What does giving birth feel like?

Two weeks from today my Baby Girl will be born via a medically necessary cesarean section, just like my son was on December 21, 2007. As such, I’ve been reflecting on my first birthing experience, on what giving birth felt like. Here are my thoughts…

For me, giving birth felt surreal.

Most of the feelings I experienced had more to do with awareness, thoughts, and emotions rather than physical sensations. My son’s birth was a planned, medically necessary, cesarean section. Even though my body went through all the aches and pains associated with preparing to labor and give birth, I did not experience labor as such.

I felt out of place in the cold, sterile operating room, where I yielded to the needle of the spinal anesthesia and surrendered the power to birth my son to my doctor and the other medical personnel present. I felt weak, vulnerable, and afraid. I was numb, but I felt pressure and tugging.

I did not feel like an active participant in my son’s birth. I felt passive, like giving birth was something that was being done to me and for me.

I felt estranged from the people around me, including my husband.

After the delivery, my husband showed me my son, we confirmed his name, and then the two of them left for the nursery. My part was over, my usefulness done, and I never felt so alone. My worry over whether or not I was about to undergo an emergency hysterectomy was overshadowed by what felt like my heart breaking. While the doctors closed me up, I felt such a longing to be with my son. I didn’t know it was possible to miss someone so much.

In the end, I was profoundly grateful to the two doctors who delivered my baby boy, and I was thrilled that my uterus was still mine. But I still felt a little hollow…no one seemed to recognize that I was in any way involved with my son’s birth.

For those of you who have given birth, what did giving birth feel like to you?

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