I Still Feel Cheated By My C-Sections

birth planI’m amazed by the baby-making process: have sex, sperm meets egg, form tiny human and then push it out of your vagina. It’s all pretty amazing, but the last part eludes me. Despite my best efforts I’ve never been able to have the vaginal birth I so badly want.

When I was pregnant with my first, I had a plan: no drugs, no episiotomy and if all went smoothly, no hospital. Just me, my husband, midwife and doula. It was going to be beautiful, the way nature intended. But as I soon discovered, Mother Nature is a bitch.

My pregnancy stretched to 42 weeks, and all “natural” methods to induce labor had been exhausted: acupuncture, castor oil, spicy food, even sex. So off to the hospital I went to be induced. I managed to avoid an epidural for as long as possible, but after around five hours of labor with no end in sight, I broke down and had one. I never really dilated, though, and the baby’s heart rate kept dropping dangerously low. That’s when they whisked me off to the operating room where, 45 minutes later, my son was born via cesarean. I was both elated and crushed.

After months of preparation for my natural birth, including meditation, hypnobirthing and yoga, it had never occurred to me that my delivery would end up in the operating room. I was thrilled with my healthy baby boy – that’s a given – but I found myself weepy when describing the birth, jealous of my friends’ “normal” deliveries. I’ll admit I was even a little resentful of women who seemed to have it so easy (you know, the ones who boasted how three pushes and the baby just shot right out). I was even jealous of difficult labors and the bragging rights that accompanied them.

A few years later I became pregnant again. My midwife assured me that I was a great candidate for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), and all the literature I read backed that up. I did less to prepare for my second delivery; this time, I’d let nature take over and trust my body to do what it was meant to do. After all, women have been doing this since the dawn of time, right? Cavewomen didn’t take classes to birth their cave babies, and most of my friends managed to do it, too (besides, their prenatal classes focused more on what brand of stroller to buy than on how to push out a baby).

When I finally went into labor at 41 weeks, I felt in control – excited, even. I would have my natural birth! As I labored without medication I felt empowered, only to get discouraged when, once again, I failed to progress.

As the hours passed I agreed to more and more medical intervention, until I was strongly advised to have another c-section. I begged and cried, but when you are the sole dissenter in a room of experts…well, I wasn’t going to let my stubborn streak put my baby’s health at risk. 

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    • sigh

      First world problems…

    • Curly_Girl78

      I’m pregnant with my third and have had two c-sections as well. The first, not by choice, the second because of the risks associated with uterine rupture. I completely understand where you’re coming from. My second c-section didn’t go well either; the epidural didn’t take and I had to have general. I was the last person to see my baby after I came to. Talk about being a passive participant. I am dreading this third delivery; I’m scared, I’m angry, I’m sad. The above commenter may call this “first world problems”, and they are entitled to their opinion and feelings just like I and you are entitled to ours.

    • b

      At least your son wasn’t born to Nickelback. God gives us small favors sometimes.

    • Michelle

      I hate the women have been doing this for centuries argument…they also died all the time as a complication of child birth. I am in the medical field and I appreciate all of the advancements we have made in medicine.
      I didn’t have any great expectations of child birth. I went in educated about all the possibilities but left it up to the day of to go with the motions and do whatever felt best. I wasn’t disappointed after because I didn’t have expectations of what I wanted to happen. You can’t plan/control everything.

    • LiteBrite

      I had a planned C-section with my son. He was a foot-long breach baby, and I was given the option of trying to “turn” him (so he could be a vaginal birth), but I opted out. I admit that when I realized I was having a C-section, I felt a little cheated, but I got over it pretty quick.

      I guess it’s a matter of perspective. I did not feel like a passive participant in his birth;quite the opposite. I’m the one who carried him for nine months and felt him the entire time (particularly his tiny foot on my bladder at the end of my pregnancy). I was the one who had to lie motionless on that cold operating table, and I’m the one who had to deal with the anesthesia and all the side effects of surgery. If anyone was the passive participant, it was my husband.

      • Peachy

        Well said, LiteBrite! I delivered my second son via c-section seven days ago. I was a very active participant in both of my son’s deliveries, and continue to be so as I painfully recover at home.
        I never once felt cheated by my birth experiences…if anything, I am a warrior. Every woman deserves the right to grieve what “could have been” in the labour room, but in reality, MY safety and MY SON’S safety, was far more important then “I didn’t push my baby out” non-sense.
        Enjoy your family…its doesn’t matter how they got here.

      • Please just be happy

        ITA, Lite Brite. And hey, I endured both a long hard labor and a C-section. I can honestly say, there is pain no matter what. I was upset too the first time that I didn’t have a vaginal birth and decided I wasn’t going to take any pain medication post C-section. WTF???? What was I thinking???!!!!!

    • Jules

      I understand being disappointed because it happened to me, but jealous of others?? Come on, that’s being dramatic. You and your babies didn’t die in childbirth….try thinking of that the next time you get jealous.

    • Teresa

      I agree with the first commenter: First World Problems.

      The entire point of pregnancy and labor and delivery is to end up with a healthy baby. I view women who bitch and moan about how their delivery didn’t go exactly the way they planned the same way as women who didn’t have the exact wedding they planned: spoiled. Enjoy your healthy babies, stop being so disappointed that one single day in your shared lives didn’t go exactly according to plan.

