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Diary of an Expectant Mother

     I have to admit that I was tempted to second guess my own excellent obstetrician at times. But I was like a typical woman in a first pregnancy in a lot of ways. My hopes and dreams for my baby were the same as any expectant parent's, and my husband and I often talked about the baby who was yet to know us. Yet we felt we knew him. We knew it was a boy, due to the generous information that ultrasound had to offer. He had a name, his own room, and a lot of little things to clutter it up before his first birthday.
     Another way I was a typical mother-to-be was that I wanted--AND FULLY EXPECTED--a normal, vaginal delivery, and not a C-section. I knew that there are some women who are destined to have a C-section no matter what they expect otherwise--but those were "other" people. Not me. The normal delivery was all part of the normal scheme of having our normal baby at an important crossroads of our normal lives. When the normal labor failed to lead to a normal delivery, I began to have a sinking feeling that I might be one of those destined to give birth by C-section.
     Six hours, then eight hours, then twelve hours went by. I was doing everything right. I waited as long as I could for the epidural so as not to hang up the labor. I knew how to push--and I did it for hours. Nothing. How could this be when I was doing everything right? My doctor was so understanding, allowing me even more time to attempt a normal delivery. Finally, after the writing had been on the wall longer than necessary, I finally accepted the inevitable. Minutes later, my baby was born. I held him in my hands with my husband sharing the moment with me. That's when I realized that it's not how you have the baby, it's how you raise the baby. And with the disappointment of a C-section behind us, it nevertheless allowed for childbirth that was otherwise impossible. It also allowed the fresh new start called child-rearing, and my husband and I are as excited as we've ever been--even today, years after he was born.
     Although it's second choice, I realize that there's nothing wrong with a C-section being a legitimate way to have a baby, and I've done my share. In the days before this operation babies died, so I respect it for the lifesaving procedure that it is. But every patient should be given the same chance I myself received. All other opportunities for vaginal birth should be exhausted before giving in to the necessity of C-section. And it works well when it's needed, but it is always considered a second choice. A wonderful second choice that gave me what we wanted in the first place--our baby.

© 1996, 2000, 2002  GERARD M. DiLEO, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.

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