Coming to grips with a cesarean (Colleen)

I found this website before I ever even got pregnant, and I have checked back on an almost daily basis ever since, to read new posts. I think the concept is fantastic, and have been waiting for months until I could do my own post. Now, at three weeks postpartum, I think I’ve waited long enough!

My pregnancy was planned, long-awaited, and relatively simple. I had horrible nausea that set in at 4 ½ weeks, but I never actually threw up. Aside from two bleeding scares (at 6 and 28 weeks), I had no complications up until the very end. I told my husband that I felt like I kind of missed the memo on being pregnant, because I didn’t experience the “normal” swelling, mood swings, elevated body temperature or extreme clumsiness that you always read about.

I have a long torso, so my belly never got really big. An early delivery and daily application of cocoa butter kept me from getting any stretch marks on my stomach, but I did get them all over my thighs, butt and lower back. For some reason that doesn’t bother me as much as the thought of having them on my stomach. They’re small, not very dark, and should fade well. I went from 142 pounds at my 8 week appointment to 176 the morning I delivered, and at 3 weeks postpartum I’m already down to 155—no complaints there. I have some flab on my belly (that I know I can get rid of once I’m allowed to exercise—I’m SO TIRED of being out of shape!), and I don’t know if my butt will ever fit into my old pants again, but again—that doesn’t really bother me. My pants didn’t fit all that well to begin with, so I’m okay with having to buy new ones. I went from a 32F pre-pregnancy to an unbelievable 34H with nursing, and I can already tell that my breasts will sag after I wean my daughter. My husband doesn’t seem to mind, he just enjoys the fact that they’re so big! I still have a great overall shape, and that’s what matters to me.

I was planning on a totally natural birth, partly because I’ve wanted to give birth ever since I was a little girl, and partly because I’m terrified of epidurals. At my 34 week appointment, my doctor discovered that my baby was breech. Two weeks later, an ultrasound not only confirmed the breech presentation, but showed that my amniotic fluid levels were “borderline”. Five “restful” days later, they had dropped to “low”, and I was put in the hospital so I could have IV fluids. Three days after that they hadn’t increased, and I had to have a C-section (epidural included) at 36 weeks and 6 days. I was devastated. I went from wanting the most natural birth possible to getting the most unnatural. Instead of being in the hospital for 2-3 days, I spent a whole week there, most of it very uncomfortably.

The first week or two postpartum were hard. I felt like I had failed. I somehow felt like less of a woman because I didn’t get to participate in the birth of my own child. I was not allowed to wait to go into labor because the fluid was too low, so I have a child and still have no idea what a contraction feels like. I feel like I got cheated out of an experience I’ve been waiting my whole life for. I wanted somebody or something to blame for the whole experience (most of my frustration got taken out on my job, which caused an inordinate amount of stress during the last few months. I don’t plan on returning to the same job). My biggest fear is that I won’t be able to have ANY of my children naturally now, just because the first one was a cesarean. And it seems like nobody really understands how I feel. Nobody can understand why I WANT to go through labor, and the response I always get is “well at least the baby is safe.” I don’t begrudge the fact that my daughter is here and healthy, but I can still lament the fact that she had to arrive in the way she did. I have yet to find anybody (other than my husband) that can appreciate that those are two different feelings. The reactions of others make me feel like I’m selfish for having wanted to be able to give birth on my own, like I was putting my own desires above the well-being of my child. I’ve come more to grips with the cesarean the more time has passed (I’ve stopped crying for hours at a time every time I think about it), but there’s still that lurking fear of a repeat, and the feeling that I missed out on something big.

The pictures are 9 weeks pregnant (the closest I have to pre-pregnancy), 36 weeks and two days pregnant (the last ones I took of my whole body before she was born), two weeks postpartum (I haven’t taken any new ones since then), and my beautiful little girl.

My age: 25 years old
Number of pregnancies and births: one
How far postpartum: 3 weeks

Updated here, here and here.