    • Avodah

      I just don’t get the birthing obsession. It is sort of like 45 year olds who wear high school letter jackets or brag about SAT scores.”

      Your and your kids are healthy and, presumably, happy. What is so traumatic?

    • Katie

      I had a natural birth, however there was a point where an emergency c-section was on the table, but fortunately things worked out in my favour.

      Birth is a small part of life, you cant get hung up on what method your child came into this world, their health, safety and development is whats important.

      There is NOTHING empowering about giving birth, its not the massive moral deal some people choose to make it out to be, its getting a baby our of your vagina, there is no empowerment, no dignity and its nothing amazing to dance around and be proud of, those who do think theyre superior for doing it are seriously insecure people. Youre not defined by method of childbirth.

      • Please just be happy

        @Katie– you summed it up beautifully! When my dress got a raspberry stain on it at my wedding and I was upset about my bridal pictures (silly and shallow, I know, but I was so young…) my bff said, “What’s more important the wedding day or the marriage that comes after it?” The birthing method isn’t that important– it’s the caring that comes after it that counts.

    • Please just be happy

      You are more than entitled to your feelings. I had two children by C-section and the first was an emergency C- section after close to 30 hours of labor. I made the decision for a section when my baby passed meconium and the heart rate started following a dangerous pattern. I too felt that my body had “failed” but with time and a little perspective, that changed. While your argument that women have been doing this since the beginning of humankind has some weight to it there are a few things to consider:

      Babies are much bigger now than they were due to better nutrition and pre-natal vitamins. In fact their heads are bigger, perhaps due to Omega-3 in the vitamins. A bigger baby is harder to birth.

      Some babies can tolerate strong contractions better than others. Not only did women die in childbirth, but babies did too.

      Some women were crippled during the birthing process. Women didn’t just die– they were also seriously injured.

      Congratulations on the birth of your second child!

    • Pix

      It’s been a long time since I’ve bought into the philosophy of ‘it could be worse, so just be grateful and shut it.’ Because if that’s the case, no one is allowed to be unhappy about anything ever. Because it ALWAYS could be worse.

      Obviously, keeping perspective is extremely important. But the fact that it could be worse does not magically dissolve any negative feelings people have. Emotions simply aren’t that cut and dry.

      As the author pointed out on her own, a healthy baby is what truly matters, but being grateful and being disappointed are not mutually exclusive feelings.

      And to those who have nothing to say but “first world problems,” can you honestly say that you’ve never felt disappointment about first world problems yourself? I seriously doubt it. The difference is that the author is willing to admit she has those feelings and share them with us.

      • BraveNewMom

        Thank you for this. The lack of empathy in these comments was really starting to bum me out.

      • B

        So true. I cannot believe the negativity of these comments.

      • Also B

        ^ Yeah, people can be pretty nasty. I do not know one American person who has not gotten sad or upset about something that another person might call trivial. For those commenters who are calling the author selfish– you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but the reality is that we are all selfish about something at one time or another. The author is bummed and I feel bad for her. I am really sorry, Michelle, that you feel like you missed out on something major. Personally, I don’t think you did and that there is too much hype about a vaginal birth.

    • Babesinbaskets

      I get it. I planned 4 vaginal deliveries (#3 and #4 at home no less) and have ended up with 4 very much unwanted c-sections for various reasons (failed induction, coerced by my Dr., brow presentation, and a big baby who insisted on staying in a funky position) All I ever wanted was to have my baby laid on my chest fresh from the womb to be the first person to see touch hold my baby. Instead….I’ve always been the last. The absolute last. C-sections can be life saving procedures when used appropriately. But that doesn’t negate the reality that they are NOT normal, and they deserve to be grieved over. More importantly everyone grieves at their own rate. Some women will be a little sad and disappointed. Other’s will find themselves in a puddle of tears years after the fact because the disappointment and sadness of what was LOST is still so profound.

    • Amanda

      Michelle,

      Your post sums up my feelings about my child’s birth exactly. I had my first baby in December and, like you, never even imagined the possibility it would end up in an operating theatre. I was devastated that the natural, least-medicalized vaginal birth I had spent 9 monts dreaming of and preparing for ended (after 50+ hours) in a c-section. Devastated. I couldn’t talk about the birth for weeks after without a flood of tears and emotions. Like you said, ultimately I have my baby and we are both healthy (and alive), but that doesn’t discount the disappointment I have at not having had my baby in the way I expected (wanted, planned…). Often I feel like I didn’t actually birth my baby….he was cut from me while I was numb and so drugged that I cannot recall significant parts of the process. I 100% plan to have at least one more child, but the potential for a repeat performance gives me a lot of sadness and anxiety.

      I completely understand and get your feelings about your 2 births. Don’t listen to people who tell you not to feel that way. Your feelings (and mine—and many others) are completely valid. To not acknowledge and express them is not healthy or productive (I have a friend who had a similar experience, did not deal with the emotional response and, when the end of her second pregnancy approached, felt the flood of the bottled up feelings overwhelm her–not a good way to start labor).

      Anyway, thanks for the post. It is good to hear that other people feel the same way.

