I saw a post the other day that has gone viral about a mom who had to defend having an emergency cesarean birth and how it is not the ‘easy way out’ like a lot of people think. It really resonated with me because I have had people say that about having a c-section with Ryan. It is not the easy way out. In my opinion, it was worse. Much worse. And that’s even with it being my second child so knowing more what to expect when it comes to having a newborn.
I have had both a vaginal delivery and a cesarean, and trust me, neither of them are easy. They both have their benefits, sure, but I would NEVER choose a cesarean again if I had to. Of course, I’m done having babies, so I don’t have to worry about it, but when people ask (and they do), I will readily tell them that cesarean was so much harder.
It’s been over a year, and I still hate the fact that I had to have a cesarean with Ryan. Of course, I don’t regret it, that’s what got him and me through it safely, which is the most important part. But still, I cried. I cried when the doctor told me I needed a cesarean with him. I didn’t want it. I was ready for labor. I was ready for the pushing. I was not ready for major abdominal surgery.
And it really is major abdominal surgery. I have a scar that is about 3 inches wide from it. I still have numbness about an inch above and below the scar which I have been told at this point is probably permanent nerve damage, so I will never get that feeling back. It’s recommended to have 8 weeks of recovery for a cesarean, and it took me all of the 8 weeks, easily. We were living with my in-laws at the time, and our room was upstairs. I barely made it up the stairs the day we got home from the hospital, and didn’t come down for a week. Literally, an entire week that I could hardly move, and definitely couldn’t do the stairs. It took me a good few minutes to get up and down from bed or the couch.
I was miserable. I was given two prescriptions for ibuprofen and a codeine/acetaminophen combination, and if I missed one dosage during that time I paid for it dearly. Tyler was not even two yet and didn’t understand why mommy couldn’t pick him up, or even let him sit in my lap. If anything even touched near the incision site I would cry. I had three dresses I could wear that weren’t too tight, and I wore them day and night. Justin was doing laundry for me every other day, sometimes every day because, you know, newborn, spitup, messes.
Thankfully, my cesarean wasn’t completely an emergency, but it was urgent. I wasn’t feeling the baby (we didn’t know if we had a boy or girl, we were surprised) move as much as before, so asked some of my friends in my mom group for Tyler about it, and two midwives, from New Zealand and Australia, were quick to jump on the post and tell me to go to the hospital for monitoring. Decreased movements late in pregnancy is NOT NORMAL! As soon as they put me on the monitors, we could hear a dramatic decrease in fetal heart rate. The on-call doctor was called in, did an ultrasound, and said we need to do a cesarean now.
They started prepping me immediately, and I cried. I was so
scared terrified. I haven’t faced anything scarier in my life. Justin was amazing, right there with me the entire time, holding me, never letting me go. The nurses were also great, helping me through it all. I couldn’t have asked for a better anesthesiologist; he could tell I was so nervous and as soon as Ryan was delivered he added something to the IV to help me calm down.
Having said all this, of course, there are benefits to a cesarean birth compared to a vaginal birth. With a cesarean you don’t go through labor, which for some women can go on for days; you don’t have your entire female parts stretched to the limit, and sometimes beyond; I had less post-partum bleeding, though I don’t know if that’s because of a cesarean or just coincidence. On the other hand, there was something powerful in a vaginal birth, in knowing that I went through that, and I managed to come out the other side; even with having an episiotomy, my recovery still seemed easier and quicker; I was able to move around easier after the delivery. Don’t get me wrong, I still needed to take it easy for sure, but nothing like after the cesarean.
No matter what way you give birth, whether vaginal or cesarean, induced or naturally occurring, drug-free or with epidural, it doesn’t matter, you still gave birth. You still had a baby. You still did it. You are a warrior. You are amazing. You are a powerful woman.
My two births were extremely different. With Tyler I was induced for pre-eclampsia, ended up having an epidural, and had a natural delivery with an episiotomy. With Ryan I had an urgent cesarean, which also meant having a spinal block. Completely different, still gave birth. Still ended with me having a beautiful baby boy in my arms. Still got all of us through it safely.
This is the article I saw about the viral post from the other mother. Hers is a little more…. colorful language than I use, but still gets the point across. I posted this on my personal facebook page and got a few comments on it. One was from another mom in my June baby group, commenting on how scared they all were when I posted there about the decreased movements, heading to the hospital, and about to have an urgent c-section. I had another friend, who has had two c-sections, also comment “So scary. And it makes me sad that some people think its an easy way out. But I wear my scars with pride knowing what I went through for my boys.”
It doesn’t do any of us justice to compare birth stories, and who is ‘more of a woman’ because of the way we birthed our children. It’s not a competition. We are all women, we are all mothers, we are all wonderful, powerful, amazing mothers. We would do anything for our children, we would endure whatever we had to for our children, and would do it day in and day out. I was so upset, and still am a little, about having to have a cesarean with Ryan, but I wouldn’t even hesitate to do it again. The cord was around his ankle, so induction would have been dangerous. It was what was necessary to get us both through. My boys are everything to me, I am their mom, no matter how they were born.