39 thoughts on “Coming to grips with a cesarean (Colleen)

  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 10:03 am

    You look great, you carried your pregnancy so well! I understand how you feel about missing out on the labor part, but every pregnancy is different and you can have a natural birth after c-section. You baby is beautiful, and you are recovering well!

  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Colleen, you may find people who understand your feelings at (link in the sidebar). You certainly aren’t alone. (((hugs)))

  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 11:48 am

    I totally understand where you are coming from, wanting to experience labor. I think its totally natural and healthy for a woman to want that! I was blessed with the ability to have a natural home labor and birth and I cherished it. If not being able to go natural next time is a concern of yours just use extra care in finding an OBGYN (thats what they are called, right? I had a lay midwife) and make sure they understand you want a VBAC… maybe even a homebirth? I’m always an advocate for those! =) I hope you enjoy being a mother as much as I have! They are such blessings!

  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    You should be proud of your body! You look great! I have similar stats. I’m tall and gained about the same as you, and looked pretty close to the same.
    I didn’t have a Csection but I totally understand your feelings about them and why you feel sort of cheated. I was able to have a natural birth, and would have been just as upset as you had I needed a csection. But VBAC’s are possible! And I pray you are able to have one!

  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I too always wanted to have a natural birth. I got pregnant with my son Connor when I was 19 (unplanned…but very welcome…greatest thing that ever happened to me!). I did not want any medication during my labor. I went to childbirth classes with my fiance (now husband) and never paid any attention to the cesarean part of it (why would I need to? I was going to have a natural vaginal delivery). At 37 weeks I went to the doctors to find out that I had been leaking amniotic fluid for 2 weeks…so he induced me then and there. I was being induced from Friday night to Sunday morning. Very bad contractions, just to get to 2 cm! I never got past that…then Connor’s heart rate started to drop, so they did an emergency cesarean. When he came out I was waiting to hear a cry…nothing. Then a very faint cry came from the other side of the room. They never showed my Connor…the first time I saw him was in the recovery room, and I saw a picture of him my fiance has just taken. He looked sick, was on oxygen, and they didn’t know what was wrong. I got to see him for about 30 minutes before Children’s Hospital came to take him to the neonatal ICU…I didn’t even get to hold him (not until he was almost 3 weeks old). To make a long story short, Connor spent his first month in the NICU…then was in and out of the hospital for 19 months, which was the age he was when he passed away (you can read my stories under child loss “2.5 months PP, second cesarean in 2.5 years”). I found out I was pregnant with my second child only 3 months after Connor passed away (also very unplanned, but welcome). I was seen by high risk doctors in Boston (even though I live in New Hampshire) throughout…I was hoping for natural birth this time around. I waited and waited for labor to start…did all of the tricks i could think of to get it going. I ended up having to have a cesarean because it got to the point that they were worried if I went into labor the commute from NH to Boston would be too far and i wouldn;t make it. So I went from wanting a natural birth both times to having an emergency cesarean with Connor, and scheduled cesarean with Liam. So, I know how you feel…but I never really got depressed about it…i was just happy Connor was alive…and with Liam I was happy he was healthy. Good luck with everything!

  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    You most emphatically did NOT fail!!! You faced a tough and crap set of circumstances with this pregnancy and birth and you made the best decision you could. And, no, a healthy baby is not always only what matters. You made a huge sacrifice to bring your baby into this world and that is a brave and admirable thing. Its doesn’t make you any less of a woman or a mother and wishing that things had happened a different way does NOT make you selfish. The great thing is, with the right provider (I think this is key) and a good support network, you can still have the natural birth that you want. It IS possible and I believe that you can do it:)

    I second, third, and fourth, Bonnie in her suggestion to visit the I-CAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) website. I also had a c-section, for a placental abruption, and felt like a failure for a long time. When I found that site is when the guilt, sorrow, and pain started to lift. They also have local chapters if you are in a bigger city. If not, I am part of the Atlanta Chapter and we have a very active message board and some great birth stories of both CS and VBAC.

