I’d grown tired of answering the same age-old question over my forty weeks of pregnancy. ‘So, why are you having a c-section?” Even on the day, answering the many repeated questions you get asked like, ‘Are you allergic to any medication?” “What is your name and date of birth?” To name just a couple, there always came the million-dollar question:
‘So why are you having a c-section?”
After a few times of being asked, I had this conversation with my husband. It’s a question I find difficult to answer. Not because I don’t know the answer, because I do. It’s my own personal answer. But more so that I know that having a c-section is sometimes perceived as ‘the easy way out’.
And that doesn’t sit right with me at all.
For the record, my answer has always been this – take a pew.
I had an awful experience of labour/delivery with my first son. I mean, I’m pretty sure no one enjoys pain and of course the miracle you get at the end is always worth it, but bear with me. Mine resulted in me having to be induced, two epidurals, (as the first wasn’t done right and let’s not think about what that could have resulted in!) a midwife and a surgeon arguing with each other in front of my spread legs as to which way they each wanted to proceed with my long and lengthy labour, which actually finally ended with an emergency c-section.
This whole experience has very much been the reasoning of there now being five years between our first and second children, as I very much swore blind that after that first we were having no more.
However, after a good talk with myself, I changed my mind and we decided to try for baby number two. I knew straight away that I wanted an elected c-section for this second pregnancy. The option was mine, but that is what I chose.
To add more to my answer was the case of childcare. Plus a sprinkle of wanting/liking being able to be organised. The idea of knowing the pretty much exact date the date your child will arrive on very much spoke to me. This isn’t like your forty weeks are up any time now.. this is a case of being 39 weeks and you are booked in on this date. Now, obviously, anything can happen at any time, though if it had, I still chose to have a c-section. Again, this was an option for me. As I mentioned, with already having a little boy, it was good to have a plan in place for him to be looked after in advance, rather than just putting people on ‘notice’. With them then being able to bring him to the hospital to meet his new sibling.
Some C-Section Facts.
So that pretty much explains my personal reasoning. You may roll your eyes at it and still think (easy option) so here are some facts and realities of what’s involved and the aftercare.
You have to sign your life away. Well, maybe not that dramatic, but with two pages of information to read, including the risks and worst-case scenarios, it does become questionable as to what is actually involved and the severity of what you and your baby are about to endure, as the risks don’t just apply to you, they apply to your baby also.
A c-section – “… or caesarean delivery, is the use of surgery to deliver one or more babies… A C-Section typically takes between 45 minutes to an hour.”
To begin the surgery, you’ll first have a spinal block/ anaesthesia injected into your lower back. This acts to numb the area from your belly all the way down to your toes, but you’ll stay awake. However, in some cases, a patient may be under general anaesthesia.
It involves – “… An incision of about 15 cm (6 inches) is then typically made through the mother’s lower abdomen… The uterus is then opened with a second incision and the baby delivered. The incisions are then stitched closed.” In my case, my previous scar was opened and then restitched. It also sits below the pant line so isn’t visible.
The recovery time from having a C-Section, unlike a natural vaginal birth is six weeks. During this time you are advised against lifting (anything heavier than your baby), pushing, anything strenuous and also driving. (check this with your insurance company.) The first two weeks of recovery are crucial. Although still numb, you really have to allow your body to recover and listen to it when it tells you you’ve done too much. Even simple movements such as sitting can cause a sharp pain or twinge. I’m grateful that we not only sleep on the ground floor but that the toilet is on the ground floor also, as going upstairs was not an option for a good few days.
You’ll end up feeling like you should rattle. Pain relief will consist of a daily dose of ibuprofen and paracetamol. You’ll also be sent home with a course of ten days worth of Fragmin injections to help with blood thinning. These to be used on your lower abdomen or top of the thigh. We found the trick was to really grab the skin to then inject, rather than just injecting straight in.
There are other things that I could mention, like having to wear those sexy compression socks for six weeks. The pure frustration of not being able to drive for six weeks. Or feeling so helpless from not being able to move and look after your (new) family and home, due to pure agony.
Having a c-section is no walk in the park, and as much as pro-breastfeeding mothers and advisers should respect those who choose to bottle feed – the same should be said for those that choose to have a c-section and or those who had the choice taken from them and had to have a c-section.