    • Beth

      I think people want to make the author feel better– not be dismissive about her feelings. We just don’t like hearing about a Mom who feels sad and know that we can’t do anything for her. It’s funny– when you’re going through a hard time regarding a particular issue, people seem to make their most piercing comments.

    • Please

      “I want” “I want” “I want”. Selfish Selfish Selfish.

    • Wondering65

      I, too, had a C-section. It was so that my twins would be delivered safely. I had dreams for several years about being pregnant again and running away from the doctors, hiding, to give birth ‘naturally’. The dreams stopped when a person close to me could not get pregnant on her own. What she has to go through in order to carry a baby puts me to shame. How a baby is born is minor compared to someone who can’t get pregnant on her own.

    • Rachael

      There are millions of women and babies, all over the world, who continue to die because of lack of access to medical care – including C-sections. Before a certain part in our history, every time a woman gave birth, she was putting her life on the line. One of the women who died was my great-grandmother, who left several children motherless.

      Health and safety are so important. Getting the birth experience you want, frankly, is so secondary that it should be regarded as a blessing, not an expectation- and certainly not as some kind of failure or cheat when it doesn’t happen.

    • Judith

      This entire post made me livid as a healthcare professional; I practiced emergency medicine in the middle east for eight years, and for four years I worked with women at clinics in eastern Africa. Many, -many- times I met women who had extremely difficult and distressing births that would have been made easier if facilities to practice cesarean sections had been available. In much sadder cases, I met children whose mothers did not survive labor and childbirth, but likely would have if cesarean section had been an option available to them.

      Both of my daughters were born via c-section — not the way I intended to give birth, but in both cases it was the most logical and safe decision. Do I feel like less of a woman or mother? HELL no; I don’t feel any less part of some sisterhood just because I didn’t get to dilate my cervix and force my infant out of my vagina. Those c-sections were rough, they were painful, they were part of incredible birth experiences for me. I grew these lovely babies inside me, I made sure they safely exited my body, and I raised them with love once they were out.

      I’m sorry, but your post made you sound like a whiny, self-centered and spoiled woman who completely misses the boat on what it means to be a mother. You are certainly entitled to feel like you missed out on some experience, but to me as a mother, doctor, woman and human being… you’re insulting every woman who’s had a c-section; you’re insulting women who adopted their babies rather than birthing them… by suggesting that not having a vaginal birth lessens the birth experience any less.

      First world problems, indeed!

      • Beth

        @Judith– I think you have also hit on something regarding the big “hoopla” in the campaign against C-sections. Quite frankly I find that there are a lot of people out there who are unqualified to give medical advice and do anyway. I had an emergency C-section and people left and right in my neighborhood were shaking their heads and telling me how doctors overdo it on the c-sections and that so many of them are not necessary. At first that really upset me, because I believed that I might have been one of those people who could have waited an extra ten minutes and then would have dilated fully and had a vaginal birth. So I felt like I made a mistake by consenting to the section and not having waited a little longer. After all, people told me about labors that lasted three days and finally a baby was born naturally. Once I understood that the large majority of these people didn’t know what they were talking about and that every case is different, I felt much better.

        As far as your offense at the post– feelings aren’t rational and I certainly cannot fault the poster for her feelings. Six weeks postpartum is a crazy time, regardless of whether or not it is your first child. What I can say, however, is that a lot of people give opinions about C-sections who are not qualified to do so and each person has to learn to filter for herself.

      • NotThumper

        I’d rethink using the term “professional” when describing yourself. How dare you criticize the author for her feelings? You don’t have to agree with her but as someone who works in health care you should know better than to be so judgmental.

      • Molly

        ^ Look who’s being judgmental.. Seriously?

      • NotThumper

        Damn right I’m judging her! She’s claiming to be a “professional” in the health care field and yet she doesn’t act very professional.

        She doesn’t have to agree with the author’s feelings but she should at least know how to respond tactfully.

      • Molly

        So what is it that you do that allows you to so freely pass judgement?

      • NotThumper

        Not work in a field where people are expected to be compassionate.

        If you claim to be a health care professional then I’m sorry but I expect a little bit more from you. The author acknowledged that having a healthy baby is the only thing that truly matters but that she still can’t help but still feel cheated. What more can someone ask for? She can’t help how she feels.

        I also take offense to the part where our “professional” claims that the author is insulting every woman who has had a c-section. I have had a c-section and I am not insulted by this article so don’t speak for me. What I think is more insulting is the lack of compassion in the comments.

      • Truthful Nacho

        Woooahhhh. This is way out of line. This person’s nazi doctor training has made them believe they know jack.

        Women’s pain in childbirth is caused by our bodies being broken down by oppression and pollution. We are told our parts are disgusting and shameful so our brains start to shut off supplies to our plumbing and we end up with atrophied uterine/abdominal muscles. Men have spent the last 6000 years breeding women for childlike qualities rather than womanlike qualities. The prob there is obvious.

        Pain is not an evolutionary strategy. Rather, it means something’s wrong. Pain doesn’t magically mean the exact opposite of “something’s wrong” in women. We are not aliens.

        Think think think about it.

