THE REALITY OF THE C-SECTION.

In defence of/ appreciation for the C-Section (Cesarean/Caesarean).

“I am not ‘Pro-Caesarean’, but I do think there is a striking lack of positive Caesarean birth stories, and I would like that to change.”

This is me immediately after my C-Section:

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JOKES.

The picture above is many hours after my elective caesarean birth (2nd baby), after a rest and after doing my face (and I’m a makeup artist).

This is the REAL me after my Elective Caesarean. SHATTERED. Post puke:

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This is me straight after my first birth (Emergency Caesarean):

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During my first pregnancy I felt so pushed/encouraged/forced to want the most ‘natural’ birthing experience imaginable. My antenatal class pretty much told me that if I wasn’t drug free and deep breathing, then I was doing my baby a massive disservice; he would start off in the world a drug addled loser and probably stay that way. My class had some outrageously hippy name like ‘Holistic Healthy Baby’ (which sounded so damn idyllic, but now makes me rage) so really I should have known what I was in for.

I don’t want to start a fight with people who choose to birth ‘naturally’ with no drugs and breathing through your vagina, because seriously, kudos to you. That is phenomenal. But it is not the definition of motherhood. As my French friend Anton says “Would you even consider getting a tooth pulled without anaesthetic? Why are people in this country so obsessed with birthing without medication?” It does seem that for some parents an extra achievement badge is earned for their fortitude/luck/efforts.

My very best intentions were thwarted when over 30 hours after my waters had broken, my contractions were minutes long and had only a few seconds between them. I started with the gas but it wasn’t long before I screamed “GIVE ME THE *……* EPIDURAL”, then promptly fell asleep after it was administered.

I was awoken by my (absolutely divine) midwife who informed me that she was worried as my baby’s heart rate was dropping (gosh the details are hazy. Was it dropping or rising? I can’t recall), there was meconium and he was distressed.

What followed was probably just a routine Emergency Caesarean, but for me it was TERRIFYING. I was so scared that there was something wrong with my boy and began to panic. The rest is a blur of flapping arms and voices and being trundled along corridors and bright lights. When he was born he didn’t cry immediately which led me to freak out even further.

Baby Rio was born healthy and big and awesome. I however was in quite a lot of pain; having laboured and then had major surgery. Everything hurt. The next day or 3 were agony. That first assisted walk to the bathroom! Argh! Actually trying to go to the toilet! Argh!

Fast forward to round two and this is me an hour before I held my wee gal:

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Please don’t misunderstand my intentions here. I think vaginal birth is a fucking miracle. This is not an attempt to convince you to have a Caesarean.  I am not ‘Pro-Caesarean’, but I do think there is a striking lack of positive Caesarean birth stories and I would like that to change.

I feel it is akin to bottle feeding your baby, where often people need/want/are forced to defend their choices, and have to be constantly reminded that it is ‘second best’. Frankly if your baby and you come out Earth-side healthy, who gives a shit which method you got there by?!

Too posh to push. I absolutely HATE that saying. Who is ANYONE (other than the health professional/s involved in your birth) to comment on how you birth your baby or why?

There seems to be some massive stigma attached to Caesareans; be it Emergency: ‘Why couldn’t your body deliver?’ or ‘What went wrong?’ to Elective: ‘Lazy’, ‘Posh’ or ‘Weak’. No one actually said these things (to my face), but I know many women who have felt as though their bodies let them down, or they are less of a woman somehow, and I think it’s so sad to feel a sense of disappointment attached to any birth where mother and baby are in full health.

For our second baby we elected for a Caesarean. It was less than two years since our first and to be honest, I just didn’t want to birth ‘naturally’. Where I had gone into my first birth with wholesome aspirations of assuaging the soreness (holy shit contractions are next level, aren’t they?) with visualisations and flank breathing, I was now terrified of birth and couldn’t face going through it all, potentially ending up in the same position.

The only part of a ‘natural’ birth that appealed was passing on the flora from the birth canal (there’s no pretty way of saying that). Late in my pregnancy I tested positive (like 25% of pregnant women at any one time) for Group B streptococcus (GBS). This would mean that if I were to birth vaginally then my girl would be given antibiotics at birth. This information cemented my choice. Who gives a shit about ‘natural flora acquisition’ when antibiotics are going to be administered? Seemed like one absolutely cancelled the other. But to be honest, even if this were not the case, I just felt that I did not want to birth vaginally. Judge away if you want, but I’m comfortable enough with my choice.

We had the luxury of knowing what date she was coming. We planned for my parents to have Rio for the night, had a romantic dinner out at a restaurant and got a great sleep. In the morning we awoke and drove to the hospital, chatted to our Surgeon and trotted off to the allocated room and ‘had’ a baby.

The best part of this experience for me was that I REMEMBER IT ALL. Rio’s birth is such a fuzzy memory. Time and events are confused and I don’t feel as though I participated that much. Isn’t that ironic? My elective C-section felt MORE PARTICIPATORY than my natural labour/emergency C-section!

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Both of my children scored well on the Apgar Test, both kids were walking and talking before the stupid books told me they must be, and most importantly they are ALIVE AND HAPPY. AND SO AM I.

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Kudos and love to every mummy and daddy out there, whether you pushed that baby out, were handed that baby, signed for that baby, chose that baby or had no choice at all in how that baby came into your arms.

