. I would not trade what I *thought* I wanted for the first years of marriage for what we have now. When I hold that child, when she comes up and kisses me, when she giggles or sings "Old McDonald" to herself, when I watch her sleep and watch her play - my heart swells with a love that I never knew existed in me, until that day.

I have dealt with those issues of the past. I went to confession to confess my terrible selfishness. It hurts my heart that I felt that way, but I no longer deal with it. However, what happened at her birth is still an issue for me. At the bottom of my post is a picture of my scar. Don't scroll all the way down if you don't want to see it.
Felicity was born on her due date to a mother who was totally uninformed on birth issues. My doctor induced me that day with a pitocin drip starting at about 8 am. Now, I have 4 little sisters who are 8,6,3, and 10 months. My mom was induced with all of them and so I assumed that was sort of normal and no problem. I was so very wrong. By 6:00 that evening, I had not dialtaed fully so my doctor sauntered in and informed me that I would be having a c-section because my body was "incapable" of doing what it needs to do to have a baby and that "maybe" my bone structure was wrong to deliever a baby in the way that God intended. With that, he screwed up my entire child bearing future. For the world, it was a totally uncomplicated "birth." Dr. Giannotti was home in time for dinner, I'm sure.
The recovery was hard. I couldn't really move, Charlie had to help me get in and out of the shower and help me dress myself. Nursing was more difficult than necessary due to my pain and the fact that I was so pumped full of drugs that my milk didn't come in for FIVE days, and then there was so much that Felicity couldn't latch on. She was hugry, I was frusturated and in pain. I ended up pumping and bottle feeding her for about 2 weeks, and then we resumed nursing with no problem. (That was a blessing...) As time went on, I started to feel as if I had been brutally violated. Have you ever watched a c-section on Disovery Health or anything? It's violent. They slice you open, yank your skin back, use the weight of their bodies to push the baby through and then rip the child away from its mother. There's so much blood and violence. She wasn't ready to be born that day. They tore her away from me and then I didn't see her for four hours. I was so out of it that I don't even remember that event, I just know because Charlie told me. My scar healed slowly, and hurt all the time. It still hurts sometimes. It's ugly, but I've come to appreciate it with a sort of love/hate relationship.
When I found myself pregnant with Gabrielle, I asumed that I would have a repeat c/s. I went back to the same doctor who told me we could schedule a date for the c/s, and that it would be about 2 weeks before the due date. I did some research and found how dangerous it is to have so many repeat cesareans, as I knew this baby wouldn't be my last as the world would like it to be. I decided to VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), which OB's really don't like. They run from people like me who want to try this "risky" manuver because of the risk of uterine rupture. We're talking about a risk that's less than 0.01%. Major surgery over a spot that's already been opened 18 months before sounds a LOT riskier to me. I prayed a lot, and by the grace of God I found a female OB who would "allow" me to VBAC. I did it with Gabrielle, my 9lb baby, and that was one of - if not THE - greatest personal accomplishment of my life... It took a lot of mental preparation, lots of research, and lots of prayers. So much for bone structure problems and a body that won't work, huh Dr. Giannotti???
My scar is the way that my sweet child came into the world and I appreciate it as such. But it is also my sorrow - a violation, a painful struggle. I hate it. I also love it, as it taught me all about Christ's suffering. It was my small, personal Passion.


At 4/27/2006 2:12 PM, Blogger Jennie C. said...

I have nothing to say, except I want to hug you.

At 4/28/2006 6:27 PM, Blogger C.C. said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, it's exactly how I feel and have been too afraid to put into words. I'm weighing the VBAC option for next time and it gives me such hope that you made it through. Blessings to you.

At 4/29/2006 1:27 AM, Anonymous angie said...

I love you my Andrea!
You have beautiful strength of soul.
I look up to you so much!

At 5/07/2006 10:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Andrea! ((()))'s.

My first child was born by c/s because of a grossly mismanaged labor (after months of preparing for an all natural birth).

I'm in tears. I *know* those feelings. I had two VBACs since (and then two planned, necessary c/s) and am finally at peace with all of my varied experiences. I don't think the sting of the miserable start with Madeline will ever go away completely, though.


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