I was pregnant with my first child. I assumed everything would go well because I had no complications during my pregnancy. I didn’t bother paying any attention to C- section part during my birthing class and focused only on natural birthing tips and tricks.
On my due date, everything was going normal and well. I started to feel contractions by 5pm that evening. I visited my doctor and was admitted to the hospital. By 7pm, a routine doctor came to visit me and checked my vitals and said everything is under control. I relaxed but my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart. She said you can call any relative but the delivery will happen the next day. My gynae entered my ward the next moment to check. She checked the monitor and to my surprise suddenly, she broke my water! It was so sudden that I felt like all hell broke on me. She checked the monitor again and felt that baby heart rate was dropping. She immediately told us that c- section would be the best route to take as baby was in posterior position and heart beat was also dropping. I was terrified and baffled for few minutes .But I calmed myself down for the safety of my baby. My mind was loaded with so many negative thoughts as they wheeled me to the Operation theatre (OR). Once you are in the OR, everything goes superfast. They gave me anesthesia on my spinal cord. I was following every instruction. I didn’t feel any sensation but was wide awake and alert throughout the surgery. I just focused on listening to that little baby cry!
Finally, it happened. I was kept in the recovery room for about one hour immediately after the delivery and then shifted to another room. Unfortunately, I wasn’t given my baby to hold in my arms, see or feed her immediately. Her crib was next to my bed and the nurses fed her formula milk without my consent. I was furious and wanted to yell but was under so many anesthesia that I cried silently instead.
On the second day, the nurses asked me to walk. I couldn’t sit or stand. That’s when I realized that this recovery was going to be pretty difficult. I felt like my body had failed me.
My husband and my mom were my support system. They took so much care of me and my baby for the next few days to stop me from lifting, putting down, or bending over. I know I am fortunate and grateful that my child was born healthy, but having a C-section was not my plan. I stayed in guilt and remorse for so many months. The birth of my daughter taught me some lessons, some of them are:
Educate yourself: You should be aware of the circumstances that can lead to a C-section. In my case I was unprepared, lost and clueless. Talk to your doctor to about what will happen in the delivery room to feel prepared though it is not easy to anticipate. Remember you are not alone. There are others going through unexpected deliveries too.
Focus on the bonding time: it’s ok to feel miserable about missing immediate skin-to-skin contact with your baby or the chance to initiate breastfeeding. Though the studies have proved that first hour is very critical for babies. I know the health care providers in India don’t consider that. Converse with them in advance and in case it’s not possible don’t beat yourself up. You will have plenty of opportunities to bond with your baby later. Even breastfeeding will take practice.
Quit pretending that you are okay: You must ask for help. Share your feelings with your close friends. Consult with your doctor if have any signs of postpartum depression (which can be like mood swings, loss of appetite or any negative thoughts)
C section is a Major surgery: Caring for your incision after a C-section is serious task. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your baby. It will be easier to recover if you focus more on moving rather than sitting. It is very important to take more liquids in your diet. Take it easy and avoid lifting heavier things. Recovery can take 2 days to 2 months depending on your body’s ability. Don’t compare with others.
VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean birth) is quite possible: It is a myth that once a c- section is always a C-section. Listen to your body and prepare yourself for a second birth after a C-section so you able to make the right choices for yourself.
Remember a C-section does not mean you did something wrong. It is a modern medical miracle doctors are able to provide, in order to ensure the best survival for you and your baby. Giving birth is about letting go of your control. Remind yourself how fortunate you are that you and your child are alive and well. Be kind to your body and have gratitude for what your body is capable of. Your birth experience is unique and an extraordinary rite of passage into motherhood.
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