On Saturday, my uncle’s cow went into labor and the calf got stuck. You could see the calf’s tongue sticking out, which is a really bad sign, so he called everybody out to help him get the calf out ASAP. We chased the cow into a pen, then tied rope around the calf’s ankles and pulled. He was totally fine now, and he’s so cute!
Anyway, helping the momma cow give birth got me thinking. I’ve had a lot of guilt about not having the “perfect birth experience.” My water broke at 34 weeks, but the on call doctor sent me home because I wasn’t haven’t contractions. My labor wasn’t progressing, so I had to be induced. Monkey had the cord wrapped around his neck twice, and since there was no longer any cushy water around him to protect him from the contractions, his heartrate was dropping scary low with every contraction. The nurses and doctors positioned me so I was kneeling against the bed and told me not to move, since that was the only position where his heartrate stayed normal during contractions. If you’ve ever gone through an unmedicated labor, you’ll know that moving around during contractions is absolutely vital to being able to endure the pain. Two contractions into this torture, I threw my birth plan out the window and got laughing gas. A few minutes later, Monkey’s heart stopped completely during a contraction and they whisked me into the operating room for a C-section.
I have spent the time since feeling like my body failed me, when really it did no such thing. My body allowed me to grow a wonderful human being. Just because he needed some help getting out doesn’t mean I somehow failed. I’m not weak or lazy for not being able to tolerate labor, just like this momma cow wasn’t weak or lazy for needing some help. If anything, she’s super strong, because that calf was HUGE and we just yanked it right out of her, and that had to be super painful. (I won’t say anything about how smart this cow is, however, because she decided she was going to run through the tiny little calf gate, got stuck, and ended up running off with two sections of fence stuck around her middle.)
Moral of the story: Enough with the mommy wars. As long as you end up with a child, it doesn’t really matter whether you got pain relief during the labor or ended up getting a c-section. It’s a lot worse to lose a child to lack of medical intervention.
And now for some bonus photos and videos! Don’t worry, there’s no cows in these ones.