C-sections get a bum rap.
Contrary to what you might have seen in a film like The Business of Being Born, though nearly a third of births end up being cesareans, not all cesareans are done because a patient thinks it would be “easier” or because a doctor wants to schedule it so he/she can go on vacation.
Sure, those cases do exist–and I’ve learned not to judge a woman for her choice of birth, period … but let’s be honest. There’s nothing “easy” about major abdominal surgery — and, frankly, it’s more expensive than a vaginal birth … so it isn’t about saving pennies, either.
Sometimes cesareans are a result of an induction. Sometimes they are planned (“repeat C-sections”). Sometimes there’s an emergency situation and the safest way — for Mom and Baby — is a cesarean. And sometimes, there are prenatal medical complications that are best resolved via a C-section delivery.
That last example was how Maya came to be delivered via cesarean.
Between the early prenatal testing we experienced, the nuchal cord around her neck, the fact that she was “measuring on the small side of normal” and a couple other issues, my perinatologist and OB both recommended a cesarean.
And we didn’t question it; there didn’t seem any logical reason to question it and frankly, after such a traumatic nine months in the womb, I only cared about her being delivered safely.
Now, if I am being completely honest, I wasn’t sad to hear this was to be our fate. I know some women dream of a natural birth and some women want drugs but still want a vaginal birth and would do anything to avoid a C-section … and I applaud those women for their choices/circumstances.
But that wasn’t me. I’ve honestly never cared about the birth itself and was more of the “whatever” category. It just never mattered to me, the “how.”
Which is probably why I wasn’t devastated to find out I was going to be having a C-section. I had no expectation for birth and therefore, felt zero disappointment at the recommendation.
Yes, I was scared to death of the surgery itself … I had never been operated on, let alone while AWAKE (which still freaks me out when I think back on it) … and I certainly feared feeling something (I cry at the dentist!).
But if I’m being totally candid, as a control-freak, Type-A personality … I did like the idea of knowing what was coming … and when. I liked being able to read up on the surgery and recovery, and being able to discuss options with my OB to make it as natural a cesarean as possible (yes, natural cesareans do exist–and it was a beautiful thing!).
Those things all helped make my experience a really, really positive one.
I think a good part of why it was so positive was the fact that it was, indeed, planned. I wasn’t rushed into the OR after laboring for ungodly hours. I never felt a contraction (other than those irksome Braxton-Hicks contractions). I wasn’t put under general anesthesia but rather local–so I was awake the whole time and literally held her (well, Luis held her on my shoulder but I touched her and we got immediate skin-to-skin) within moments after her birth. So my experience was, for lack of a better word, beautiful.
I didn’t feel cheated in the slightest and I’ve never felt like a failure for how Maya came into this world … ever.
So having shared all this, there are a couple reasons why, for me, this delivery method makes the most sense for this pregnancy.
1. This is probably our last child — and even if it wasn’t, my OB says I can safely deliver up to three children via cesarean.
2. While I could try for a V-BAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) I don’t intend to. Oftentimes they end up in a cesarean anyway, and it just doesn’t seem worth the effort to me, personally — though I know lots of people who felt cheated by emergency C-sections and want to try for V-BACS … I totally respect that, but it’s not something I am gung-ho about.
3. My family lives far away. Provided that he doesn’t come early, my mom (and maybe my dad too) would be able to plan to come and help us with Maya since we have no family here. This probably sounds like an excuse to some, but it’s my reality and does weigh into my decision.
4. My OB was wholly supportive and encouraging. Knowing how traumatic my last pregnancy was, she said she would be open and willing to whatever I would want to do and said I can start thinking about dates in the 39th week (just want to check when she’s on call, as she has been my fave in the practice!). She shared with me that her first was an emergency C-section and, as an OB, she thought she “should” experience a vaginal birth for her second … just to see what it was all about. Well, she labored for forever and had complications and ended up with a C-section anyway the second time around, too. Still, she said she doesn’t feel cheated, either, and would support whatever I wanted. As she said, all moms are superheroes–no matter how their baby comes into this world. A-men!
5. As I said throughout this post, I had a really positive experience delivering Maya. And the recovery–while surely tough–was manageable. I’m not naïve; I have no idea how this next experience will go, and maybe I’ll regret this choice (because at this point, it is a choice — an elective C-section) 100%. But all I have to build this decision on is past experience, and it was a good one.
So a scheduled C-section, it is … unless something makes me suddenly change my mind … sometime between October 2-9, 2013, provided all goes well!
How about you? Did you/would you have a repeat C-section if you had one before?