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Parenting these kids makes me a mother. Loving these kids makes me a mother. Not strangling these kids when they drive me flipping mental, is what makes me a mother.

Frankly my vagina has no bearing on how I view my achievements as a parent.

55 thoughts

  1. I love reading your posts. I did hypnobirthing, and although I think it’s great, I couldn’t help thinking that for a movement that encouraged you to take control of your birth and have a positive experience, that the message I was receiving was that it could only be achieved through no intervention. Anyway, my daughter was born by ventouse, I was terrified of the thought of a c-section, so quite hopeful it would work. She came out and that’s all that really matters! Bottle/breast natural/assisted, the goal is all the same, to do our best for our children!

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  2. My vagina is giving you a big high five! (Errrr not really cos I know that would actually gross you out!) It still flinches at the thought of birth! It still aches when it’s time for aunty flo to visit. And it’s 16months post pushing out the most gigantic baby with forceps/vontouse/episiotomy/lastminepidural
    Super proud of myself I must say! I remember the whole experience being mind blowing and exciting. I’d go back for a second attempt at a natural birth, however the first words out of my mouth post birth euphoria were ‘I don’t mind if we use a surrogate next time’ . … I wonder what my vagina thinks!

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  3. Your #1 birth sounds like mine – baby’s heart dropped, it was all a bit stressful. I could opt for natural or trying with baby #2 due in Feb but I won’t. I would rather enjoy this and plan it and not suffer for the first day. I couldn’t even hold my son for 4 hours because my body was so messed up and numb from epi and surgery. Thanks for the blog, good to know there are others who have been through the same!!

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  4. I pretty much had the same experience with my first birth, long, dramatic and ending in emergency C section. I did feel like a failure after, like I couldn’t achieve the most natural thing for my child. So I then chose to go for the VBAC with my second. Despite knowing the risks associated, and the chances of it ending in another section, I think I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Well what a bloody disaster. My poor little boy ended up being pulled out breech during an emergency section. He was stuck in the birth canal. He wasn’t breathing when born so rushed away to NICU. Thanks to medial staff and modern medicine he was thriving after a few hours in NICU. I couldn’t help but think the whole drama could have been avoided if I had chosen to go for the elective section. But you are right there is so much stigma associated with it, and so many people telling you there is no reason why you can’t have the baby naturally, women have been doing it for thousands of years, bla bla bla. Well clearly there was, my pelvis ain’t built for pushing babies out. I wouldn’t have survived childbirth if I didn’t live in this time of modern medicine. I am three weeks away from an elective C section with number three. And I can’t wait. No contractions, no waters breaking in supermarket fears, I know the date, and I know my baby will enter this world the best way possible for him and me. Your words really resonated with me so thanks for that and all the best!! 🙂

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    1. Wow – I had almost the same experience as you, except my second wasn’t a breech, and I had an epidural on that occasion, but general anaesthetic for the first emergency, and for the elective (no. 3). Good luck with your third! 🙂

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  5. This is amazing – a fellow mum shared a link to this on our Facebook mum group!
    My labour was the same as your first – Long, slow progress, had the epidural, got a short rest then I pushed for 2.5 hours before having a C-section. Took something like 36 hours from start to surgery and it was tough! I still feel like my body let me down, and wonder if I could’ve done something different, but at the end of the day I also feel that being a mother is in the hard work I put in day to day – not how perfect (or not) my pregnancy was, or how natural (or not) my labour was!

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  6. This is so spot on!! I’m in the midst of trying to decide for a repeat C-section or trying for a VBAC. I had a last-minute planned C-section the first time because they thought my son would be over 10 lbs. He was 9lbs on the dot. Now with #2 I don’t know any different having never been in labor, and I’m waffling back and forth on what I really want vs. what “society” tells me I should try for. Thank you for posting!

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  7. Amazing post. Thank you so much for sharing. Like so many of you my 1st birth was very similar long, slow and resulted in distress for both mother and baby in a emergency c section. I am now so traumatise by the medicalisation I had during the first that I have swung totally to VBAC. Reading this post has helped me make peace that actually who cares and its only me that needs to let it go. Parenting is the hard part and why begin it by beating yourself up hey! I am going to try to make peace with the last birth and think more rationally about my upcoming birth (Due Feb). Having given birth to a my angel baby last feb at 15 weeks – all that maters is that we are both healthy and alive this time. Thank you

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  8. Think I needed to hear this. You and I have so much in common! I too had dreams of giving birth vaginally, however after 48 hours of labour and only dilating 8 cm through crazy contractions after being induced due to preeclampsia, I was told I wasn’t doing too well and that i needed an emergency C section. During that there were a few complications too. I always feel this sense of disappointment when hearing other natural birth stories, not that i failed but more that they all sound so amazing where as mine was a mess. I guess i just need to let go and remember i have a beautiful, happy and healthy baby girl, who is the best thing that has happened to me. Although i would be lying if I said my experiences last birth don’t make me slightly terrified for number two. Great blog post…Thanks. Oh, and I’m also a makeup artist…although it took me abut 1.5 months before i picked up a brush and used it on my face again after i gave birth. You look gorgeous in that pic.

