Say that word in a group of moms and you’ll immediately see some very strong responses. Some are stricken, others are disgusted, while some are raising their hands in praise. If you’ve ever talked about birth stories in a group of women, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a very hostile topic that can create tension in the air in a matter of seconds, but for me, it’s just part of my story.
My first pregnancy was fabulous. Other than the first-trimester exhaustion and nausea, I loved every second of it. Watching my belly grow, buying maternity clothes, preparing a nursery, and dreaming about what that baby boy would look like. It was a dream come true, and everything I could have asked for.
Even at 32 weeks when my doctor told me that the baby was breech and we needed him to turn, I didn’t think a whole lot about it. I started doing some exercises in an attempt to get him to turn. I vividly remember laying in my living room floor with my hips thrust into the air for 10 minutes at a time. It created laughter in our home, but never diminished the complete joy we were experiencing as we waited for our baby.
On a Thursday afternoon in September, we went to our 38-week appointment, where my doctor informed us that our little guy was still breech and was showing no signs of moving. To top it off, I was dilated to a 2/3. With the possibility of going into labor while he was still breech and because this was my first pregnancy, my doctor did not feel comfortable turning him and suggested that we schedule a C-section for Monday morning.
This is the part of the story where many of you are already saying choice words about my doctor in your head and are preparing your arguments for why this was a horrible decision and unfair to me as a woman.
However, because I was seeing THE best doctor in Central Arkansas and possibly the entire state of Arkansas, my husband and I trusted him, agreed with his suggestion, and prepared to have a baby on Monday morning!
The next day I went to work, where I taught first grade, and prepared to be gone two weeks earlier than I had anticipated. Many of the teachers in the building knew that it was my last day and made sure to stop by my room to wish me well.
Many were excited and encouraging, but I was shocked at how many people were so sad and apologetic that I was not going to be delivering my baby vaginally and would instead be having a c-section. It caught me off-guard and was a bit confusing. I know their intentions were good, but by the time I left school that day, I was a bit scared and discouraged, thinking that the birth of my child was going to be one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.
Monday morning came around, and everything went beautifully. All of the horror stories I had heard were nothing like what I experienced that day. I do not mourn my c-section (or the one that followed) and here is why you shouldn’t mourn for me either.
My baby and I were safe and healthy.
Other than a little bit of initial blood sugar issues, our sweet boy, John Braxton, was healthy and whole, with ten little fingers and ten little toes. I was healthy and safe and not in danger. This is the most important reason why my c-section is not something to mourn.
We avoided a possibly dangerous situation.
When my doctor pulled John Braxton out, the cord was wrapped around his neck two times. Had we attempted to turn him or deliver him vaginally, his life could have been in danger. There’s no way in the world that I would ever want my baby’s life in danger. I understand that major surgery has its risks as well, but again, I trusted my doctor, and in the end, I felt we made the best and safest decision for our family.
A beautiful life entered this world.
Sometimes I feel like we, as moms, get so caught up in what “should be” or “could be”. We allow our opinions to take center stage and completely set aside the fact that birth is a beautiful miracle no matter how it happens. We carry these babies for nine months, while our bodies miraculously know what to do to help a little human develop. At the end of the day, a brand new person has stepped into the world, and we were part of that miracle no matter how it occurred.
C-section or Vaginal delivery—we are not defined by either one.
Having a c-section does not define me, just as delivering a baby vaginally does not define you. It does not make me any less of a woman or a mother, and it sure isn’t something that I carry as a burden around my neck every day. I am thankful that I have been able to carry three babies and next month, Lord willing, will have had three successful c-sections. No one will remember, nor care, how my babies came into this world. The only things that will matter are their safety, their value, and that they are loved beyond a shadow of a doubt.