The Time I Had a C-Section


The Internet is flooded with C-section horror stories. And I mean flooded. I know this because two weeks before I had Adelyn I was told I had a 50/50 chance of ending up in a C-section, so I naturally took to some research on this new possibility of birthing. My goodness, people definitely like to educate you on worst-case scenarios. Not only that, there really are a lot of people out there who have had terrible experiences with C-sections. So I would like to take the time to share the opposite. I’m going to share my story about my positive experience with a C-section.


For starters, my OBGYN rocks. If I could find a way for every woman in the world to use him I would because I’m fairly confident that everything positive in this starts and ends with him. He was recommended to me by a girlfriend who went to him for her first child (and now her second), and let me tell you, having a doctor you AND your husband are comfortable with has to be the most important factor to pregnancy and delivery.


The “Pre” Story.

A week and a half before my due date I waddled into my weekly prenatal visit with feet the size of water balloons. My doctor did the regular routine and followed it up with “she still hasn’t dropped”. Big surprise. I knew from the fact that I couldn’t take in a full breath that this little baby was no further from my lungs than she was the week before.


He explained that while this wasn’t uncommon and that she could literally drop the day before I go into labor, that he didn’t think my pelvic bone had expanded at all throughout the pregnancy like most do and that she may just be unable to drop down into the birthing canal. He calmly told Husby and me that even though it was too early to rule out a regular delivery, the chance of a C-section was about 50/50 at this point.


Some people think he went wrong there, but for me, an avid planner (to the point that my daughter is almost 8 months and I’m already planning her 1st birthday party), he did exactly what he should have. I like to know what to expect. That morning I didn’t think I should expect anything other than a normal delivery. Now I at least knew things could be different and I could educate myself.


One week later we returned to hear the same story. Baby A hadn’t dropped and as he put it, I wasn’t “any closer to going into labor than I was at five months pregnant”. Fabulous. Since my due date was now only four days away, he had the nurse perform an ultrasound to measure the size of the baby and to see exactly what was happening.


There you have it, folks. Adelyn’s head was down as far as possible, resting on my pelvic bone, but because nothing expanded like it was supposed to she was stuck. She just couldn’t drop any farther (poor girl was probably thinking “get me outta here!”).


Because they (I don’t really know who “they” are, so for the sake of this post, “they” refers to the gods of the birthing process in the United States) don’t like scheduling C-sections for just any reason, he set me up to be induced the following Tuesday (three days after my due date). That’s right, induced. He wanted to give my body the “benefit of the doubt” because your pelvic bone can apparently expand up to 30% once your body goes into labor (seriously, the human body is ridiculous with what it can do!). Since Adelyn wasn’t too big in the ultrasound, he felt that if my body responded to being induced that she might be able to fit out.


The C-section Story.

One week later, the following Tuesday, Husby and I trucked into the hospital at the crack of dawn and headed up to my very spacious (seriously huge), room at Appleton Medical Center. Husby hooked the iPad up to the TV, logged into our Netflix account, and we started watching season two of Friday Night Lights as we waited to meet our little girl.


And we waited.


By roughly 2 p.m. the charts were telling them the Pitocin kicked in and I was having contractions. If they wouldn’t have told me, I wouldn’t have known. The charts said my contractions were strong and two minutes or less apart, and there I sat, comfortably watching Friday Night Lights. Hunger was really my only discomfort (well that and the fact that I still had a 7-lb child resting [un]comfortably on my lungs).


At 4 p.m. my OBGYN came to do a final check and surprise, surprise, my body had still done nothing. NOTHING. The contractions were happening from the Pitocin, but I never even thinned out. And you have to thin out to even begin to remotely dilate. So there I was, baby still so far in it was like I was five months pregnant. Except I wasn’t. I was 40 weeks, three days, and a baby so far up in my rib cage it was hard to sit!