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  9. The truth is it is the system which fails women – not our bodies or vaginas. What a lot of people don’t realise is that by leaving your safe space at home & not having individual support from a known midwife INCREASES THE PAIN YOU FEEL & LENGTHENS labour.
    Everything else that follows on from that is a cascade of intervention.

    I’m not anti-interventions at all because they can be life saving, and no one should suffer unnecessarily – but it sounds like you have, and still are suffering.

    Birth is the start of the mothering journey, and starting that journey feeling empowered is a bonus – but you are right, it is not the only thing.

    A healthy mum & baby is the MOST important – but not the ONLY important part of birth.

    P.S. have you heard about ‘seeding’ baby’s microbiome during c-birth? have a google – very interesting.

    p.p.s Every woman should be assigned a Doula, or a Known Midwife who will come out & support her at home during labour, whether she then chooses to transfer to hospital for the birth or not that known supporter stays with her.
    Trials have shown this would half the number of emergency c-births.

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    1. Thanks for your comments.
      I have heard about seeding, but in my own case this would not have been appropriate.
      As for suffering? Certainly there was a physical healing period, but that is long past. I am not suffering at all presently.
      In fact I am in the best health I have ever been in.
      Totally agree re doula or midwife, and in NZ that is pretty much the norm here. Mine was an amazing lady called DJ who made the very best call re my treatment.
      No complaints here

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  10. I chose a C Section- went in and said I wasn’t having anything else. I had had an awful pregnancy, sick the whole way through, and I had a blood test (ESR) that showed there was masses of crap running through my blood- and they wanted to investigate. I asked them to please just remove him as I’d had enough ! So I had him as an ‘Elective C Section’ at 34 weeks. They said he was 35 weeks and I didn’t argue as it would have meant waiting another week. But I had sex one time in that period, and I know the conception date and time. 34 weeks. He was 9 lbs…did I say I was only 34 weeks along..?! . Imagine waiting for a ‘natural birth. Frightening.

    I wouldn’t have a tooth removed without going under, Im not having a baby in what I felt was a barbaric way. Pushing that out of my lady parts? Being torn, having stitches there? I don’t think so. How women have their babies should be their choice. I had an awful pregnancy, and wanted the real Mummy stuff to start. I have loved every day of the 16 years since.

    It was the best decision I ever made. I was physically and emotionally ready, and there was no trauma to my gorgeous son. I was back at work two weeks later (with baby as lucky enough to own child care centres!). As I was a single mum, I had no-one waiting on hand and foot when I got home  
    They say sleep when baby does? Great, if you have your own personal cook and cleaner. I think being prepared meant I was able to actually get on with being a mum when he arrived. I wasn’t recovering from trauma, and there were only a few days of discomfort from the surgery. I got up when I could and just kept moving.

    I had the C-Section on the National Health Service, and it was brilliant. I had the tiniest scar, that couldn’t even be seen with a bikini on. And recovery time was fast, no issues.

    I had done a lot of reading before going to the doctor with my decision, and one thing I remember was that C-Section babies tend to have high thresholds for pain, linked with NOT having to go through the trauma of a vaginal birth. This is certainly the case for my son. I tried to find the research but couldn’t – sorry:-(

    I told the mums at the pre-natal groups that I was having a C Section and the reaction from many was awful – but afterwards I had a lot telling me, quietly, that I was obviously the only sane one in the group. They then told me about not being able to sit for weeks without pain, hours of horrific pain, and that their husbands certainly weren’t holding out hope of getting lucky for some time  

    I wasn’t stressed, and I believe this helped my son come into the world without stress. And my morning sickness of 34 weeks was finally over. ESR sorted itself out. I really don’t think my body liked being preggers. Having an Elective C Section is very different to emergency of course.

    I strongly believe it should be a woman’s choice how she gives birth. There are risks for everything. But the realities can often be very different to the horror stories thrown at us when we say we chose a C Section. Research by the UBC affiliated Child and Family Research Institute, for example, revealed younger obstetricians were significantly more likely to favour a hospital based medically managed birth and the routine use of epidural analgesia in normal births. They also appeared to be more “fearful” of the consequences of vaginal birth, particularly in relation to urinary incontinence and sexual problems and more likely to select Caesarean section for their own births.
    One London study published in the Lancet in 1996 reported that 31% of female obstetricians would personally prefer a caesarean birth. In the US, the figure is almost 50%. Many female surgeons and GPs quietly take this option too – though, “to admit as much is still massively un-PC”
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2008/jul/11/nhs.health1

    Today, one in three babies is born via C-section, according to the most recent data — a 50 percent increase over the previous decade. “We think the rate is going to go up even more,” said Hope Ricciotti, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts

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  11. the post birth euphoria. Do you get it with a c section? That was intense. I felt like I could rule the world in those post birth moments. Genuine question. I agree whatever gets the baby out safe is best.

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  12. Your story is almost identical to my own. I had an emergency c with my first son for the same reasons as you and felt traumatised afterwards. I would cry when anybody asked about the birth because I felt I was not in control of the situation and I had had it drummed in to me at ante natal about vaginal births and drug choices. nobody tells about what might happen if you have to have an emergency c! For my second child (born 7 weeks ago) I also opted for an elective c section. I was so scared that I would have the same issues as I had had the first time around and wanted to be in control this time. I had people telling me I was ‘too posh to push’ as this was mine and my husbands choice.

