The Unexpected C-Section
Aug 11, 2015
Before we had children, I remember having these huge plans of a natural vaginal birth with no complications. Almost movie like. May 2007 was when I found out I was pregnant with baby number two (sadly, our first didn't make it to term), and I was looking ahead with hope to finishing our planned water birth like a champ.
At 32 weeks gestation we moved provinces to be with my parents. With a huge bump, and in the home stretch at 38 weeks I clearly remember standing at the kitchen counter making breakfast when this little trickle started running down my leg. If you guessed amniotic fluid you got it - of course, my husband so lovingly thought I had peed myself. Three hours passed, and we headed to the hospital to have our baby girl for our easy-peasy planned birth.
Even with my water breaking three hours prior there were still no contractions, and I was induced with what looked like a tampon. After the hilarity passed the "party" began, contractions started and progressed. Mom came and we shared a laugh between contractions, only to pop out the tampon thingy. Well, wouldn't you know they had put another one in and the contractions became much stronger.
After roughly 10 hours of semi painful labour the nurse came in, checked me and declared that I was at 8cm. Progress was good, right? Big fat nope there, since the nurse made a "mistake" and I was still only at 2cm. How she got confused between 2 fingers and 4 I will never know. Three and half hours later, I am still in a lot of pain with a long way to go. After trying the other quick drugs of gas and drip - both of which either made me sick or didn't work at all - all I wanted was an Epidural. You couldn't have stuck that needle in fast enough. But at the same time I am angry because the natural birth I wanted was now out the window. And since we were in a rural hospital, our water birth plans also had flown out the window.
At the 24 hour mark of my water breaking, with the baby still not arrived the dreaded C-Section was brought up. I was mortified that they would even suggest it, and not let me just have her the way nature intended. Their deadline to me that determined whether or not I would "go under the knife" felt like a natural birth death sentence. I was scared, over emotional due to labour, and fearful of what other mother's would say. I didn't want people to say "oh, you took the easy way out" or "you didn't bring your child into the world, the doctors did", or my now personal favorite "C-sections are for wimps". But then they told me something that no mother wants to hear. Her heart rate was dropping, and she was become less and less active. Every single second on that clock suddenly became a sledgehammer in my head as the second had ticked away. And suddenly, nothing else matters except getting your baby out safely.
Being a now seasoned C-Section vet - having had all of my girls through one - I will say 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt that a C is (in most cases) the hardest thing to recover from. It's major abdominal surgery, where they cut through every muscle in your belly, nerves, and uterus. There are risks of nicking a main blood vessel or your bowel, and then after your beautiful bundle of joy is here you can't walk because it feels like your insides are falling out. It hurts to pee, sit, hold your baby, you're in the hospital 3-4 days, and an array of many other things. Not to mention the staples near your special area and those sexy compression socks.
Sometimes, your birth plan doesn't go the way you thought it would. Sometimes, it's scary or feels disappointing. Sometimes, you feel like your body failed you in something that should have been so natural. But where would some of us or our babies be if we didn't have that surgery? C-Sections are not for "wimps", nor are you lazy.They happen for very real, life saving purposes. And while I could have tried a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), I felt the risks weren't worth it. I was just as strong, and just as much of a mom for having a C. It doesn't matter what way you gave birth. We are ALL SuperMom, we are all strong, and we are ALL mother's.
By Amanda Knowles
Amanda is a local mama of four girls, three her own and her step-daughter by love.