By Valerie Berenyi, Calgary Herald
Being squeezed through a canal about the width of a bagel is humankind's first and oldest rite of passage. We emerge into the light, our heads misshapen, shocked into breathing by the feel of air on our skin.
No wonder we cry.
Then there are the babies delivered by caesarean section. Plucked like pearls from an incision in their mothers' bellies, they're prettier, less mashed, but they sometimes struggle to breathe, not having had the fluid compressed from their lungs as they would in a natural birth.
More than a quarter of us are now born by the knife.
According to a national report released in June by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, 28 per cent of Canadian babies were delivered by C-section in 2007-08, up from five per cent in 1969.
It's a remarkable change to this most basic of human experiences. "The difference between my two births was amazing," says Airdrie's Marlaine Diggens, 33, who delivered two sons, the first by C-section, the second by Mother Nature…