Thoughts on C-Sections

Monday, November 9, 2015

There's a lot of negativity in the "mom community" surrounding c-sections - there's quite frankly a lot of negativity in the mom community surrounding EVERY topic (read: cloth v. disposable diapers, breastfeeding, CIO method, pacifier use, etc.). But one thing that has always hit me, and I've written about this before on my former blog, is the negativity around c-section births.

Meeting Holland for the first time!
Vaginal births are touted as natural and the epitome of the birthing experience - it's something to be admired for; the hard laboring through hours of contractions, the mustering through intense pain to bring your child into this world the way your body was made to do. And if you can do a vaginal birth unmedicated ... well, you're basically superhuman. No seriously, you probably are. But what about the moms that couldn't do a vaginal birth? Those, like my sister, who labored for hours with no progression? Those whose bodies just don't open the birth canal wide enough for that baby to squeeze through? Those with other serious medical issues that physically couldn't go through labor? Are they less superhuman?

And, what about those of us that wanted a c-section? Are we weak? Is it a cop-out? If I'm being completely honest, I've never had a desire to vaginally birth a baby. I'm not even sure how certain I was that I wanted to carry one until my ex and I decided together on that plan (and I had a great experience ... more on that in the future). But when thinking about how that baby (or in my case babies) was going to exit my body, the last thing I wanted to do was labor through it. It was just never "for me". See - I'm on odd duck. And I got odd looks throughout my pregnancy when asked about my birth plan ... when I would boldly look at someone and tell them I wanted a c-section.

Aside from pure desire for a c-section, there are a few other reasons why this was the birth plan for me:

  • women do this every day - but do you know the risks associated with vaginally delivering twins? You can only deliver vaginally if Baby A is head down (which darn it, Harper Ann, she was :)). Now, here's the tricky part - once Baby A gets out ... it's kind of up in the air what happens with Baby B. If Baby B is head down and DOESN'T MOVE OUT OF POSITION after it's sibling is born, you can attempt to vaginally deliver that baby too. But if Baby B is transverse (sideways) or breech (upside down) you might not have that option. The doctors can attempt to painfully push the baby around from the outside (or might try to reach inside of you to re-position the baby) to get it in a better position for a vaginal birth. But if that doesn't work - it's a c-section for Baby B. Yep, that's a recovery from a vaginal birth AND a c-section. NOTHANKYOU. And, wouldn't you know it ... Holland was transverse anyways. 
  • I had preeclampsia. At 26 weeks I was put on modified bedrest due to my increasing blood pressure rate. At 28 weeks I was admitted overnight to the hospital for the same reason, where I met with a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor (high risk OB) who discussed delivering my babies THEN, but stating he thought I still had some time to wait it out. My doctors waited as long as they could to keep my babies in before it seriously impacted my health. Remember Sybil from "Downton Abbey"? She died from preeclampsia. Then I had another day visit to the hospital due to blood pressure around 30 weeks and then finally at 32 weeks I spent another over-nighter when the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor decided to pull the plug and get the girls out at 33 weeks, 6 days pregnant. I don't think my body could have made it through the stress of labor and delivery. My blood pressure was regulated during the c-section due to the medication I was on, but when it weaned off it jumped to 200/180 and I nearly had a stroke. I was put on magnesium to bring my bp back down and sent to the ICU for 24 hours. 
I still remember trying out prenatal yoga to help with my back issues around 19 weeks of pregnancy. The circle went around telling their name, suburb, birth plan, etc. When it got to me and I mentioned that I wanted a c-section, I swore I grew eyes on top of my head. I was then referred to as "the c-section mom". But I didn't care then, it was my body and I wasn't bound to let someone else shame me into the experience that I desired having. Think c-sections are the easy way out? They aren't. It's about to get TMI ya'll ....

Your insides are sliced open, and then stapled (or stitched) back together, and because of that you have a longer recovery time because you just had major surgery. The pain in your mid-section, once the medications wear off, is like nothing I've ever felt before. You honestly don't realize how much you use your stomach muscles for everything you do. Some of us have that c-section flab in the middle. Your stomach has a weird overhang, especially if you're still carrying some of that baby weight. So, although I never felt one contraction (praying hands emoji) I still didn't have it easy. 

I'm proud of my c-section and I've always tried to stay proud of that decision. It helped my girls be delivered safely, and I didn't have to try to squeeze 3 lb 12 oz Harper or her 4 lb 2 oz sister out of my body. It helped me deliver safely, without overloading my blood pressure so that I stroked out during delivery. It gave us the safest option for all three of us and I will always be thankful that modern medicine exists for this reason - and that my doctor agreed with my decision to opt for a c-section birth. And whenever I glance down at the rigid, ugly scar I am just reminded of the two beautiful little people that I get to call mine.

Throw back to March 2014 :)

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