I love the beautiful c-section picture that it making the social media rounds right now. Baby A is almost nine months old, but I’m still coming to terms with my own c-section. Fluff Envy is starting a VBAC/c-section support group, so it’s been on my mind. My story is below—feel free to share yours with us in the comments.
It took us more than five years and major medical intervention to conceive Baby A. After enduring all the poking, prodding, and pricks it took to get and stay pregnant, I was determined to have as natural a birth experience as possible.
I chose a terrific midwife group, took a hypnobirthing class, and planned on a water birth. I practiced my hypno and breathing diligently, I scrupulously wrote down my birth plan, and at my 31 week check up, my midwife told me that baby boy was head down.
That night, I was sitting on the couch, and I felt him flip. I knew at that moment that he was breech. It was confirmed at my check the following week. My midwife referred me to a variety of natural practitioners, and project flip the baby began.
I tried everything. I saw an acupuncturist and chiropractor twice a week. My husband helped me do moxibustion twice a day at home. We worked with the rebozo and I tried every position on Spinning Babies. I listened to a turn-your-breech-baby hypnosis recording every night.
By 36 weeks, we had discussed and rejected a version, and had reluctantly scheduled a c-section for 39 weeks. I kept up all my efforts to flip my baby, but he hadn’t budged since that night at 31 weeks. By my 37 week appointment, I decided that I needed to get in the right mindset for a c-section. I stopped practicing my hypnobirthing and began listening to a pre-surgical induction.
At 37w 4d, my husband and I attended the c-section class offered at our hospital. I cried the whole class and most of that night, grieving the experience I had planned. It didn’t help that my husband referred to the scheduled c-section as the day I would “give birth” –yes, he used air quotes. I was grateful I had a safe way to bring my baby into the world, but it broke my heart that even his own father didn’t consider it a real birth.
The morning after the c-section class, I went in for an amniotic fluid check and was told my level was too low and that I would be having a baby that day! I walked on over to labor and delivery and later that evening I had my c-section. But most importantly, I had my son, safely.
My c-section was as good as they get—no pain, no pressure, not even any tugging. My husband was there, holding my hand, and as soon as they cut the cord and wiped a little of the goo off, my baby was on my chest.
The physical recovery was brutal, but I’ve finally reached the point where the incision only bothers me two or three times a week, instead of every day. I’m told the pain will go away in the next few months, but the numbness will be for life.
The mental recovery has also been challenging. I never thought I’d be one of those people who was overly attached to my birth plan, but I can’t help feeling like something was stolen from me. After my long battle with infertility, I’m so, so grateful to have a happy, healthy baby. And I’m way too busy being his mommy to dwell on the c-section most days. But, I am deeply grateful for the c-section picture and beautiful reminder that my c-section doesn’t make me any less a mother.