      • Ingrid

        Dear Judith,
        The world has many problems we do our best to help those who are less fortunate. Yes this world is unfair and unjust. As a women, who has traveled outside the USA, you should known that in many country women are treated cruel and live with violence because they are not respected.
        But as a women you know that we do the best for our families and most of us put our families needs first because that is our nature and the way God made us. We are more complicated physically and emotionally than a man will ever be. Every one has the right to express her feeling and the way she has experienced birth, I know women who have stated that their vaginal deliveries were hell and they will have a c section next time as it was traumatic experience. Not everyone birth experience is the same, even in third world countries there is a stigmatism attached to c-section as being less of women because you were not made right. Sadly the criticism comes mostly from women who are usually less educated and poor.
        The biggest problem in this world is our need to respect women and their feeling. For some women having surgery is traumatic…. and throw in a whole bunch of hormones and a baby, and boy what a stew we make. I also has a c section and had planned my perfect un-medicated natural birth. The surgery was traumatic experience for me and recovery was even harder both physically and emotionally but I have a healthy child that I love. Despite the fact he did not sleep through the night until he was 4 months old and I was alone as my husband works long hours and my family lives in another state, I did the best I could. Did I survive yes, because women are strong and emotional being, who deserve respect. Someone posted a comment that she both has envy for the women who had vaginal births and for the women who had c sections and had no problems. I relate and understand her comments. Having c section is no walk in the park….after other major surgeries they tell you take it easy and rest for the next 4 weeks or so.
        After having a c section they tell you here your baby make sure you change the baby, care for the baby, soothe the baby and feed it 24 hours a day every two-three hours, oh you are breastfeeding oh it might be every two hours depending on your milk supply. What about the fact that you can barely move and you feel like your inside are falling out…. it will pass. Can you minimalize my experience most definitely are there women who had it worst, oh YES. But that was my experience with a c-section and my first child and I am not looking forward to going through that again. Hell no, but I have no choice because having a Vbac is like asking to win the lottery where I live.
        So I will do what is best for my baby, will it be hard and the surgery be traumatic again or yeah. No matter what you want to call it, having a c section is major surgery, there are few surgeries that require a full incision now a days everything is done via ports or holes, but not a c section
        Society likes to minimalize women and their feelings, remember hysterectomy mean to remove the “hysteria” out of women. Women are not hysterically but have a range of emotion sometimes rational sometimes not. All emotions and feeling should be felt as if you were in another women’s shoes. Whether it is a issue of conceiving, carrying, delivery, or grief for a loss, everyone is entitled to her feeling. Those women who can not conceive or carry do not want to hear…or you can adopt, or having kids is just so hard life is easier without them. Just like women who can’t deliver vaginally and want to do not want to hear…. you have a healthy baby that is all that matters and to those women who have carried and delivered and there baby has died which is the worst thing imagine happened in this world… the last ting they want to hear is you can have another one!!!!!
        Respect everyone and their feelings.

      • Ingrid

        I forgot to add Michelle it takes a brave and confident women to share her emotions and feeling as there will always be critics. I find that women tend to be more critical of other women and sometimes petty, I have been guilty of that many times. Best wishes to you.

    • Tracy

      You know what? Who the hell cares? At least your kids are HEALTHY. My child was stillborn, and you’re bitching that you couldn’t have a vaginal birth? I’d give ANYTHING to have had a healthy baby, vaginal birth or c-section.

      Fuck you and your selfishness.

      • Moe

        Right on.

      • Fiona

        Tracy, shut the fuck up. Your circumstance is different, not worse, and it has nothing to do with this poster. Just shut your stupid trap.

    • Jorasims

      When I went into labor with my daughter I had a plan to avoid a C-Section at all costs. When the term was tossed around due to my lack of dilating (surprisingly after getting my epidural), I was stunned. That was not the plan I had. Close to the 18th hour of labor, I was told if I didnt progress then they would deliver my daughter via c-section. I broke down in tears and was absolutely crushed. I ended up delivering vaginally but just the thought of a c-section sent me over the edge. I understand your feelings. I am sure I would have felt the same.

    • texasdoc

      Really, the important thing here is the end result (two healthy babies), not the process. Right? Right.

    • LizB86

      I understand where the author is coming from. In 2 days I’ll have my second C-section, as my cervix is simply not dilating at all. My first daughter was in breach position, so no choice on that one. I don’t feel quite the same way she does — I thought the first C was a relatively easy and not too painful process and so part of me is relieved to not have to deal with the pain of a long labor — but I think it should be acknowledged that there’s a lot of propaganda and competitive mommy-ness out there that can make you feel inferior about not having a “regular” birth. She’s entitled to her feelings and there’s nothing insulting about them.

    • Laura

      I understand where she is coming from – there is definitely the mommy competitors out there that rail against even the most necessary c-sections and will rattle off a list of reasons how you could have avoided a c-section and what you, your doctor, your dog and your dead grandmother did wrong. It took me awhile after my daughter was born to come to terms with the emergency c-section I had due to the mantra of the “natural” birthers that I had running through my head. I too felt like “less” of a woman. Now that I’m more than a year out from the experience and I’ve seen my friends go through vaginal deliveries I’m thankful for my teeny tiny scar and easy recovery.

