I realize my last blog post was about my c-section, and, well, that’s just where my mindset is since I had a baby in January 😂
April is C-Section Awareness Month, and since I’ve had five cesareans total, I figured I’d be a good candidate to touch on this topic. There is much controversy and negativity surrounding c-sections. Some will say it’s the “easy” way out, that cesarean mamas are “too posh to push,” or that we are not empowered or in control of the birth experience. I’ve heard it all, someone even once said to me, “Well since you’ve never ACTUALLY given birth….” (Like, um….. how did my kids get here then?!) 😜
Fifth pregnancy — strong, confident, and cool as a cucumber. Empowered, knowing my rights, calling the shots, armed with a plan and my surgical team on board. But, strength comes from struggles, confidence from being prepared. I’ve had both negative and positive birth experiences. Here is my story:
My first baby, I had just turned 21, and was pretty clueless about pregnancy and birth other than what I had read in the books. I assumed I’d labor and push my baby out just like the books said. My husband and I took birthing classes and even skipped the last one (which ironically was about c-sections) because we figured it wouldn’t even be an issue. I had my grandma’s wide childbearing hips, and just thought I’d pop the baby right out. Well, after a failed induction, failed epidural, fetal distress, my blood pressure dropping significantly, I was rushed into an emergency cesarean. I was scared, uninformed, had to be put under general anesthesia, didn’t see my baby boy until HOURS later, and ended up with severe postpartum PTSD and depression as a result.
When I got pregnant with #2, we knew we definitely wanted a different doctor and hospital. The doctor was great, and assured me we’d have a successful repeat cesarean. I was still pretty young, so hadn’t even researched my birth options much. So while this c-section went well medically, I still felt like it wasn’t quite right. I often felt robbed of the birth experience, but ultimately came to peace with things and enjoyed my life as a mama of two.
Suprise #3 came and once again, I was pressured into the repeat c-section. “You’ve already had 2, you just can’t birth naturally. It’s too risky.” Is what I was told. I went into labor 2 days prior to my c-section date, and hindsight being 20/20, she should have been the VBAC baby… BUT, we went to the hospital, and the on-call doctor went ahead and got a team prepped for my surgery. This was the one that broke me. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, for a long time…. I was taken into the operating room, spent 45 minutes in pain while a student anesthetist attempted over and over again to get my spinal in properly. I was crying, without my husband, and so scared and upset. The spinal didn’t even go in right, so in a matter of seconds, I went from completely coherent to the most drugged out I’ve ever been in my life. (I found out later they gave me Ketamine). I couldn’t make sense out of anything, it felt like I was floating through the cosmos, dying, but with voices around me. It was probably the most traumatic thing I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t see this baby until several hours later, either, and for a long time, I felt like I was in this fog of darkness. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and rage plagued me for quite some time following this, and I eventually ended up in counseling to help me sort through my mind and emotions. I healed, mind, body, and soul, but it took close to two years.
The fourth time around, I told my husband I was just going to birth the baby in my own damn bathtub. 😂 But, after hearing horror stories, coupled with being “high risk,” of course we just scheduled another c-section. Each doctor appointment, I addressed a different concern, and of course, my doctor was well aware of my history. The c-section went well, no complications, I got to hold my baby girl in recovery, and we bonded right away. She was the baby, my last, and the one I’d hold and nurse for hours on end because we were done having kids.
After having #4, I launched a business, we moved, I launched another business, and we just got super busy with our lives. Kid’s sports, activities, business life, errands, and focusing on my health kept me busy around the clock. I was content with our troop of four and anytime someone asked about having any more kids, I’d LAUGH!!!
Well, almost a year ago now, I found out I was pregnant! I was a whirlwind of emotions in the beginning, not so sure about the whole idea of it… Eventually, after seeing and hearing that precious little heartbeat, my entire life turned upside down and I was beyond ecstatic to meet my little one. Then when we found out he was a little boy (after having 3 girls in a row), I was even more excited!!! I did a TON of research on my birth options, called soooo many different midwives, doulas, and even talked to other doctors. Since I was “branded” from my previous four c-sections, there was really no way around, but to have another one. I armed myself with loads of information, knowing my rights, and created a plan for My Gentle, Oily, C-Section. I was strong and confident going into the operating room, and the nurses even called me a “pro,” because I was the one calling the shots this time around. I had no problem saying, “No, that’s not happening” and expressing my wishes. I even requested my anesthesiologist (who was AMAZING, by the way), and spoke with her quite a bit before the surgery too. Delayed cord clamping, immediate skin-to-skin, hubby with me at all times, and use of my Essential Oils even in the operating room, were just a few of the things I did.
So, all that to say, that YES, it IS possible to have an empowered cesarean. My words of wisdom from going through all this for mothers everywhere:
While it may not be “nature’s way,” it is still a route that many babies are born. Yes, BORN. It doesn’t matter how they come out, if you carried a child in your womb for 9 months and it came out somehow, you BIRTHED that baby. And having a c-section makes you a badass warrior. You have to learn to breastfeed, wake up all hours of the night, deal with painful boobs, a sore back from the spinal, side effects from the medications, postpartum bleeding, and bond with a brand new little human ALL WHILE RECOVERING FROM MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY. Don’t let ANYONE make you feel less because you chose a safe way for yourself and your baby’s entry into the world. Know your rights, make your plan, and ultimately, surrender. Know that we only have control over so much, even the mothers that pop their kids out with no meds, whilst squatting by some burning incense, aren’t entirely in control of anything either. 😉
During Cesarean Awareness month, tell any c-section mothers you know how awesomely amazing they are. Because it is just as hard, if not harder, than the alternative.
To all cesarean mamas: I see you. I salute you. I AM you. I am 1 in 3.