So it’s National Cesarean Month…who knew! Because it is National Cesarean Month, I am choosing to tell you about my experience with a cesarean birth.
Every pregnant woman makes a birth plan. They wish to have a natural birth, with no drugs. But that doesn’t always happen for everyone. Emergencies may come up or it just may not be in the cards for you.
I am a lucky one to say that my pregnancy was pretty easy. *knock on wood here* I enjoyed being pregnant. It was a bit rough in the beginning with the fatigue and occasional nausea, but overall, no complaints here. Around 35 weeks in my pregnancy, we found out that our son was breech. For those that do not know, this means that the baby’s butt was low, and that the butt would come out first when giving birth. Butt….when the baby is ready to arrive they will turn so that their head is down to come out first during birth. Well, when I was told he was breech, I didn’t think anything of it. I thought that we had plenty of time for him to turn and had high hopes that he would. The following week at my appointment, my doctor said that the way he was positioned, it did not look like he was going to turn and to think of scheduling a cesarean. I was shocked. I was upset. I began crying. I never thought that I would have to do that. I was all set to have a natural birth and then I’m being told that I can’t (unless I travel to a different hospital). It hurt when I realized that I wasn’t going to have the birth that I had hoped for. I pulled myself together and came home to tell my husband. I lost it again. I was so upset that I would have to have surgery to have our son. We talked it through, did research online, spoke to mother’s that I know had been through the same thing and then decided that having the Cesarean was the best way to have our son. We wanted to have a healthy baby (and mama!). I had time to come to terms with it. And I was able to prepare myself to the best that I could. I knew what to expect the morning of, what to expect during and what to expect after (as much as I could).
So on the morning of the scheduled Cesarean, we went to the hospital and got all set up. At the time, we were really the only patients in the family center. The nurses were great getting me prepared. Then it was time to go into the operating room. I was so nervous. At the start, my husband couldn’t come in until I was under anesthesia and everyone was all set in the operating room. Being in there without my husband was hard. I wanted him by my side. Once I had the anesthesia and the doctor was ready, my husband came in. Now, I do have to say that the nurses and anesthesiologist were wonderful throughout the whole process. And, with my luck, we had music playing in the background while the surgery was taking place (Charlie Brown Christmas). I just kept chatting with my husband while the surgery was taking place. I couldn’t feel from my chest down; but I could feel my arms. Then, I remember hearing my son cry for the first time. That was a feeling I won’t ever forget. And I began to cry too. It was such an emotional moment. I got to see him briefly before they brought him to get cleaned up. And my husband came back in with him all cleaned up for a few minutes. Gosh I was so excited to meet the little man that grew inside of me! My husband and our son went back to our room as they finished up surgery with me.
Once back in the room, it really was a bit of a blur of a day. I had skin to skin time with our son. I got to savor that moment with him and my husband in the room. After about hour of skin to skin time, we invited our parents in to meet their grandson. Our parents stayed for a visit and left, giving us time to rest. A nurse came in every few hours to check on me and see if I needed anything. Because of the surgery, they kept trying to get me to move my legs and eventually to get up and moving, as soon as possible. That was hard! But I kept at it. Sleeping was difficult, for many reasons. And adjusting to feeding a newborn, well that may be another story on its own. My husband reminds me of how much I was out of it. We were watching a movie, and I kept saying to the nurses that came in “have you seen this movie? It’s called Newsies and it’s awesome!”. Well, I got to watch one of my favorite movies, but didn’t realize that I kept saying that to the nurse. I laugh at myself every time I hear the story from my husband, because I am not fully clear on that memory. HA.
A couple days past of the same routine in the hospital and it was time for us to make our way home. YAY! I was slow moving, but it was a successful trip back to the house. And the start to a long, but good road, to recovery. For the first week or so I slept on the couch, since going up the stairs would be a process. And our son slept right next to me in a bassinet. I only went up stairs to take a shower and change. I was very slow at first. I made sure I kept moving, but not so much that I may hurt myself. I made sure to stay hydrated and eat when I had the chance. And made sure to rest as much as I could. Thank goodness my husband was home for almost 3 weeks with me. If it wasn’t for him and our parents, family, and friends I don’t know how I would have managed. And as soon as he went back to work, it was another change. It was a bit difficult at first, but we got by. Everything was a learning curve. Although I was nervous at times, I was totally fine. My mom came to visit every so often. Siblings came by to visit. Friends came by to visit. I enjoyed spending time with our son, even if he was sleeping most of the time. He was so precious (he still is). I did have some rough moments but I got through them.
Every once in a while, I may still feel a bit of pain in the incision area. But it’s OK. And the scar? Well, it’s a great battle scar; one to show that I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. We had a successful surgery – a healthy mama and healthy baby boy. I wish more people would share their stories. I think many women feel ashamed that they have to have a cesarean. But it’s nothing to be ashamed of. And I do think, and have been told, that I am a strong woman. I think every woman who gives birth, whether it a vaginal birth or a cesarean, is an incredibly strong woman.
To all you mamas out there, regardless of how you gave birth to your beautiful children – you are strong. You are you. You are amazing.