C-section | The Not So Hoity Toity Life

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My Birth Story

When I was pregnant I loved reading about people’s birth stories. It gave me so much excitement for my upcoming delivery. I was that pregnant woman who had everything ready a month before my due date. The nursery was completely ready and our bags were packed for the hospital. We just needed a baby. We waited and waited and waited. On my due date, the doctor saw no signs of labor. We made a plan for induction at 41 weeks but she assured me that the baby could still come any day.   I walked more than I have ever walked. I even tried running. I was determined to get this baby out. I tried every tip and trick I could find to induce labor naturally. I ate so much pineapple that my entire mouth burned for two straight days. Still nothing. The day before I turned 41 weeks pregnant we went into the hospital for a scheduled induction. That night they started with Cervidil. The next morning the doctor checked me and we were no further along in the birth process. Nothing. I wasn’t dilated, I wasn’t effaced. This baby had no intention of coming out. Pitocin was started and I had some very minor contractions throughout the day. After a day of Pitocin the doctor estimated that I was maybe dilated to a one. A one?!? You must be kidding me. I have been here for over 24 hours and still a one. I knew that I officially had the most stubborn baby. The doctor decided to take me off the Pitocin for the night so I could eat and give my body a break. I didn’t want to eat and I most definitely didn’t want to take a break. All I wanted was to meet my stubborn sweet baby. I didn’t have much of a choice. The doctor said that this approach was best for the baby and my body. We ate dinner and then walked laps around the hospital. Still nothing.

The next morning, the doctor said if I could bear the pain she could try to break my water to help move things along. Of course I could bear the pain. At this point, I could bear anything other than waiting another second for this baby to decide to make his or her entrance. She wasn’t lying about the amount of pain. I was barely dilated. How she even managed to break my water I don’t know and I didn’t care. FINALLY labor started. I had contractions all day. At about noon I decided to have an epidural. Prior to labor, I contemplated getting the epidural. I was pretty certain I wouldn’t get an epidural because I was more afraid of the pain and complications from the epidural procedure than I was of actual labor pains. But when the time came I figured what the heck? Let’s get the epidural. After all, I had little hope that this labor process was going to wrap up anytime soon so I might as well have a little less pain. To my delight, the actual epidural process was not as scary and horrible as I thought it would be.  Sam on the other hand, passed out. Yes, he passed out while a giant needle was being inserted into my back.

At 9pm I was finally ready to push. I pushed. I kept pushing. My due date was June 22nd so I felt fairly confident that my baby would be born in June. I had bought an ornament the Christmas prior, that had a man and pregnant woman on it. It said ‘special delivery coming in June’. We also bought a chalkboard to track my growing belly. The chalkboard had in large letters ‘coming in June’. For Valentine’s Day, Sam bought me a picture frame that said ‘We can’t wait to meet you in June’. Everything said June. I wanted this baby born in June. As the final day in June came to a close I tried bargaining with the nurse. I asked her if we could just write a different time on the birth certificate if the baby was born after midnight. I assured her no one would know.  Shortly after this request, she went to get the doctor. I think she thought I was losing my mind. I don’t think she understood. Everything said June.

I pushed for four hours. This baby was not coming out. The doctor said we had two choices. We could try to use the vacuum method which  may allow me to still have a vaginal birth however, there were risks associated with this. The doctor explained that it was likely that the baby was stuck for a reason and using the vacuum method could cause damage to the baby. The second option was a C-section. I never even considered a C-Section before. I didn’t research C-Sections. I skipped over the C-Section birth stories because I was confident that this wasn’t going to be part of my birth story. We were told we only had a few minutes to make this decision. This possibly life altering decision. I slept for approximately five hours in the past three days and now you want me to make this decision. A decision that could potentially change my babies life. There were complications with both procedures. I certainly didn’t research C-Section vs. Vacuum. How was I possibly supposed to make this decision? Luckily, I didn’t have to make it alone. Sam was there. We talked through it calmly and ultimately decided to proceed with the C-Section. The vacuum would have likely ended with a C-Section anyways so we decided to limit the risk of having both procedures.

Everything after this moment is kind of a blur. I was so exhausted that I kept going in and out of sleep. I could feel them cutting into me. They had to stop the procedure and administer more anesthesia. I wish so badly I could have seen the moment they pulled my baby out. But instead all I could see was an ugly blue curtain. I do remember that amazing feeling when I suddenly no longer had a giant bowling ball resting on my internal organs.  It was such a sense of relief. I asked Sam if it was a boy or a girl. He looked at the baby and then looked at me and said ‘I’m not sure’. This was the moment I had been waiting for since I found out I was pregnant. What do you mean you don’t know? ‘I think it’s a girl’. I had never heard better words than those. I secretly {or maybe not so secretly} wanted a baby girl so bad. My entire life I dreamed of having a daughter. I never imagined I would be so lucky to actually have a baby girl. I instantly started crying.

It didn’t take long for me to realize something was wrong. All of the doctors were rushing around. Lulu wasn’t crying like I knew she should be. I kept asking what was wrong. No one would tell me. I couldn’t see anything and I couldn’t move. This baby who I was solely responsible for over the last nine months was now in the care of strangers and no one was telling me what was going on. The nurse could tell I was starting to panic. She explained that my baby was having some breathing difficulty but it was nothing to worry about. She said this is common with C-Section babies. I don’t think she realized that I didn’t care about what was ‘common’ or what happens with other babies. All I cared about was what was going on with my baby. I wanted so bad to hold her. To have skin to skin with her. To look over her body and count her ten fingers and ten toes. Instead I was told that she was going off to the special care unit and I would be heading to the recovery room. I had to beg to just let me see her and kiss her. The nurse persuaded the doctor to let me have just one moment with her.  She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

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She was in the special care unit for about a day and a half. She had a hole in her lung which led to it collapsing. Babies are absolutely amazing. Her little body was so tough. The hole closed and her lung was able to function normally. Almost a week later, we were finally released from the hospital. The real journey was about to begin.

