Some More Thoughts On C-Sections

Friday, March 16, 2012
Recently, I’ve been toying with the idea of making my blog private. There are certain advantages to a private blog, namely, privacy. Plus, I would know exactly who is reading my blog and wouldn’t need to worry about weirdos checking out pictures of my children.

But on the other hand there may be a few posts on my blog that could be of help to someone, such as information regarding craniosynostosis or natural birth or fashion (haha).  Ultimately, I've decided to leave my blog open to the public, for now.

I’m so glad I did. Last week I received a very nice email from a woman who found my blog by googling “embarrassed to have a c-section.” Jenna, if you’re reading this, hello! Hopefully you received my note back to you. Out of  respect for her privacy, I won’t go into details, but suffice to say she is struggling with many of the same emotions I did after giving birth to Abby. I wrote about them in this post here. Reading about what she is currently going through brought me back to last summer. All those feelings that weighed so heavily on me back then came rushing back. 

It sounds funny that embarrassment can be a primary feeling following a c-section. After both my c-sections, I would sometimes let people assume I had a natural birth. I wouldn’t tell them I had a c-section. I know, so weird, right? But the truth was, I was embarrassed. I was afraid to admit that I delivered my child via surgery because I couldn’t birth her naturally or normally. I didn’t want to look like a failure, so I pretended I wasn't. 

Now that I’ve accepted the events and emotions surrounding Abby’s labor and birth (and Hannah's too for that matter), I can recognize that there is no need to feel shame or embarrassment.  The experience was what it was. If this was 1812 or even 1912, both Abby and I would have most likely died in childbirth. That's a scary thought and for that reason alone I am incredibly thankful for modern medicine and for c-sections.

With time I’ve come to accept my two c-sections. I'm okay with them because I still have hope that I will eventually have a natural birth. I pray that God will allow me to experience that just once. I am hopeful.  And hope is always a good thing to have. 

However, despite my feelings of hope, I am also much more realistic now. Next time around we will plan and do things much differently.  If we must have a third c-section, I will be prepared. I’ve been thinking about a potential third c-section a lot lately and what I would do differently and how I would get myself and my life ready. I’ve come up with a few ideas. Bear with me, this post is more for my sake.

      1) Pack appropriately. Bring several changes of clothes. Since we left for the hospital in such a rush when I was in labor with Abby, we just threw some clothes into a bag and I ended only packing a sweatshirt. Smart. For the few days I was in the hospital I was forced to wear my sweaty, dirty clothes. Yuck. (In retrospect, I should have asked Matthew to bring me some clothes, oh well.)

      2) Bring food. The hospital had room service, but it would often take up to an hour for the delivery man to bring me a bowl of cereal. Recovering from major abdominal surgery made it impossible to walk around, so more than once I was just sitting in my hospital bed, hungry. (This was when Matthew wasn’t there obviously.)

      3) Bring a laptop. Since Matthew was back and forth between the hospital and home, I tended to get a little lonely at times. Luckily, I had my phone which has internet and email, so I was able to talk to friends and family. But being able to surf the internet would have made for mindless entertainment. 
      4) Stay the entire time insurance allows. Both times I’ve had a C-section I’ve only stayed like 2-3 days. With a third child I think I’ll look at my time in the hospital as a mini-vacation. Might as well enjoy the down time while it lasts. 

      5) Schedule the baby’s Baptism from the hospital. I’ve always admired people who schedule their baby’s Baptism before the child is actually born. Considering, my babies always arrive two weeks after they're supposed to, planning anything post-baby is nearly impossible. So plan from the hospital.

      6) Arrange to have Eucharistic Minsters for the Homebound bring me Communion. Don’t laugh. After Abby was born my incision did not heal for 12 weeks. Twelve weeks! I couldn’t really go anywhere for the entire summer. During that whole time I kept thinking, “next week I’ll make it Mass,” but when a Sunday would arrive and I was still unable to walk, feelings of sadness and guilt would creep in. Having someone bring me Communion would be an immense help, both physically and spiritually.

      7) Prepare Meals. After Abby was born we were fortunate to have a bunch of dinners brought to us by friends. That was awesome. Hopefully we’ll be as lucky with the next child. Having lots of handy and easy-to-make meals and snacks was a huge help.

      8) Ask for and accept help. This reminder should probably be first. With each child, I seem to get better at asking for and accepting help. Grandma wants to take the girls? Awesome. Matthew is willing to grocery shop? Go for it. Remember, recovering from major surgery takes time and rest. People want to feel helpful, let them.

      9) Love on that baby. Now this point should really be first.The newborn days fly by, enjoy them! (Sometimes loving a child means going through the motions a little bit, especially if you’re suffering from PPD (I had a touch of it after Abby), but eventually love will win out.)

Any other thoughts or suggestions?


  1. This is a great list (I need to go over it before heading in to the hospital next time).

    So (and this is a totally private question you don't have to answer if you don't want to!) are you guys thinking of trying for a homebirth again?

    I ask because I've had two c-sections and in Florida it's really hard to get a VBAC in a hospital anyways (it's banned at all the hospitals around us) and it's illegal in birth centers... but for whatever reason, homebirths VBACs with a midwife are legal. And while I'd never considered it before, my horrible hospital experiences definitely have me considering it now! I go back and forth about it constantly.

    I've definitely struggled with anger over my c-sections. The first one was after five hours of pushing and I wonder if I'd told the nurse "no" to pitocin when my labor stopped at 8cm and asked them to try to turn the baby (she was sunny side up and 9 lbs 4 oz) things might have been different. I'm more upset with myself about the second c-section though... because the hospital had said no VBAC (even though my doctor thought it might be okay) and we went in and suddenly an hour before they were going to do the c-section everyone was freaking out because she was coming way too fast and they thought she'd be born in the next half hour (and I was only 4 cm, which I'll admit really freaked me out). But it also made me think that things might have worked the second time if I hadn't just signed off on the c-section like the hospital wanted.

    I don't know... I know it's going to be hard to find someone (and more likely someplace!) to let me try again though...

    Anyways, thanks for listening to my rambling! And this is a great post! I'm really glad that your blog is public and that I found it!

  2. These are realllly really great suggestions to prepare for any type of birth, but especially a hospital stay of several days.

    I'm totally going to pack a bag now. And getting communion at home-- great tip!! (and what a treat for the Eucharistic minister to come see a mom and baby as a change of pace from the other home bound people they see-- with all side respect to the elderly!)

    That's a great idea about staying the whole time that they give you at the hospital...I remember you saying something about your grandmas little vacation... :) yes?

    And bringing food from home..definitely a great idea!

  3. Oh yeah and If it was 1812 I would have been dead at 14 years old from a ruptured appendix, so thank God...modern medicine!!!

  4. Hi Cam~ Glad you like the list. And yes, I think we are going to try again for a homebirth. But we're gonna put a time limit on it this time. I have so many thoughts on this, so it's hard to say definitively. Maybe I'll write a post on it...:)

    Kerry~ that's right, I forgot about your appendix! So crazy to think we wouldn't be here right now if this was 200 years ago. Thank God for modern medicine!


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