An Emergency Cesarean and the Scars That Remain

After C was born, it didn’t cross my mind right away that I had experienced a traumatic delivery.  I think I was in shock from it all, and just relieved that it was over.  While I generally don’t think about his birth and the events that led to my emergency cesarean, there are certain triggers that bring it up for me.

Whenever someone I know has a baby, particularly via vaginal delivery, I’m hit with feelings of envy and jealousy.  This is not to say that I am not happy for them.  I would never wish my experience on anyone; I simply would have liked to experience a healthy vaginal delivery myself.  Or even have the option of a future VBAC.

I still have feelings of inadequacy over my emergency cesarean.

After experiencing labor for three days, I was finally admitted to the hospital and given pitocin.  I slowly progressed over 13 hours and then pushed for 2.5 hours.  The on-call OBGYN came in to evaluate and said that I was at about 9.5cm and not completely dilated.  He considered it a failure to progress.  C was stuck.  He ordered an emergency cesarean.

Then they capped off my epidural to prepare to move me to the operating room.

The epidural wore off well before I was moved to the OR.  I was literally blinded by the pain.  Nurses came and went, someone poked me with a needle, someone shaved whatever I hadn’t had the ability to see at 40+ weeks pregnant, consent forms were shoved at me and somehow, between the screams and inability to see, I signed them.  I yelled out in pain, over and over again.  Nurses reassured me that we were moving to the OR.  Hang in there.  Don’t push.  Ok, maybe you can push if you need to.  You’re okay.  More screaming.  So much pain.  Do I push or not?  They brought Hubster two shirt scrubs, no pants.  He asked for pants.

Finally, I was wheeled to the OR.  They hooked me up to another epidural.  Only one side of my body went numb.  Oh my dear Lord, I’m going to feel everything on the other side.  They strapped me down.  They tipped me on the table to help get the medicine to the other side.  I thought I was going to fall off the table.  They put the curtain up.

Finally, I was numb.

So cold, shivering.  Shaking.  Could barely keep my eyes open or focus on anything anymore, my vision blurred from exhaustion and pain.  Hubster appeared next to me.  I could not stop shaking.

Beeping monitors, machines, voices of busy nurses and doctors.  So many nurses and doctors.  I was completely exposed on the table, having my insides cut open.  You’re going to feel some pressure.  They pulled and prodded at my insides to get C out.

Ouch, so much pressure.  The vaginal canal is definitely one place that the epidural did not reach.

C cried.  Congratulations!  You have a baby boy!

He aspirated meconium in the womb.  A flurry of activity.  They show him to me briefly, but I can’t focus my eyes on him.  All that, and all I could make out with my blurry vision was the outline of my child.  I noticed his cone-shaped head from being stuck in the birth canal.

They whisked him off to the NICU.  Hubster went with him.

It’s so cold.  I feel pressure.  They’re cleaning out my womb.  Stitching up my broken body.  I’m being wheeled to recovery.

My medicine is wearing off again.

I need pain medication.  Where is some pain medication?  I feel everything.  It’s okay, we’re ordering some morphine for you.  The nurse is on the phone trying to get me morphine.  They’re not bringing it.  I feel everything.  How is it so difficult to get morphine in a hospital next to the L&D OR?!

It hurts.  Oh God, it hurts.

An excruciating hour later, I get my morphine.  Hubster wheels C into the room and they place him on my chest.  I finally get to see my boy.  I wish I could hold him.  I’m so sad that I can’t hold my child, but I have to lie there.

The rest of our hospital stay is kind of a blur.  It was less eventful, less traumatic.  Looking back on my experience, I don’t have complaints about the care I received.  The nurses were fantastic; the doctor was an excellent surgeon.  Despite the trauma, postpartum depression and anxiety, my body healed well.

They should have handled my medication better.

After my surgery, the doctor that performed the cesarean told me that it was absolutely necessary.  He discovered that my pelvis was too small for my child to fit through.  Even if I had dilated that last half centimeter.  Even if I had pushed for another hour.  It never would have happened.

I will never be able to birth a child without medical intervention.  The feelings of inadequacy nag me.  I think that is where the jealousy and envy stems from whenever a friend or family member births a child.  I think there is this deep-rooted culture that being able to have a vaginal birth, particularly without drugs, makes you some kind of super mother, able to perform the task that your body was designed to do.

I don’t know why that culture has influenced me to make me feel inadequate.  It’s a constant struggle to believe what I know to be true.  That is, if it weren’t for modern medicine, my son and I would not be here.  That’s a powerful thought.  My physical scar is a battle scar, but it is also a testament to the love I have for my child.  I do not love him any less, nor am I any less of a mother, because he entered this world via cesarean.  I am a mother.  I love my child.  I would do anything for him, and did.  I, too, am a warrior mom.

I’m linking up today with Pour Your Heart Out Wednesday via Things I Can’t Say and Be Enough Me via Just Be Enough.


