My husband loves to joke and tell people, in a very serious and believable, matter of fact kind of way, that I was “too posh to push”. This is obviously met with my eyes flicking daggers and a mental note of many minus points, as I frantically try and explain that was not the case at all, while he chortles to himself that yet again he got the exact reaction he wanted. Thanks #MJM! Obviously I don’t feel that’s as mean as it sounds, and our relationship is all about banter like that. The truth of the matter is my body failed me when it came to the way I had hoped to deliver my boys and I will forever have to live with that.
Even just writing that sentence, I really realise that my body didn’t fail me! I have successfully grown and delivered two healthy, brilliant boys and that’s far from a failure, it’s a miracle. But I do have a constant niggle in the back of my mind and it bothers me, that I cannot and will not, ever experience what it’s like to give birth “naturally”. Before I had #SHJM, I wasn’t really aware of what a C-section entailed. I obviously knew the basic concept, that they cut your tummy and remove the baby, but nothing about the details and step by step processes. I thought if I didn’t know, then I am sure there are others out there potentially in the same position.
During my pregnancy with #SHJM I confidently and arrogantly, said to #MJM after each checkup, where I was told how big my baby was going to be, that I had total faith that my body will not grow a baby that I could not deliver. Well, Mother Nature heard that and laughed, didn’t she!
I won’t go into the gory details, however to give you an idea of the contrast, my birth plan included active birthing, bouncing on a yoga ball for pain relief, and ideally no drugs. A few days after #SHJM arrived, the pristine un-used yoga ball was rolled back across the road, while I lay totally wrecked and recovering from a 20 hour labour, emergency C-section and general anesthetic. I’m sorry Mother Nature, next time I won’t make assumptions, and I didn’t. With #ARWM my birth experience was like booking a holiday and checking into a 5 Star hotel in comparison.
I think the hard part to reconcile is I feel cheated, I haven’t experienced what I was meant to. My body didn’t let me do what women have done for all of time, I will never know what that feels like (or for medical reasons, have the chance to try). The rational part of me knows I haven’t “failed”, knows it wasn’t my fault, knows it was the best and safest way for me to deliver my babies. BUT…. there is still, and always will be a ‘but’. A but that says, “I wish I knew what it felt like”.
The other thing about having a C-section, is the misconception from everyone that hasn’t one that it’s the “easy option”. So I thought I would share some home truths, and the realities of the procedure for me.
- A C-section is major abdominal surgery. Whilst lying in the theatre, waiting to meet #ARWM and making small talk with my gynae, she told me she has to cut through 7 layers, then individually sew them all back up afterwards. Getting #ARWM out in a non-emergency setting took 7 minutes, it took about 45 to sew me back up again.
- During the C-section, they temporarily remove / re-shuffle your internal organs to get the baby out and then put them back again.
- For the first few days after my C-section I needed help putting on my underwear and pulling up my shorts after going to the toilet, as I couldn’t bend down.
- Laughing, rolling over in bed, sitting up and down in a chair, picking up your baby, pushing the pram all hurts for several weeks.
- Three months after having my C-section I was still in pain from pushing #SHJM in the pram or picking him up.
- Six months after my second C-section I still haven’t regained full feeling across my scar area or the muscles underneath. This makes my physio exercises particularly hard and infuriating as I can’t feel if I am doing them or not.
I can’t speak from experience as I have only birthed one way (through the sunroof), however it seems to me whichever way you deliver your babies, it’s pretty hardcore, they don’t call it labour for nothing. I heard a great phrase recently which was ‘birth preference’ not ‘birth plan’. For the people out there who hope to be parents one day, have a birth preference, not a birth plan, I think it mentally helps when things don’t go according to plan. For those that have given birth via C-section please take your time to recover. Ask for help and don’t overdo it, it really does take months, not days or weeks. And for the mums who gave birth naturally, I salute you, and will always be just a little bit envious of you.
Mummy Milne xx