    Oh, and you look great BTW:)

  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I feel EXACTLY the same way after having an emergency c-section. I still cry about it sometimes, thinking about what I missed and fearing that I’ll never have the ‘real’ experience of child-birth. I was knocked out because my spinal didn’t take fast enough, so I didn’t hear his first cry, or see him right after he came out, or see my husband look at him for the first time… Thanks for sharing :) hugs.

  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    My sister had a natural birth after c section in her mid 30s! It’s done all the time. I understand how you feel- and yeah, you did what you had to do and kept your baby safe, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to feel badly. You still did great though, c section or not. Chin up.

  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    I can understand why you want to go through labour. There’s something about it – particularly if you are a woman who loves the idea of natural birth – that feels like a rite of passage and a part of womanhood and motherhood. Well… it is and it isn’t. I haven’t had a c-section, only natural, so won’t preach to you. But I just want to send a hug and say that, delivery and all, you have just done one of the most womanly things in life – conceived and grown a child in your beautiful belly, a child who you now hold and nurse and nurture. Your journey was a little different, but it still counts and you a re a beautiful woman and mother and I am proud to be your sister.


  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Check out ICAN, the International Cesarean Awareness Network. You’ll find lots of like-minded section mamas, info on VBACs and how to prepare for one as well as help in researching providers and hospitals that are VBAC friendly. Hope it helps! And you look great!!

  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Don’t write off your hopes for natural birth forever! I had a C-section with my first and a glorious home VBAC 4 years later! Now I know why women do this! You can too. Big hugs to you. I second the recommendation to ICAN!

  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement everyone! Bonnie, I actually discovered ICAN (through SOAM!) shortly after I emailed my submission–it’s been very helpful.

  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Oh sweetheart, I want to cry for you reading this post. You have every right to feel cheated and to feel something was “lost” by not having had the natural birth you so wanted. Some people don’t understand why a Woman has such a deep need to birth her baby, but I definitely do. Yes a healthy baby is very important, and most important, but its the the ONLY thing that is important. You are a beautiful Mother and you will be able to support your baby in every way she needs. But don’t ever let anyone make you feel badly for feeling sadness about the birth you didn’t get, your feelings are real, and there is a real grieving you will need to do, and that is okay. Your chances of your next baby being a successful VBAC are great, just make sure you have the support team you need to make that happen. My recomendation above all else would be to find a loving supportive Midwife for your next birth, and your chances will be so much higher for a natural, and wonderful experience.

    I hope you find healing, and that you find a pride in what your body HAS done for you and your baby, and that you get the experience you dream of in the future!

  • Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 2:10 am

    I had a nightmare experience with a cesarean too… I also wanted and planned on a natural birth, also partially because I was more afraid of the epi! I did get to experience labor and I got to 8cm no problem, thinking to myself I can totally do this! This isn’t that bad! 6 hours later I was still at 8cm, after 28 hours of all natural labor they basically made me get the epi, I was for the first time in the 28 hours crying, I was devastated, but still never thought it would all end in a cesarean. Another hour passed and the Dr told be I was at 7.5cm! I was actually shrinking from swelling. He told me my only option was a cesarean. I was exhausted, shocked, devastated and terrified. They over drugged me so that during the cesarean I actually thought I was dying because I wasn’t breathing, I was trying to communicate that to the anesthesiologist, but I could hardly make a sound. He finally figured out what I was saying and told me, “oh, don’t worry, you’re breathing, you just can’t feel it” that didn’t totally convince me I wasn’t dying. They held my daughter up and I didn’t feel any joy, I still thought I was dying and that know one was realizing it, and all I could see was a blur! I could hardly even see her. I was in and out of consciousness for another 6 hours, they kept coming to see if I wanted to nurse her but I couldn’t even move my hands to hold her until at least 6 hours after the cesarean! That night I finally got a little more “with it” and could finally hold her, nurse her, and stare at her in awe.

