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I’m Glad I Chose a Repeat C-Section

chose repeat c-section memphis moms blog sarah evans

The birth of my first daughter, Evie was… well let’s just say it did not go according to plan. I didn’t have a real birth plan, per se. I’m not a big fan of them, and I believe they set mothers up to feel like failures if the birth doesn’t go according to their wishes. I did have an idea of how I wanted things to progress, though. I wanted to go into labor on my own. I wanted to labor at home as long as possible. And I wanted to try to have a vaginal birth.

All of those things happened. I went into labor on my own. I labored for thirty-five hours out of the hospital without medication. I labored for eleven more hours at hospital under the blessed relief of an epidural. I pushed. I pushed some more. The only problem was that when I pushed, my daughter went further back up into my uterus. It was later determined that my pelvis was simply too small to fit the giant-headed babies that my husband and I produce, thanks to my giant-headed husband. After forty-six hours of labor, along with no sleep, one Chick-Fil-A meal eleven hours earlier, two crackers I made my husband sneak to me while in labor and delivery, and one emergency c-section the little nugget we had been dying to meet was born at 2:55 in morning. She was beautiful and perfect, except she wouldn’t cry. She was born in acute respiratory distress (IRDS2) and sent immediately to NICU.

I wasn’t allowed to see or touch my baby. I couldn’t touch my child that I had worked so hard to get in to this world–not until I walked. I set my eyes on that goal, and after two hours of sleep, I made the nurses pull the catheter and toddled to the bathroom. That earned me a wheelchair, and a ride to NICU. It was there amidst the hush of the NICU (a kind of quiet, rushing bustle that only NICU parents understand) that I met my daughter, the gorgeous girl who rocked my world in an instant.

It took me a long time to come to terms with the birth of my first daughter. I felt a lot of guilt. I blamed my inability to breastfeed on the exhaustion, the c-section, the stay in NICU. I resented the scar that was strung from hip to hip. I hated the way my nerves would zing when I would sneeze. Ultimately, it took working through severe PPD/A, and a lot of reflection to come to terms with her birth, and be at peace. I can now say I look back at the night she was born with a calm sense of content. It was hard, but it brought me one of my two brightest blessings, my oldest daughter.

In November of 2013 we were once again staring at two pink lines; another baby was on the way.

Soon after, I began discussions with my OB/GYN about pursuing a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) or a repeat c-section (RCS). Ultimately,  I (along with my husband) decided that a RCS would be the best course of action for the birth of our second child.

I had a lot of people question our decision. I had a lot of people tell me to educate myself. I had people quote statistics on “unnecesareans” to me. I was told to contact midwives, and doulas who would support me. Here’s the rub, though: I was educated. I had read the statistics. I had two separate doctors look at my charts from the night Evie was born, and the conclusion was that Western medicine likely saved both mine and my daughter’s lives that early morning in March. After many frank discussions with my OB/GYN I finally point blank asked her, “If you were me, what would you do?” She just said, “If you want to try for a VBAC, I’ll support you and do everything I can to help you get there. However, I’d schedule a RCS. In my opinion {given the fact that my second child’s head was already measuring on the high side of normal} I think you would end up in the same place.”

That was it. After talking it over with my husband it was decided: our second baby would be born on a set date in July.

I’d be absolutely lying if I told you I didn’t have a lot of anxiety leading up to that day. When Evie was born, there wasn’t time to think or process. It was just a sense of “right now, go go GO!

As chance would have it, I went into labor early in the morning of my scheduled RCS. My baby was ready. I was ready to meet my son or daughter. In triage, the nurse asked if I had any special requests for the birth. My only one was this: unless it is an emergency situation, do not take my baby away from me for any reason.

The spinal block was performed.

The incision was made.

My husband was at my head.

“One more tug and you’ll get to meet your baby!”

“Ok, Dad! It’s time to stand up!”

My baby screamed.

My husband stood up.

It’s a girl!

“A girl?” I sobbed through happy tears.

She was healthy and screaming like a banshee, our Emma. Then she was there, wrapped in the universal hospital blanket with a tiny hat on her head. I kissed her nose. My husband held her beside me for the remainder of the surgery. She rode with me to recovery and never left my sight. I was up and walking with only mild pain six hours later. She nursed. We snuggled.

It was peaceful.

It was perfect.

Given the chance to do it all over again, I would pick the RCS every time. I know my story is not universal. Childbirth is not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. It was the best thing for me, for my family and for the birth of my beautiful Emma. A RCS might not be the best fit for you. A VBAC might not be the best fit for someone else. The important thing is that you do what’s right for you–for you, my friends–not what is right for your best friend, your sister, or your grandmother’s best friend’s cousin’s girl, for you.

 

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One Response to I’m Glad I Chose a Repeat C-Section

  1. Karen April 19, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

    All the tears. Hoping for a repeat c-section just as beautiful and wonderful as yours in mid-October. High five to you mama for making, not the easy decision or the one that maybe you want, but the one that’s safest for your family.