My cousin had her baby on Friday. I found out she went into labor in the morning and waited by the phone all day, anxious to hear news of her progress. I was totally unprepared for how M's experience would stir up undealt-with emotions from my own birth experience. When, as it turns out, her labor mirrored mine down to almost every last detail, I went a little crazy.
Every text message or relative seemed to deliver worse news: medical interventions, dangerously low heart rate, cord wrapped around the baby's torso (this was not something I experienced with Miles), and an eventual emergency c-section. My response to her delivery was so complex: I was a little jealous of my cousin because she got to the stage of pushing, but then was totally not jealous that she pushed for three hours before the doctor "called it" and rushed her to the OR. I was delighted to hear I have a new baby cousin, with red hair no less! But I was truly sad thinking about the way he entered the world. I am not saying that my cousin was devastated by what happened to her at all. I was devastated just thinking about that whole process.
I am heartbroken that another mom had to have major abdominal surgery, had to have her organs moved around and placed on her chest, that another mom can't get out of bed for a week (at least!) to tend to the needs of her crying newborn and change diapers in the middle of the night. My heart just aches for all these damaged bodies with staples in their skin. My cousin is allergic to Demoral...they had to find a nursing-friendly alternative pain medication to ease the burning she felt around her incision. I can't imagine that.
What is going on that more than 30% of babies are born until extreme conditions like this? Why do I feel so powerless when faced with news of such happenings? I need to work through these feelings and find an outlet for my political childbirth energy. This month's ICAN meeting (the first I'll get to attend!) can't come soon enough.