    24 hours before the operation was booked I went into labour and quickly and naturally gave birth to my second son! I didn’t have any of the issues this time that I had worried about and everyone keeps saying things like, well done, you did it the proper way, your so brave and didn’t take the easy way out! Those people have no idea what having a c section is like. It’s not the easy option but for a lot of women it’s the safest for them and their baby! I was lucky I had no complication the second time around but I didn’t know that when I had a choice make. No one should ever judge a woman for having a c section or a vaginal birth. The fact that we have brought a new life into the world is a miracle and we are ALL amazing!!!!!

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  13. I’ve just read this on a Facebook group & wow it’s amazing! Totally making me think again about VBAC for baby due in March & my reasons for skating it so much. My first birth was awful, 42 weeks & I gave up on my hypnobirth drug free at home in a pool birth plan & decided to book in for induction, then went into labour the night before it. With a very unsupportive midwife my home birthing experience was awful, the pool was great & so was hubby, but I felt that abandoned by midwife and her attitude towards my pain & things, that my contractions slowed right down & after 27 hours at home & a midwife leaving me at 4am & 4cm dilated telling me to call her back if I felt the urge to push, I ended up going in to be induced anyway! Hospital was like a gods send for me! I took the gas & air & diamorphine & felt looked after! 36 hours in total & baby had done a poop & was in distress, I was still only 4cm & baby was not fully engaged! Emergency section happened after that and they knocked me out in the middle of it because I could feel pain & was tensing they couldn’t carry on. Horrific isn’t the word & I woke up to not even know I had a baby. Totally missed everything. Everyone keeps saying VBAC is the way & yes I did feel disappointed that I didn’t birth naturally but I don’t know if going through all of that again just for the chance to is actually give birth is worth it or not or if the thought of doing all that again only to result in another horrific emergency section terrifies me. Xxx

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  14. Thanks so much for sharing this. I had an emergency c-section after a long labour with my now 21 month old and am now in the position whether I should elect for a c-section this time round or not (20 weeks pregnant). I plan to just go with whatever the consultant suggests. I just don’t get why anyone would be disappointed to have a c-section if the baby and mum are healthy afterwards. It’s not ideal but I felt grateful to have one as without it my little boy might not have been here. My Mum had a full term natural still birth (totally devastating) and so did our best friends so I totally agree with you-who cares how a baby arrives as long as it’s healthy!! Thanks again for sharing. X

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  15. What a fantastic article totally agree that a healthy baby and a mummy in the best physical and mental shape to care for it is the end goal and that a birth experience is likely to be different for each women. What is right for you is the most important thing. I have 2 little girls. My first labour sounds exactly like yours I went into it positive but in the end it was terrifying. I remember being exhausted and I didn’t see her for 3 hours because she was taken away for lamp treatment before being bought back to a very tearful me. However with amazing support from my family I got through the pain and recovered well. My second birth was different I asked for an elective csection but went into labour naturally before my csection date. I have to say I was terrified that I would have the same experience again. However at that point I met who to this day I describe as my angel of a midwife. She every minute talked me through it, gave me confidence in myself and I ended with a VBAC with epidural and ventose and a healthy baby. Totally not what was planned. For me after such a horrible 1st birth the second one was never going to be easy and that actually the post recovery pain felt just as rubbish, just different. Csection pain v my bits. The bonus of the VBAC for me was that I could pick up by 18 month old little one the day after which would not have been possible with a csection. So all I really wanted to say is that a VBAC can be a positive experience and don’t rule it out as an option. Sometimes mentally accepting fate could be a good thing and in the moment deal with what you have with the support of the experts, family and friends around you isn’t such a bad thing??

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  16. Thanks for this blog. I have a very positive birth story. And it was an emergency c-section after baby’s heart rate was dropping (turned out that the cord was round his neck twice). I, too, was using the hypnobirthing method but was aware that I could use the method to stay calm even if things didn’t quite go to plan. I was so chilled. The doctors, in hindsight, would probably have liked me to be less relaxed about it all… But of course they didn’t let me know how serious it all was until afterwards. I don’t think it matters how your baby arrives, providing that they – and you – are healthy. For me, I feel I had a very positive birth experience (notwithstanding the emergency element) and do not feel cheated or any other negative way some feel (usually down to the pressure of others). I would have reservations about having a c-section in future due to the recovery (that was pretty horrendous and very long, for me) however, ultimately I may end up having a planned c-section anyway (but it’s not a decision I will take lightly) – any type of birth could result in an extended recovery period… My ’emergency c-section’ baby boy (toddler now) is exceeding all of his ‘milestones’ and is a balanced, happy, chilled little man. I just thank my lucky stars that I was lucky enough to be in a country where I could have an emergency c-section, which ultimately saved his life.