      • Beth

        Yes, and right after you have had an emergency C-section can be an emotional time. It was for me. You may or may not have endured labor, you have been taken by surprise with surgery and you are dealing with postpartum hormones. That can be really rattling! It can be hard to say to yourself, “these Mommy competitors are silly and don’t know what they are talking about” and truly believe it. Another subject of competition is milk production– whose milk came in fastest and who had the best supply. Laughing is good for your health– let’s all do more of it…

    • GMAFB

      So let me get this straight…your babies lived. You lived. You had c sections instead of pushing them out of your vagina. This upsets you. That about cover it?
      As someone who has suffered with infertility, literally almost died trying to conceive through IVF, and had an elective c section so my body didn’t have another chance to screw up doing something ‘natural’ and this time possibly kill my child, my first thought is grow up and show some appreciation for what you have. Thanks heaven, or god, or the flying spaghetti monster for all I care, for the fact you were able to have babies and survived to watch them grow up. You need to travel, to see how others are forced to give birth. It’s not a joke, it is seriously life or death for many, many women around the world and they would (do) give anything to have access to the very care and procedures you’re bitching about. Ridiculous. Do you even know WHY having a vaginal birth matters so much to you?

      • Kelly

        All of this. I do not get why so many women think that giving birth is all about THEM, and not the BABY. Ridiculous.

      • Justme

        I think that there is a lot literature and preaching out there that touts vaginal deliveries as the only way to give birth and that everything else is subpar. Regardless of whether or not you agree with this statement, there are women that wholeheartedly believe in the idea of natural and vaginal deliveries and strive to do what is “best” for their child and their body. I understand that there are women who are in FAR worse conditions than what the majority of the population has access to here in the states. I don’t deny you the frustration that comes along with the struggle to conceive a child. Please don’t deny other women the frustration they feel when their vision of giving birth doesn’t come to fruition. I can be satisfied with earning a B in a class and passing for the semester but that doesn’t mean that I’m not disappointed about not earning an A.

    • seriously?

      I’m sure the woman only feels sad about her birthing method because of the cattiness and bullshit comparison issues that other women have. Does she not have anyone around her who is telling her it truly doesn’t matter? Aside from the people with the nonchalant “but you have 2 healthy babies”? Maybe not. Women can be cruel to each other, and people to each other are just as bad. The only reason it would be so hyped up is because she was convinced, somehow, that it should be. It is what it is. Every person is different, every birth is different, you do what you have to in order to get through it and you move on to being a mother to your children. Fuck anyone who questions anything you do, it’s your life and your family, protect both.

      As for the “professional” above, she may very well be a professional. As for her commenting on a message board about her thoughts, it’s not her office and we are not her patients. She has no obligation to show compassion to anyone on here. Again, it is what it is.

    • Vinny

      I just wanted to pitch in and agree with couple of other comments here..why does childbirth have to be so much about the mother and want she WANTS? I don’t understand this way of thinking at all. It is not like building a house where you can say “I want it done THIS way!”. You are bringing another human being to earth. A little child that you are committing to raise. As long as the child is healthy and you are doing your best to take care of him/her, people shouldn’t be forced to feel guilty about the way the child was born and the way it is being fed. The whole C section vs natural birth and breasfeeding vs formula hoopla needs to go away.

      • Melissa

        I couldn’t agree more. Personally, I’ve never understood why anyone cared how their children get here, as long as everyone is ok. I had a c-section because those were the cards I was dealt, and I have a beautiful son to show for it.

    • smetsw

      It’s funny how people keep trying to one up the author. You were dealt a different hand than her. Her story is just as devastating to her as your problems are to you.

      I wanted a natural birth too, and I was denied that. I wouldn’t dilate. I have to continuously remind myself that without my c-section I would have probably died, and that’s the only way I’m okay with it. It’s not selfish. It’s MY body. You wear what you want to wear, do what you want to do, that’s not selfish. I hate the area around my c-section (not the scars, I love my scars, but the extra skin is horrible). I hate that all of my friends have a normal uncomplicated birth and brag all about it. I hate that I’m just supposed to shut up because I’m lucky I have a healthy baby. It broke my heart. Every time I look in the mirror, I think about what a failure I am because my body was not able to give birth. Every single day.

      • Beth

        I felt like you for a while as well. The bragging, albeit indirectly done, is super annoying and stupid. In fact, I said the exact same thing– my body failed me. Everyone is entitled to her feelings, but does it help for us to tell you that you are NOT a failure? I am entitled to my opinion too and I don’t think people who cannot give birth vaginally are failures. Enduring surgery is no easy feat. So, without modern medicine I might have not had that baby– I might have had a much smaller one that I could push out naturally. Before modern medicine those people who had easy vaginal births might have died of something else that their bodies weren’t able to fight off without antibiotics before they even got pregnant.

      • Anonymous

        Do you call successfully bringing two healthy children into this world in a safe manner ‘devastating’?? Because I don’t. It isn’t a failure to have a c-section. Pregnancy and childbirth aren’t about you getting the ‘magical experience’ or whatever that you want. If you want a magical experience that is all about just what you want, book a dream holiday. I had a c section. It wasn’t what I would have planned for, and it certainly isn’t a fond memory – I didn’t enjoy the procedure one bit. But I will be damned if I will grieve over it when I have the best gift in the world to show for it. Why are women being so ridiculous as to brag over something as arbitrary as the ability to push a baby out of their vagina anyway? You either have uncomplicated births or you don’t. It isn’t something that anyone actually earns, it is just something that happens by chance. Like being tall. People need to stop being so superficial.

