It has recently come to my attention that April is National Cesarean Awareness Month. In the past I would not have paid a great deal of attention to that, but now that I am on the other side of one I want to talk about it.
My brother was born via C-Section when I was 7 so I’ve known what one was since an early age and I remember what my mom when through even once she got to go home from the hospital.
I am going to jump ahead and say that I had an amazing experience with my cesarean, with no complications at all and a fast recovery. I am so thankful for the way that everything turned out.
We had arranged for a photographer to capture the moments surrounding Olivia’s birth, but when the situation changed and surgery was required it meant that Clay was only person allowed anywhere near the action. He was amazing, he was right there beside me the entire time telling me what was going on as well as taking pictures as soon as she arrived. There is another photo that I wanted to share, but for the sake of modesty I chose this one. As you can see there is a large drape hanging over my stomach which of course made it impossible for me to see anything. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are some elements of the process that are probably better not seen by anyone but the medical staff, but for a Type-A personalty like myself that likes control it is a bit stressful to not be able to see your own body. My doctor, (who’s face I could only see the top of over the drape) would tell me step by step what she was doing, which was strange since I could not feel anything past the top of my waist. My arms were laying straight out to the side on little planks with all sorts of things going on, I had an IV and a blood pressure cuff, also my arms had straps on them to help them stay on the planks I suppose. I remember when a nurse first laid Olivia on my chest they had to unstrap my arm so I could secure her, but I was laying flat and could not hold her tight enough with just one arm bending back towards myself, so the nurse had to just sort of hold her there. This was my first time to “hold” my baby girl, but it was cut short because I started to feel nauseous and dizzy from some of the medication that came along with a cesarean, so they had to move her away and give me oxygen. Once my incision was closed, I was wheeled into recovery. I honestly can’t tell you how long I was in there because from one aspect it was an eternity because that measure of time was how long it was until I actually got to hold Olivia. On the other hand it wasn’t long at all because I was finally able to sleep. I was induced at 8 PM the night before and had attempted to have her naturally until 7 the next morning when my doctor decided on a C-Section. I was so fatigued that as soon as they got me into recovery and Clay let me know that everything was okay with Olivia I was out cold. I would wake up briefly to ask for another heated blanket (because I had never been that cold in my life) or when Clay would come in to check on me or show me a photo of the baby that he had just taken on his phone. He was torn between checking on me and Olivia, so he was dashing back and forth between our 2 rooms. Near the end of the recovery stretch when I started to get some feeling back almost my entire body was itching uncontrollably. I asked if there was anything that could help, but wouldn’t you know that the answer was Benadryl, but with a caution that if I took it it could interfere with breast milk production. So I declined and did my best to deal with it until all my feeling was back and it went away. I have since learned that the itching was most likely Pruritus and could have been helped with a medication in my IV. I will definitely be asking for that if there is a next time. Once I was able to leave recovery I was wheeled (still in the bed) into Olivia’s room in the NICU, it was barley big enough for my bed and her’s to fit and she was 1 of 2 babies sharing the room, at this point I was still not able to hold her because she had a lot of tubes and wires and whatnot coming from all parts of her body, because I am a T1 diabetic and she was 2 weeks early we had some hurdles that she had to overcome right off the bat. I was just so happy to see her alive, stable, and relatively healthy. Later that afternoon once I was able to stand up and get in a wheelchair I was finally able to hold her, with full use of both of my arms and it was the best moment of my life! For the next few days I was pushed back and forth from my room to the NICU until I was able to walk the hall on my own, we finally left the hospital after 2 weeks and the rest is history.
I have seen debates and rude comments on social media in regards to giving “real birth” and whether or not a cesarean is in fact giving birth. How ridiculous that women and other mothers at that, have anything negative to say about another mama bringing a baby into this world no matter the means of how it had to happen. I applaud every woman that has birthed her baby naturally with or without medication, I have not yet had that experience and I may never, but I can acknowledge and appreciate that it is the most painful, beautiful, and amazing experience that there is. No matter the means by which a sweet new life enters this world, for the mommy it is hard work, pain, perseverance, worry, stress, fatigue, and an experience that will forever alter her mind, body, and heart.
I had no intention of this post going in this direction but I also want to acknowledge the women that will unfortunately never experience birth in any way. 1 in 10 women cannot conceive and therefore will never have the opportunity to give birth. As of late this issue has really hit home with me (no, not personally, as far as I know Olivia will have the opportunity to have a sibling when we are ready). Everyday amazing children enter this world and sometimes the situations that they are born into are not good and that results in those children needing to be “birthed” into a new home, to parents that love them and will care for them just as if they were their own. The moms who “birth” these children into their homes and lives are amazing, they will never feel the pains of labor or know the struggles that go along with a cesarean, but they have felt an internal pain that is like no other. It is our natural, expected tendency to desire to birth children and they know all too well the sting of another negative test, another failed procedure, or another miscarriage. To all of the women (and men) who have felt these pains my heart breaks for you. I admire so much those of you that have adopted or fostered children who needed someone to step in when their own parents weren’t able, that act is the most selfless and it completely puts hands and feet to the portion of scripture where Jesus tell us to look after orphans and widows, even if a child has not lost their parents to death they are found to be a neglected dependent by a judge and that to me is just as bad if not worse.
This post ended up being much longer than I intended, thank you for reading. Fellow mamas, don’t forget that all means of birth are special and each comes with it’s own set of challenges.