it all started in the bath.
it was the usual mommy and daughter ritual, (if and when we encounter a bathtub). “bathtub” you ask? yes, a good ‘ol fashioned tub. you know…a basin in the bathroom which holds water for bathing purposes? i’m not trying to insult your intelligence. although, i do sound pretty loony. like i’ve been living under a rock–kinda loony. well i sort of have in some respects. living in a teeny, tiny studio with a teeny tiny, stand-up shower can be….claustrophobic. we’ll just leave it at that. my experiences in our previous home will be left for another time. so as i was saying–bathtubs…be they at the grandparent’s or at a hotel, automatically light up our eyes. like woah! we’re so very grateful to have a fantastic one in our new florida rental. [chime in hallelujah song].
if i shower or bathe, it’s impossible without hubby watching izabella or us girls getting lathered up together. in this instance, we exercised our good hygiene skills with the latter. izzie loves baths these days like a fish loves water. there we were, splashing, washing, blowing bubbles, giggling and best of all, bonding. then she points down below the water, underneath my belly button and above my ‘lady bits’. her little index finger pokes my skin. she scrunches her eyebrows with concern. her lips quivering. “dat..dat”, she says and continues with an “aww”. then she inches up closer to me. her hands now open, caress my scar. “boo-boo?”, she asks with sympathy. just like that, my inquisitive toddler discovered the evidence of my c-section. my heart felt heavy at the moment. anxiety and depression creeped into that garden tub of ours. the water once warm, became a little colder. i looked into those hazel eyes and told her that it was in fact a wound. this sweet child of mine, stood up and wrapped her arms around my neck. She sat back down and inspected it once again. “ouch mama!”, she exclaimed in the most genuine matter.
how do you explain to a nineteen month old it wasn’t so much physical, as emotional pain i endured? you don’t.
you just ensure her that you once got hurt, but you’re all better now. that’s along the lines of how i responded (minus the high-pitched-cutsey baby talk). honestly the whole “mommy is okay” was also about consoling myself. am i really, truly “okay”?
the answer to that is a big fat no.
having a cesarean section was the furthest thing away from my birthing plan. in fact, an epidural wasn’t even on there either. i’m not the epitome of strength, but i wanted to give this natural, spiritual, primal and empowering birth a shot. i was wholeheartedly committed. i was moved by ricki lake’s documentary ‘the business of being born’. then hypnobirthing caught my attention in a couple of youtube videos. i was intrigued so much so, i stuck my nose inside this book. i prepared as best i could with an eight week class. i had a midwife and a husband who supported my decision for a water birth.
since the fifth month of pregnancy, i knew about my partial placenta previa. the news for me was one part concerned, one half denial, a quarter hopeful, and another frustrated. all in all, i tried my best to shove the entire “high risk” label to the very back of my brain. even so, the occasional panic would interrupt my zen. sometimes i’d get distracted during the relaxation exercises in our practitioner’s home basement. the only good thing about my situation was the frequent ultrasounds. i had so many opportunities to see baby growing and moving. it was also a reminder of just how stubborn my placenta was. specialists were measuring its position and the distance away from my cervix. sometimes i’d daydream of reaching in and manually moving it. (i know TMI! not the most pleasant visual)
what can i say? i was desperate and pretty obsessed with babies, birthing and breastfeeding in the most cliche/ idyllic matter. i wanted to be a mother since i could probably say the word ‘mother’.
as i grew, so did my curiosity and desires to fulfill this rite of passage. ever since the sixth grade (not even exaggerating), i’d religiously watch episodes of tlc’s ‘a baby story’ with amazement and a tissue in hand. i was all like–“how do they do that?” or “how can i do that?” and “how will i endure this? there were a lot of “wows and awws” and “that’s what i want!” followed by “how beautiful“. it was the most intense and incredible thing i’d ever watched. not just on a television, but in person. i witnessed my sister’s all-natural birth. from the first surge (that’s hypnobirthing lingo for ‘ya! it’s an alternative word for contraction) to the final push. when the midwife placed my bare-naked, crying nephew on his mother’s exposed chest, i literally burst into tears. i mean ridiculously, hysterically bawling.
it was a miracle and it was breathtaking. i always hoped to experience it myself.
six, seven, eight and nine months went by. no progress whatsoever. “mrs. molczan, we’re scheduling you for a cesarean section in two weeks”. everything and everyone seemed to fade into the background. i felt as if i was in the charlie brown cartoon. gradually the protocol and procedures explained were sounding like gibberish.”so and so from here and there will be something something. blah, blah and blah. ummmm um um. errrrrr. something something and blah. blah blah. wha wah wha. okay–any questions?”
my dreams officially escaped my grasp at the thirty-seventh mark. for the next fourteen days, i was anxious yet excited to meet our daughter. i was thankful for doctors and modern technology and their ability to detect life-threatening conditions. yet, defeat came along for a looooong ride. all my research, planning and efforts were pointless. my fears of major surgery would soon be a reality.
[my birthing/ delivery story would be appropriate here. i’ll also reserve that for yet another post.]
this scar should be my badge of honor, but i’m not quite ready to wear it with pride. it has nothing to do with vanity, but of what it negatively represents. this incision is one which reminds me of the struggles izzie and i endured. everything from my birthing disappointment, my breastfeeding woes, her serve colic/ reflux troubles and my postpartum depression.
but this scar is also…
where my beautiful, healthy and happy little girl came out of. if i concentrate on that, maybe i can completely let go of my resentment. my c-section and the effects of the surgery were difficult to accept. it still is. even nineteen months after the fact.
it’s just going to take more time i suppose.