My Planned C-Section Wasn’t Nearly As Traumatic As My Emergency C-Section

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doctor pocketI have been very vocal about the bad experience I had with my first birth and my huge fear of having a repeat c-section. I spent my entire second pregnancy trying my hardest to put myself in an optimal position to have a VBAC. It still wasn’t in the cards. At 42 weeks pregnant, I had to have another c-section because my adorable baby girl still showed no indication that she would be vacating the premises any time soon — and it wasn’t that bad.

I was having very mild contractions but had not dilated at all. All the weeks I spent doing everything in my power to make this baby come were for nothing. I could have just kicked my feet up and ate Ben and Jerry’s all day instead of shuttling back and forth to chiropractic appointments, doing all sorts of new-age exercises and following every old wives tale in the book. Oh well. You can’t say I didn’t try.

I’m making light of the whole situation because it is over, but I was seriously terrified of having a repeat c-section. Terrified. Having been through one already, it was even worse. I imagined that my experience would be the same: the actual surgery itself was rushed and frightening. The recovery was awful. Thinking about all of these things made me approach this birth with a dread that I cannot even explain. Also throw in the fact that I was convinced I would die on the operating table and leave my children motherless.

If sheer will alone could have made this baby come out, I would have held her in my arms much sooner. But eventually, I had to face the fact that my body was not cooperating and surrender to the operating room. My sister, husband and I packed a bag and drove to the hospital. They put me on monitors immediately. We saw that the baby was doing fine and had a strong heartbeat. One troubling thing that we did notice was that even though I was only having very small, erratic contractions  the baby was not responding to them well. She seemed to go into a little bit of distress every time one of these contractions happened. This worried the doctors a little, because they weren’t confident that she would actually be able to tolerate the real deal. At that point, I had already surrendered to the reality of the repeat c-section, so I wasn’t even going to attempt a trial of labor if the baby wasn’t going to be able to tolerate it.

My doctor calmly addressed my fears and explained how an emergency c-section is very different from one that is planned. There would be no rushing, no panicking doctors, no run to the operating room. I would be slowly prepped for a surgery that would take much longer than the first. It would be a calmer experience.

I was skeptical.

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  1. AStewart

    June 19, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Congratulations on the birth of your daughter, I’m sorry things didn’t go as planned, but I’m glad you had a better experience overall.

  2. JLH1986

    June 19, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Congrats!! So happy you and Frankie are home and healthy, even if things didn’t go as planned.

  3. Edify

    June 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I too just had a repeat C-section after an emergency with my first. The emergency was under a general anesthetic and for years, I’d barely been able to think or talk about my daughters birth without crying. My entire birth plan this time was quite simple – be awake!

    They difference a planned c-section made is incredible and whilst I still regret not being present as such at my daughters birth, I feel better about it now.

    Congratulations on Frankie, that was also the name we’d picked if we had another girl. Lots of peace and light your way.

  4. Emmali Lucia

    June 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Woah, You have a BIG baby. I’m so glad that this experience wasn’t as traumatic as the last. I remember reading about it and then reading the comments to people trying to invalidate your feelings by saying it wasn’t -really- that bad, they’re jerks, but you already know that.

    Congrats and have a happy healing!

    • Maria Guido

      June 19, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      The first time I laid eyes on her I thought, “Woah. I just gave birth to a two month old.”

    • keelhaulrose

      June 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      I tried everything to get my first to come naturally, got induced, was dialated and trying to force push- nothing. I finally gave into their suggestion of a c-sect. After my daughter was born they announced she was 9 lbs, 14 oz and I was secretly happy she didn’t come the normal way or I might never have considered another. She looked gigantic in the line next to the 6 and 7 pound babies!

    • Courtney Lynn

      June 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm

      My son was 8 lb 1 oz and had the chubbiest cheeks from day one. I didn’t see him with other babies as we roomed in but I bet I could have picked him out easily.

    • SuzyQuzy

      June 20, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Mine was 9 pounds, 9 ounces, and she wasn’t a c-section. She’s now 18 months old and I’m still terrified of having another. It was an experience I never want to repeat. The recovery from a forceps delivery and an episiotomy is hellish.

