I've been wanting to write a post about this all month, but alas life has been quite busy and I haven't gotten to it until now. It's still April so here it goes...
There's a certain stigma that comes along with c-sections. There's an idea and following out there that almost shames the mamas who have c-sections. There's a sense of shame that comes along with not being able to have your baby the 'natural, unmedicated' way. I saw a glimpse of this in my own pregnancy experience.
Having a c-section was the last thing on my mind. Everything with my first pregnancy had been smooth sailing. Yes, I had the normal morning sickness and aches and pains, the shooting pains in your crotch, the uncomfortableness...but everything was progressing wonderfully and my little baby was growing perfectly inside. He was healthy and thriving and I was very thankful for this. It wasn't until 35 weeks when my fundal height wasn't progressing as much as it should be that they decided to do an ultrasound to make sure my baby was growing okay and that the amniotic fluid level was adequate.
To our surprise, our little boy was breech. I should've suspected something as I never felt any kicking above my belly button (only below)! I was relieved that my little babe was heathy and still growing well. I was relieved that my fluid level was normal. But, Breech? Wow would this mean I would need a c-section? It was a scary thought. As a nurse, I ofcourse thought of all the 'worst-case scenarios' in surgery and the risks involved. I imagined myself in those worst case scenarios, bleeding out on the table or needing to get intubated or being cut open and feeling every bit of it (as I've known that to happen with a friend). Fear crept it swiftly. I had to refocus my eyes on the Lord and pray every time the fear or thought came to mind. The Lord knew and would get me through.
I had an appointment with my doctor who suggested I try a 'version'. This is an attempt to manually flip the baby with a TON of pressure applied externally to my abdomen. I was willing to try anything to get him flipped right side up. Little did I know the pain that would entail. At around 36.5 weeks, I went in for a version attempt. It happened on the L&D ward with the OR close by and ready in case baby didn't tolerate it and needed an emergent section. The pain was intense and indescribable. I literally was coming off the bed in agony. They gave me some medication to relax my uterus and a little pain medicine but couldn't give me much to protect baby. With sweat dripping down their facesand with hands shaking from the intensity and pressure, the two doctors were pressing on my abdomen with all that was in them. Anther doctor stood by with the ultrasound to check baby's heart beat to make sure he was tolerating. After about 20-30 mins of intense pain and pressure, our little boy decided he was done. He had multiple decels (heart rate dropped low). He wouldn't budge. He was comfy in his breech position. They stopped and we were allowed time to recover. I was disappointed. I felt like it was my fault that I was too tense and was frustrated that I couldn't relax my abdomen enough for him to flip. I so wanted a normal delivery. But I was thankful that he was okay and an emergent section didn't have to take place that day.
My c section was scheduled proceeding that version attempt. I was scheduled for a c-section at 39 weeks and 3 days. It was decided that a second version attempt would happen in the OR just as a last effort to get baby to flip. The second attempt failed and I ended up needing a crash/emergent c-section. It was scary and a little bit of a blur. They told me baby was not doing well and needed to come out quickly. About 3 minutes later, the cry...the cry that I waited what seemed like hours to hear. A huge relief came over me. I knew he was okay.
I wasn't prepared for it. No matter how much knowledge I had...it doesn't prepare you to walk through it. I felt incredibly sick during the section. The nausea was overwhelming. I remember feeling like I was going to pass out. It felt like I was on the table for hours. The tugging and pulling, the pressure you feel as they put everything back and so you up. I was visioning a more peaceful welcome into the world for our little one, but I was so relieved to have a healthy little boy.
The recovery was long, slow, and painful. Nothing quite like having a version attempt go wrong and a major abdominal surgery then being given a little babe to take care of. C sections aren't the 'easy way out' or the 'glamorous' way to have babies. Yes this is what it is chalked up to be, but it's quite the contrary. There is a long road of recovery. Lots of pain. Lots of tears. Getting out of bed, getting on and off the toilet, coughing, even laughing came with lots of pain and tears. The pain meds that helped you function physically but slowed you down mentally. I couldn't wait to stop taking them.
The scar that I have across my abdomen is a constant reminder of the love I have for my sweet boy. I still have areas around my scar that are tender and some areas that are a little numb. But I would do it again in a heart beat. What's most important is that I have a healthy baby boy who is growing and thriving. There is so much to be thankful for. I'm thankful for doctors who were able to safely deliver my healthy baby by means of c-section. I'm thankful for science. Im thankful for a loving and supportive husband. I'm thankful for friends and family that helped me in many different ways. Most importantly, I'm thankful for Jesus who carried me through every step of the way.
My hope is that there would be no more stigma or shame in having a c-section. Not everyone has a choice in the matter. Most of the time there is a medical reason the necessitates it. It doesn't make the birth story any less beautiful or important. I love my birth story. Though it wasn't my ideal way, I wouldn't change anything about it.
My sweet 14 month old boy 💙