I’ve been meaning to write this post for ages and given its C Section Awareness Month, I figured now would be a good time to put it together.
If you’ve read my birth story, you’ll know I ended up having an emergency C section after a 84 hour labour due to a failed induction – something which isn’t very common so please don’t panic!
I always assumed C sections were the slightly “easier” method of delivering a baby. It meant you didn’t have to go through hours of pushing, someone else did the hard part for you, you didn’t have to worry about tears (ha ha), you knew baby would be out within a few minutes.
This is not a post to scare those about to give birth at all. This is about my experience.
I’ve heard really different C section stories just like I’ve heard many different natural labour stories. Everyone’s birth is its own. Though I do wish someone had shared the below with me so I was a little more prepared and so were the people around me.
Based on those around me, I think it’s fair to say the process of natural labour is probably physically “harder” than the process of delivering your baby through a C section in terms of having to go through contractions, the pushing and all the other energy required. I guess that’s where the term “labour” comes from! However, generally, assuming we’re comparing to a smooth natural labour, I think the recovery time for a C section is much longer. A lot of my family and friends have bounced back pretty quickly from a natural labour.
I was pretty narrow minded and naive where it came to C sections. I had this great plan that didn’t even consider a C section birth though I was very open minded – ultimately I just wanted my baby to be safe. I really really wanted to deliver naturally – I tried so so hard.
Before having my C section, I didn’t think …
- That I’d need staples AND stitches and that I’d feel each and every one of them with any slight movement. Most people have either or, not sure how I ended up with both! Stitches dissolve but staples need to be removed – lucky I had my mummy to hold my hand during that. It actually wasn’t as bad getting them removed as it was living with them!
- Having had a fractured skull and major surgery on my head, I didn’t think I’d ever suffer with pain any worse. I was wrong. But I do believe that the pain was heightened because of how tired my body was from the 84 hour labour. I’m not sure a stand alone section would have been as difficult.
- The baby would be out within 30 seconds of me getting in to theatre and I’d feel all the pulls and tugs … It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. As I had an emergency section, it all happened so fast. I’ve heard with a planned section, it’s a lot calmer and you don’t feel as much.
- The recovery time would take so long. I always assumed you’d be stitched up and “ok” within a few days. It took me a while to recover and up to my third week I needed assistance getting up, walking, going to the bathroom and showering. It was disheartening, especially as I no longer recognised my body (that’s not me in the picture above!). I was lucky to have the support I did.
- The recovery would affect me in ways I never imagined. I’m used to being a control freak. I had no control. I physically struggled to move. I felt helpless and I really hated it. I was so mentally prepared to be a mum (so I thought). I wanted to care for my baby and get to know him, I felt like I struggled to do that in my early days and it impacted me massively later. I really believe this was a contributing factor to my PND.
- I could love my sisters and family more than I already did. My sisters changed Arjun’s nappies before I did. They came through for me more than I could ever have imagined but I’m grateful for it as their bond is stronger than ever.
- I’d ever see my husband cry the way he did. He cried for days after. I’d never seen him cry before. I guess I can’t appreciate what he must have gone through – I slipped in to unconsciousness straight after Arjun was delivered and Arjun was prized off Preetam quickly as his temperature dropped. For him, “his world fell apart” at that moment. I can’t even begin to imagine how that felt but the amount of love and support he showed me, I will never forget.
- There would be over 10 people present in theatre. I always assumed it’d be a couple of people. Again my nativity around what a big procedure it is.
- I’d not get to have prolonged cuddles with my newborn because I was so sick after an exhausting labour and then fell unconscious. I’d meet my baby 4 hours after he was born … I had plans. Plans like every new mum. I had plans to recite paat (prayers) with him the moment he was born. I didn’t get to do any of that till a whole while later.
- It would be so cold! It wasn’t a relaxing experience lying there having the “hard work done for me” – it was pretty scary and cold. I found out after theatres are always cold to avoid surgeons sweating (gross!) on to the patient. I’d never known that as I was always knocked out for past surgeries. You’re generally not put to sleep for a section.
- That some would make me feel like less of a mother by not going down the natural route – I tried. I failed. But I still gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. We are all heroes and amazing for carrying a tiny human for 9 whole months and bringing them in to this world – be it through the conventional route or an alternative one.
- That the time to stitch you up is much longer than the operation itself. I had never though about how serious and major a C section was. They go through seven layers to get to your precious baby. Seven layers. Muscles, nerves, fat. SEVEN friggin layers!
- I’d need to reserve a drawer for painkillers AND laxatives!! Any kind of motion was so painful, needing the toilet was something I tried so hard to avoid.
- That it would be deemed that I took the “easy route” – actually, I went through the whole process of natural labour, only to be told my little monkeys head was too high. All 84 hours of it. And even if I hadn’t, a C section shouldn’t be underestimated.
- My breastfeeding journey would end after a mere 3 weeks and I would never get to solely breastfeed. Because I was poorly straight after, Arjun’s first feed was formula. Preetam was so supportive and suggested that if I wanted to try breastfeeding to do so during the day so he could do the nights so I was able to rest and recover.
- That my scar would forever feel tingly
- I’d end up with a keloid scar – something that I’ve struggled with. Let’s face it, I hardly have a beach body, but having a thick purple raised (by about 0.5cm) scar doesn’t always instilling me with confidence but I’m still grateful that the scar on my head didn’t turn in to a keloid one as apparently my skin is prone to it!
I didn’t fully appreciate the nature of C sections and what it would mean for me. I also know there is a big difference between a planned C section and an emergency one based on what others ave been through both. Everyone’s body is different, everyone’s recovery is different the same as with a natural labour. Ultimately, I delivered a happy and healthy baby and that’s all that really mattered.
My scar is a reminder of my strength, my ever residing pouch (though the excuse is wearing thin!!) is a reminder that I carried a child inside me for 9 months and as for my stretch marks, I’m a tiger who earnt my stripes!
This is just my experience of a C section. I don’t regret the way my labour went as from it I learnt so much and it also meant others got the chance to spend more time with Arjun in his early days more so than they may would have had things gone to plan. I’m eternally grateful for my family and the amazing staff at the hospital – some of which I’m still in touch with!
P.s, as you may or may not know, out of over 8,000 amazing blogs, I have been short listed for the MAD Blog Awards 2016 Finals in the “Best Preschool Blog” category!!
The winner will now be chosen based on the public vote and announced at the awards ceremony later on in the year. I will be most grateful for your continued support if you could spare a minute to please vote for me and my superstar here in the “Best Preschool Blog” category if you’ve loved following our journey. It takes less than 30 seconds!
You can VOTE HERE
Thank you thank you thank you!