Surviving (the stigma of) A C-Section

1 induction, 26 hours of labor and 1 c-section later, and I have a son. Little Love was born 5 weeks ago and it has been a steep learning process. It all began Friday, March 10. As we drove to the hospital I kept telling Husband, “I don’t care how it hurts, I just want to deliver ‘normally.’”

“Normal.” That’s what I kept saying. Never mind I was being induced and okay with using any medication safe for a baby and myself. I never cared if I had a natural birth; I just wanted a “normal” birth. That was my biggest problem. These days with all the medical advances, there is no such thing as a standard “normal,” only the route that makes each mom most at ease.

We arrived at the hospital and began the process of filing paperwork (despite being scheduled). After what felt like forever, the nurses called me back and began hooking me up to the IV. They allowed to me have one last snack and thus it began.

I was told the medicine they gave me would stay in a maximum of 12 hours, but could potentially be taken out sooner if I showed quick progress. Within 30 minutes I started feeling slight cramps and moderately painful back cramps. I remained optimistic that my baby would make his debut early the next day. As the hours passed and my pain increased, my optimism lowered.

Morphine was eventually administered and the doctor attempted to break my water. “Attempted.” That should have been my red flag. The attempt was horribly painful and unsuccessful. I continued on with the plan of a vaginal delivery even after the doctor offered a c-section.

More morphine, more pain, epidural administered. Hours and hours passed and I remained firm on continuing with my birth plan. 10:00 p.m. Saturday, March 11, and my son still hadn’t fully dropped, nor was my body reacting well. My blood pressure was getting dangerously low and I felt extremely weak. The doctor came in and I told him I was ready to have the c-section.

As soon as he walked out, the nurse stayed in with me to discuss the following steps. Before she could open her mouth I started uncontrollably sobbing. I felt like a failure. I know many people view c-section moms as cop outs, or less than vaginal-delivery moms. There is a large stigma placed on women who choose the surgery. My nurse was a saint. She reassured me that I was making the right choice to keep my baby and myself safe. Basically, it seemed as though my baby was stuck.

As Husband scrubbed up and they wheeled me into the OR, I felt sick and scared. I was visibly shaking, partly due to the medicine, mostly due to my nerves. Alicia Keys’ Girl on Fire played in the background and the assisting nurse remarked, “This song is about you, honey,” and I immediately felt a wave of relief.

I wasn’t sure when the surgery started, but I was just slowly crying. Once I heard, “Congratulations!” I whipped my head around to see my son being taken over to the table and I instantly began sobbing.

He was the most beautiful creature I ever laid my eyes upon and I was instantly in love. I saw Husband’s emotions and the instantaneous adoration he felt for Little Love and that brought even more tears to my eyes.

Recovery wasn’t so picturesque. I spent the next few days in the hospital and in a world of pain. Coming home wasn’t exactly a cakewalk either. I’ll spare those details, but the first two weeks left me feeling low and defeated. I had the Baby Blues as my hormones leveled out and I felt like a complete failure. Part of the low feelings I can blame on the surgery, and part of them stemmed from me feeling like the worst mother in the world, but that’s for another post.

Eventually those feelings wore off. My pain is mostly gone, but I still have a few days where doing anything is a struggle (yesterday at the mall, for example). I have my wonderful and supportive family to thank. It wasn’t just me doing everything on my own, as Husband, my mom, brother and sister-in-law and Husband’s family has been unbelievably helpful.

When I broke through the low emotions, I realized that most of the stigma I was so terrified of stemmed from myself. I have never viewed any other c-section mom as inferior, so I’m not sure why I was viewing myself as such. Childbirth, regardless of the method used, takes incredible strength and dedication.

Little Love has been the joy of my life and I would do it all over again for him. He already has such a giant personality and I really enjoy getting to know him. There may come a day when I face someone who gives me grief regarding my decision to go ahead with the c-section, but I do not regret my decision and will always be happy I was able to meet my son in a safe manner. That’s all that’s important.

See y’all soon.

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