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  17. Thanks for this blog. I have a very positive birth story. And it was an emergency c-section after baby’s heart rate was dropping (turned out that the cord was round his neck twice). I, too, was using the hypnobirthing method but was aware that I could use the method to stay calm even if things didn’t quite go to plan. I was so chilled. The doctors, in hindsight, would probably have liked me to be less relaxed about it all… But of course they didn’t let me know how serious it all was until afterwards. I don’t think it matters how your baby arrives, providing that they – and you – are healthy. For me, I feel I had a very positive birth experience (notwithstanding the emergency element) and do not feel cheated or any other negative way some feel (usually down to the pressure of others). I would have reservations about having a c-section in future due to the recovery (that was pretty horrendous and very long, for me) however, ultimately I may end up having another c-section anyway (but it’s not a decision I will take lightly) – any type of birth could result in an extended recovery period… My ’emergency c-section’ baby boy (toddler now) is exceeding all of his ‘milestones’ and is a balanced, happy, chilled little man. I just thank my lucky stars that I was lucky enough to be in a country where I could have an emergency c-section, which ultimately saved his life.

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  18. Hi! I too am horizontal (getting stronger) having just had a c section, in Bali! We came here to birth in an amazing natural birthing centre in Ubud and of course, life happened via the route of a flood lit cesarean! I totally relate to your blog, Ubud is like natural everything on steroids so I’ve now been banned from society! Not really, actually I’ve received lots of love and support. My partner Stuart and I have also started a blog as we have a boat in sulawesie Indonesia and have also come here from the Yorkshire dales to reclaim the boat and set sail with our little boy. We plan on documenting the tales of unconventional parenthood and travelling with a new person. I too recently blogged about my cesarean experience and I’d love to share a link to your blog on ours, perhaps you could do the same in an attempt to get the word out further in support of women who are faced with the same situation And the judgement that’s experienced. http://www.thenewsnot.com/#!adventueres/fm3kp

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  19. Finally! Thank you for your positive c-section birth story; beautifully written with humour and sensitivity. I too had an emergency c-section at 40+5 weeks (meconium & heart decelerations) and by gawd it was terrifying – not because the medical team failed to communicate, quite the contrary, they were clear, concise and utterly supportive the whole way through – but because I thought my baby might not make it out alive. That thought, and the feelings that go with it, are quite simply horrific.

    I so keenly wanted a natural, vaginal delivery; I have several friends who’ve had wonderful, natural births…far more who’ve had some level of intervention, from pethidine to c-section and everything in between. I was realistic but had spent months visualising, yoga-ing, preparing myself mentally and physically. My husband was totally onboard. As it turned out, my body had other plans. Or rather, my baby’s umbilical cord herniated…something far beyond anyone’s control or influence. I was fit, healthy, and in great shape for a vaginal delivery…and it just wasn’t meant to be.

    Do I regret not having a vaginal delivery? (I’ve been asked that…and whether I felt like a failure!!?!???!). No I do not feel like a failure, and nope, I don’t feel one teeny tiny bit of regret. I was fortunate enough to live in a country that has extraordinary medical teams that delivered my baby alive and left me alive, intact (other than the layers or staples/stitches in my lower abdomen) and able to carry another pregnancy. I am utterly, whole-heartedly, dance round the room grateful that I had a c-section. Yes, there are aspects that were not ideal – I felt terror, I was barely conscious when she was born, it was some time before I got skin to skin and to try breastfeeding, when I tried to breastfeed I was too heavily medicated to feel my own hands holding her) – but none of that remotely matters anymore.

    Degenerative disk disease discovered 3 months postpartum mean that I’ll have an elective section next – it’s too dangerous to push with pesky disks. Perhaps I’m fortunate that I don’t have to decide between a vbac & elective section. Regardless, I’ve accepted that these things are beyond my control, and that there are far too many positives to focus on than to dwell on ‘what might have been’s’.

    As for women who are so pro-natural that they attack women who have a c-section for whatever reason (emergency, medical necessity, personal choice), perhaps you could take a breath and pinch of kindness. Many of us wanted what you had – be thankful for your birth process and please let us be thankful for our birth outcome. Love, blessings and safe births to all.

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  20. Thank you so much for this! This pretty much sums up my first birth experience too. I only have the one baby (she is now a cheeky four-year-old) but she is my reward after 47 hours of being induced three times (due to Pre-eclampsia) and actually labouring to an emergency caesarean following which I had to come back into hospital for a week with a pretty bad infection. That was just over four years ago and still to this day I don’t feel like I properly gave birth. I went to all the classes including breastfeeding, which I also didn’t manage to do after the ordeal because we were both so tired even tho the midwives kept shoving her on which she hated. I really did try to give birth naturally but a c-section was the better option in the end. I would do it all again but with a more relaxed attitude next time if I had a planned section.

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  21. This is where the article goes wrong. You take something and twist it so that you can then base an entire article on it,
    “My antenatal class pretty much told me that if I wasn’t drug free and deep breathing, then I was doing my baby a massive disservice; he would start off in the world a drug addled loser and probably stay that way”
    You know that this wasn’t the message from your antenatal class. It just makes a nice little sound bite from which to write your birth story. By doing so, you justify your article.
    A responsible article would list the medical advantages of a natural birth and the proven risks and effects of a Caesarian. It might talk about the alarming rate at which caesarians are happening in Latin America compared to 10 or 15 years ago.
    There were so many things you could’ve done whilst still talking positively about your experience but you kept it so narrow. Nobody really learned anything from it.
    Your shirt-sightedness is reinforced by some silly anecdotal evidence which only applies to you:
    “Both of my children scored well on the Apgar Test, both kids were walking and talking before the stupid books told me they must be….”

