It’s Cesarean Section (C-section Awareness month). As a mother who has experienced both a “natural” delivery (1st) and a C-section (2nd), I have some thoughts …
Let me explain why I put “natural” in quotation marks. At 38+ weeks pregnant with my first child in July 2011, I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and had to be admitted and induced. The induction did a serious number on my body, labor progressed slowly and PAINFULLY and I ended up having to use pain medications (laughing gas, morphine and an epidural) to make it through the 36-hour ordeal. Eventually after pushing for almost 5 hours I was given an episiotomy so that that baby could come out. You see I have a very small cervix and apparently my body was not interested in tearing by itself. I rejoiced about being able to PUSH the baby out but the recovery from all the drugs, and the healing from my episiotomy was slow and uncomfortable.
Fast-forward almost 3 years later when I had my second child. I arrived at the hospital having fallen into labor naturally just a couple of days shy of my due date. Mentally and emotionally prepared for another “natural” delivery, this time without and medication or medical intervention. I had been in the hospital barely an hour when I was informed that “something was wrong”. I ended up with an emergency C-section and a 10 lb baby! Turns out my princess child was too big and sunny side up (facing upward) and couldn’t pass through my cervix. From arriving at the hospital to holding my daughter in my arms was barely 3 hours…For a few days, weeks and even months after, I felt like I had failed because I was unable to have my baby “naturally”. It took me a while to come to grips with the situation, firstly that my baby was BIG and my tiny cervix would never have been able to push her out, and secondly that there was actually less intervention with my C-section delivery than with my supposed “natural” one.
Now let’s return to the word “natural”. While I was apparently happier with my first delivery experience than my second, it was not by any means more “natural” – there was a lot more medical invention. I have now come to accept and realize that each pregnancy and delivery experience will be different and that what matters is that baby and mother are healthy. I am grateful for the timely invention by my OB and the fact that my daughter was born safe and healthy. As a mother who has experienced both a vaginal and C-section delivery, I wear my scar with pride.