C-Section: Is it really giving birth?
April is C-Section awareness month and its something I’m very passionate about. I have read some horrid articles on the subject that have made my blood boil. Articles suggesting that C-Sections aren’t really giving birth – I mean, are you freaking kidding me?
I have had the utmost pleasure of experiencing two c-sections, both from very different angels. I think I’m in an OK position to have an opinion on it so, from my point of view, let me set the record straight on whether having a C-Section is really giving birth!
Note that there are no glamorous photos here, no posed shots, no editing and no-during-delivery-lip gloss! I was drugged, exhausted and emotional. What you see is real.
In 2011, at 42 weeks and 3 days, I arrived at the hospital to be induced. It wasn’t a pleasant experience and after 3 attempts that failed and 27 hours of contractions, I was taken into a labour room to have my waters broken. The pain in my lower back was like having my spine shattered into a million pieces by a pro kick boxer! It was utter agony. During the next three hours I dilated 3cm’s. Over the following hour, I detracted by 1cm so I was basically going backwards! The midwife called the registrar who insisted that I have an epidural so that he could administer syntocinon to bring the labour on quickly.
I was in no mood to argue so I agreed to everything. Once the epidural set in, I nodded off to sleep for a few hours. My husband was asleep on the cold tiled floor beside my bed with his head resting on a rolled up coat. It wasn’t the most romantic point of our relationship, that’s for sure!
When the registrar returned at 6am, 30hours after I had arrived to be induced, he discovered that I had had an allergic reaction to the syntocinon. What was worse was that my baby had also had a reaction and the heart rate was dropping. I was rushed into the operating theatre for an emergency C-Section. It wasn’t a choice. I don’t feel any less woman or any less mother for not giving birth vaginally. I did what was required to get my baby out safely.
I was exhausted and drugged so the experience from that point is vague. What I remember clearly is how handsome my husband looked in his hospital blue scrubs! He sat next to me holding my hand and tears rolled down my cheek as the blue screen went up. I winced as they pulled and prodded and after 10 minutes of digging there was a huge bellowing deep cry. Our baby had been born!!
When I heard that cry I was totally deafened to every other noise in the room. Almost 5 years later, it is still such a surreal memory how everything else was silenced. My ears tuned in to the call and as the doctor placed the baby on my chest, my husband said “we have a daughter”. He looked bewildered at what he’d just witnessed. In essence, emotionally, he was as exhausted, as worried, as fearful and as completely in love with it all as I was.
Sofia was born 10lbs and 4oz. She was huge. The doctor told me that there was no way I could have naturally pushed her out as she was so big and swollen from the syntocinon reaction. She was beautiful. Olive skin, masses of long black hair and just totally perfect.
My first C-section was an ordeal. It wasn’t my ideal choice of birth but it was the most sensible and safe choice of birth. I GAVE BIRTH! I physically experienced contractions and labour, I experienced drugs, I experienced my body doing things that I never thought possible and I experienced having my insides pulled apart to get her out. I GAVE BIRTH because I had a baby inside my body that couldn’t stay in there a minute longer. Its irrelevant how she came out – the point is she came out safely! I don’t beat myself up about it. I don’t question it. I don’t think myself any less woman because she came out of of my stomach! She came out. She was safe. SHE’S ALIVE!
My second C-Section was elective. I was measuring 3cms ahead of time and my stomach was the size of a small elephant! I had to be checked at the hospital more frequently as I was so huge. I had to leave work 1 month earlier than planned as I couldn’t physically do the commute to work on the train any longer.
I chose the date of January 2nd 2013 and at 8am on that morning my husband and I arrived at the hospital. I was given a gown, told not eat and I waited for my slot. I waited all day until 5pm when I was to go home and return the next day. The lady who’s slot was before mine had given birth to twins but suffered complications on the operating table. I couldn’t stop thinking about that poor woman all night. I didn’t sleep.
When we arrived at the hospital the next morning I sat in the chair while my husband checked us in. I had been breathless all night and by the time I was shown to the ward, I couldn’t move out of the chair. I had gone into labour naturally. I was taken in again for another emergency C-Section.
It was a totally different experience. I was awake. I knew what was happening. I could communicate. I remember thinking that the surgery room looked as it does on TV and that the lights were really bright.
The blue screen went up and the doctors started work. The pulling and prodding began and shortly after one of the doctors announced “its a boy!!” but there was no cry. I was devastated. That few seconds felt like centuries. All of a sudden he let out a belting scream but calmed as he was immediately placed on my chest. Our new baby was born, all 9lbs 2oz of him. He was safe. He was ALIVE. His arrival into the world completed our little family and it couldn’t have been more perfect!
I now have two babies and one scar. A very small scar that proves I gave birth to two huge, healthy children. A scar that proves I endured two of the most harrowing yet beautiful experiences of my life. A scar that proves I have such an immeasurable amount of love for my children, too much to be concerned about a scar!
Women out there questioning if their entrance into the motherhood club is valid because they had a C-Section need to take a long hard look at what they endured and what they produced!
Be grateful! Grateful that YOU are safe and well, grateful that your baby is safe and well. I cherish my two experiences and I love my scar. My children love my scar. They love the stories of how that scar kept them safe inside and how it allowed them to come out to me. I would have chopped my right leg off if it meant my children we born into this world safely! C-Section is a means to a perfect and beautiful end. It signifies the arrival of your baby and the start to a beautiful new chapter in life.
I might have wanted the natural pool birth in the beginning but I wouldn’t change a thing now. It’s the story of how my children were born, how they entered this world and how they immediately changed my life!
Giving birth is a blessed thing. The deliverance of a healthy child is the most important factor, not how that child came out. We shouldn’t be made to feel inferior because we didn’t endure 45 hours of excruciating pain and 70 stitches from back to front! Nor should we be made to feel inferior because we didn’t go into labour ward naturally at 10am and come out at 10.05am,no pain relief and make up still intact!
These amazing photos show how C-Section births are not worse or better than vaginal births, they’re just different and they are equally as beautiful and important.
C-sections are a way to give birth. There is just as much pain and the end result is the same. I stand tall. I’m proud of my sections, proud of my children and proud of the scar!