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    1. thanks for your comments V.
      Perhaps you can write the article the way that you want it to be written and post that for all to read.
      I am not, nor do I at any point purport to be a medical professional.
      I did not set out to write a responsible article about Latin American (or any specific country) caesareans, though I live in New Zealand FYI.
      My “shirt-sightedness is reinforced by some silly anecdotal evidence which only applies to you” is probably because this is an opinion piece………

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      1. Here you go:
        I went to some antenatal classes that taught me some ways to relax and breathe. Nobody told me if I didn’t give birth naturally then my child would become a drug addict. That’s just silly.
        I tried the techniques but I had a long and, difficult birth.
        It ended in Caesarian, as many births do because sometimes there are complications. Mine was a necessary Caesarian. Had I been giving birth years ago, perhaps either me or my baby, or both of us would’ve died. Hurah for caesarians!
        They do hurt a bit afterwards, though.
        I then chose to have an elective Caesarian for personal and medical reasons (hurrah for caesarians again). I was aware that the risk of X Y Z are higher with caesarians but as I had Group B strep I decided this was the right route for me.
        I have never met anyone who has criticised (emergency or medical) caesarians. Neither can I link to a blog evidencing this. However I’m sure below in the comments somebody will write something alarming like, “As for women who are so pro-natural that they attack women who have a c-section for whatever reason…,” because this will allow them to talk more about justifying caesarians without recognising the need to write a balanced and informative article about pros and cons.

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      2. Gosh you have a real flair for language. Fascinating read! So informative as well as heartfelt.
        I feel like you really spoke to me.
        Also amazing how you were able to go back in time and see my life through my own eyes.
        You have amazing skills that are totally wasted as a mere mortal.

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      3. Sarcasm is unnecessarily rude. You are bitter that I pulled you up on invented sentences – it’s a shame you have to resort to insulting me. You have lots of positive supportive comments of your writing and stance. If you feel that it’s important to write a positive c-section story, and by the support you have in the comments there are lots of people who feel the same way, then it’s great that you done so. However inventing soundbites (eg painting a picture of antenatal classes which isn’t true) to give weight to your objective to write a positive C-section story is irresponsible. It creates animosity and invents conflict. It insults and undermines the purpose of antenatal classes. It certainly shouldn’t be used to unite one type of birth against another.
        Where are all these anti-C-section people you are speaking out against? Where are the people saying c-sections can only be negative? I think your intention was to write a realistic c-section story but you’ve accidentally named it positive. Any birth where mother and baby come out well and healthy is a positive birth.
        Please lay off the sarcasm and don’t take others’ opinion so personally you need to attack.

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      4. Your blog – you set the tone. I don’t really like being insulted for no reason just because you took my comments personally.
        If you put something in the public domain, be prepared for critique and opinion. Just like I need to be prepared for your reaction if I critique something you’ve written.
        If you’d like to debate it nicely and intelligently then I’m open to that but it’s pointless if you’re just going to respond childishly.

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  22. No c sections …I’d have only had 1 of my 3 children …..& the first was a KRFD…….all well , sound education & doing well in the world !! PS ……& I’m a midwife!!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. It is truly crazy how the body copes with pregnancy and getting a baby out. I had two c-sections, I was unfortunate enough to suffer with pre-eclampsia with both my pregnancies. My two c-sections were the polar opposite of each other, the first: laid back, happy, exciting, even funny at times, had Max with me immediately after and a fast recovery. My second was: painful, scary, complicated – the spinal didn’t work, I felt the surgery, they had to send me into a full GA, I didn’t see Logan come out and I couldn’t see him for over 8 hours post surgery. I truly believe now (two years later after a long recovery) that each of my hospital experiences have given me a much better appreciation of my own body and inner strength. My boys too have excelled predictions, my oldest walking at 8 months! Being a mother is never smooth sailing but the important thing is talking to each other and some comfort can be found in finding people who can relate to us and add to your support network.

