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Let’s Hear it for C-Sections!

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But I’m wearing my floral flats! That was the first thought that floated through my mind when I learned all my carefully-made birthing plans were out the window. Ridiculous, I know. But I had A PLAN, and wearing floral flats to the hospital was not part of it.

I was a week overdue, and we were at a routine ultrasound. Except it wasn’t routine. The doctor put the wand on my giant belly, immediately directed me to roll over onto my side, then sprinted out of the room. Which is pretty disconcerting. Doctors, maybe don’t do that.

He came back with my OB-GYN on the line who told me, quite calmly, that the baby’s heart rate was decelerated and that I was to go to the nearest hospital. Not the hospital where I’d registered and taken all my birthing classes? The one with the nice Jacuzzis for labor? No. The closest hospital. And go there now.

Here’s the thing: I did everything “right.” I took months of prenatal yoga, I attended birthing classes and read the books and practiced my breathing. I fully intended on having a normal labor, and that’s what my go-bag (still sitting at home) was meticulously packed for: a bluetooth speaker for the carefully selected labor playlist, organic lavender calming spray, a back massager, a labor caftan so I could simultaneously have this kid and look like I was wafting about on the lanai. I ended up using exactly zero percent of it.

Instead, I sat hooked up to machines as we discussed what to do. I was having regular contractions, but the baby was so high up that I wasn’t feeling them. I was not dilated or effaced. I was still in my floral flats. My OB—who we trusted whole-heartedly—gave us the option of trying Pitocin, but she feared we were going to end up at a c-section anyway, except it would be an emergency.

I’m going to be honest, a very large part of me wanted to experience labor. This was the end of the pregnancy marathon I had been running for months, and going for the c-section felt like I was nearing the finish line only to give up. But we knew there was something stopping my body from going into labor. And when it came down to it, who cares what I had planned? Labor and delivery isn’t just about me and my birth story; it’s about delivering a healthy baby.

We decided to go for a c-section. It is a decision that I will never, not for one second, regret. All the classes, the yoga, the textbook pregnancy, and it came down to this: A c-section was the only way I was ever going to have a healthy, living baby.

Not forty-five minutes after we’d made the decision, I was holding my son. And the reason for the c-section? His cord was wrapped tightly around his neck, I had basically no amniotic fluid left, and he had already aspirated meconium.

I’ve had people say they’re sorry when they learn I had a c-section. What is there to be sorry about? I nurtured a growing human in my body and made the best decision for his safe delivery. That’s a triumph, not something deserving of pity.

People also talk about not bonding, or your milk not coming in. I can tell you this, my milk was in—and with a vengeance—within seventy-two hours. And bonding? As I cuddled my newborn onto my chest, he peed all over me. (I guess that solves the mystery of the missing amniotic fluid. It was all in his tiny bladder for a urine-rific gift to his mother.)

A hundred years ago, or living in a different place, my outcome could have been very different. Having a modern hospital and medicine and doctors gave me a healthy baby and a good recovery. Sure, I didn’t envision ever having a c-section. But I am so happy I did. Because at the end of the day, giving birth isn’t just about you. It’s about the baby and doing what’s best for him, whether that’s an unmedicated delivery, epidurals up to your eyeballs, or a c-section.

I left the hospital a few days later with a thriving newborn. And I was still wearing those floral flats.

Jenny lives in Denver with her husband, son, and two fat tabbies. She’s a mom by day, a writer by night, and a traveler whenever she gets the chance. Follow her on her blog or on Twitter.

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Comments
  • comment avatar Andrea April 26, 2016

    When I was preparing for the birth of my first son, I wanted to plan ahead as much as possible. I took birth classes, read books and talked to my friends about their experiences. I made a birth plan, hired a doula and settled on my main objective – to avoid pitocin. I don’t know why I narrowed in on that specifically, but I did.

    When the time came however, after 26 hours of labor which included 3 hours of pushing, I ended up with a cesarean section. I had been successful in avoiding Pitocin until the very end of active labor, but a c-section? I had NOT planned on that!

    The fact is in the United States, more than 1/3 of women will give birth via cesarean. The way I see it is, it’s better to be informed than surprised.

  • comment avatar Alisha April 26, 2016

    I was induced at 41 weeks at 0.5cm. I was in labor for 28 hours. They tried cytotec, breaking water, pitocin and i just wouldn’t progress. I wasn’t “rushed” into c section per say but I was given about 30 minutes to gather myself and call my family to let them know to come on down. I cried. A lot. Considering I tried every thing and still ended up with the section. I knew that would happen for some reason.

  • comment avatar Sierra April 26, 2016

    My advice is pretty cliche, but I really just focused on the positives. My husband had an amazing bonding experience with our baby while I was recovering. Because of not being able to get out of bed the first day, my husband gained so much experience and confidence that he may not have gotten otherwise. My baby still is extremely comfortable with him and he is able to calm her down and put her to sleep, which is a huge blessing! My baby is healthy and happy and here with us. It’ll get easier once you catch up on a bit of sleep and your hormones calm down. I was an emotional wreck the first two weeks. I cried over the silliest things. And then one day I woke up and was back to normal and rational thinking.

  • comment avatar Monica April 26, 2016

    I had severe preeclampsia and was forced to have an emergency c-section at 35 weeks. I had a lot of emotions to deal with being a month early and not even close to being ready not to mention my son being in the nicu for two weeks and the surgery. I have talked with my husband and mother a lot. It has helped. My mil also hired a postpartum doula to help me for a couple weeks and I talked to her too. She really understood and made me feel better.

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