My doctor gave us the option to come back a different day and hope for a different result, or go in for a C-section at 6 p.m. when his shift in the clinic was over. Husby and I unanimously agreed on the C-section. Don’t misunderstand, we asked what the chances were for a different result if we came back in a few days, but the answer from everyone there was the same: you really never know, but the chances of your body ever going into labor just aren’t very high.


So Husby scrubbed up, the nurses unhooked me from the Pitocin (which stopped any sort of contraction), and at 6 p.m. I walked myself into the surgical room for the C-section. They had me sit down on the table, lean forward and gave me a spinal.


LADIES, it turns out a spinal doesn’t even hurt!


It feels like a mosquito bite, maybe a bee sting at best, but getting the IV in my hand that morning was more brutal and even that went off without a hitch. Within minutes of receiving the spinal my feet were tingling. They laid me back, put a sheet up from my chin to the ceiling so just my head and arms were out, and prepped me for cutting out our baby girl.


This is the part where I really started hearing horror stories. I’ve heard stories from arms being tied down to not being able to nurse afterwards because of not being able to feel anything from the stomach down. False. In my case, those were both false.


They had me rest my arms out to the side (so I was laying in the shape of a t), but they didn’t strap either arm down at any given time. Which is good because I get very claustrophobic when I’m held down. When I asked them about it they chuckled and said “Why would we? You’re numb from the top of your ribcage down; you couldn’t sit up and try to stop something if you tried!”


At 6:11 p.m. they walked Husby into the room, sat him down by my head (neither of us wanted to see or be told what was happening...we’re the weak stomach duo) and made the incision. At 6:19 p.m. Adelyn was out and instantly bought over for us to see. They left enough of the umbilical cord on for Husby to cut it over to the left of me, and he got to help clean her up before they brought her and him to sit back over by my head as they finished up whatever else they had to do to me.


That was it! The awesome staff wheeled me into the recovery room and had Husby carry Adelyn out walking right next to me. As soon as we were in the recovery room they put her on top of me and we worked on nursing (which thankfully happened so easily).


The After Math.

“They” tell you that if you have a C-section you heal slower and have much more pain than you would after a normal delivery. Truth be told, I’m not convinced. Obviously I can’t compare, but I have to believe it’s just an entirely different type of pain. The scary thing (to me) about the recovery from a C-section is that they give you pain killers to get you through the first two weeks. My opinion is that’s where they go wrong.


I’m not a big medicine taker to begin with, but before I left they kept telling me I shouldn’t be in any pain. Um, hello! If I’m not in any pain AT ALL, how do I know if I’m over extending myself?! I stopped taking the pain medicine they recommended 36 hours after we left the hospital. I stopped taking ibuprofen the day after that. Sure, I was uncomfortable. And getting up and down wasn’t easy because you aren’t supposed to engage your ab muscles at all for fear of popping stitches. But if I took the pain medicine it was too easy to do all the stuff I wasn’t supposed to be doing!


Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about being comfortable, but I’m also all about common sense. To me, common sense is that if NOTHING hurts or aches, then I’m going to live like nothing hurts or aches, and that’s probably going to cause me to damage something for being careless.


The Conclusion.

C-sections are not a natural delivery, duh. But that doesn’t mean anyone who gave birth naturally is any more of a mom than you are. I’ve overheard my fair share of derogatory comments and read plenty of demoralizing posts about C-sections and people who have had them. I’ve read that they’re copouts and I’ve heard people say they just don’t know what they would do if they wouldn’t have been able to deliver because that’s solely why they have the bond they do with their child.


If you have to have C-section, DON’T LISTEN TO THOSE PEOPLE. And if you’re one of those people who make those comments? Stop. It’s unnecessarily mean and doesn’t benefit anyone.


If this post even helped one person feel even a tiny bit more at ease about an upcoming C-section, then it was absolutely worth the time I took to write it. Happy Friday!

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© 2013 by Heather Anders : Meet Me on the Intersection of Richmond & Style.