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  24. Whilst there are many legitimate reasons for having a caesarian section there are so many misconceptions being shared in these blogs. There are Options & Choices totally informed consent is paramount.
    Do you realise the impact on nursing staff as maternity wards can be frenetically busy with post op caesarians, the risk
    of Neonatal breathing problems,TTN (wet lungs) for some babies who are brought on too early (by mistake). I have looked after many of these babies and because of experience have been able to wean them off the O2 to get them back to their anxious mothers fairly quickly. Not always the case.
    The added costs to the Health Benefit Funds, why are they rising?
    I have seen it all.
    There are no logical reasons for mothers with Strep B to have a C/S, the mother has a/b’s in labour and the babe is observed closely after birth.
    Have any of you heard about Placenta Accreta? As a young midwife I had to empty and measure the amount of blood in the bucket after major haemorrhage as the mother went to theatre for a hysterectomy. That was after a “natural” delivery, but I did not know full history. A extremely rare occurrence 30 years ago.
    However things have changed, read below:
    http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Placenta-Accreta
    Incidence
    The incidence of placenta accreta has increased and seems to parallel the increasing cesarean delivery rate. Researchers have reported the incidence of placenta accreta as 1 in 533 pregnancies for the period of 1982–2002 (5). This contrasts sharply with previous reports, which ranged from 1 in 4,027 pregnancies in the 1970s, increasing to 1 in 2,510 pregnancies in the 1980s (6, 7).”
    Your obstetrician who gains financially from your “informed” choice will not share that with you.
    Now for a flip side to balance your stories. Hope it works.
    Let’s do a Kate! (Duchess of Cambridge)
    Kate is a glowing example of a modern mother who wisely did not completely deny any possibility of a caesarian if things were to go wrong, however, she was patient and clearly waited for labor to begin in its own time!
    Little George was “overdue” evident by the dry wrinkly hand in the first photograph on the steps of the hospital. He was healthy and mature. Kate was also healthy and appeared not be in any discomfort, we understand her labor began and ended within 11 hrs maybe less.
    There was mention of interventions, we can only assume she was not “too posh too push”! Again the babe showed no signs of trauma, which might be evidenced by jaundice. Jaundice can appear for many reasons, prematurity or resolution of bruising from an instrumental delivery as well as the blood incompatibilities.
    So why are women still opting to forego the “perceived” pain of labor for the post op pain of a non medical caesarian section than can linger for up to 3 months and longer? Here we might assume that movies and TV have over exaggerated labor scenes that have little comparison to reality, thus frightening women!
    Or are they listening to the exaggerated horror stories from friends who have glossed over the truth for effect?
    http://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/persistent-pain-after-a-c-section-when-is-it-nerve-pain-and-what-can-you-do/
    The pain of labor can be quite bearable with a suitable support person and even if it becomes too much, modern Epidurals do help. Remembering however that does start to imply that the babe is heading for a delivery via some form of instrumental intervention.
    Labor pains come and go usually with a rest in between, sometimes even allowing time for a snooze, until the last stage where the contractions are the strongest, but that gives hope as the end is near and the ” Yes, I did it! “moment is close!”
    Any means of early induction should only be done for a legitimate reason, since artificial stimulant of contractions via Syntocinon are much more regular and far more painful than the labor that nature intended.
    Few obstetricians will tell you that! Why? Because they prefer to do things in their time not the baby’s and not yours!
    There are so many facts left out of the education on labor and birth for women by some obstetricians it is a travesty!
    Fully Informed consent should be given for any intervention and prospective parents should really consider all the facts before opting for a non- medical caesarian section!
    So much research and effort by the prospective parents goes into choosing the prams or the car seats for the baby but so little into researching the best possibilities for the beginning of a most important life and journey, that of their unborn child!
    http://www.bellybelly.com.au/pregnancy/40-reasons-to-give-baby-40-weeks-of-pregnancy#.Ug2BpssaySM
    Let’s do a Kate
    PS
    Kate delivered her second child on 2nd May 2015 a baby girl weighing 3.7 kgs after only 2-3 hours in labor. At least one week overdue, it was a vaginal delivery and 12 hrs. later she was able to take her princess home.
    The baby appeared healthy and chubby.
    R.W. 2106

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    1. You seem to have entirely missed my point.
      The WHOLE POINT of my piece is not to diminish the wonderful and incredible vaginal birth, but to acknowledge and celebrate the place of caesareans and to NOT MAKE MUMS FEEL LIKE SHIT if they had to or chose to have one.
      Comments like “Let’s do a Kate” are so mind blowingly unhelpful to EVERYONE.
      Thanks for commenting though.

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      1. My apologies, perhaps it would have sounded better the article “Let’s do a Kate” was prefaced with “If possible”?
        The first sentence did indicate that one would always choose the safest most sensible option and be prepared to be flexible. That’s life!

        It’s just that choosing an elective caesarian should not to be taken lightly it is not an “easy” option.

        There are many opinions for every discussion, however it is not to glamorize c/s for those who may mistakenly think this is the way to go. I am seriously concerned for those who are “sitting on the fence”. Having said that, mothers that have had to forego their dream of a vaginal delivery because of failure to progress, foetal distress or medical emergencies need never feel guilty. Hopefully positive outcomes for their babes have shown they were in the right place with the best teams? Evidence based practice, you choose your hospital, your obstetricians with as much if not more care than you would your new car.
        Therefore it is my hope that those who have no obvious problems don’t see surgical intervention as an option if there are no reasons when there are many risks.

        So this is just a discussion.

        Consider the options for your unborn child not for yourself and if possible try to forgo a fear of changing the body image. The vagina is rarely disfigured for life,remember Kegal exercises that keep the muscle strong also improves ones (and partner’s) sex life if used at appropriate moments :-). That muscle can be kept fit and is not usually affected by vaginal birth, the vaginal orifice may be loosened and if there is major concern can be repaired surgically. A large baby, 26 hrs in labor an episiotomy and vacuum assisted delivery did no harm to myself or my child.
        As far as bladder control goes, remember you do have an in dwelling catheter for a caesarian and for epidurals.
        I know of an obstetrician, who has reared a large family (costly!) and has no qualms in offering c/s sometimes even inferring that a babe is large when midwives knew it was not. Such persons can sound plausible and professional; totally informed consent is essential.
        I personally would like to lobby for an obstetrician c/s check list that has to be passed by:
        ranzcog
        http://www.ranzcog.edu.au

        Every c/s is documented with valid reasons and a disclaimer for those that are for purely personal reasons, though there may of course be some valid mental health or physical reasons.

