Who’s Afraid of a C-section? Part 1: This is NOT the way I planned it!

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READING TIME: 4 min.

The baby’s heart rate dipped with each contraction.  I heard a beeping sound from my monitor, the doctor rushed in and said those words I really didn’t want to hear, “We’re going for an emergency C-section, now!”

Next thing I knew I was being wheeled into surgery.  I was crying – no, make that sobbing.  People were rushing all around. The lights were bright. The room was freezing – especially since I was lying there next-to-naked.  The nurses and doctors were having TV medical drama conversations about “cc’s” of something.  And, all I could think was, “This is not how I wanted to become a mother.”

Does Anyone Really Want a C-section?

I may be over generalizing, but I’d safely bet it’s not the way that most women want to become a mom.  Sure, there are a few who plan it from the beginning – but they are a minority.  Most women I know who have had one seem to only talk about it with regret, “I had to have a c-section.”

So why do most fear or loathe the dreaded “c”?

Is it the fact that it’s adding a major surgery (and weeks of recovery) to the process of becoming a new mom? Is it that it’s not the “natural way?” Is it that, until you’ve had one, you really don’t know what it’s going to be like or, because you’ve had one you don’t want to go through it again? Is it because we’re afraid the scar will ruin our chances of becoming a bikini model?

Let me tell you why I would have done anything not to have the first one…or the three I’ve had since.  (Yes, four total!) There might have been some fear involved, but more so, it was because a c-section was not part of the birth story I wanted.

Allow me to explain.   I think many moms enjoy talking about their own and hearing others’ birth stories. (Our equivalent of a man’s war story perhaps?).  When you are expecting a baby you think about how you want your story to go.  My plan was a natural birth that would include an epidural only if necessary.  I was going to use everything that our 4-hour relaxation and labor-breathing course had taught me.  It was just mind over matter, right?

But, it didn’t happen that way.  And, for me, far worse than dealing with the pain associated with surgery or recovery was dealing with the emotional trauma of not having a baby in the way that I pictured I would.  I lament not knowing what it feels like to challenge my body in the exercise of delivering a baby.  I feel like I missed out.  I never got to push.  No one ever shouted, “I can see the head.”  I didn’t get to scream at my husband or make that loud, agonizing grunt that (at least in sitcoms) precedes a huge smile as the doctor pulls out the messy newborn.

Nope, all I did was lie there — numb up to my chest, staring at a blue curtain.

But, on the other hand, I’m a big c-section fan, now…

Here’s the upside.  Turns out my pelvis bones were not designed to allow any baby (yet alone my 9 lb. 4 oz. first born) through.  Without the marvels of modern medicine, my tombstone would read, “Died in childbirth.” My second-born might not have survived either if she hadn’t been scheduled early. (Her cord had a “true” knot – contractions would have made it tighten and cut off oxygen).

In addition to the obvious benefit of keeping you (and the baby) alive – I think c-section recovery may be easier than recovery from a birth that includes an episiotomy, vacuum or forceps.  From conversations with friends who endured these – mid-section recovery is more pleasant than waiting for your sensitive area to heal!  I was mostly back to normal after 3 weeks, whereas friends with bad forceps experiences were still healing months later.

There is great benefit to having a scheduled c-section when it’s not your first child.  You have the luxury of being able to plan ahead to have help there while you are in the hospital. Plus there’s some freedom to choose birthdays.  We chose to have our third on New Year’s Eve (vs. New Year’s Day) in order to get a full extra year of child tax credit.  Sometimes you may also have the flexibility to schedule on a date that is significant to your family or, as we did, just fun. My son was born on 7-11-11.  (Destined for a bright future in the convenience store biz?)

So, are YOU afraid of a c-section? Or, have you had one and do you feel like you missed out, too? 

Watch for “Who’s Afraid of a C-Section? Part 2: What actually happens during a c-section.” Coming in two weeks!

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. I hated having a c-section and part of the reason was definitely because it wasn’t part of the birth story I wanted. Well there’s so much more to that….but, I like what someone said on your FB status, it’s like the bride’s being so caught up with the wedding when it’s the marriage that counts. I really like that.

  2. I had a c-section when I went way overdue and my little one refused to progress (no dilation, no dropping, nada). It was either an induction (which my doctor cautioned me about considering the sealed-tight nature things down there) or a section. I was really happy with my choice and will be electing a section with my next baby. I felt totally back to normal within just a couple of weeks. I was never especially caught up in a birth story – I just wanted my baby and however she was going to come out was fine by me – so I wasn’t disappointed at all by having a section.

  3. My first, and only child so far, was a scheduled c-section, since she was breech. I have really bad anxiety, and was so scared… but I had a wonderful experience. And I was so nervous I squeezed my husbands hand so tight for the first little while, just like my sister did to her husband when she was in pain during her natural delivery 🙂 My fear was all of the unknown, the surgery was fine, other than being a little T.V.esque, they played music and talked like they were all having lunch together over my open body. I was worried that the anesthesia would not work and although it took them 3 tries, I did not feel a single thing, not even pressure, so that was good! However, it was strange not knowing what was going on, I had no idea that they had even cut into me for about 5 minutes! My Recovery was fast for me, though it did take 7 months for my scar to stop being tender. I didn’t get to be with my baby very long after she was “born” so I felt a little sad there, like I missed out, but it was a terribly long wait. I don’t really know what I missed out on with a natural delivery, but the c-section was great for me, though I do want to try a vbac next time *fingers crossed* even though that is a whole new set of “unknowns”lol. Oh and like you we scheduled our c-section advantageously for our insurance, saved us 2500 dollars! Sorry for such a long post, it’s a good topic.

  4. I had to mourn the loss of the birth I wanted, but have now come to terms with my c-section. Like you, my baby and I would probably not have survived without it. He wasn’t in distress yet, but was sunny side up even after multiple efforts to turn him (not fun, btw) and stuck in my pelvis. He was so stuck that during the surgery the nurse had to go in and push him back up. Yikes, tmi, I know. I pushed for 2.5 hours with no progress, and a c-section was the only option. I am grateful for modern medicine and my doctor’s wisdom that brought my son and I through the birth healthy and strong.

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