I remember when I first got pregnant and was looking for a doctor in Hong Kong, one of the things people always talked about were C sections. Apparently private doctor’s there are known to push for a C section. Perhaps they make more money out of it or maybe they think it’s the easy way out. Either way, there seemed to be a lot of stigma attached to it and I didn’t quite understand why. But of course, what people said did influence me and by the time I was 9 months pregnant, I was adamant I was going to have my baby naturally (i.e. vaginally)
After about 20 hours of labour, my doctor came in and told me she was pretty certain I was going to have to have a C section and all I remember thinking was no, I can’t have a C section, I just can’t and I didn’t really know why. So I tried the whole “natural” thing. I pushed for about an hour. My dear doctor tried everything she could to give me what I wanted. Forceps and Ventouse! But S was spine to spine and he had a big head…there was no way he was coming out that way. Eventually the epidural wore out, I went into distress and was rushed in for an emergency C section. When they placed my baby boy in my arms, all I felt was relief. That he was safe and I finally got to meet him. In that moment, it didn’t matter how he got there.
A day later I sent out my birth announcement and it took me about 3 days to respond to all the messages of congratulations. As I read through them, I noticed that some people congratulated me and when I hadn’t responded after a day or two, they went on to say “Did you have a natural birth or a C section?” And I just didn’t get it. Why does that matter?
A few weeks post partum, I was on Babycentre when I read about women who had delivered naturally who had 3rd degree tears, women who had prolapse and other’s whose pelvic floors pretty much didn’t exist anymore and in that moment I thought “I’m actually so glad I had a C section.” I had an amazing doctor who did a great job with my stitches and although I needed some help getting out of bed for the first week, it healed well and 6 weeks after S arrived, it’s like nothing ever happened.
So why the guilt mama’s? Let me tell you…it takes great courage to have a C section. Lying on a table and being prepped for what is essentially major surgery is terrifying. I remember as they tested how numb I was using cold water, I could still feel pressure around my abdomen and I only remember constantly saying “I can’t feel the cold water, but I can feel what they’re doing.” Having to give up on wanting a natural birth and being rushed into surgery was scary but knowing I was that much closer to seeing my little boy made it worthwhile.
But given all of that, if I had to do it all again, I think I may just choose to have an elective cesarean the next time! Want to judge me? Go ahead..
For all those of you feeling twinges of guilt or fear at the idea of giving birth via C section, for those of you who feel that way already having done so and for those of you who chose to have an elective cesarean, I say screw the idea of natural child birth and be happy. It doesn’t matter how you deliver your baby, what matters is that they entered this world safely. Children who are born vaginally aren’t any happier or any more loved than those born via C section..and surely that’s all that matters?!