        There are so many variables that one cannot always hold onto expectations, first baby may be large, second baby smaller, therefore a VBAC with careful supervision is possible. Racial intermarriage certainly means there will be more c/s because of disproportion, it is a given. Times have changed.

        Statistics show that the babe who has at travelled at least part of the birth canal has some of the vaginal flora thus immunity from “friendly bacteria”.

        http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060428/full/news060424-15.html

        Also the babe’s lungs mature on part of that journey so they don’t usually have TTN unless there has been foetal distress, not to be confused by meconium liquor passed by a full term or over due baby. Fully informed even in the midst of labour.

        So many pros & cons, way too many to write now.

        8 – 9 booked Caesarians in one ward leaving less space for the possibility of any emergency Caesarians is total madness. The midwives are frenetically busy, remember these are surgical patients, and staff have not only the mother but also babe to care for!! Then there are not enough midwives and untrained RN”s are having to help.

        Can more hospitals can be encouraged to develop midwifery group practices where a midwife on call 24/7 or others in the team cares for you? I believe NZ has had midwives work autonomously for many years with GP backup, obstetricians as necessary. Experienced senior midwives are better placed to note changes from the norm. With a choice of birthing hospital mothers are more likely to be discharged after 6 – 8 hrs with a midwife home visiting either once or twice a day. Way better than the hospital bed where the door never stops opening? I was unable to relax and sleep when I wanted to with my first babe because of hospital staff intrusion. Totally exhausted!

        Here is an interesting article that shows how we can still have an “open mind”.

        http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060327/full/news060327-12.html
        Who was on that “expert panel”?

        Posted as a midwife with 30 yrs of observation.

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  25. This story is so similar to my own. After hoping for a natural birth (including water, music and no epidural) I was eventually rushed for an emergency section 44 hours after my waters broke – probably the best option considering my son was 10lbs!! Fast forward 3 years and I insisted on a natural birth for number 2. It wasn’t to be and I needed a planned section. Thankfully my beautiful daughter was born healthy and gorgeous weighing over 9lbs.
    I felt robbed and useless that I couldn’t do it naturally – my vaginia was useless!!!! But now I know that it was for the best for both my children who are thriving now aged 8 and 5.
    Many women don’t fully understand how lovely a planned section can be – my story is very similar to yours and my husband and I both enjoyed the second birth much more – however the idea of a section for number 3 has been my contraceptive!!! I really don’t think I could go through it again – the pain and the lost independence for many weeks later – I just couldn’t do it. ThAnk you for sharing xo

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I’ve done both – 1st one 16 years ago after planning a candles and music water birth turned in 24 hours of agony, I didn’t dilate, pethidine, 2 epidurals and finally a c-section. After no sleep for 48 hours I was exhausted and felt like a failure after NCT classes had gone on and on about natural childbirth. Role on 3 years (outcome is 13 next week!). I had a frank discussion with my lovely consultant 2 days after my due date, as I wanted to give labour a go, but made it very clear that there was to be a time limit. 6 hours and if things weren’t going quickly I wanted a 2nd section. Turned out to be pointless, and I went into labour that night and nearly had my son on the roadside! No drugs (just a tens) and all done in 2 hours & home within 7 hours. My only advice would be don’t over think or plan – this is not how I usually do things, but my body and my boys had other ideas x

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  27. Just a few poetic thoughts on my own experience of a Caesarian section over 40 years ago, Note how many times I get called “dear” – this was usual at that time. BTW at this time it was usual to have a general anaesthetic not an epidural, The only gripe I have is the first word written about my baby was “Failed”!

    Second births are easier,
    second stage shorter,
    Second go, you know what it’s all about,
    Been through it all before,
    Easy as shelling peas.
    No problems.
    But no-one told you
    you were meant to be trouble free,
    slide easily out of me. Instead you led with your head.
    “Brow presentation,” the midwife said.
    Tough, stubbornly clinging, enough of a Macduff,
    to hang on in there, holding on to me till you need to be
    “From mother’s womb untimely ripped”
    (Only you were a full-term, full-time baby) “Don’t worry, dear.”
    Whispers, voices hushed so I won’t hear, “Remember your breathing, dear,
    You’re doing fine, only a minor problem.”
    Consultant, white coat over purple shirt, dragged from his Sunday lunch
    to drag you into the world, explaining patiently to the patient (me)
    about forceps on foreheads, and the chances of a Caesarean.
    “Sign dear.” I gasp gas-and-air “What? Where?”
    “Just here, don’t worry, dear, only agree to general anaesthetic.”
    When you arrive, an awkward presentation
    refusing to bend to the surgeon’s will.
    Over your head, over your bed
    written on the wall it said:
    “Failed forceps lower segment Caesarean Section
    No problems.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I got the impression that she didn’t, “The only gripe I have is the first word written about my baby was “Failed”!”.

        This is a quote directly from the comment.

        Like

  28. 3 c sections. Love all my crazy kids. Last one I got gas accumulating in my shoulder. Apparently normal the more operations one has. Most painful experience I was screaming at the doctors because they took sweet time w drugs. Nurses were best and when entire group came to talk to me after 3 days…like a bunch of scared doctors…I was honest, passed all doctors went to nurses thanked them for helping me out.

    Liked by 1 person

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