It took a long time for me to want to talk about my birth story. For me it was an incredibly traumatic few days. I realize now that these difficult days led me to Lulu. I need to celebrate this birth story. It was all worth it. A miracle happened in that hospital. My baby was born and my life forever changed.

4 Things C-Section Moms Need to Hear

I had a birth plan. It wasn’t complicated. I didn’t want a home birth, I wasn’t looking to deliver in a pool full of water and I wasn’t expecting butterflies released when my baby entered the world. I just wanted that magical moment, after all the pushing and pain, when the doctor laid my perfect baby on my chest and we had an abundance of skin to skin time. My husband would hug us and look at us endearingly. I would cry with happiness and it would be the best moment of my life. We waited the full nine months to find out our baby’s gender and I thought in the moments after birth we would be talking about how our baby boy was going to be on the soccer team or how our baby girl was going to be the princess I always wanted. What was definitely NOT on my birth plan was multiple failed attempts at an induction, actively pushing for four hours and being rushed in for a C-section. I didn’t expect to only get one glimpse at my precious new baby before she was rushed off due to breathing trouble and to give me time to ‘recover’. Also not in my birth plan was the sadness, guilt and jealousy I had after Lulu’s birth. It took awhile for me to cope with everything that happened during and after her birth. I wish someone would have reminded me of these four things after Lulu was born:

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You gave Birth

After my C-section, I felt like I couldn’t say that ‘I gave birth’. After all, my baby didn’t come out of the birth canal like a ‘normal’ birth. I felt like I somehow cheated. The truth is, I did give birth. She wasn’t pushed out like I expected, instead she was cut out of me in a major surgery. Giving birth isn’t defined by the way your baby comes into the world. I carried my baby for 40 weeks (plus 1 week and 3 days…she was very comfy in there) and my body changed to grow my baby. If it wasn’t for me and my body, this perfect human being wouldn’t be here. My body grew this baby and my body gave her life! It doesn’t matter how she came into this world what matters is that I gave her life.

You Didn’t Take the Easy Way Out

Anyone who says that a C-section is the easy way out, clearly never had a C-section! We as C-Section Mothers had our abdomen and uterus cut open and then stapled back together. We were given a serious dose of pain meds and put on strict movement restrictions. Prior to ever entering the cold and sterile operating room, many of us, tried pushing out our baby, we attempted labor and the C-section was the absolute last option. We had to make a choice about what was best for our babies before they even entered this world. We definitely didn’t take the easy way out either emotionally or physically.

You Didn’t Fail

I am lucky enough to be surrounded by incredibly resilient women. The women in my family are strong minded and tough. They are amazing women and even better moms. I heard all about the birth stories that the women in my life experienced. I knew they all powered through labor and showed amazing courage through it all. I knew how proud they were of themselves and how proud their spouses were when they were able to deliver their babies. I knew that they all had vaginal births and I never anticipated I wouldn’t. It never even occurred to me that I wouldn’t have the same type of birth as all of the other women in my life. I remember right before I went into the operating room that I cried to my mom because ‘I failed’. She assured me that this was absolutely untrue but it didn’t change how I felt. What did I do wrong? Why couldn’t I deliver my baby the way a woman was supposed to? Why can all of these other women have vaginal births and I couldn’t? All of these questions went through my mind right before the C-section and after. It wasn’t until one night that I was holding my beautiful daughter and she smiled for the first time. It hit me. Of course, I didn’t fail. I loved her from the minute I found out I was pregnant. I changed my diet and my lifestyle. I took vitamins and went to all of my prenatal appointments. I did kick counts and I went to birthing class. I did everything I needed to do to make sure my baby was healthy. The way my baby came into this world does not determine my success or failure. It wasn’t my fauly that she was a rather large baby and that her head was positioned wrong which made her stuck in the birth canal. This wasn’t my fault, I did nothing wrong. How could I have possibly failed when my body created the most perfect being I have ever seen? I couldn’t have. I didn’t fail. C-section Mamas may have given birth in a different way than anticipated but they certainly didn’t fail. After all, when you have given the world a miracle there is no possible way you could have failed.

Stop Focusing on How Your Baby Came Into the World

The months following Lulu’s birth, every time I heard about another baby being born a little part of me was jealous. I hated hearing about other people’s birth stories because mine was so traumatic. I didn’t get the happy and exciting moment that everyone else got.  I cheated myself by getting bogged down in this thinking. I missed celebrating happy moments with my loved ones. I missed out on talking about my birth story. I missed out on celebrating the day that changed my life. I missed out because I couldn’t stop thinking of all the things that went wrong. I am not going to make this mistake again! If my next birth ends in a C-section my focus is going to be on how happy I am to have my baby in this world. I will focus on this new life that I brought into this world and what a blessing that is. These are the things that are important about your birth story, not which way your baby was delivered.

C-section Mamas {and all mamas} YOU are strong, you are courageous and you are amazing! Stop telling yourself any differently.

 

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