      • LVM

        It’s far from superficial.

        The argument of “women have been having babies for all of time” does matter. In a sense, this is the definition of “survival of the fittest,” or evolution. I don’t mean to add salt to the wound ((pun intended)) to c-section moms ((I am one, and I am deeply saddened by it)). I’m just saying, for me, YES, the argument mattered because I wondered, “Would I have died? Would she have died? Are we ‘playing God’ here? If 3rd world women would have died, what makes me so special as to deserve a c-section?”

        It’s easy to say “you and your baby are healthy.” It’s shallow to say that, though. It’s a loaded and dismissive statement that undermines the very notion that our bodies failed, and science and medicine had our back. Yes, grateful for that, but at the most basic of human body functions, we failed, and we probably would have died. Should we still be reproducing? That’s at least the thought process I had ((and still do, apparently)) as a c-section mother who researched and wanted natural birth more than anything. I lived and breathed all the natural birth material I could get my hands on.

        I am grateful 98% of the time for the health of me and my baby. But, during the 2% of time when I’m sad or upset, and I am up late at night “googling” to see if other people can relate, I find comments like these, insinuating all we do is feel sorry for ourselves and complain all day long.

    • emdane

      I can understand wanting to have a natural birth, but I can’t understand still obsessing over it after the fact. Birth is not an experience in and of itself; its a means to an end. When did we get to the point where there is so much emotion and expectation built into how we give birth that anyone gives a crap about how it happened (assuming the mom is healthy) when they are holding their baby safely in their arms. I never anticipated having a c-section, but I did. Either way the baby is here and healthy–that’s the goal.

    • Heather

      I’m really sorry that people are so judgmental and cruel. I’m sure it took a lot for you to put yourself out there by sharing an incredibly personal and difficult point of view, and for that you are harassed? You are entitled to your feelings, so don’t ever let anyone else tell you differently. Enjoy your 2 healthy babies (I’m sure you are!) and please don’t let any of this bring you down.

    • K

      I completely understand feeling cheated about having an emergency c-section. My whole pregnancy I was going to have a great birthing experience. I was adamant that I wouldnt get an epidural. Even after I watched my twin sister give birth to her son, I was sure I didnt want the drugs. Due to a 2 vessel umbilical cord, my doctor decided I had to be induced 3 days after my due date. I talked her out of doing it 2 days after the due date. I was induced on a Wednesday. The pitocin worked on and off. The stronger the dosage, the less it worked. I was only dilated barely 4 cms that Friday. My doctor wanted to break my water, but I told her not until I was 6cm. They were getting ready to send me home, when my doctor decided to do one last check. 10 minutes after “the check” my water had been broken. after almost 48 hours of labor I finally agreed to the epidural at the persuassion of the nurses and my family. A few hours later, my son’s heartbeat started to decrease. About an hour before my son was born, his heartbeat dropped for the 4th time and they couldn’t find it and when they got a heartbeat they weren’t sure if it was mine or his. After waiting for my doctor for about 45 minutes, they got my ready for an emergency section. When they got me into the OR, the epidural had almost completely worn off. They gave me drugs to put me to sleep. By the time I woke up, I had missed everything. My son’s birth, his first cry, the look on his father’s face when he saw him for the first time, the doctors reactions to my son having more hair than his father. I am so grateful my son was born healthy and that we are both ok. But I was cheated out of having my son placed on my chest right away. When my son asks what was dad’s reaction when I was born, I won’t be able to answer him. I tried to get my doctor to postpone the induction, most doctors wait 2 weeks after the due date. I will never have that moment of panic, calling my boyfriend when its time to go to the hospital. My mother will never witness my children being born. I promised my twin sister that she could be in the room with us when my son was born to share in the experience that she let me have with her. She won’t be able to hold my hand and talk me through it like I did with her. I feel extrmely cheated, but that doesnt mean Im ungrateful or selfish. Im very grateful that my son is a happy healthy 6 and a half week old. But there will always be that what iff

    • Moe

      You are soooo right about cave-women giving birth.
      My condolences though to your husband on you and your babies deaths.
      As recently as 1600s colonial ‘america’ maternal mortality was up to 12% over a woman’s reproductive life. 1 in 8 died with an average of 5 to 8 children.

      Delivering the way they did 400 years ago is great, if you are ok with the outcomes they had.

    • JTall322

      I appreciate this so much.
      Since my daughter’s delivery by emergency C-section 7 years ago, I have felt that my experience with her entrance to this world was cheated in comparison to the natural delivery of my eldest. My second was premature, and labor was intense and trying on her. I understand the need at that time to do whatever necessary for her safety, but the feeling of being separated from one another so instantaneously and lacking contact during her first and most trying moments in this world causes me tears to this day.
      I am expecting my third, and potentially final child in a few short months, and I pray that not only will he be healthy, but that I will be active in this birth and be their first contact here as well.

      • JTall322

        Wow, I only just saw the previous comments here. Let a human feel their emotions for goodness sake. What is life if it isn’t made of experiences? Who are you without yours? We’re all entitled to our aspirations and disappointments. And deepest sympathies if you’ve had it worse than the guy next to you… it’s all relative… let them have their feelings.

