1 Pregnancy:1 Child
My story begins nearly 5 years ago as my daughter will be 4 in august. I got pregnant when I was only 18. Although my now husband and I were only together about 6 months (together in person only about 1.5 months since he was in bootcamp). Long story short we have made an initial friendship blossom into a great marriage which of course takes work but I feel so fortunate to have beat all the odds that society places on young people and relationships. Fast foward I went into labor on a friday night thinking it was only braxton hicks. After 2 trips to the hospital I was sent home both times since I wasn’t dilated enough to be admitted (they wanted me 2.5 cm before admitted). On sunday morning around 2am we went back where we were finally told I could be admitted. At this point I had endured the pain for nearly 2 days and requested an epidural as well as they started pitocin since I wasn’t dilating that fast. During those wee hours of the morning I was checked on and off. First the baby’s heart rate was high so they broke my water in an effort to bring it down. After a couple hours of rechecking her heart rate began to drop and I had set up fever and they believed I was beginning to set up an infection. Around 7:15am I was told at that point there needed to be decisions made since I was still only about 5-6cm dilated. What choice did I have to help my baby? She was delivered at 7:53am by emergency c-section. My memory those first 2 days in the hospital are fuzzy because of the pain medication I was on which is something I feel very deprived of. Fast forward another 3 and a half years later and numerous talks with my doctor I am still left feeling like a complete failure. Nearly all of my friends had relatively easy labors considering the time frame and only one had a csection although she is not only diabetic but smoked through her pregnancy and had preclampsia. There were no indicators that this would happen to me. I am a very prepared person and was completely blindsided by having a c-section. My scarring on the outside is minimal and my selfesteem is the best since before I got pregnant but I still have feelings left that my body somehow has something wrong with it because it was incapable of doing something that women are designed to do. Now anytime a family member or friend has a baby I get feelings of resentment that I had to have a c-section and nearly no one that I know hasn’t. I wouldn’t wish a csection on anyone that’s not at all what I wish at all I just don’t know how to come to terms with these negative feelings……I am also left terrified of having another child as I absolutely do not want another c-section again.
Below is a picture of me 37 weeks pregnant and summer 2012 after losing nearly all my baby weight (finally! :D).
9 thoughts on “Emotional C-Section Scars (Anonymous)”
My story is similar – I had strong contractions overnight & no contractions during the day for three or four days. Went to the hospital and was induced, later got an epidural, dilation stopped at 9cms, baby’s heart rate dropped, and we decided to have a c-section. This was just about as different from what I was hoping for (home birth with a midwife), and it took me years to work through it. With my second baby, I was a lot more assertive during my prenatal care and built a good, trusting relationship with the OB & the midwife in her practice. Everyone was on board with a VBAC and supported me. My labor started on its own but progressed slowly. After 20 hours or so, I was only 4cms dilated and felt completely drained, so I got an epidural. I rested a bit, but didn’t really make much progress, so about 24 hours after labor had started, I decided to have another c-section.
I’m sad I didn’t have a natural birth. I’m sad that my body couldn’t do it. I’m jealous when people have uncomplicated births (I’m happy for them, obvs, but a teensy bit jealous, too.).
But the thing is, my body is still awesome. It does/did amazing things (like growing two human beings!), and I love it even though it’s not perfect. Everybody has areas of brokenness, and I try my best to accept mine as what they are and move on. You are not perfect, but you are good enough (and so is your body).
Your body did exactly what it was suppose to do. It created a life. It doesn’t matter if the baby came from a hole in your belly or a different hole. I too had an emergency c-section (i cried when I found out I needed one) and now prefer it. I didn’t tear down there or have to worry about pooping myself. There’s upsides to a c-section. Everybodys body is different and needing a little bit of help is nothing to be ashamed of. Mission accomplished if you ask me!
I am so sorry to hear about your birth aftermath! Have you heard of the organization ICAN? They are a support group for mothers looking for help dealing with emotional upheaval following cesarean. There are local chapter meetings and national conferences etc. It might be helpful to find other women who are having or have had similar experiences to yours. May you find comfort and healing and a renewed faith in your amazing body!
Oh sweetie. First I’m going to tell you to read my original post–or, more importantly, the comments other people made on it. Those comments got me through many dark days after my cesarean. It’s here: https://theshapeofamother.com/blog/coming-to-grips-with-a-cesarean-colleen/
I second the suggestion of ICAN. They have helped me so much!
And just because you had one cesarean, doesn’t mean you’ll have to have another. I never labored before my cesarean. My baby was breech and I had low fluid, so they just took her. My second baby was vertex, but my fluid dropped again, so they induced me. I had been at 1 cm for a month at that point. They put in a foley bulb and that put me to 3 in a few hours. The next morning they started pitocin around 9 a.m. At around 3:00 they stopped it to see if I would keep contracting–and I stopped completely. When they restarted it at 5:00, I was only 5 cm! (this was 8 hours in). At 7:00 the doctor checked me again…still 5. That’s when she discovered my baby was posterior. She manually turned her and I was at 10 cm within 2 hours. My daughter was born by VBAC an hour and a half after that. I guess my point is that fetal position matters! Vertex/breech isn’t the only important directon. My induction took soooo long because my posterior baby couldn’t fit into the pelvis to open my cervix.
