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23 June, 2011

Giving Birth: It's like ordering a pizza

Monday morning didn't go as Paige planned.  She didn't have a natural birth.  She didn't even respond to the Pitocin to induce labor.  She ended up having a scheduled c-section Monday afternoon.  My heart broke for her.  How could she be okay not going according to the plan?  I would be so disappointed.

But that's me.  I have it in my head that natural childbirth is like a million, billion times better and more noble than any other way. And you have bragging rights after.  Of course, when I take a step back I realize that is my pride talking.

Yes, I have read all sorts of articles arguing that natural is the only way, and to fight your doctor tooth and nail if they suggest other wise.  "Women have been doing it this way for thousands of years", they say.

Then the other camp pipes in with "We have all this modern medicine and technology why not take advantage of it?"  And the two sides argue back and forth.  Same goes for breastfeeding vs bottle feeding, disposable diapers vs cloth, co-sleeping vs baby on his own ASAP, etc.

And so I find myself strictly siding with one argument or the other.  As if I need to define myself as a parent already. Perhaps it's my need for structure, rules, and a theory to fall back on.  But when I saw Paige be so flexible and go-with-the-flow on Monday my view opened a little bit.  Sometimes things don't go according to plan.  Sometimes you have to be flexible.  And sometimes, it's for the better.

Baby Zachary was blessed to be born c-section.  The doctors told Paige the day after his birth that Zachary's umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice.  It would have either killed him or caused an emergency c-section had she delivered vaginally.  God works in mysterious ways, and obviously His plan is better than our own.

On our drive home from Savannah, I was sharing these feelings with my sister - the emotions of feeling pressured into a child birthing "camp" or a mothering "style"- that women on both sides feel so strongly about their way, and that it's the only way.  And I'm oh-so-tired of the pressure and judgement.

She said this to me:

That giving birth and raising a baby is like ordering a pizza.  There is a right way for everyone.  Sometimes you find someone you likes it the same way you do, but it's rare.  And the New Yorkers will always fight with the Chicagoans on thin crust versus deep dish.  And that some people really don't like anchovies, while others can't get enough.  Some days you like it with pepperoni and other days you need a veggie lovers. But no mater what, no one gets offended or judges you based on how you order your pizza.  It's just accepted that everyone likes it differently.

And that I need to start looking at child birth and rearing:

That there is no right or wrong way, it's just what works best for you (and the baby). That I shouldn't feel pressured, nor should I judge.  Be willing to ask for advice, just like you'd ask a friend, "Hey, what do you like on your pizza?" when you need to try something new.  And be willing to concede from time to time, like when ordering pizza with your office staff.

So thank you to my wiser younger sister.  You calmed my heart this week.  And thank you to Paige for being brave when things didn't go according to plan.  You're both a huge blessing in my life and I learned so much from you this week!


  1. Thank you for this lovely post. What a wonderful perspective to have!

  2. It is so easy for me to be all in the natural camp as well. That's one reason why I'm choosing a midwife when I have a baby. I want to make sure the baby is healthy though. It's a good slap to my face to hear that this was a good reason to have a c-section. Like you said, God knows what is best.

  3. With our first....all about natural and after...I am still all about natural...but one thing that was always in my head is that a healthy baby is #1 on my priority list. Stay is okay to be all about one way or the other...I feel like staying up beat and happy makes such a difference!

  4.  I was my mom's only c-section.  Unplanned, emergency, umbilical cord around the neck.  I have cerebral palsy (mild, but still).  It's good to hear that God was able to intervene in her case.  Hopefully there won't be any complications down the road for Zachary.


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