    • Sarah

      I could have written this article. Three caesarians, first: overdue and bad advice, second: planned home-vbac, didn’t progress, third: elective, the first two really messed me up. My eldest is seven, every birthday I think about this, I was frightened, bullied and in pain – then I was told to dismiss and ignore those feelings.. I was told to trust my body, I did. When I went into labour with my second I felt so strong and capable. But my body failed me, I had my babies extracted, I did not give birth.

      How unbearably self-satisfied and smug to dismiss the entire range of human emotion between tragedy and contentment as ‘First World’ problems. Do they never worry or feel sad about anything other than famine, war and destitution? Do they imagine that no woman in the third world has ever felt any sadness or trauma after the birth of a healthy child? Never wished their mother could have been there, maybe, or felt angry at the way they were treated? Do they imagine that people in the third world have no normal human hopes or fears? And do they think that no woman in the first world experiences real tragedy?

      The most important thing is a healthy child and a healthy mother. But it’s not the only important thing. I am happy that so many of you seem to have found your caesarians relatively easy to deal with, don’t belittle those who have not, and don’t reduce the real tragedies to a method of point-scoring against women who are sad and vulnerable.

      • Vini

        Sarah..I am in the camp of the women who dealt well with their c sections and had no issues. My only worry is that all the women out there who spout the greatness of vaginal birth and belittle women who had c sections (for whatever reason) only cause more confusion and depression among new mothers when they end up having a c section.
        I hope I am not offending you, but in you particular case..why is it that you feel cheated? You are a strong and beautiful woman inside out for having nurtured a human being in you for 9 months and then committing to raise him/her. Does it really upset you so much that the child was born in a way you hadn’t planned?
        Why do you say “I had my babies extracted, I did not give birth” – don’t you think that statement belittles women who feel they did give birth to their babies even if it was through a c section?
        I hope you put positive thoughts out there and help encourage women who might end up going through what you did. Let them know it is not something you should be ashamed of or depressed about.
        I apologize for the long winded response..I just refuse to feel guilty about my c section and it hurts me when I hear people talk about c sections like a big mistake.

    • Cristen

      Oh, this makes me so sad! I hear so many stories like this. Maybe for your next time – and for anyone else reading your story who it might help – here’s a link to a post on my blog written by a friend who ended up having to go the c-section route after trying very, very hard to go naturally. It has some wonderful tips on taking back control of your birth, even when it’s gotten out of control. http://thebestmomonearth.com/retaining-your-power-in-the-face-of-a-cesarean/

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    • http://www.facebook.com/hannahlouise.solle Hannah Louise Solle’

      Sadly I can totally relate to this blog 100%!! And i think those of you to not understand but be very rude should not comment. As a women you are created with the ability to give birth and go through child birth and when your chance to do that is stolen it bruises your confidence and hurts somewhere deeper than imaginable. Its not a choice thing its not a matter of feeling jelous its a matter of you can’t do what you were put on this earth to do. For me what kills me the most was I wasnt even awake for the birth of my daughter… and sadly my relationship and mother daughter bond struggled, laying in a moses basket was a baby, but not a baby that I re-call giving birth too, or even seeing, just a baby, that could of easily been anyone elses. That un-certainty is cruel and frightning. If I could change what happened I would but I cant, so I have had to fight this ongoing battle and try my absolute hardest to numb that part inside of me that hurts so bad when I try and think of the so called best day of my life, that i was robbed of.
      The pain of that day not only has left this horrible thick scar that acts as a constant reminder and a sex repellent but has left a deep scarr with in me that will only become numbed the more that I push memories away.

      Everday I live in hope, and pray that the feeling that is burried deep down oneday just goes. I am sure with time the wounds will heal.
      Good luck mummies and those of you fortunate enough to not have to go through this count your lucky stars, those of you unfortunate enough to have gone through this, I hear that time is a powerfull healer.

    • N/A

      You need to grow up, lady.
      My ‘plan’ for children 100% didn’t go the way I wanted. ‘boy meets girl, egg meets sperm’, right?! Well, after years of IVF and ICSI I fell pregant. Completely artificial and not at all on my ‘getting pregnant’ plan. Sure, I totally would have prefered to be able to get preggers the good old-fashioned, natural way. It is way less stressful and invasive, more romantic and doesn’t cost a fortune. But you know what?!?! Doesn’t matter – because I STILL GOT TO GET PREGNANT!! Followed by 9 months of a very difficult pregancy and a c-section, I had my bubs. Again, I would have loved to have a wonderful, delightful pregnancy full of glowing hormones instead of scary doctors visits, feeling like crap and walking on eggshells, and I also would have prefered to have a natural birth, but it wasn’t on the cards. But rather than carry on like some terrible thing befell me, I’m actually happy. Because the point of falling pregant and giving birth isn’t about mommy having an ‘experience’ – ITS ABOUT HAVING CHILDREN!!!

      Spoiled brat.

      • Michelle

        Well, whoopdy doo for you. Aren’t you great?

    • thuja

      Wow, I’m just astounded by some of the negativity in the comments. I am nearly 60 years old, and had two emergency C-sections when I was younger–one at 26, and another when I was 30. I still grieve these C-sections, though as with all emotional scars, the feelings have lessened with time. I am profoundly grateful for the safe delivery of my two beautiful now-grown daughters, and I am also profoundly grateful for the deeply spiritual doctor who did not shame me when I arrived at the hospital from attempted home births after: 46 hours of active posterior labor with baby #1; and, 56 hours of much more comfortable labor and 9 centimeters of dilation, but no engagement of her head, with baby #2. These were midwife attended home labors, with ample and amazing support.

