Posted by: emjb | November 18, 2007

Broken patterns

It’s been two years since Nathan’s birth. I guess there are days I don’t think about it; being as involved in birth issues as I am, though, that’s pretty rare.

I’m still angry. Laid-back, non-grudge-holding me, still wishing she could go back and scream and strike out at the people who hurt her, lied to her, who denied her and her son a good birth, c/sec or no. Because believe it or not, it’s not just about the surgery. It’s about all that came after, too.

There was no reason to take my baby from me for six hours, while he screamed and I pleaded pitifully, begged and wept for someone to bring him to me. None. There was no reason to forbid me visitors in recovery, so that my doula had to sneak in to hold my hand for fifteen lousy minutes. There was no reason someone could not have stayed with me and Nathan in my room after visiting hours, so that I could have help lifting and feeding him without tearing my scar. There was no reason for that suffering.

There was no reason for Nathan to be given sugar water instead of my milk right after birth, no reason he could not have been put next to my skin, held between his daddy and me while I recovered. For that six hours, he was in a cold, comfortless world, and he screamed bloody murder, as well he should. And my heart ripped in two, and I’m not sure it’s back together yet.

It took us a long time to bond, to get back to a peaceful place, after that. A long time for the memory to fade, for us to find our way together. Some things, like breastfeeding, we never did find a way back to. A long time for us to be mamababy, together and content.

Today Nathan was sick, and wanted comforting after a particularly bad spell of diarrhea. He’s a big boy, but I sat on the floor and held him in my lap, his ear on my heart, while he drank his milk, and rocked him and calmed him down. I made a little safe world for him to be in while he was hurting and scared, a refuge from the bad things he didn’t understand.

It worked today; it would have worked then too.

If we’d only gotten the chance.


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