The larger point, here, is that once a c-section, always a c-section is an outdated idea. There is no guarantee that the circumstances will repeat. You got sucked into a cascade of interventions that ultimately led to a cesarean. A different doctor or a midwife might’ve resulted in a different outcome. I spent 10 hours laboring with a posterior baby and who knows how long it would’ve gone on if that particular doctor hadn’t come on shift at that point (I later learned that that particular doctor has a special skill for turning posterior babies). Learn all that you can and you can vastly improve your chances of a VBAC. My favorite two books I read in preparation were “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” and “Birthing Normally After a Cesarean or Two”. A supportive doctor with a low cesarean rate and low rate of interventions–or even better, a midwife–is key.
Finally, don’t let anybody tell you that the baby is all that matters. You’ve been robbed of what was, to you, a very important life experience. It’s okay to mourn, it’s okay to feel angry. But over time you will learn to turn that disappointment into a learning experience. I found that my cesarean has made me a huge advocate of natural birth, and the idea is spreading to my friends. Good luck!
You are absolutely not a failure. There is a small percentage of women who absolutely need C-sections (about 15%), and it isn’t because you did anything wrong. Grieve all you need to, and don’t listen to anybody who tells you that the health of your baby is all that matters. Your feelings are important! Find support, and give yourself time to heal. Talk with women who had similar experiences that you can really relate to.
Just because you ended up with one C-section does not mean that you have to have a second one. Read up on VBAC, and maybe go with a midwife next time if your pregnancy is low risk. There ARE doctors who are supportive of VBACs and who have low C-section rates, and you CAN find one. It may take a little more time and effort, but it is worth it.
I felt the same way when I had my first child. I had to have an emergency csection. I was planning a home water birth…anyways, It took me a long time to come to terms with what happened. I found comfort in know that back in the day, child-birth was the number one cause of death for women. That has changed greatly due to the advances in medicine. I believe that either I or my son would have died if it weren’t for that csection. I hope with time you will find peace with this and do know that a VBAC is always an option. Hugs.
never feel like a failure. something I stress to women is that labor and birth CANNOT be planned. no matter how “prepared” you are, nature knows no bounds and follows no rules. medical professionals push many women into cesarean, and they have the right to be angry about it or feel resentment about it. don’t take it out on other women. simply, look for inspiration and later on, be the inspiration. I just witnessed a beautiful VBAC. it was a homebirth hospital transfer. it’s not what the woman had in mind.. but she ultimately got her Vbac after 48 hours of pain. it is possible, but sometimes takes a lot of work. dont let it scare you out of having a better exoerience next time. hire a doula, set goals rather than plan, try for an HBAC, prepare yourself for the worst possibility (gentle cesarean), find priceless support and be healed through empowerment. good luck, hope it gets better for you.
You should not at all feel like a failure and you still have the opportunity to try for a VBAC which many women now days are having higher success rates with them, don’t let yourself be scared in to another c-section YOU CAN DO IT :).. I was 17 when I had my first daughter she was also born by emergency c-section due to labor not progressing and her getting distressed, and when I had my second child a little over 1 1/2yrs later I had the opportunity to try for a VBAC but I let myself be scared in to it due to them saying my son was big and trust me its a decision I’ve regretted since that day. I also feel very ashamed of not being able to have a regular vaginal birth especially because I get teased by my family that I had the easy way out, but in truth I didn’t my body is forever scarred and while they could go on to have as many kids as they’d like I’m restricted to only having 4 at the most, which I just had my 4th c-section not too long ago and every one is scarier then the last just because of the risk and having the fear of not making it out of the surgery. I tied my tubes now because I feared my body would not be able to handle another c-section..But I encourage you to definitely try for a VBAC if you decide to have another child, don’t let fear hold you back..
I was induced with DS and after 22 hours of labor ended up with a c-section. Long story, but it ended up being the only safe way for him to be born. 18 months later I had the green light for a vbac, went in to labor at home, got to 5cms, and then had to have a c-section because the baby was having some SERIOUS heart rate issues. I was angry at the world after that because that’s not what was supposed to happen. I blocked all my fb friends who were pregnant from my feed. I couldn’t watch tv shows about pregnant people. I was angry. It took me a long time to come to terms with things and stop being mad at everyone – including my beautiful little baby. FF 17 months after that birth and I had a successful VBA2C. I can go through the pros and cons of both ways, but I know it won’t matter – you can’t change what happened and you feel robbed. I hope with time you can come to accept the way your baby was born.