January 19, 2011

thoughts on a c-section

If there is any advice I'd give any pregnant mama, and especially the pregnant mamas of twins it would be to keep an open mind about your birthing plan. When I found out I was pregnant I wanted to have a water birth. I'd seen them before and they just looked so awesome. I'd thought I'd go to a hip little birthing center in Orange County and have this beautiful little water birth in a candle lit room with my husband there, soft music in the background-very spa-like. Then I found out I was having twins..I was not prepared and didn't know a hole lot of my options with twins. 

I did my research and learned that if I were to birth twins vaginally, most hospitals do so in the surgery room incase of any complications they can open you up right there. The thought of having my babies in a cold, steril, surgery room made me sick. And the thought of a c-section? No way. I didn't want anyone cutting my babies out of me. I didn't want to be passive on my babies births. I wanted to FEEL the pain of labor. Who would want that, you ask? Someone who wants to have all of life's experiences. Someone who wants to feel what it's like (no matter how painful) to have a baby like nature intended. 

As I progressed through my twin pregnancy I learned my doctors were very reluctant to give me any specifics on how I would birth the boys. I repeated over and over to them that I'd like to birth them vaginally if at all possible but I wouldn't put that need in front of their safety. I had two three lives at stake here. About a month before I gave birth the word "c-section" got thrown around a lot at my appointment. They were going to schedule a c-section on March 17 when I was 38 weeks. Most doctors typically don't let women with twins go past 38 weeks because of babies size/stress on the mother, etc. I was hoping for an induction on that date. (This was all scheduled with a doctor different than my regular OB because she was in surgery during that appointment.) So I thought I'd just talk to my doctor about making it an induction rather than surgery at a later point. When I talked to her she was fairly confident I'd go into labor before then, as 50% of women with twins give birth before 36 weeks.

The night I went in for lots of contractions I was montered for an hour and learned my contractions were 2 minutes apart (and I wasn't really feeling most of them). The doctor on call was the one who'd scheduled that c-section for me so I was kind of relieved it was at least a doctor who I'd seen before. He was going to get an ultrasound tech to come in to see if Isaiah (Baby B) was still breech. According to what they'd told me before, it IS possible to give birth vaginally as long as Baby A was head down, which he was. However he was the smaller baby. They typically want Baby A to be head down and bigger of the two so he can "pave the way"for Baby B. They'd delivered twins earlier that day vaginally with a breech Baby B who they were able to turn after A was out, but it was also the woman's second pregnancy. So things kind of progressed a lot easier with her.

Because these were my first babies, Isaiah was breech and the bigger of the two, I was told the safest option was to do a c-section. Or I could try to have them vaginally and risk complications with one and specifically Isaiah and end up having an emergency c-section anyways. Which was the last thing I wanted to do-go through all of that just to have a surgery anyways. So we agreed we'd do the surgery. 

And everyone has different experiences with c-sections, it just depends on your attitude going in. I had kept an open mind my whole pregnancy so I was ok. I was scared of surgery but I was ok. When they lifted Julian up above the curtain with his arms sprawled wide and his mouth wide open screaming I knew I'd made the right decision. And then one minute later it was reconfirmed with Isaiah's sweet screaming face. 

Why are we made to felt guilty (by ourselves mostly) when we have our babies via c-section? I am no less of a mother. I am not lazy or being complacent with the medical system by allowing a c-section to take place. I wasn't letting doctors scare me or force me. My life is no less complete because my boys were born via c-section. I was flexible. I knew with twins anything can happen. It is a completely different ballgame. 

I've seen a lot of blogs over the months talking about the negative experiences they've had with their c-sections and I feel bad for those soon-to-be mamas reading through these getting scared beyond belief. I was stitched up and within 30 minutes I was in the recovery room with baby beds at either end of the foot of my bed not groggy at all, not exhausted, just excited and wanting to hold my babies. Within minutes two nurses came up, whipped out my boobies and worked to get both boys attached within minutes. (Breastfeeding them is a whole different story of something that didn't go as planned-that you can read HERE.) The first day really sucked with recovery, I'll be honest. But each day got a little better.

