6 Reasons Why No One Should Fear a C-Section
But I can summarize them all with this: the end justified the means!
Initially, I was so against the idea of having a Cesarean, or C-section, that I specifically skipped the childbirth class that discussed it. I'd bought into the idea that a vaginal delivery was the only "right" way to have a baby, that I never once considered anything else. At the time, that was my idea of my perfect birth plan.
Plus, C-sections seemed barbaric, unnatural, over-zealous and, yes, terrifying.
I've since had two C-sections, one unplanned and the other scheduled. And I'll be the first to admit that I was totally wrong about them. Let me tell you why:
- It's Still "Labor"
There was a part of me that wanted to feel the pain of bringing a child into the world, that somehow the pushing and grunting would make me feel like a real mother. In the end, I was awake and alert, just numb from the chest down due to the spinal block. I still vividly remember the first time they let me see my son after the procedure was over, all clean and bundled up. He had swallowed some meconium during the birth, so they quickly whisked him away to tend to the issue. I can still remember how excited I was when they returned with him...the sheer bliss and wonder that washed over me when they put him in my arms for the first time.
We all have different experiences of how we become moms...but all of it is "labor."
- I'll Just Say It... It's Easy
In many ways, having a C-section is actually less traumatic to the baby than a vaginal delivery. The surgeon is trained to remove the baby as quickly and safely as possible, which means a delivery by C-section takes only a few minutes. The longest parts of both of mine were getting me ready for the surgery, and then closing up my incisions post-surgery. The actual procedure was incredibly fast and professional. I was awake for the entire procedure, even if I couldn't see everything that was going on.
- Sometimes It's the Most Necessary Thing to Do for Everyone's Safety
In my case, I had experienced a 12-hour failed induction and my blood pressure would spike every time I sat up. I could've kept going and maybe the induction would've succeeded, but I was at the end of my endurance physically and emotionally. And I was incredibly grateful that they were monitoring us so closely. The goal is a healthy mother and child, no matter how you get it.
- The Recovery Really Isn't Bad
Although the recovery from a C-section is longer -- it is major surgery after all -- it wasn't nearly as daunting as I expected. While I couldn't pick up anything heavier than 10 pounds for two weeks, I was up and walking the day after my surgery and went home on the the third day. I had almost no bleeding and no discomfort other than at my incision site.
- The Scar Is Small and Hidden
People get really worried about the scar, but it's literally a fine 3-inch horizontal line that's hidden by your underwear and bathing suit. In fact, the scars from my laparoscopic gall bladder surgery are more visually obtrusive than the C-section incision. (And that recovery hurt more too!) Plus, it's my battle wound and makes me a proud mama.
- No Matter How a Baby Enters the World, It's Always a Joyous Occasion
Becoming a mother was the most profound experience of my life. Having a C-section was a very small part of the experience, and it didn't make me any less of a mother.
But, I'll let you in on a secret: C-section babies have these beautiful round heads because they don't get squeezed out of a canal -- and are wayyy cuter! (My biased opinion, of course!)
When my second child came along 21 months later, I was once again in the position of having a C-section due to hypertension and the size of the baby. (He was 10 lbs. 15 oz. at birth!) This time, I took my experience and knowledge of my first C-section and embraced it. Sure, surgery is scary, but the end result is the most beautiful baby you've ever seen.
So, no matter what your journey to motherhood entails, remember: it's not the birth experience that defines us as a mother -- only our love can do that.
Did you ever go into a pregnancy with a specific birth plan, only to have to do a 180 when the big day finally came? Share this piece with your personal birthing experiences on Care.com's Facebook page or tag us on Twitter (@caredotcom)!
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