I’ll admit, I was geared up to do a natural birth, not a home birth, but one without meds. My husband and I took a class and although I really did not “study” up too much, I felt like I knew what to expect and thought I could handle it. Now, just to be clear I had no written birth plan, I am in no way anti-medication and I am definitely pro doctor and hospital. I think in a way I just wanted to see if I could do it and felt like if I got to the point that I needed it, I would just get an epidural. The thought of a c-section NEVER once crossed my mind. I knew several people who had had them, some planned and some unplanned, including two of my sister-in-laws. Again, I did not read a lot during my pregnancy mainly because I am a natural worrier and I just didn’t want to read about everything that could go wrong. So I most definitely skipped right over anything about a c-section and I’m pretty sure I didn’t even pay attention to that part in the hospital birthing class. After all, c-sections seemed to be everyone’s last resort, the thing that no one wanted.
Just shy of 40 weeks and there I was in the hospital, being induced due to management of blood clots that developed during my pregnancy, and I’m gearing up for a long day of labor. My mom labored for 72 hours with my oldest brother so for my first baby I was preparing to be in it for the long haul. My induction started slowly on a Tuesday evening but after a few hours our baby girl’s heart rate plummeted enough to set off alarms and cause a swarming squad of nurses to rush into my room. Within the time frame of a commercial break in The Bachelor, her heart rate was stable and everything was back on track. However, several hours later more alarms and another instance of a dropping heart rate. Naturally, we were concerned but everything stabilized quickly and we knew that we were in good hands. Shortly after that second episode our nurse came in and informed me that my doctor was coming in and I would be prepped for surgery right away. Wait? What? C-Section? I didn’t even read that chapter in the book! Despite the shock I was actually not too nervous and I didn’t really have time to be either. From that moment everything happened quickly and within about 20 minutes I found myself in the OR, numb from the chest down, listening to the chatter of the nurses and my doctor as they prepared to deliver my baby in the very wee hours of that Wednesday morning. Everything proceeded very routinely with no major issues and my healthy baby girl was born.
But now I was one of “those” moms. One that doesn’t even really know what labor feels like. As moms we are told from friends, from books, and from the Internet what constitutes a “perfect” or “beautiful” birth. Births without medication are heralded and a mom praised for being superwoman. Statistics about an increase in c-sections and analysis about why make c-sections frowned upon. So many moms are made to feel guilty for either making the choice to have a c-section or just ending up with one like I did because of varying circumstances.
My c-section was unplanned but not particularly traumatic. I did not have immediate skin to skin contact with my daughter. Her umbilical cord was cut immediately. My recovery was not ideal but manageable. And yes, I had a great birthing experience and ended up with a perfect baby girl. So why do c-sections sometimes get a bad rap? Why do c-section mamas feel guilty (or are sometimes made to feel guilty) that they didn’t go though a natural birth? I really do not have the answer to this. What I do know is that I am so thankful for this option because without it, the health of my baby was at risk. At that moment, in that hospital room I could not let my pride get in the way. I made the best decision for my child and isn’t that what we are all trying to do everyday?