Today is the day we get to talk about all things C-sections. The first C-section was done on January 14, 1794. Although they have come a long way since than they are still very dangerous and serious!
I remember growing up and not hearing too many stories about them. So much so that it wasn’t about not knowing the birth plan existed; it was more or less not having anyone I had known to go through it. My mom birthed all three of her children the “natural” way even with my sister and I being twins and I was breach. So when I had my own children this was so unfamiliar that I did NOT research a single thing during my pregnancy with my oldest.
Now what I will share will be really hard to read or may trigger someone who either is having issues with conceiving or someone who has birthed a child via C-section and has lost a child. For that I want to say I completely understand. This is my personal stories of my children’s birth and the trauma I experienced. I have blogged many times but never together about each of my 3 children who were all birthed via C-section. Having them via C-section made me make the decision to not have any more children. It was never my children’s fault that they were born that way but it will forever frame how I look at how emerging our health system is so evolved yet many women make the decision or are put in the decision to birth via a C-section that it’s crazy.
Here I want to be truly transparent and offer my story as a way to start the conversation. Let me dispel some of the things I hear:
C-sections is a cop out to “natural child birth”
This is simply not true. The scar is always a reminder of the miracle of life but the reality is C-sections aren’t a wimp way out of a thing. I see where women are speaking up now breaking these thoughts and shattering the ideas that many women and men used to say. C-sections is major surgery and the recovery increases complications every single time they are done. No wimping out on that pain and the pain isn’t something to sneeze about. Sneezes hurt too by the way.
C-sections aren’t something you can simply order like you are going to McDonald’s. I have heard many people say they would request it since it’s so much easier. Define easy? If you mean having your organs mushed around and the fear that you may not be able to walk correctly is easy let me know. Or how about the pain that comes along with it. The fact that you have to be monitored longer than “natural” birth. How about the complications, are they easy too? I had 2 blood clots that were so big that the one at least was as a large as a newborn. I experienced that last one with my youngest attempting to take a shower. The gore of feeling contracts and seeing a large mass on the floor after being anemic, having already lost blood is not an easy way out by far. Oh and since I was already dealing with a blood clot in the braid; it complicated my C-section even further.
Oldest Gummi Bear
I have given each and every one of my children nick names. My oldest I named Gummi Bear. That’s how she appeared to look on the sonogram. I had to have one pretty early on due to the fact that I wasn’t able to keep anything down and my blood count kept doubling. I am a twin they wanted to be sure I wasn’t having twins. Thankfully I wasn’t. I had developed preeclampsiapretty late or at least that’s when I was told. With that being said my blood pressure kept spiking. The entire time she was fine but it was clear I was going to have to deliver. I was induced and my oldest didn’t want to come so I had to have the C-section. I remember them saying it was going to have to be an emergency and if they couldn’t save us both what did I want them to do. I said take me and let her live. I know women who would have said either one. A child being born and not ever having their mom could have just as many issues as I could not having her but I made the decision and luckily since I am typing this, we both made it through. I was unprepared and super scared. Grateful for my support system who was there for me. I remember being so clear that I would heal fast since it was my first child and I did in retrospect but I was also in great health prior to. My daughter was 6 weeks early. She spent time in the NICU but you couldn’t tell that looking at her, she is one of the strongest I had known.
My son was my second child. I was going to VBAC which is have a vaginal birth following a C-section but his heart rate flucated after having contractions that didn’t stop for hours. They decided to make sure my son was in great health and since I had already had a C-section it would be fine. That was the worst pain and I told myself to expect the same as the first and I was wrong. The scar tissue from the first made the pain of recovery even worse. I knew mentally what I would need to do but that pain was greater. I over compensated my whole pregnancy with my son. Where I couldn’t keep water down and had to have an IV infusion pump and nurse visits after 3 hospitilations, I over ate with son. I wasn’t able to recover as well as I had the first one. However this C-section was awful. The doctors made it awful by not listening to me and the staff in general made me so irritated beyond relief that when I got home it just made me feel like I couldn’t ask for help because “you will be fine” was what I was told but the pain was that much worse.
My youngest and last child in this world and the next one to come was also by C-section. By this point it was clear the path I had to take. I scheduled hers but that was before I found out I had a blood clot on my brain and had to be monitored closely. These girls gave me the business. I had to give myself shots during the pregnancy in my belly and thigh. It was awful. Due to the blood thinners I had to schedule up to the hour when the surgery would happen to make sure I wasn’t going to bleed out. I even had 2 sets of surgeons in my room. Once again my daughter was in perfect health but I wasn’t. I bleed a lot during surgery especially with scar tissue build up. Every time they go into to cut after one C-section the scar tissue makes it that much harder. She was born and I thought I was good to go until I got out of recovery. My blood pressure dropped they did an ultrasound found another blood clot. I remember my doctor putting everyone out of room saying she didn’t have time; she gave me morphine and pulled the blood clot out herself. Here lied the blood clot on my bed and I was crying hysterically thinking I was going to die. I had another one in the shower and they had to rescue me from dropping pressures. I made it home only to have my son out of excitement jump on my belly and I hemorrhaged from the inside out. After two blood transfusions I was in the clear, but I was in the ICU. My husband said I blacked out several times and lost full color. I felt like I was going to die but by the grace of God I am here. I could have bled out.
C-sections gave me my beautiful children but I would be lying if they were “easy.” There is nothing easy about being cut and the implications of that cut can do to your health. I know that medicine is advancing but we need to have improvements in how we treat patients’ experiencing C-sections. To all of my mothers with their forever scars-I salute you!