April is C-Section Awareness Month

I always said I would be happy however my baby came into this world and that our safety was all that mattered. I really thought this until about 32 weeks when I was told my baby was breech and I would likely need a C-section. I guess in my subconscious mind I always had imagined a natural birth and hadn’t actually really accepted another option. I really dove into some mindset work and shifts during the last few weeks of my pregnancy and accepted it to be what it was and it was perfect. We had scheduled an ECV at 37 weeks to see if we could externally rotate the baby and was told to come prepared in case anything went wrong. I knew that was the day we would welcome my son into the world, and I was right. A mother’s intuition is always right. My C-section wasn’t glamorous (but hey, neither is a vaginal birth!), it was perfect. I didn’t even really experience labour, and from what I hear, I am not really missing anything. I will even opt to have a C section next time around. It is funny how much can change when we truly let go of control and just know that everything is perfect and working for us. 

  • K, mom of 1

Where the story begins.

I had been having contractions after a stretch & sweep which happened on Tuesday. The contractions were irregular and hard to time. By Thursday evening I called my midwife as the contractions were becoming quite intense. We met the midwife at the hospital around 6pm. They right away started checking to see how far dilated I was (3cm) and how I was progressing. At this point in time, the babies heart rate dropped dramatically, so the midwife checked to make sure the cord was not wrapped around the babies’ neck. Everything seemed fine after this, the babies heart rate went back to normal, but we had to monitor it up until I was ready to deliver just to make sure. The midwife told me at that point that if the babies’ heart rate dropped, we would immediately go into a c section. Thankfully, the heart rate stayed normal after this. We moved into the labour and delivery room and after a few hours of nothing happening they decided to induce me. Once induced the contractions came quick and were intense, by 11pm I made the decision to get an epidural. I still had energy at this point to continue through the contractions without an epidural, but this being my first labour, I knew it could potentially take a long time and I wanted to conserve energy for pushing. The epidural was pure bliss, I could sit back and relax, and it was the best decision I made! By 2am I was 9cm and starting to feel the contractions again, the epidural was quickly wearing off. By 4am it was time to start pushing, the doctor, midwives, and nurses came in and my husband stood beside me helping count and reminding me to breathe. At this point I had energy was cracking jokes and feeling like I could conquer the world. Shortly before 6am, we realized the babies head was stuck. So, the doctor moved forward with using a vacuum (suction cup) to try get the baby out. I pushed and the doctor pulled, but the baby’s head was still stuck. At this point in time, I was exhausted, having contractions on top of contractions and feeling completely drained. They started getting ready for the emergency c – section. Those 10 minutes of prep before bringing me into the operating room, felt like forever, I went from being calm and collected to yelling in intense pain. They transferred me onto a new bed (so painful during contractions) then they brought me into the operating room, once again moved me onto another bed and sat me up and gave me a complete freezing. At this point in time, I had lost my voice from yelling and felt like a limp vegetable, unable to move or even hold myself up. As soon as the freezing kicked in, all the pain stopped and as they started the c-section, I was ready to fall asleep. In the moment there were so many doctors and nurses that I didn’t know who was around me, except for my husband. I started to feel nauseated, so they decreased some of the pain medication. And at 6:57 our beautiful daughter came out, making lots of noise. It was the most amazing moment. My husband brought her over for me to see and then they took her out of the room with him and finished stitching me up. After we moved to the recovery room, reality started to sink in, I was still in lots of pain unable to move and shaking lots. We went up to our room and got settled. I had my catheter removed by midafternoon, and by the evening with the help of the nurse I ever so slowly was able to move to the bathroom. One thing I learned about c section babies is how much they can choke as they have lots of fluids left in their lungs. We had a few scary moments rushing to pick up our daughter from the bassinet to help her. On Saturday afternoon I was able to shower and get changed, at this point I was still on morphine for the pain. Sunday morning came and I was able to go for a very short slow walk down the hallway. And by Sunday afternoon we were released. Once at home I continued to take Tylenol and Advil every few hours for the pain. My scar was healing nicely, I wanted to go for walks and get up moving but when I did start doing just a little bit, I realized the mistake I made and would be in pain again. After all my body just went through major surgery and needs time to heal. By the 3rd week I was doing great, moving, and feeling wonderful. But one night I got up to feed my daughter and was in intense pain by my incision, to the point that I was almost unable to walk. We rushed into emerge and ran tests, blood work, and ultrasounds. I turns out I had seroma (a fluid build up under the incision) and a infection. I went on antibiotics and after a few days started to feel much better! By week 6 I was feeling much more like myself, was going for walks and was no longer talking anything as all the pain had completely gone away. I now have a scar, a remembrance of bringing our beautiful daughter into the world. C sections present their own challenges, but regardless of how you deliver your baby, its all worth it. Women are warriors and delivering a child can be hard in the moment but all worth it in the end. 

