c-section story

My Unplanned C-Section Story

My Plan Was a Home Birth…

It was 1:30 in the morning. I was at home with a midwife and doula because my birth plan was to have a home birth, but this is not how this story ends. A c-section was never part of the plan. I had already been in labor for almost three days. The last 9 hours had been excruciating back labor because my baby had decided he wanted to be sunny side up upon my water breaking. The back of my baby’s head was pushing against my tailbone during and in between contractions. I was running on no sleep, and no energy and the thought of eating made me want to vomit. For the last hour or so, I had been fantasizing about an epidural but said nothing since this was not what I had planned for.

I wanted to stay in pursuit of my original plan no matter how much it hurt physically and mentally. My midwife entered the bathroom, where I was leaning against the counter, and asked me the question I didn’t know I needed to hear, “Would you like to transfer to the hospital for an epidural? You are exhausted, and it’s okay for you to choose to get pain relief.” I knew back labor was something otherworldly, so I tried to tell myself that this wasn’t a weakness as I said yes to my midwife.

Arriving at the Hospital…

After arriving at the hospital and getting checked into a labor and delivery room, the anesthesiologist entered my room with the epidural around 4:30 am. I have never been so grateful for modern medicine. WOW. I felt guilty for feeling this way since the plan was to have an unmedicated home birth. This was not supposed to happen, but I was so grateful for how much my body had been through up until this point. I was continuing to dilate slowly, which is expected with a sunny-side-up baby. We tried doing different positions to flip the baby, but he would not have it.

A C-section Wasn’t the Plan.

At about 9 am, an OBGYN came in and spoke to me about a recommended c-section. This was definitely not the plan. Although it was not an emergency because I had been in labor for so long, my water had been broken for almost 24 hours, and I was still not fully dilated (although I made it to an 8), they were recommending a c-section to remain on the safe side. At this point, even though a vaginal birth was still on the table, I was tired, hungry, and just plain over it. I chose a c-section. At that moment, after asking our questions and saying some prayers, my husband and I felt at peace with our decision. Surprisingly, though, my husband broke down after we told them our decision. He was processing the same fact that I was…

My c-section took place just three hours later, around 1 pm. It went smoothly, and I remember my baby’s first cry as they pulled him from my womb. I requested skin-to-skin, so once they confirmed with the NICU that he was a healthy baby, they placed him high on my chest as I lay there. Wow. My whole world changed in an instant.

A C-section is a Major Surgery…

Recovery was tough. The reality of a c-section, as grateful as I am for the technology to do so, is that it’s a major surgery. Labor is tough. Birth is tough. Being a first-time mom is tough – BUT nothing can prepare you for c-section recovery AND learning to be a mom all at once. Being with my baby for the first time was so beautiful, but it was painful. I am so grateful my husband was there.

He changed the first diaper. My husband held our baby when I was getting help from every nurse assigned to my room during our two-day stay. He made sure we had water and food as I was coming off the heavy drugs from surgery. He took calls and updated our family as I had my bleeding monitored and my incision checked. And he propped my swollen feet up onto a chair for me so I could breastfeed once we got home. After about 4 or 5 days, I felt stronger and more capable.

Once my body healed, I was finally able to process the fact that I was now a mom. While adjusting to this new way of life as a mother, I also had to work through the fact that my birth did not turn out how I had expected it would. With time and some healing, I am working through unmet expectations with my birth story.

To All the C-section Moms,

To all the new mothers whose birth stories did not go as planned, be kind to yourself. If your baby came to this earth through a c-section, give yourself time to recover both mentally and emotionally. Let your partner or others help you. You can be disappointed about your birth while still being in love with your new baby. At the end of the day, regardless of how this truth remains, you brought a baby into this world, and that is HARD work. If you wanted a vaginal birth, your body did not fail you, and you are not a failure. Every birth experience is different, and there is hope and redemption for your next birth.

In the future, my hope is to have an unmedicated vaginal birth. In the meantime, I look at my c-section scar with a smile, knowing, unplanned or not, that is how my beautiful son came into this world.

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