I wanted to read about Tori Spelling's life threatening complication with Finn Davey but I couldn't get past the phrasing. They used the word "give birth." Wait a second! I've seen Tori & Dean. She schedules those surgeries on a day that works for the show's filming, her doctor's vacation and the baby nurse's availability. Giving birth insinuates labor and delivery, whereas she had those babies removed by C-section.
It's fine, really, I don't see anything wrong with C-sections, but let's not pretend you did the same thing I did. Which was push, through uterine contractions and sheer willpower, a seven-pound baby from my uterus through the birth canal and out my vagina. Twice. Once, I defied death. The next time I did it with no drugs. Standing up. I think that earns me some freaking medals.
I'll give you this: labor, no matter how it progresses or ends, is the most intense of situations. Like your wedding day, all eyes are on you -- except instead of practicing your fox trot to Sinatra, you are getting ready to pass a small-but-not-so-small human being through the lower portion of your body. The pain is like nothing you can imagine. Everyone is different and every delivery is distinct but no one who actually experiences labor gets off easy. With that said, there should be some sort of grading system so that I can collect my accolades.
Even though I had intended to give birth naturally with my first child, nature had a different plan. Right off the bat medical intervention was necessary, and my labor was induced because of the dangerously low level of amniotic fluid and the threat to the health of my baby. After the 16 hours of labor and four hours of pushing my first born arrived. The doctor quickly discovered I had placenta accreta, a condition where the placenta actually grows into the uterus rather than simply attaching. It caused me to hemorrhage to the point that I lost consciousness and needed a blood transfusion.
First delivery, first medal: surviving a near-death experience.
The second time around, I was prepared and determined to do it naturally. If I didn't die after the first one, I figured I could survive anything. Even the vaunted "ring of fire." And I did it. Second delivery, second medal: the gold standard.
Giving birth without any medical intervention is the ultimate in bragging rights. Gall stones? Please. Tattoo on your face? Child's play. Stomach flu? Doesn't even register. Natural childbirth trumps all. Don't talk to me about your pain, my body did the impossible -- created, housed and birthed a child with no help from anyone (aside from my husband's initial contribution of course).
As natural as it is, this type of "gold medal" delivery seems rare these days. Not to mention, most people aren't interested in giving you a medal for it.
Of course, not everyone longs for a natural childbirth. For some, it's not even an option. For me, it was mandatory.
Nothing else in my life put me that deeply in touch with my femininity. There is no information I could process in my brain that would translate into being able to go into labor and to survive it with no medical intervention and no pain relief. Instead, I was hardwired with the information. It's just something a woman, only a woman, knows how to do biologically, if she can manage to get the hell out of its way and let her body do its thing. Yet it is also the ultimate symbol of power and strength for me. It was my highest goal, and one I had set long before I even tried to get pregnant.
Many women don't end up with the birth of their dreams. Like a recently jilted lover at a wedding, some women will have a hard time being happy for those who achieved their ideal birth. Some women hate feeling they are "less than" for something over which they have no control. Their minds feel betrayed by their own bodies. It's elementary biology -- women get pregnant, give birth in some ditch and nurse the kid as they tend the fields. It's been happening in cultures everywhere since the beginning of time. And when your body doesn't cooperate you feel like less of a woman.
Believe me, I understand. I couldn't even get to the starting line of motherhood for two years. My body failed me big time as we tried and tried to get pregnant.
Once you have the baby, no matter how he or she came into the world, we are all mothers just trying to do our best. But even if I screw up every other decision that comes with actually raising my child, I will always have my shining moment in the delivery room. So long as no one has stripped Bruce Jenner of his Olympic medals despite all his Kardashian-size flubs, I figure the gold is mine forever.
(photo: Nando Machado/ Shutterstock)