Jennifer Ginsberg: When I was pregnant with my first child, I had an idyllic vision of what childbirth would be like. I imagined I would have a quick labor and easy birth, then my son would peacefully latch onto my breast and we would sail off into maternal bliss.
After all, I had been healthy all through my pregnancy -- I carefully avoided caffeine, shellfish, and unpasteurized products. I ate organic foods and diligently took my pre-natal vitamins. In fact, the day my water broke, I walked for an hour and took an intense yoga class! There was no reason for me to anticipate anything other than my romanticized fantasy of labor and delivery.
The reality was not quite so pretty. After my water broke at home, my OB sent me to the hospital, hoping labor would begin naturally. After spending the night in the hospital, my cervix was not even dilated 1 cm, so I got induced. Twenty-five excruciating hours of labor passed, and I watched in panic as my baby's heart rate dropped with each forced contraction.
My OB came into my room with a concerned look on her face and broke the news to me
-- the news she had been broaching for hours but which I didn't want to accept -- I needed a C-section, and I needed it NOW. I remember being wheeled into the painfully bright and sterile room, filled with strangers wearing masks and gowns, and seeing all the operating tools glistening on a table next to me. I was sobbing in fear and exhaustion, but couldn't even speak. I was racked with terror.
After my son was unwillingly ripped from my body (at least that was what it felt like!), I was paralyzed from the anesthesia and couldn't even hold him. He was whisked off to the nursery while I was wheeled away to recovery, completely traumatized by the entire experience…