    I had a hard time dealing with what I believed to be an “unessicarean” I was told she was tilted a little and so my labor didn’t progress… I 100% believe that someone should have caught that before I was “stuck” at 8 cm for 6 hours! Changing the position I was laboring in could have solved that problem without surgery! All and all it was a pretty traumatic experience, and I have felt a lot of what you are feeling, cheated out of the natural birth I had wanted and planed, cheated out of the first few moments and hours with my daughter, angry that things went the way they did, like a cheater or failure because I didn’t have a “real” birth, a feeling like I lost something, and now, while I plan on trying for a VBAC the next time around, I still have that fear that I’ll end up with another cesarean.

    You’re NOT alone! And it does get better, I’ve accepted things more now and think about it less often, I think talking about it helps.

    On the bright side, you DO look amazing!

  • Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Thanks for sharing your story – I’m at 36 weeks today and fearing the same thing. I spent 34 weeks planning on a total natural delivery and then two weeks ago my blood pressure shot up to threshold levels. An ultrasound last week spotted a slightly “abnormal umbilical artery”. I have a follow-up u/s tomorrow afternoon and I am so worried that things will be worse and they will take the baby out early, by induction or C-section or both.

    And of course – a healthy baby is most important. But like you, I was really looking forward to that whole birth thing.

  • Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 9:13 am

    sorry to read about your less than ideal birth, but it seems you had a smooth pregnancy other than that so you should be happy! plus you have a beautiful girl n your body looks amazing…. wow so natural & pretty, I hope I look that good! :D

  • Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    I think you need to allow yourself time to grieve for the labour/delivery that you didn’t experience. I had a neg. birth experience with my first child and I understand how you feel. I was fortunate to have the most amazing natural labour/delivery with my second. It changed the way I feel about my body. I hope that you will be able to experience it as well. Hugs.

  • Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Oh I know exactly how you are feeling!!

    I have 2 kids now. My daughter is almost 2yrs old, my son is 2 months old. I wanted to do everything natural and had my daughter at home. It was absolutely the most amazing experience of my life, so much so that I planned another home birth for my son.

    It didn’t work out that way. He was breech, like yours. I had low fluid levels, like you. And I was fully dilated for weeks already with no contractions. At 42 weeks (!!) I had a c-section. I was devestated and still wonder if I made the right decision.

    Yes, he’s healthy and alive and I CANNOT look back and wonder what if, because who knows if the what ifs could have turned out worse. I had to accept what happened, believe that it was meant to happen, and move forward.

    You CAN have babies naturally, ESPECIALLY if you contact a midwife who does VBAC and give birth in a birth center.

    If you want to talk to me more about this, please feel free to contact me!!

  • Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    You look wonderful mommy!!! Research VBACs (Vaginal birth after ceasarian). I totally understand wanting a more natural birthing experience. You look great and I hope to have a body like yours when I get pregnant. I have the same body type. How tall are you btw?
    Well congrats and your daughter is an angel! Too precious for words!

  • Friday, September 18, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Patty, I know that your comments are meant to be helpful and kind. BUT these are the exact kinds of comments that made me feel guilty and even worse after my CS. Telling a woman that is very likely to have post birth trauma or maybe even PPD “you should be happy” is actually very counter productive. You are either not a mother or have never been through a challenging birth situation. Invalidating someones feelings surrounding this type of event is insensitive and ignorant at best.

  • Friday, September 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    I understand the feeling. even though I did get to go into labor they said my babies heartrate dropped teally low so they did a csection. I also feel I was cheaed outta a natural birth. and feel I won’t be able to have a vaginal birth if I get pregnant agsin. I understand and to this ay I wanna cry. as far as ur body u r in way better shape then me

  • Friday, September 18, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Colleen, you look really lovely. I am so sad to hear that you did not have the birth experience you wanted – you do indeed have reason to grieve that. You can for sure attempt a VBAC especially given the reason for your C-section. Women do VBACs all the time. May I just suggest, though, that you attempt your lovely, natural birth in a hospital setting? Go with a midwife and doula, but please do it in a hospital. I am a maternity nurse and there are reasons for monitoring VBACs closely. I belong to a support group of women who have had hysterectomies due to severe PPH (had mine in 2008)and we all are very nervous about people having babies at home – even with fabulous, experienced midwives. Just something to consider. I know this response will not sit well with some, but I feel very strongly about this whole thing and wanted to get it off my chest. I hope to see you post again after you’ve had your natural birth! Take care and I hope you will heal very soon.

  • Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Samantha, I’m 5’8”.

    At my six week check up, I asked my OB what kind of internal incision I had, and she said it’s horizontal so I can “try next time if I want to” (duh!). I’m hoping that means she’s amenable to a VBAC because I really really like her. From everything I’ve read I’m a prime candidate for a VBAC, barring any unforseen complications–or another breech baby!

    And mamaoffour, it’ll probably make you happy to know that the idea of a home birth holds absolutely no appeal to me whatsoever. I like knowing that the hospital is there in case something goes wrong–and having people to take care of me for the next few days!

  • Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 8:21 am


    Don’t worry about the second time around. I had a (non-medicated) hospital VBAC (at 35) with a nurse/midwife. (I did have to have a hep-lock per hospital policy for VBACs- I thought it would bother me- and it was not even noticeable.) The hospital was VERY supportive of VBAC (telemetric monitoring, big tub for labor, birth balls, let me reject IV fluids and hydrate with beverages, etc.) The nurses were amazing.

    I had an 8lb. 4oz baby- posterior again- and it was fine. My midwife was wonderful- exactly the help I needed. This birth did alter my body in different ways than my c-section. I know now I would have been OK either way.

    My c-section was very traumatic (prepared for natural birth, in labor for days, posterior presentation, irregular pattern, etc.). I waited for years (I became pregnant with #2 when my son was 3) to really gave my scar (and mind) some healing time.

    Read, research your health care provider (my nurse/ midwives have a 75% plus VBAC rate), read your surgical report (know your scar and kind of sutures), trust your body, stay fit.

    Enjoy your baby! She is lovely. What a little peanut!

  • Monday, September 21, 2009 at 12:36 pm


    I have to disagree with you…I do not think Patty’s statement was rude at all…nor does it mean she doesn’t have children/a negative birth experience. I had a beyond bad birth experience with my son Connor (I posted my story above…the 5th comment)…but I never wined about it…I was more concerned with the health and happiness of Connor. Some people do not appreciate what they do have (a healthy, happy child) and they dwell on the bad…not a good way to live.

  • Monday, September 21, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    I had to have an emergency c-section too, and I feel your pain in every single word. It does get a little easier with time.

  • Monday, September 21, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Wow! Your body sure did bounce back FAST! By the time your body is done healing, you’ll probably look like you never had a baby. You have a beautiful body!

  • Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Shannon, I respectfully disagree. Dealing with your emotions and recovering from a traumatic and disappointing birth experience are very different from “dwelling” on anything.

    I have read your story and have heard about your struggle with losing your first child. That has to be the most horrible thing that a mother can go through. However, that is not to say that others do not have a right to mourn something that they felt they lost. It is not for you, or me, or anyone else to tell someone the they should “just be happy” about something they are grieving. In the same token, I would think it would be insensitive and ignorant (I didn’t say rude, different thing)for someone to say something like that to you about your loss.

    And by ignorant, I mean ignorant of stages of grieving and the psychology of loss. Most people need to acknowledge and process their feeling before they can let them go and acting like they don’t exist NEVER makes them go away.

  • Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Also wanted to add, that I do not think Colleen was whining as you seem to imply, just coming to a place where we should all feel comfortable expressing ourselves. Your experience probably makes you a little less sympathetic towards these types of posts, but I wouldn’t call it whining.

  • Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 4:57 am


    Unfortunately you are correct that I am less sympathetic about this…do I think it was not ideal that she had to have a cesarean…yes I do…but at the same time I think people need to be more thankful for things. I will never change my mind on that. Connor changed my life…he made me appreciate the little things, the little milestones, and he made me put life into perspective. I wish everyone had the chance to see life like this. If your child does not walk until 1.5 or older not to feel that they are “behind”, to appreciate when their child cries instead of getting angry (some people like me did not get to hear their child make a noise…from the trach), to just want a “happy child”, instead of saying a “healthy child”…these are just some of the things my son taught me. Sometimes children are smarter than adults!

  • Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Wow. I feel exactly the same way. I planned on an all natural birth, but my water broke before my labor started and they induced me immediately. I was only 1 cm dialated. I did end up getting to 10cm, but only after 30 hrs of labor and an injection of Nubain which the nurse practically forced on me after about 20 hrs. I think they just wanted me to go to sleep but it made me hallucinate. My daughter was face-first presentation and the doctor and a midwife (who just happened to come on her shift and decide to help me when she found out I was trying to do it naturally) did everything they could to get her to turn. I was in every position known to laboring woman! But finally after two hours of pushing a face-first baby who was not budging, I spiked a fever from uterine infection and they did an emergency c-section. At that point I knew that it was necessary, and I knew that we had to get her out. But the cold and detatched birth that I experienced with the section was nothing like what I had witnessed my mom do five times (I have five brothers and a couple whose births I witnessed). I saw her for a second and I know that she heard my voice because she stopped crying instantly. But they whisked her away and took my husband with them to clean her off as I lay shivering (from epidural, fever, or open abdomen I’m not sure) and crying with my arms outstretched on that awful table. Afterwards, they kept me for over an hour in a separate recovery room and would let no one in to see me. My mother had been there with me as well throughout the whole labor and they sent her HOME because it was past visiting hours before she even got to see my daughter. The birth of my first child was something that I wanted to share with mom as much as I wanted to share it with my husband and that was stolen as well. When I finally did get to see the baby she was unbelievably drugged up (probably still from the NUBAIN) as was I. I totally understand the feelings of being cheated, of being a failure, and of loss. I would not trade my daughter’s life for anything, but as a woman I feel like I missed out on the climax of the whole pregnancy. Its like an itch that I will never be able to scratch. I was verging on PPD for about a year after my daughter was born and I know that the csection and loss of that initial bonding experience have a great deal to do with my depression. And now I am 13wks preg. with my second. I am seeing a doc who is very open and supportive of VBAC so I am going to try. However, there is another OB in the area very opposed who is actively trying to change hospital policy so that VBAC is not allowed. As it stands, this is the only hospital in my area allowing them in the first place. Anyways, thanks for listening, thanks for sharing your story, and don’t ever let anyone make you feel like your thoughts and feelings about the birth are somehow silly or unwarranted. I know how you feel.

  • Friday, December 11, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Just another voice to tell you it’s ok to regret the c-section. I went through 24 hours of unmedicated labor, well after my water broke. I was at a natural birthing center, but after 4 hours of being dilated to 8 and having unbearable back-labor contrax, I asked to transfer to a hospital for an epidural. After the epidural, I finally finished dilating, but 2 hours of pushing didn’t budge my son, who was malpositioned. His heartrate was climbing and I had a fever, so the OB insisted the time had come for c-section. My awesome midwife who had come along actually agreed. At that moment, I was so dispirited — it was exactly what I didn’t want. And the baby was whisked right off to the NICU, so I didn’t get to touch or hold my baby until the next day. It is sad to feel that you missed out on the euphoria of birthing your baby naturally, as your body is designed to do, and missed out on the post-birth bonding. However, this is what made me feel better: My husband was adopted, and I know his mother could not love him more if she had given birth to him. My husband could not love our son more if he had pushed him out! Children really are a miracle no matter how they get to us. I hope you and I can have happy VBACs if we have more children, but I try to concentrate on the ways I’m already blessed.

    Your body looks fantastic, by the way! I am 8 months postpartum and still do not have your level of tone!

  • Monday, January 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I am so sorry for your experience that made you feel like you didn’t get to experience a real birth. I pray that you will get a natural birth the next time. ((Hugs))

  • Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    There are going to be a lot of jealous ladies on here looking at a post-partum body like yours! WOW!

  • Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 6:35 am

    I had an emergency c-section instead of my planned homebirth. My daughter had a severe case of meconium aspiration syndrome (she pooped in the womb and her heart rate was dropping). She was delivered via cesarean when I was over 9 cm dilated; it was that urgent. I also felt cheated. I was supposed to give birth naturally, at home. I felt these things even though she was sick and in the NICU for 18 days learning to breathe and eat. I think it is completely possible, fair, and normal to feel loss for your birth experience, worry for your child, and relief when they are well. Since she had such a rough start, I especially felt the pressure of “at least she’s healthy, that’s all that matters”. That’s a great way of making a new mom feel so selfish. I was not wishing for a good birth and a sick baby… I was wishing we could all go back in time and have the healthy birth and healthy baby the way they were supposed to happen; they way they had been imagined for months. I know that her health is the top priority, and this is the way it had to happen, but I still have a right to wish it all went better. I am so blessed to now have a happy and perfectly healthy one year old. Human beings are capable of feeling more than one emotion at a time. Luckily, I had my midwife to help me though it in the first few weeks, and I also did attend one ICAN meeting. You are allowed to mourn your birth. Best of luck to you in your emotional recovery.

  • Monday, May 3, 2010 at 10:51 am

    wow! I am SO glad I found this blog! I had no idea so many people had the same experience I did. My son was also breech, but I didn’t find out until almost 38 weeks, and a few days later when I went to the hospital to do a version, the ultrasound showed that there was almost no amniotic fluid left and not only could I not even attempt that version, it would be best if he came out by c-section that same day. It was the shock of my life!!! I had also wanted a natural birth, from ever since I could remember, since I was a little girl. And everything else in my pregnancy up until that point suggested that’s what I would be able to have, then in just those few hours all those hopes and dreams went away. I was so numb from all emotional, and physical, feeling. I had almost exactly the same thoughts as you in the first few weeks postpartum, and I also cried for hours and hours, but after a few more weeks I started to come to terms with it, and reading your next post about your scar also just helped me out a lot! Thanks for posting about your experience, I love knowing I’m not alone! (I just had my boy 9 weeks ago btw) and I am still hopeful for a VBAC in a few years from now!!

  • Friday, June 11, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    You look great – congratulations mama! My story is a little different because I can never even hope for a VBAC. I’m having a bit of a hard time dealing with it but I’m only 8 weeks PP so I hope it will get easier to accept. Here’s my story: 3 years infertility, spent everything we had on IVF – success! We wanted the most natural delivery possible. Planned homebirth, labored and pushed HARD for 2 1/2 hours with no progress, ambulance ride to the hospital for emergency c-section. I thought the baby was stuck b/c he was turned wrong (then there would have been hope for a future VBAC) but found out I have CPD (pelvic bones are too small) so I can never have a vaginal delivery. The c-section was rough on both of us. My son was really stuck and they wrestled him out (had a bruise on his face), I lost alot of blood and was severely dehydrated, he ended up with bad jaundice and had to stay in the hospital without us. It was all horribly unnatural – the exact opposite of my dream for a peaceful homebirth. I know I’m incredibly lucky for so many reasons but I can’t help but mourn the loss of my dream. I hope that you are blessed with another child and have the natural delivery you hoped for!

  • Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    My first was born by emergency c/s. I was also severely mournful that I could not experience a natural birth. I obsessed over it, like it was my fault and how could I have changed it in my favor. When I became pregnant again, I really wanted a VBAC. In my area, they are difficult to come by. But, I did it. I got my VBAC and the sadness and obsession with my c/s vanished. I hope that you will be able to get your VBAC for your peace of mind.

  • Friday, May 13, 2011 at 9:34 am

    I know it’s been a long time since you posted your story, but I feel so compelled to respond. My first was a c-section also, and I felt EXACTLY the same emotions as you have described. You are so NOT ALONE!!!! I also felt guilt about my feelings. But, that certainly did change with time. With my second, I got my VBAC and in an instant all those prior feelings vanished. Now, 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant with my third, I am hopeful that I might actually deliver again, but I am “O-K” if I need a c-section this time (even if not really happy with the idea). I hope you try for a vbac with your next one!!!!

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