I have two beautiful, healthy boys and a battle scar to show for it. And for the record-I LOVE my c-section scar. Most women hate theirs. I LOVE, LOVE, LOOOVE mine. Why? Because it's like a constant reminder and souvenir of sorts of the exact moment my boys came into this world. It's like a tattoo that is only for me to see. It reminds me of everything I went through to get to that point and how strong I am. 

So, I want this to be for mothers of twins who had a c-section and feel bad about it. To women pregnant with twins who are so set on having them a certain way and may be disappointed if their birthing experience (however their babies may come into this world) feels robbed by their own negative feelings, or to mothers of just one baby who had a c-section and somehow feel less, or cheated, or having missed out.  And to many first time mothers in general....we put such high expectations on ourselves and have much of our motherhood filled with disappointment that things didn't go the way we planned. 

It's OK. Enjoy each and every moment however it happens. It was all meant to happen for a reason to teach you something. Find the positives from that experience and move forward. We can't change the past. We can feel regret and sadness and pain and shame and whatever other feelings we have but acknowledge those feelings and move forward. Yes, I wish I could have had my boys without surgery. But that's not what happened. So I'm not going to dwell on it, or waste one SINGLE second this life thinking about something I can not change. I try not to think about anything else in life that didn't go the way I wanted it to, and this is no different.

The birthing process, no matter how your children are born...and life in general is how you make it. I'm choosing to be happy about how my boys were born. I'm choosing to have those moments I first saw my boys not tainted by any other feelings but joy and excitement.

15 comments:

  1. Amen! I had the same thoughts as you. My baby A was bum down the entire time and toward the end, her placenta wiggled underneath her too. As I was entering the OR, my doctor said, "Well Brittany, I know a c-section isn't ideal, but I just want you to know that if we didn't do the surgery, all 3 of you would die." Um...thanks, that's just what I want to hear before surgery! Anyways, this post and your post on breastfeeding have really made me feel better. From one twin mom to another-- a BIG thanks!

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  2. I had my daughter via c-section, I really didn't want one but before I even went into labor my doctor kept telling me that there is a huge possibility I just might need one because of MY size (I've VERY tiny, only 4'10.5" and I was like 97lbs before I got pregnant). It was a scary thought and I just didn't even consider it an option, but like you said, its not worth risking you or your child's life.

    The Sweetest Life

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  3. AMEN!!!! I need to get the courage to blog about my c section experience. After reading yours I just might :) Thank you!

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  4. I completely agree my daughter was born via c-section and I LOVE my scar. I am juts happy she is here healthy and happy I don't care how it happened.

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  5. I had 2 great c/s, If I could go back, under the same circumstances, there is no way I could have changed either of them. I recovered form both very quickly and easily. Yet I still HATE everything about it! I think of it like somone who had to have a limb amputated in order to save their life; sure they are happy to be alive, but that doesn't mean they have to be happy to be missing an arm or leg. The lack of a limb affects their life every day, they can't get around it. I'm the same with my C/S, it's rare that a day does by that I don't think about it, that I don't think of the 'normal' birthing process that I missed out on. I've lost countless hours of sleep over it, and I WISH to no end that I could get over it, but I can't....It's something I've lost and I can't get it back. I think some c/s moms (like me) need to talk about it, as a sort of therapy, not to scare people, but also to inform people. If I can educate even one person well enough to avoid what I feel every day, that would be awesome!

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  6. to flatyeastbread- you make a good point. Some mamas really need to talk about it-I think everyone should be able to talk about their birthing experience either way. My goal is to try to help people look past the negatives and focus on the positives of the c-section because it's something we can't change. Done and over with. I'm just tired of the shame associated with c-sections. We have nothing to feel bad about. Yes, I didn't get to vaginally deliver my babies but in the grand spectrum of things, when I'm 90 years old and I look back on my life, there are so many other things I want to look back and focus on rather than that one small little detail of my children's lives.

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  7. First off, congratulations to you on your two healthy boys. I applaud your ability to accept the way your boys were born.

    I would say though that just as every birth is different, every woman is different. I know there is a lot of heated feeling about c-section births.

    As an emergency c-section mom I know all too well the emotional impact of suddenly finding yourself on the operating table, and the long term impact that can have. I do feel it's important for women who have experienced this to express their feelings and have them validated. I'm sure that they like me are also grateful for their children.