      I’m grateful to be alive and clear that in another century, or another country, I might not be. Nonetheless, there is a deeply disempowering aspect to C-sections that leaves me feeling more like a human and less like a woman. Maybe only those who share the sense of loss from having delivered surgically can relate. The single most healing thing for me was breast-feeding. To this day I cry when a young friend of mine has to have a surgical birth, even when the reasons are medically indisputable. I know all too well that the psychological healing process might be lengthy.

    • Brittany

      You certainly are not the only mother longing for that experience and determined to get it! Your article could have come from my own head it’s to a “t” what I think each and every day. I loath women who got to do it and I hate the ones that are perfectly happy with c-sections. I want to push my child out of my own vagina damnit! Not have them taken from me. I feel like I have been stolen the God given right as a woman to birth my own child…and I hope in the future to be able to successfully do so…Or else you and I will still have very similar feelings and stories.

    • Truthful Nacho

      Dang. Lotta women on here saying “shut up you SELFISH” on here. They shouldn’t have had babies because they are all babies themselves. You know who’s selfish? Try bitching at the women who are like “I can’t conceive and I’m going to get IVF even tho I’m pro-life because killing embryos doesn’t count when I do it wahhhh”. Those women apparently didn’t even conSIDer that they may be sterile from the nasty trashed-up environment around us. Yeah well all women have to start out by not assuming they can even get preg. Don’t expect me to feel sorry for you when you just want to have a baby out of boredom or to “give” your Nigel a son. (*gag gag gag YUCK*. You couldn’t pay me enough to raise a boy.)

      First off, pitocin is not approved for use in labor by the FDA. At least I read that somewhere. Either way, it’s poison and carcinogenic. Causes distress in mothers so doctors can cut. It was made for that. Obgyns are the sickest people. Interesting, right?

      Women’s difficulty in everything from menstruation to childbirth can be explained by how we are treated in the patriarchy. It’s not women’s fault that the patriarchy has bred us for childlikeness instead of womanliness or that radiation is spreading through the oceans. That’s men’s fault. And then men are like SUCK IT UP. Women too apparently. Well I’ll let my fellow women off the hook, but those men need to go attach some electrodes up to their abdomen and turn those suckers up to ten. They won’t ever breathe another word.

      Anyone who wants to read a good post about women’s pain, I recommend “I’m On My Period Let’s Talk About Why it Hurts” (obv period’s not as bad as birth)

    • Patsy

      Michelle, I know exactly how you feel. I have two beautiful daughters. With my first pregnancy, I had to have an emergency c-section because my blood pressure was high… and when I was pregnant with my second child, I was hoping that I was going to have a vaginal birth, but it didn’t happen for me because I had a hard time dilating, so my obstetrician went ahead and scheduled me for a c-section. I was very sad that I couldn’t have a vaginal birth… because I didn’t want to go through another c-section, but I got over it. My husband and I want to have another baby and I already know that my obstetrician is going to schedule me for a c-section. Not having a vaginal birth doesn’t make you less of a woman. There are women out there that can’t even get pregnant, so be thankful that you were able to get pregnant… I hope you’re okay and I’m sorry that some of these people judged you and said mean and hurtful things to you.

    • CaCe

      I know what you mean…. for me it is the fact that I wanted to be active in the birth of my son. I wanted him immediately placed on my chest! I wanted all those first to happen in those seconds immediately after his birth. I wanted THAT! but w/ a C-section you don’t get that… you get a curtain, baby held up like little simba (Lion king) for you to attempt to focus on and see from 5 feet away, then after a few minutes being brought a baby that I cannot touch or hold, and care barely even kiss or see. forget the recovery, scar, and numbness… I can get over the physical aspect and I do not feel like any less of a woman but… it is that moment of birthing your child and the 5 minutes that follow it that I can never get back or experience.

      the negative comments against this post are not needed. every person has something they need to work through. I understand exactly where this woman is coming from. Yes, some have it worse, some have it better, but for her this is what upsets her. I’ve seen people get more upset over an incorrect starbucks order. want to hate on someone, hate on that. don’t hate on a woman who is trying to work through an issue, and relate to other women by sharing her story.

      yes, I am happy to have a very healthy baby boy, but the emotions of being disappointed (or elated) with your own personal birthing experience are real.

    • LVM

      I completely relate. I actually was moved to tears while reading. My ((healthy and wonderful)) daughter is 1 1/2. I thought I was “over it,” but after seeing something today, I realized, I am not. I envisioned the natural birth every day of my entire pregnancy, and didn’t even attend the “c-section” portion of our class ((because, of course not!)). After 22 hours of labor, we had an emergency c-section, and reading your description hit the nail on the head. I envisioned being ACTIVE and the one who brought my child into the world; not a stranger ((I also had a midwife, but an OBGYN I’d never met, who happened to be on call, cut me on the OR table)). I agree, it seems everybody is either able to deliver vaginally, or happy to avoid a vaginal birth if they have a c-section. There seems to be few of us, but the camaraderie is refreshing. Thanks for sharing your story.