As soon as I found out I was pregnant and we told our parents and emailed everyone we knew (before Facebook), I started thinking about delivery. I hoped to have a c-section. Yep, I just said I actually wanted to have a c-section. Left and right mothers share their natural birth stories, but surgery was more comfortable for me. I had had multiple surgeries already, so that route was what I knew.
Truth is I never really was asked how I wanted to deliver.
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I had a previous miscarriage and was high risk due to having Crohn’s Disease. When I met with the obstetrician during my second pregnancy she said, “Considering your past surgeries, I recommend a c-section
.” That was that. I felt blessed to even be pregnant again since my first pregnancy did not make it past 9 weeks
My mom had two c-sections (my 2 younger brothers) so it was something that I just assumed I would have to have too. Then I started interacting with other pregnant mothers. Mom-friends assumed there was no pain, no effort in having a c-section. You get medicated, just lay there, and the doc does all the dirty work. Ha!
Oh, and receiving all the advice others could offer in the few moments when we passed each other in the canned foods aisle. (What is it about grocery stores that bring out the advice columnist in lovely old ladies?) Sometimes they would find out I was going to have to have a c-section- “Oh, I don’t have to worry about birth classes. I am having a c-section.” To which the normal reply was, “Oh that is too bad.”
Why? I still get a baby out of it don’t I?
There was a mom, going through her first pregnancy at the same time that I was pregnant. She was going to do it all naturally. I did have a twinge of jealousy. Everyone reacted like she was so strong and brave. I wanted to be strong and brave! I knew my circumstances, but still wanted others to think I was superwoman too. Instead, I was going to be a passive participant; as unnatural a process as it could be-a c-section.
Then I actually had the baby.
We had to arrive at the hospital before the sun came up. I was tired as we all are at the end of pregnancy. On the ride I could not breathe sitting back in the seat. I had to lean forward while sitting on the edge of the passenger seat. My husband hid his nerves. He is just so good at that! At the hospital, the monitors showed I was having contractions, but I did not feel them. The thought, “Maybe it’s a good thing that I am not giving birth if I can’t even feel it,” crossed my mind.
Having a C-Section
I was all prepped and then the docs began their work. My husband sat to my left and held my hand fairly snugly. He leaned in and asked, “Are you ok?” After 5-10 minutes, we got the warning that the camera needed to be ready; baby was coming out! It was really only seconds then. No complications. No pain. My son was born. I was a mother. Then the real work began.
Caring for a baby after a c-section can be tricky, but completely do-able. An IV in my hand got cumbersome when trying to breastfeed. Luckily it was taken out the evening of surgery. Someone has to help you, or so I thought. Then my husband slept through a few nighttime feedings, so I slid off the bed, changed my son’s diaper and eased my way back into bed to feed him. (Mind you all after just having major surgery!)
I even reached from my hospital bed into the bassinet to get my son out and onto my lap. That was my super woman strength-my version. I did not “go natural” or get the option for no pain medication, but I was a strong mom
. We all have to rely on faith as we go through pregnancy. Resources like these Bible verses for pregnancy
help us stay focused on the process.
When my second baby – a baby girl – came along, I thought I knew what to expect. C-section, breastfeeding-longer this time-and my husband was prepped that I needed him to wake up for every feeding in the hospital. He could do the diapers so I could limit my times in and out of bed.
This time around, there was pain and pressure. A lot of pressure! My face turned red and I could hardly breathe when the nurses pushed down on my chest to get my daughter out! I did not expect it.
C-sections are supposed to be pain free. That is what everyone thinks anyway: “Oh, you had a c-section? That must have been easy.”
I felt pressure on my chest like 100 pounds was pressed on me. My face got hot. I was having trouble breathing. The nurse said, take some deep breaths. How do you take deep breaths when it feels like someone is sitting on your chest and lungs?
I tried to breathe. I had to close my eyes tightly because the pressure was so great. Seconds felt like minutes as the nurse pressed my chest down to help push the baby out. C-sections are supposed to be pain free! Why was I feeling this pressure?
After what felt like 20 minutes, but was only about 2, the baby was out! An 8-pound baby came out of a 5 foot 2-inch mother…with a very short torso by the way. Baby girl was born and it was not easy. The nurses were laughing at her size! I could not believe it.
My husband did help with every diaper change, but this baby slept more than her big brother…at the hospital anyway! I could barely wake her to breastfeed. I was a mom again. Super woman strength this time. Baby girl woke up every 45 minutes for the first few days home from the hospital and did not sleep through the night (8:30pm to 6:30am) until 2 years old!
Recovering from C-Sections
I had intense pain the first night home from the hospital with my oldest. I forgot a pain pill before we left the hospital. Yes, movement is limited, but it is not handicapping. I was doing stairs-slowly-and going for short walks outside within a day. After my daughter, I actually walked too much and caused some strain to my abdomen-nothing diagnosed, just muscle pain I could feel. So, I slowed down a bit. It wasn’t supposed to hurt. It was a c-section. It wasn’t REAL work of REAL motherhood, right?
Do you think God intended for babies to be born only one way?
I am not sure what I think about this question. Having had friends who gave birth naturally, some who used medications, others who wanted c-sections, and still others who had no choice, I know each mother views her babies as a blessing.
It is a tough time to contemplate motherhood, childbirth and parenting choices. Moms share “birth stories” left and right: Drug-free, hardly a wince, and they birth babies with their super-human strength while some of us “just” have c-sections.
Are our stories as strong? Aren’t we strong mothers too?
I once knew a mom who talked all the time about how she had her baby naturally. She boasted about it. It was as if her words set my birth experience aside as not as valid. I am not normally a person who feels insecure about my parenting or life choices. I do not havestrong mom
. I have made mistakes, learned valuable lessons and also figured out great solutions to my parenting challenges. I know it is all part of the plan for my life-whether it sets an example of what to do or what not to do.
When natural births are the ideal, I wonder what God intended?
God gave women certain parts for bringing life into the world and sustaining it. Some moms have parts that do not work. Was it best that I let my doctor dictate my birth plan? That depends on what would have happened if an attempted natural delivery had gone wrong.
Some aspects of having c-sections are easy. With the birth of my twins, the atmosphere in the delivery room was like a party. It was fun! There was Baby A’s team, Baby B’s team, my team, my doctor (who I just love), and we were all excited and hopeful. It was a great experience. I can only hope that I am worthy of the blessings that these children are in my life.
I have had three c-sections. My children are healthy, beautiful, and smart. (Not perfect, but perfect for my husband and me.) They are blessings.
C-sections are not easy. Although during each surgery I have had, my pain tolerance has increased significantly. Moms who have c-sections are sacrificing their body for the life of their babies. Just like the natural birth mommies. If some think that those of us who have had c-sections are not real mothers or strong mothers, that is ok.
If you feel like less than super mom because you did not have a natural birth story to share, don’t worry one more moment. This life does not promise to be easy. God provides lessons. Now we get on with life and raise our kids.
How did you become a mother? What was your birth or adoption story?
This post is featured in A Complete Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms: Resources for Pregnancy and Caring for Baby.
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