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  8. Well said! I had my first 2 9 1/2 pound kids vaginally... then my 3rd pregnancy (twins), I was determined to have them vaginally as well...after all the first 2 cleared the way for the next 2 right?? WRONG!! Baby A was breech from 30 weeks on, so we had to do the C/S! I tell moms now, after having it done both ways, there are definite pros & cons to both... BUT what's most important is what's best for baby/babies! The end result is all that matters... I had 2 BEAUTIFUL babies via c-section & wouldn't change a thing about the process!

    I love your viewpoint about the scar... gonna post that as my Facebook status! LOVE IT!

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  9. Great post!! I totally agree, go in with an open mind and the c-section really isn't that bad.

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  10. very well said. i had an emergency c-section with my twins and am pretty happy with how the day went. i knew from the beginning of my pregnancy that in the event of complications, i might have little control over decision making because my life and the lives of my boys would be at stake. when it came down to it, that was exactly what happened. i had a placental abruption at 34 weeks and the three of us were in serious danger. i was whisked away to the OR and before i knew it, my boys were born. worse than the c-section was watching my babies being rushed to the NICU where i wouldn't be able to see or hold them for 12 hours.

    the actual c-section was fast and uncomplicated. i didn't even know the gravity of the situation until i was in recovery. my doctors were amazing and they took fantastic care of us. though it wasn't ideal, i wouldn't have changed what happened. for my next baby (if we have another) i've already been told that i'm in good shape for a VBAC. i just hope that more women would be a little more flexible about birth plans and such. stuff happens that can't be planned and we'd all be better off if we could be a little more adaptable. :)

    --Alex
    http://twolittlehornes.blogspot.com

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  11. I love this!!! I was just telling a friend who is pregnant now almost the exact same thing! I had a c/s with my March baby and I still have negative feelings about it. Just talking to my friend about not putting pressure on herself about vaginal or c/s, bfing or ffing, etc. Bc all that matters is that our babies are healthy and happy in the end.
    Thank you, thank you!!!!

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  12. Thank you for this post!While I didn't have twins or a C-section, I did have my heart set on a natural child birth. I had my birth plan perfectly set out,but the day before my due date, I woke up and everything was blurry. I had my sister drive me to the dr. and they discovered that my blood pressure had shot through the roof. I ended up having an induced labor and had to get an epidural to lower my blood pressure. Although I would have loved a natural birth, I can't regret the way that my son came into the world. It is an experience that is unique to each on of us, and the birth of a child is ALWAYS special.

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  13. you have such a great perspective! i, too, wanted to have a natural water birth and i went through a birthing center right up until d-day. went into labor on my son's due date and 12 hours later was having an internal at the birthing center where my midwife discovered that they'd made a mistake... he had been breech the entire time. they aren't allowed to do breech vaginal births at my hospital and so up to surgery i went. although i was disappointed, i wasn't traumatized. my boy was ready to come, i was healthy, and he was delivered easily. neither of us had complications and i was just so elated to be a mom. nothing could steal my thunder then. although there are parts of birth that i long to experience for myself (maybe future kids?) i won't let that define my outlook on intervention. i'm glad to be in a nation that has incredible health care and could ensure that levi and i were safe and healthy. THAT is a blessing not to be taken for granted. birth, any way it happens, is a miracle. an absolute miracle.

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  14. Brave and powerful post. You're totally spot-on about many mamas feel guilty that their births didn't go the way they planned. BUT, the first step of a birth plan is to acknowledge that things don't always go as expected. You have to make the best decision based on the information available to you.

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  15. Well said!!! My c section with my twins is a wonderful memory for me as well. I don't feel cheated out of anything. If I could change anything I wouldn't. Only thing that was different for me was the gut wrenching feeling of my 32 week preemies being taken to the NICU and spending 4 weeks there. However, I wouldn't change that either.

    I look at the positives and think I am a better person, and a better mommy for what I went through. I love your outlook on things. It's such a breath of fresh air compared to so many negative people in the world these days! Your boys are so adorable! Now for me the question is VBAC or c section with the little surprise miracle I am carrying right now.

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