Four very different births, and thus far I’ve managed to avoid a c-section. Whew! It’s not something I would ever ask for, but after my fourth birth in September, I learned that sometimes things don’t go the way we plan and even prepare for them to go!
This week I’ve got a few guest posts and links scheduled to share about c-sections. I have no personal experience with the process or recovery, but I think it’s important to share a few stories just in case some of you are facing uncertainties. Those of you who have had c-sections, please help with any questions or concerns that arise.
I’m a first time mom of the first baby in our families for the last 29 years. None of our friends had kids either, so this was all NEW to my husband and me. I have suffered from Ankylosing Spondylitis (similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis) in my hips for the last 10 years, and due to bone erosion, my doctors had said for years I would need a C-section if I ever became pregnant, as a vaginal birth would put far too much strain on my pelvis, perhaps even cracking or breaking it!
The first and worst decision I made was to be open with all the nosy Nancies out there who wanted to find out what my birth plan was. I told them that my doctor decided I needed a C-section. Without exception, every person was rude and condescending about this, as if I were making the worst possible decision of my life and my child’s life. One and all they tried to talk me out of it, citing (false/inaccurate) horror stories and basically trying to make me feel guilty about this personal decision.
After a little while, I learned to stand up for myself, as well as do more research on the surgery, though it took me almost 7 months before I could “psych” myself up to watch a C section on you tube. (It wasnt bad, I promise!) Suddenly, my nerves were gone, and after more discussion with my doctor, I knew without a doubt that this was the right decision for me.
When at last the day came, I have to admit, the nerves kicked in big time. I was shaking like a leaf! But the drugs make it literally pain free. For those who are frightened of needles, know that even the shots they put in your spine don’t hurt, just feel funny/uncomfortable! I must say that you do feel groggy and out of it during the procedure due to the drugs, but I still remember hearing my son cry for the first time, and see him, and hold him. I still remember looking at his little cheek and seeing a tiny scar already healed. (He had cut his cheek with the famously sharp baby fingernails while in my belly).
Yes, it’s true, women with a C-section take longer to heal, yet I was doing (slow!) laps around the ward by the next day, and I was home from the hospital in 3 days. Yes, the pain of recovery over the first 2-3 days was intense, I wont lie. If you have good and attentive nurses, however, you wont have to worry about it at all. The medicines they put you on initially make your skin itch like mad, too. So be prepared for an itch fest. But that goes away by the end of the 2nd day. The staples they put in LOOKED gruesome, but didn’t hurt to put in OR to take out. And they didn’t catch on my clothes/gown at all. The staples DO come out before you leave the hospital.
Our baby was fine. 100% wonderful. My son was strong, healthy, not at all groggy/drugged from the medication they put me on. He recovered from the ordeal much faster than me, and at the expense of sounding vain, he was so handsome without his smushed head and swollen face.
I was home 3 days after delivery, and we lived on the 3rd floor of an apartment building with stairs. I was able to climb them (slowly!) without trouble. Every day I went up and down once or twice to build my strength up. It takes several weeks to recover fully, but why would you want to run a marathon anyway? Use the excuse to lie in bed, eat lots of good food and cuddle with your new baby.
As for the scar, I wont lie to you, its ugly. My son is 14 months old and it’s only 90 percent healed. It stopped hurting at all after only a month and a half, and even when it did hurt it wasn’t unbearable, just uncomfortable. The good news is, the healed part is not ugly, just a thin white line. The “healing” part is a red raised scar that is slowly disappearing into the thin white line. It’s nice and low, so unless you are having an emergency surgery, you shouldn’t have to worry about wearing bikinis. I wore mine this summer and think I looked pretty darn good!
So yes, while I suffered, it was a different suffering than that of a woman giving a natural birth. Some women tell me that I’m not a real mom since I didn’t do a vaginal birth. I was hurt at first, but now I don’t care, because most of them say the same thing to women who do it with an epidural. Listen to your doctor. Do what you have to, and don’t regret it, because you and your baby being healthy is all that matters in the end.
Have you had a c-section? Was your experience similar to that of Yvonne?