  • M, mom of 1

Even though my plans were to have a vaginal birth with epidural with my midwiife, we had to act quickly at the hopsital because the cord was wrapped around baby. The doctors took me straight to an emergency c-section room and my baby was born. The first few days really hurt, from laughing, sneezing, coughing, post-birth contractions (yes they are REAL)! By day 5 I was doing so much better and actually in the studio photographing my very own baby! If I could go back in time, I would choose a c-section over a vaginal birth any day. Small price to pay, and my lady parts stayed in place! Here’s to all c-section mamas!

  • J, mom of 1 

I’ve had three c-sections. The first one was unplanned, and the other two were planned. First one: I was 10 days overdue, so they tried a few stretch and sweeps. That didn’t work, so they used the gel and that started up my labour. I got the gel at 10:30 am, and got sent home after that. 

I started to have contractions, and by 5 or 6 we decided to head back to Mac to see if I was dilating. (I have a high pain tolerance, so I wasn’t sure if I was actually in labour or was dilating.) Who knows with their first. 

When I got to the hospital, I was around 5 cm dilated, so I decided to walk the halls to keep my labour going, but by 10 that night I was exhausted and had only dilated 2-3 more cm. I then asked for an epidural, and was on that until 8:30 the next morning. I had dilated to 9 cm during the night, but never got past that point.

That morning, they decided that I would have a c-section. I’m pretty sure my water had already broken. They decided not to give me a spinal and to increase my epidural meds. That was a big mistake as I felt a lot of pulling, and an insane amount of pressure and pain.  Once they took him out and showed him to me, they put me out because I was overwhelmed and in a lot of pain. I woke up in a recovery room with my husband and babe by my side. All was well with the baby, and I was still quite frozen so I wasn’t feeling much pain. I was so happy he was out.

Me being the extrovert, social butterfly, invited way too many people to the hospital, and I didn’t get enough rest the three nights I was there. When we got home, a whole new overwhelm came over us; I didn’t slow down, I invited everyone over to see out baby and that was a huge mistake. I didn’t rest enough and my scar took a long time to heal. I wore maternity pants for so long afterwards because of the pain. 

Two years later, I was due with my second. It was a scheduled section, and what a world of difference. I showed up, they hooked me up to an IV, gave me a spinal and my second baby was born. I was very anxious during the procedure, but could feel NO pain, only the occasional pull or bit of pressure. I learned after my first to take it easy once we got home; sleep with the baby slept and ask for help. My two-year-old went to family for 3 weeks, and what a difference that made. 

I did the same with my third section, and I promise that taking it easy that first 3-4 weeks (eat, sleep, feed your baby) will make all the difference. 

  • N, mom of 5

So I just had a c-section 7 weeks ago with my little guy. He’s #5 and I’ve previously had 4 vaginal deliveries and his was an emergency c-section. I was induced originally at 37wks 6 days because he was breech and I have high blood pressure/preeclampsia with my pregnancies. He went into distress while I was in labour so my OB made the call to do the c-section. We had talked about this being a possibility because he was breech. One thing that I didn’t know or wouldn’t have thought to ask was; what do you actually feel during a c-section? I had heard you feel pressure and tugging but it was a lot more than I expected. I’ve had previous epidurals that have not worked so I panicked thinking I wasn’t frozen! You can feel them cutting and moving things around with some stinging but it’s uncomfortable, not painful. Other than that, everything went smoothly. My milk did take longer to come in and he also had high bilirubin levels.

