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My C-Section Success Story - a Retrospective

As longtime readers, friends and family know, my birth plan for Little L was very crunchy/granola/natural (which is so completely unlike me). I had wanted an old-fashioned, through-the-hooha experience devoid of any drugs (save for nitrous oxide) or induction. I was prepared to breathe through the pain, endure a ring of fire, and even get torn in the process of pushing. I was ready to give birth!

But not ready for any other possible scenario. My pregnancy had been so smooth and uneventful that it didn't even occur to me that something might go awry during labour. I mean, there were no red flags for birth defects, no gestational diabetes, no pre-eclampsia - not even morning sickness. And yet, the labour was all sorts of bad. Little L was lying on my spine, her head was tilted to one side, and I was reverse dilating. Her heart rate got too steady (yes, too steady) and I was running out of time due to having had my water broken. A C-section was really my only option 47 hours later, even though it was the one thing I most wanted to avoid.

Lately I've come across quite a few stories about people who have had some very scary, and sometimes fatal, experiences following a C-section. I've also read blogs from moms who feel like a failure or are super disappointed with not having experienced vaginal childbirth, and accounts from people (like Kate Winslet) who actually lied about their procedures out of sheer grief and disbelief that they had not been able to give birth naturally. I can fully empathize with all of them, and I would never dare minimize the hardships that many women face following a C-section. Emotionally, physically - this is a major surgery and sometimes the cost that a momma pays is unbelievably high. And even when it is a smooth and successful C-section, some ladies now associate the process with shame and other devastating feelings that cause them great psychological distress even years down the road.

I do want to put a positive story "out there," though; not all C-sections are heinous, and not all of them have devastating results. While a surgical birth is obviously not the most natural option, it can be the best choice under certain circumstances. As one doctor assured me while I was labouring, "there is no shame in having a Caesarean when it's the safest thing to do for the health and welfare of yourself and baby. It doesn't make you any less of a mother; it doesn't minimize or negate the fact that your body created and nurtured this little being. You're still the mommy, you're doing the best that you can for your baby, and you can hold your head high knowing that you did everything you can to protect your little one." Those were powerful words for me to hear, and necessary too (although at the time, they didn't sink in quite as deeply as they do now).

I believe that when a new mom-to-be is faced with the possibility (or inevitability) of a C-section, sometimes the scary negative stories are simply not helpful, and it's important for them to know that there are good C-section stories too! I would have loved to have read some of those before my own procedure, that's for sure!


So here's mine: my C-section and  recovery was the stuff of legend. Seriously. Despite the weird shaky arms and shivering that the epidural brought on, I had zero side effects during and after the operation. I didn't go into cardiac arrest or lose a ton of blood, my blood pressure didn't soar or dip, and it didn't take me 6-8 weeks to recover. In fact, I was able to have my leg compression bandages and catheter removed within the first 18 hours post-partum. I could get up and walk to retrieve my baby girl from her bed right away; I think my IV was removed later that day as well (although maybe it happened on Day 2 - it's a bit blurry now).  Despite having been warned that I might be out of commission for several weeks, in reality there was no down-time needed. The only thing I had to do differently was not lift heavy items for those first few weeks. In my case, the pain of the operation was not unbearable, so I didn't need to medicate heavily on codeine or ibuprofen (although I did take Advil and Tylenol-3's regularly for the first week or so). Residual scar pain, infections, blood clots, hemorrhaging - I was mercifully spared all of these things. I am fairly certain I'm not the only one with a story like this to tell, either.

How blessed I am, and many of us are, to live in a country where emergency C-sections are readily available to those who need it. I'm thankful that this medical procedure exists, period, and am quite certain that without it, Little L would not have survived. I may not have, either. So while I might have a twinge of regret that I never got to experience pushing my baby out through my nether regions, I'm also overwhelmingly glad that things happened this way instead, and I still got my "happily ever after" (healthy baby) despite having nothing from my birth plan work out as I had intended.

So be encouraged, if you are facing a situation where a natural vaginal birth is simply not in the cards for you. Read up on the risks and benefits, get a great OB, and know that not every C-section is a war story, and you aren't any less of a mom or woman for having one.

Oh - and another benefit of C-sections? I don't pee when I laugh, and my hooha remains intact ;) 


Comments

Kitten said…
LOVED my C-sections. Is that weird? People always talk about the long term effects of how it is harder, but we only stayed at the hospital one extra day (for my children's sake, not mine) and after my first C-section, we got home from the hospital and went out for dinner that night. I had good luck with recovery, I will admit!
Mrs. Loquacious said…
So glad that your experiences were also positive! It's only the sad scary ones that make the news or go viral, but I think there are a lot of good stories out there too! Thanks for sharing yours!!! 😊
Shawna Biccum said…
I've had 3 c-sections. The first one I was a wimp and barely moved around afterwards. I totally paid for that. The last 2, I was up and walking as soon as the spinal wore off. I had no problems! My nurse even told me I was a Rockstar! :P Save for the occasional pain where my scar is, I completely and totally recovered. I don't find c-sections to be terrible. A little scary but totally bearable as long as it's done right.
Mrs. Loquacious said…
Hi Shawna;

Thanks for your comment! So glad to hear that you also had some great C-section experiences; I didn't think I was the only one out there who was able to be function from Day 1. :) I don't think C's are terrible either, but it *is* major surgery and there is definitely a risk for things to go wrong. That said, we could say the same thing about vaginal births too!

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