I was that mom. You know, the one who has their entire pregnancy and labour experience envisioned in her head ahead of time. The one who won’t use any drugs during delivery, won’t tolerate anyone saying the word “pain,” and has planned the perfect vaginal delivery for their first child. I wasn’t interested in having a c-section! Of course the delivery will conclude in a safe arrival and have picture perfect moments of the new, happy family.
Until I had my first. It all went awry from the very start. Due to medical issues, I would not be allowed to pass my due date without delivering a child. At my 38th week appointment my unborn child raised alarms and I was admitted immediately for induction. Do not pass go, do not go home and pack that bag, don’t finish the project at work. Hospital. Now.
After an induction lasting 72 hours – I have the labor strips to prove it – I was dilated to a whooping 2cm. TWO. I lost my marbles despite the relaxation techniques I paid copious amounts of money to learn. I was given something to assist me in “calming down” (after screaming at the nurse, “YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO ME – THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR DAYS AND I HAVE NO CALM LEFT!”) and we crossed that dreaded line.
C-birth. C-section. Cesarean. The one thing I wasn’t going to have because I had planned it all out.
My first child was born shortly before midnight via c-section. Everyone was happy and healthy, yet I was greeted with, “I’m sorry you had to experience that!” by more than a few people. I was so perplexed. I had a gorgeous baby and we were both on the other side of birth with no ill effects. Why in the world were people sorry? I no longer cared I had a c-section. I was thankful I wasn’t dealing with many of the side effects of vaginal deliveries I’d read about.
Fast forward two years. Another c-section. Fast forward another two years. After two c-sections I did have a doctor who considered letting me try VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section). But my unborn child had some possible health concerns and we didn’t want to unduly stress her heart. She was born via c-section and discharged after five EKGs with a clean bill of heart health. Fast forward two more years. My fourth and final c-section.
There is a still stigma about having a c-section, and feelings of failure that many women experience when they have to deliver this way. What is normal? What is healthy? For each and every person, it varies. To keep my children and myself safe, c-section deliveries were necessary. Determining what is safe is personal, as well. Does immobilizing fear of something require a unique course? Does a condition not visible to the outside eye require consideration? Absolutely.
Until you walk in their shoes, simply share their joy. Focus on now, and do not meddle in business that is not yours… there could be more to their story.
Do I wish I could have experienced a vaginal delivery? Sometimes yes but most days I look at my chaos and am thankful they are here. How they entered the world doesn’t plague me. What does plague me is people saddened when they find out I had all c-sections. The method of delivery doesn’t change who they are or who I am. Having a c-section doesn’t mean you are less than the others. Vaginal birth, elective c-section, medically necessary c-section – all end with a baby being born and a woman becoming a mother.
Celebrate the life that is and let all the other stuff go.