My recovery was a lot longer and I was moving quite slow for the first 2 weeks. I didn’t lift anything heavier than J for the first 2 weeks, and around week 3 started carrying the car seat for short distances. My pain was the worst for those first 2 weeks and then got a lot better. It’s also normal that you can have bleeding from the incision weeks after. I had it happen around 2 and 5 weeks, it’s just from pockets of blood but as long as it stops it is not a problem. I’m at week 7 now; it is still tender and I don’t have any feeling right above the incision but I got the all clear this morning and everything looked good!

  • B, mom of 5

When I had my son in 2017 his heart rate wasn’t handling labour well at the time we didn’t know why) and the doctor recommended a c-section, but let my husband and I chat about it to make sure that was the decision we wanted to make. He gave us our time and in the end, we chose c-section. It turned out to be better for baby because the cord was around his neck and he came out with no stress to start his life. Recovery was a little slow; I was so scared of anything and everything to do with my section. I didn’t want to leave the bed. But my husband kept me moving (slowly of course) and it was the best thing for me and my section. One big thing is to go for little slow walks each day just to keep your body moving.

Fast forward to 2019 I was pregnant again and was diagnosed with Gestational diabetes, but was still hoping that I could try for a VBAC. But, with the way baby was measuring, my doctor said he would recommend another c-section. In my case I really trust my doctor and said ok let’s do it. 

I really liked knowing when the baby was coming and I was ready with someone to watch my son.
The after math of my second section was like night and day compare to the first. I was up and moving as soon as I had feeling in my legs. And better mood overall. It’s hard to explain sometimes. Having good doctors and nurses really helped me as well. I was able to nurse right away which really made me happy.

I did end up with a small infection the second time around but I got it looked at right away and it was healed up in no time. Just remember know your own body and take your time ask for help and enjoy your new baby.

I will be having my 3rd c-section come July 2021

  • S, mom of 2

I had my c-sections 20 months apart, I was hoping for an induction v-bac(as was my doctor) , but I just didn’t get there. Both were so different. My first I felt amazing and had barely any pain and was walking around town and going to Christmas dinners/parties 4 days after. My second it took weeks to feel like I could move without pain…my pain meds weren’t working so I was feeling everything. My biggest advice would be to ask your doctor to make your c-section as personal as possible. Both times they wrapped the baby up and put him on my chest right away. The second they showed me the baby first before even wrapping him up, it made it more personal and I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything!

  • B, mom of 2

I’ve had 2 c sections… one I knew about and one as an emergency. 

The first c section was for a twin pregnancy… my first pregnancy – talk about being thrown into motherhood! Baby a was completely breech and baby b was transverse. So, between the two of them there was no room to switch anything around. I went into labor and got checked out at the hospital, was checked to see if I was dilated and sure enough, I was 9cm and was in an or within an hour of being admitted. I remember being so cold and alone as they wheeled me in the OR. My husband wasn’t allowed to be in the room for the epidural, they call him in when you’re all ready to go. Epidural went great, babies came out with no difficulty. Stitched me up and I was wheeled into recovery. I really pushed myself to get up and walk around after… I was kinda forced to as the babies were in the NICU and I needed to go see them. I think the movement and walking around helped so much.

Fast forward 1 year we found out we were pregnant again! I was so excited to try for a VBAC this time and planned to do it at home (was delivering during COVID and was not going to the hospital if I didn’t have to) 9 months later we were ready to have this baby at home. I had the birthing pool, all the home supplies everything ready to go! A couple days before baby was born, I had some serious cramps and swore my water broke. I called the midwives and they said no you’re all good still. A couple days went by and something in me said we need to go to the hospital now. I followed my instincts and went in to get checked out. Sure enough, my water had broken, we did some tests and it showed that the amniotic fluid was extremely low and was once again rushed in to the OR. I was expecting everything to go the same as last time… smoothly. But was I so so wrong!

