Did you know April is C-Section Awareness month?
When I was pregnant, I was told that pushing out my newborn would be so much better for the baby and for me that when it came to a C-Section, I felt like to need this surgery meant I was going to start my adventure as a mom as a failure. I’m sure many moms feel this way. But all mamas should feel proud of the little ones that God made in them. Those 9 months are a hard sacrifice and just because the birth plan changed, doesn’t mean you failed.
Here’s my story…
At 41 weeks I went to the doctor for a check up and was placed on the baby heart monitor machine. After an hour they said that they didn’t like the way it looked and they wanted to get the baby out. The doctor didn’t think it was super urgent to get him out, so they said I could be induced.
I called my husband and told him what was happening and that he needed to leave work and get to the hospital. All by myself, without my birthing bag or a support person, I had to start the induction. Josh got there as fast as possible, but it seemed like forever for me.
They tried every possible way to get labor started, but nothing worked. Eventually they had to pry me open to 4cm! By then, we were told that the hospital was so packed that if we wanted an epidural we had to get it then because they wouldn’t have time to come back.
After the pain I already went through, you better believe I wanted the drugs. The problem was that once you get the epidural you have to stay in bed because your legs don’t work. I had already been in bed the whole time due to the other things they had to do so my kid never had a chance to naturally get into the correct birthing position.
More than 12 hours later (and after being cut off of the drugs) I finally got to 10cm and was told to push. I pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed for 1 hour and 45 minutes. I pushed one more time and a dislocated a rib (it was a bike injury that wasn’t totally healed). The rib started pushing into my lunges to the point that I couldn’t breathe.
I had no choice but to give up.
The doctor was going to cut me off at 2 hours of pushing anyway, but I felt like I failed not lasting at least that long, on top of failing for not getting the kid out. I was rushed into the emergency c-section. My temperature was at 104 and my body was shaking with chills. They laid me on the operating table and had to place 3 warming blankets on me just to get my body to stop shaking. I was all alone with bright lights in my face, my body freaking out, my husband was gone and no one telling me what was happening.
I think at that point they let Josh in. I was a bit delusional at this point from all the hard work of pushing and the fever. The doctors cut into me and the baby was pulled out. I was so out of it that the doctor had to ask if I wanted to see my baby or not. Well, yes! They showed me his face and I passed out.
I was out for 2 hours. When I woke up, I saw the sweetest thing: my husband doing skin to skin with my tiny newborn baby, but I had missed the first 2 hours of his life. Also, I was in a hallway in the hospital with other people just walking by (it really was over-crowded). Once I woke up they wanted me to try feeding the baby… in the hallway, with other people around. It was awkward.
We finally go into a teeny tiny recovery room where would be for a few days. We found out that Caleb had gotten the umbilical cord wrapped up around his shoulder and it was preventing him from being able to be pushed out. Had I not gotten the epidural so soon I may have been able to move around enough to get the cord to be out of the way.
Caleb had a ton of bruising on his head from all the pushing, so much in fact that he could not wear the little newborn beanies because he was in too much pain. Because of this, he lost a lot of heat and had to be held skin to skin constantly to regulate his temp. So Josh and I basically passed him back and forth doing skin to skin while the other tried to sleep. Caleb cried for 3 days straight from the pain of the birthing process. Had we gone straight to the c-section he would have been better off.
My body failed me in ways, my doctors certainly failed me that day, but our baby survived the birth and so did I.
When it was time to have Noah, my body failed me once again and I did not go into labor. They couldn’t induce this time so we had a scheduled c-section. Noah was pulled out and placed on my chest. It was a totally different experience.
With Caleb, I was frustrated that my body failed me and I felt like I made the wrong decisions that led to the c-section. I felt like I failed myself and my family since they had to help me with the baby during the first couple weeks while my husband went back to work and I struggled to recover (walk again). It took months to recover and I was totally jealous of my friends who were out running and excising just a few weeks after having their babies.
After talking to other moms about their births I would say, “I’m so sorry you had to get a c-section too. I know how much it sucks!” Basically making other mamas feel as bad as I did that we failed to give birth the right way. It’s not okay for any of us to think of a c-section as a lesser way to give birth. It just is what it is.
After doing it all again with Noah, I know that it doesn’t matter how they get into the world. I didn’t fail anything. Even though my body didn’t do what it was designed to do, I feel incredibly grateful to live in an age where my two babies and I could survive this process. It’s possible that without modern technology non of us would be here today. Caleb’s birth wasn’t what I wanted or expected, but who cares? My body (and God) made a tiny human and that’s pretty awesome!
I would encourage other mamas to share their c-section experiences and feel proud of what they went through to bring their kids into the world!
Noah’s birth was a totally different experience. It was planned and filled with joy. Everything went perfectly and we simply celebrated having a new life in our home and Caleb having a new baby brother.