Birth stories are sweet and happy. This is not a birth story. (You can read that here.) This is my c-section experience. And it sucked.
Some women find their c-sections to be fairly easy, and many prefer them. You can read about an experience like that here.
I wouldn’t have preferred a c-section. Because it sucked.
Before I really get into it, I just want to clarify that it was worth it. Charlotte got here safely, and I’d do it over and over again. In fact, if we have another child, I will do it again.
But I definitely would have preferred a vaginal birth.
I was not excited about a c-section from the moment my doctor told us Charlotte was breech. I was ready to try all the things to get her to turn around. I did yoga poses (which feel really weird at 34 weeks pregnant), saw a chiropractor who performed the Webster Technique, I held ice packs to the top of my belly, I played music toward the bottom of my belly, and I talked to the baby, trying to convince her she should move… But once she’d moved into a breech position, she didn’t budge. As a last resort, my doctor attempted an ECV, which was unsuccessful — she was stuck.
There were many people in my life who didn’t seem to understand why I was so determined to avoid a c-section. “She’ll get here just fine!” And I knew that was true, but avoiding a c-section wasn’t about Charlotte; it was about me. I didn’t want my body to go through another major abdominal surgery.
That’s right. MAJOR abdominal SURGERY.
C-sections are so common these days, for so many different reasons, many seem to think it’s an easy procedure with an easy breeze recovery. That’s just not the case. I knew a planned c-section would have a much smoother recovery than my emergency appendectomy, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy, and honestly, I was emotionally tying the upcoming surgery to the previous one. I didn’t want it.
But by 37 weeks, I’d run out of time, and I scheduled the c-section.
My experience was not typical, and I don’t want to scare anyone, because it’s not the worst thing ever, but from my perspective, it sucked.
I was nervous about being awake. I’ve been through my fair share of surgeries and procedures, but I’d been asleep during most of them. The blue curtain blocked my view, but the tugging and pulling sensations made me very anxious. That happened for what felt like an eternity. And then there was a pop, and shortly after, we heard her crying.
But I couldn’t see her right away. And then I couldn’t hold her. And I hated that. There was a disconnect.
Tim left with Charlotte and I stared at the ceiling until I was closed up. Once I got to the recovery pod, Tim and Charlotte were there waiting. We watched her get her first bath, and we had a few moments of skin to skin, which was wonderful.
Just a few moments, though.
Suddenly, I didn’t feel so well. “I feel faint.” I was holding a tiny baby on my chest, and I started to feel really nervous. “I feel really faint.”
The next thing I knew, a crowd surrounded the bed. My doctor and some nurses were talking quickly and started pushing down on my uterus, and I was thankful my epidural was still effective, because I was sure that would have been painful. The bruises left near my incision confirmed this.
I was still holding the baby while they were pushing down on me. I heard “D&C” mentioned, and I felt even more panicked. A nurse took the baby away. I was being rolled back into an OR.
By now, I’d run out of bravery for the day, and I started crying.
Thank goodness for drugs that make us fall asleep, because the next thing I knew, I was waking up back in the recovery pod. Charlotte was in the nursery for a minimum of two hours due to her low blood sugar and the hospital’s policy. She was fed formula, and would be for a few days more until my milk came in. I was kept in the recovery pod for a few hours longer just in case, and Tim brought my family to the nursery to meet Charlotte through a window.
We were finally moved into a room late that night, and Charlotte was brought to the room. I didn’t see my daughter until 1 AM, but I was in and out of sleep. We sent her back to the nursery at 4 AM so Tim could sleep, as I was unable to get out of bed still.
Slowly, wires and tubes were removed from me on Thursday, I was moved into a normal room, and by Friday morning, I was up and moving around, and finally started to feel like maybe I was a mom. Everything went up from there, and the rest of my recovery was normal and smooth.
Everyone’s experience is different, but I feel like I missed out on something. However, the end result is the same; I have a sweet baby in my arms, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.