During the epidural procedure we had difficulty getting it in. As they kept trying my blood pressure dropped so low; we were close to just putting me under general. I refused and said they needed to try one more time with a different anesthesiologist. They did and sure enough the finally got it. It took forever to get baby out, pulling and pushing, me crying hysterically, shaking so bad, all while my husband was trying to calm me down. Finally got baby out, and actually took the cysts out from the last c section and stitched me back up. Was wheeled into recovery and as soon as I could walk I was and it felt great on my incision.

24hrs after baby was born, I was starting with some serious headaches. They sent me home (COVID protocol) and I couldn’t even move. My headaches were so bad, it felt like my head was going to explode every time I moved. We went back to emergency and was told I was have spinal headaches because of my epidural procedure. It finally went away a week later and was able to function and grow a bond with our beautiful baby. Fast forward 6months and my scar is awesome! I have no pain, next to no numbing.

I think what I was like people to know about c sections is just that in no way is this the easier way. Our bodies were built to have natural births and when we are told we need a c sections it’s hard on our emotions… at least mine. I felt like I was failing as a woman because I couldn’t do natural. C sections are hard, painful, and are often mistaken as just a procedure but it’s a major abdominal surgery!! And we are sent home a day later with an incision, trauma from birth, and a newborn.

If you have had a c section or are planning on having one, I really encourage walking as soon as you can!! It’ll be horrible, and painful and you won’t want to but do it!

C- section moms are just a different type of hero.

  • C, mom of 3 

So, my story is a bit different. I was diagnosed with vasa previa. I was hospitalized at 32 weeks at mac and had to have a scheduled c-section at 35 weeks. Was super stressful, especially with it being first baby. The surgery is pretty scary because you’re awake while they cut you open. I also felt very disconnected from the birth, like the baby they held up could have been anyone’s. Luckily baby was breathing ok so my husband got to cut the cord and we got to take a few pictures, but I only saw him for a few min in recovery and didn’t see him again for 9 hrs. Really impacted the bonding process. C-sections are hard and we’re no less tough than the moms who have unmedicated vaginal births!

  • N, mom of 2

So my experience was really good actually. 

I had preeclampsia and had to be hospitalized, I was in the hospital for 12 days before I delivered. I was 32.5 weeks, so my body wouldn’t have reacted well to being induced. The Doctor was concerned that it would end up in an emergency c section if we went that route so I opted for a less emergency c section.. I wasn’t given a lot of time to decide, which ended up being for the better in my opinion.  

The anesthesiologist and all the nurses & ob made me feel so comfortable, that I was in good hands. 

I was terrified for the spinal tap, and I think I’d be terrified again if I go through that again but once it was done I was good. 

I remember the anesthesiologist talking to T & I about camping when they were doing the c section which was good too. 

A few minutes later G was born and she was so tiny, but screaming! She just had to stay in the NICU until she gained some weight and could eat on her own. 

I also remember hearing them count the items they were removing from inside me. So many layers of gauze, tools, etc. That was a little bit uncomfortable to hear. 

My advice for someone going into a c-section would be :
– get up as soon as possible 
-I remember getting a lot of gas post surgery and rolling onto your left side helps that to pass! TMI tip haha. 
-Have a shower as soon as you’re allowed. The sooner you feel like a human the sooner you can get your brain wrapped around recovery  
– once everything is healed up, go to a massage therapist and have your scar massaged

This isn’t a real c section thing, but more of a preemie/NICU baby thing. More than likely, you’re going to have to leave the hospital before your baby. And I would have liked to be better prepared for that. 
I had a total panic attack the night I had to walk out of the hospital without my baby. 

J, mom of 1

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