Comments

  1. Oh mama. So much of this was familiar to me. Some lines felt like I wrote them myself. You are enough. You are a warrior mama. I hope you believe that. I write it out once too and it made a world of difference for me. I hope it does that for you.((hugs)). Thank you for sharing this.

  2. You can be proud that you gave birth to a such a handsome and loving little boy. It doesn’t matter whether you give birth vaginally or through c-section. I don’t think there are many people out there that would rate the method in which you gave birth. Many women are in your same situation and many even choose to have c-sections rather than go through vaginal deliveries for ease of their schedules. Every time I think (and read) about what you went through, it makes me tear up. The mama bear in me wanted to be able to protect you from pain. I am so very proud of the Mom you have become. Little “C” loves you and his Dada so very much and wants to spend every minute with you. With all the love, hugs and kisses he showers you with should tell you how loving of a Mom you are to him. Keep up the good work Mama and be proud of those battle scars. You have nothing to feel bad about but only feel the love shared between you and your sweet little boy! ;)

  3. The birth of my first child was very similar to your experience (except my pain was managed better). Same reason for the c-section too (and the reason my two daughters were also born via c-sec).
    You spend 9 months anticipating that moment when you push the baby out, and then you are robbed of that experience. I wish there were a way to better prepare for that scenario. And I hate that attitude some women have that if you don’t squat in a field, give birth, and go back to picking corn, you are somehow inadequate. In this day and age, I am just thankful for the ability of the doctors to intervene and bring our babies into the world safely!

    • “And I hate that attitude some women have that if you don’t squat in a field, give birth, and go back to picking corn, you are somehow inadequate.”

      EXACTLY! I don’t understand it, and I don’t understand why it influences me because it clearly shouldn’t! We’re mothers, no matter if we gave birth in a field or on an OR table.

      Thank you. :)

  4. Thank you for pouring your heart out about this experience and all of the emotions that went with the traumatic event of C’s birth. You are a warrior mom. You are strong and brave and amazing.

  5. Oh girl. Remember that the most important thing is that you were able to have a baby. Period.

    Not the actual process.

    I don’t understand where the idea that a vaginal, no drugs birth is the best thing. I had one of those out of my three(my first came fast and I didn’t have any other choice) and I can tell you truthfully that I did NOT choose that route for my other two!

  6. I honestly could not read every word, b/c the anxiety I get just reading about your experience reminds me of my own very difficult delivery with my second child. Also an emergency C, and oh, girl! I can relate! But, you’re right thank God we are safe and so are our babies. I’ll take the pain (I STILL HAVE 7 YEARS LATER), all the scar tissue, and twenty trips to the potty a day b.c my uterus sits ON TOP of my bladder thanks to scar tissue, and I would do it all again! He’s too cool to not be glad I went through such a nightmare to bring him into the world.

    Way to go for being a warrior!! You should feel stronger that you were able to do this, and not the average delivery. Stopped by from Shell’s place.

  7. Good gracious! You ARE a warrior mom and a darned good one! You have a healthy child, which is the most important part of all of this. Try not to think too much about the rest – you survived an amazing ordeal!

  8. Although I didn’t have this type of experience I get a lot of what you are saying. I have the envy & jealousy for different reasons & as happy as I am for others, I do wish things could be different for me too.
    I don’t think you are inadequate at all, you are a warrior mom :)

  9. No matter what some may say, there is no “right” way to have a baby. You made it through the (albeit difficult) process and you now have the amazing result. You done good. Don’t’ let anyone take that from you. Enjoy your little one. Cheers to you!

  10. Maybe I read too many novels, but the first thing I thought was “Thank god you were alive today and not 100 or 200 years ago. You and your baby would most likely have died!” I think you are right that a healthy baby is the outcome that matters and delivery method should not make you feel inadequate. Hopefully your feelings of will ease up in the years to come, because it is SO easy to tell yourself that you did the only thing you could do, but it is NOT so easy to make yourself believe it deep down.

  11. That sounds horrific! I actually just posted about this sort of thing – how the medical establishment seems to take over and take this process out of our hands. I think it’s unnecessary. (And interestingly, I was just reading – In Birthing From Within, I think) about how the whole “your pelvis is too small” thing is maybe not necessarily 100% accurate.

    Sorry, don’t mean to make you question your experience more. Just that I think we all need to know our options so that, whatever happens, we can feel as though we at least had some control over it.

Trackbacks

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  3. […] and I don’t have to try and push another kid out of me.  That didn’t go so well last time. […]

  4. […] to see their babies faces as they were born.  As many of you know, that’s an experience I’ll never have.  Apparently I’m really sensitive about it these days.  Also nearly cried at church […]

  5. […] that I’m not concerned about this one. My birth with C was quite traumatic and resulted in an emergency c-section. I expected to be a bundle of nerves for any future birth […]

  6. […] started prepping me for my c-section at midnight. I started to get a little nervous, remembering my terrible experience last time. They reassured me of some things, like that they wouldn’t put in my catheter until […]

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