Why My Cesarean Section Wasn’t the Easy Way Out!
Do you know that there are people who actually believe a cesarean section doesn’t qualify as “giving birth”. In fact, some would say those mothers have taken the easy route! Let me tell you, I had a c-section and nothing about it was easy! I believe it’s quite the opposite. Ultimately, I was still able to have the birth experience I desired and you can too!
How do you embrace having to have a cesarean section?
Allow yourself to feel!
Regardless of if you have a planned c-section or an emergency c-section, your emotions can be all over the place. Your chances of this is increased if it’s not something you want (some moms elect to have a planned c-section). I was on an emotional roller coaster trying to come to grips with what was happening.
I felt robbed!
Heartbroken doesn’t even began to explain how I felt when I learned I would have to have a cesarean section. For a split second, I too considered myself “less than” for having to have one. Immediately I began to grieve the experiences I would never have.
There was a part of me that looked forward to the surprise gush of water from my water breaking. I wanted to hear the excitement in my mom’s voice when I told her I was in labor. There was the nervousness my significant other would show when I told him I was having contractions. All things that I will never get to experience.
32% of births in the U.S. are via Cesarean Section
Of course all I wanted was a healthy baby! I also know how many women would kill to give birth to a baby by any means. I do not take any of that for granted. Although 1 in 3 births in the United States are by c-section, I never thought it would happen to me. If it did happen, I didn’t expect it to be a planned thing.
I felt left out!
Several of my colleagues were pregnant at the same time as me. They would talk about going to their appointments and having their cervix checked or their membranes stripped. I felt left out of the conversation. It was as if they were speaking a foreign language. They tried to convince me that I wasn’t missing anything fun.
I felt scared!
Once I got over the emotional aspect of having a c-section, the gravity of the situation really hit me. As a Nurse Anesthetist, I have been involved in a lot of c-sections. I know the things that can go wrong for both the mom and the baby.Â Advances in medicine have made it where women are able to have a cesarean section while being wide awake. It creates a false sense of reality. People forget that this is still a major surgery!
Think of the advantages of having a planned C-Section
With a planned c-section you typically know exactly when you’re going to have your baby. Your loved ones can take off in advance.Â Also, you can decide when you’re last day of work will be. Packing your hospital bag doesn’t have to be an anxiety provoking event. Now you know the exact date to have it ready!
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If you want to get anything monogrammed and have baby’s birthdate included, that’s now a possibility.
When I thought I would have a vaginal delivery, my biggest fear was pooping on myself followed by vaginal tearing. The cesarean section eliminated the possibility of either thing happening. I have to say I was quite happy about that.
Once I changed my attitude and started looking at the positives, I started feeling better about the situation. Having a c-section doesn’t diminish the fact that you are still bringing life into this world!
Make your Birth Plan
Did you know that a birth plan is not limited to a vaginal delivery? You can still create a birth plan even if you are having a cesarean section.
Bonding with my baby was of utmost importance
After carrying this little baby inside of me for 9 months, I wanted to be the first person she saw when she came out. It was important to me that I be able to watch her being delivered. And you know what, she looked right at me!Â There’s nothing to describe that feeling.
I wanted to be successful with breastfeeding
I knew I wanted to breastfeed and I wanted to do everything possible to make sure I was successful from the start. Cesarean section is known to cause a delay in milk production. It was important to me that I be able to do skin to skin with my baby while in the operating room. This way I would be able to counteract the effects of the c-section.
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Skin to skin is important
As important as skin to skin was to me, I only wanted to do it if the conditions allowed for it. Sometimes a woman can experience nausea after receiving a spinal (it typically means the spinal is working really well). It’s also not uncommon to shiver uncontrollably either. My nurse and anesthesia provider knew that I did not want to do skin to skin if either situation was occurring. Luckily for me, I only vomited once and never experienced the shivering. I was able to hold my baby in the operating room.
Shouldn’t mom hold the baby first?
In the event that skin to skin wasn’t possible, everyone knew that I was still to be the first to hold the baby. I was really concerned about milk and bonding. Besides, I was the one that had carried her for 9 months! Shouldn’t I get to hold her first?
The only other thing I cared about was being present for her first bath. I didn’t want to miss anything! I’m so glad I got to witness it. I learned from birth that she loved getting her hair washed. To this day she still finds it soothing.
Why Shouldn’t a C-Section be Viewed as the Easy Way?
Mom may miss out on the delivery
There are instances where a laboring mom feels as if her epidural isn’t working properly. She may not feel any relief from her contractions or the relief is only on one side of her body. This can happen when an epidural is used for a c-section as well. The effectiveness of a spinal and an epidural or always verified before a c-section begins. If it is found that it’s not working properly, mom will either go to sleep under general anesthesia or be heavily sedated. Either way, she will miss the delivery of her baby and miss hearing him or her cry for the first time.
Bonding can be delayed
Not everyone has my experience with a c-section. Some mothers are not able to hold their babies until hours after delivery. After laboring and pushing for an extended period of time, they are tired once they get in the operating room. The adrenaline they are feeling wears off after the baby is delivered and those moms go to sleep. It’s not that they don’t want to see their babies or that they aren’t excited to meet them. They are physically and mentally drained and they can’t keep their eyes open.
Even if mom can stay awake, hospital rules may still prevent her from immediately holding her baby.
You will have scars
Having a cesarean section is not the easy way out and we have the battle scars to prove it! You undergo major abdominal surgery, risking infection and hemorrhaging. I had to receive 3 units of blood after my c-section due to blood loss. Oh, and I also developed a urinary tract infection from the catheter in my bladder! That meant I had to take additional antibiotics which had the potential of causing my baby to develop thrush while breastfeeding.
Your pain will last past the delivery
The morning after my c-section I was in so much pain! The narcotics made me sleepy and when I was awake, I was unaware of what was going on around me. They also made me nauseous to the point of not being able to keep anything down.Â I couldn’t safely take care of my baby in that condition. With a vaginal delivery my situation would have been different.
Everyone expects you to be back on your feet
Once you get home, you have a newborn baby to tend to while recovering from your surgery. You have to avoid any pain meds that will make you drowsy so you can be alert and safe with your baby.Â Family may even have to help you get around initially. I couldn’t lay flat for days and it hurt trying to get out of bed without help. When my baby was crying I needed assistance in tending to her. Luckily for me, my significant other was understanding of that. When I was home alone with the baby was when I felt it the worse.
In the end, it’s all worth it. Regardless of what delivery method we use, our experiences are our own. Our only hope is to leave the hospital with a healthy mom and a healthy baby.
This experience taught me to make the best out of any situation I’m in. I’ll never know what labor feels like and I’m ok with that. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be called ma-ma. Ultimately my c-section experience was great. There’s not a thing I would change. I’m just happy I had my birth plan.
Do you think a cesarean section is the easy way out?
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