    • kitten

      June 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      a friend had a boy about 10lbs, when she had her daugher her OB told her “P., im not seeing you through another 10lb vaginal delivery, lets do a c-section”.

    • ElleJai

      June 20, 2013 at 11:59 pm

      Hmm. Episiotomies are often harder to recover from than tears. My birth plan banned them. Tears are usually just skin while the episiotomy also cuts muscle.

      You can always elect for a c-section if you can’t handle another vaginal delivery of a giant bub, and that would be fair enough!

      Were you on your back delivering on opening your hips at the time? I’m told that our pelvis opens if we’re leaning upright, but birth is harder if we’re on our backs. Ftr, I was on my back but due to kidney problems I had a barely 6 pound bub who sort of slid out. One bonus of small bubs… Almost needing the NICU is the down side however.

    • Courtney Lynn

      June 21, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      I had an emergency c-section. I’m opting for the repeat with this one due in August. I’m all for VBACs for those who want them and can have them, but it’s not for me.

  5. Raeronola

    June 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    If responding “five” doesn’t make the drugs come, I suggest you just
    respond, “What fucking number do I have to say to make the drugs come?
    That one.”

    This made me LOL! I have every intention of getting ALL THE DRUGS THEY HAVE. I do not need to be in pain! I have a planned c-section in 2 weeks due to a spinal injury that could make regular labor dangerous, and I am trying to read as many positive stories as possible. Having made it through back surgery that took a full 6 weeks to recover, I feel confident in my ability to handle this. I also have a really, really awesome support system in place, so I know that’s going to help.

    Can I ask if you’re breastfeeding, and how that’s going post-c?

    • Edify

      June 19, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      Congratulations and good luck with your delivery.

      Breast feeding after a c-section for me has been a breeze after both of my deliveries. Be confident in your bodies ability to feed your child but don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

    • raeronola

      June 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      Thanks for this! I am really determined and have my BF kit all ready to go for the hospital. 😉

    • Maria Guido

      June 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      Breastfeeding is going fine. It’s kind of hard being tethered to a feeding infant all day when you have a toddler to care for, though!

  6. Guest

    June 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    That’s what he gets for taking a kid to A BAR. I am a mother of two, and I think he’s a moron.

    People go to over-21 establishments because they don’t expect it to be fucking McDonalds.

    no big loss, for the loss of this moron’s business, I am sure you will
    get 20 more patrons that will gladly thank you for not allowing
    children. And I hope to gawd that you didn’t reprimend your hard working

    • Cee

      June 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      Wrong place, buddy. And today is Wednesday, just in case.

  7. ElleJai

    June 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Congrats on the addition of Frankie to your family! I was able to have my son via induction gel (no drip) but in my birth plan I said if I absolutely had to have a c-section I wanted a mirror so I could watch the birth. (Only for planned/awake obviously). From everything I read it helped the women feel more in control and thus better about their birth experience. I’m glad it was better this time around, and best wishes for the cluster feeding to settle soon xx

    • Maria Guido

      June 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm

      No way. I would have fainted. They offered to talk me through it and I said, “no thanks!” I’m too much of a wimp to see myself cut into like that.

    • Courtney Lynn

      June 21, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      Same here! Couldn’t do it!

    • Raeronola

      June 20, 2013 at 11:41 am

      I’m kind of curious about doing this. I’m the type of person who always watches when they draw blood or stitch things up, even when the nurses are like OK LOOK AWAY! So I wonder if watching something that invasive would give me nightmares or if I would be like, WOAH COOL INTESTINES!!!!!!!!! Plus I think seeing bebe the exact moment they are born would be awesome.

      I don’t want husband to watch, though, Just like I instructed him to stay at SHOULDER LEVEL when we were still discussing vaginal birth, I do not want him near my organs. He does not need to know what my spleen looks like. 😀

    • kitten

      June 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      my husband made the mistake of watching (vaginal) i was vomiting violently from the magnesium (pre-eclampsia) and lets just say all the heaving was like doing more pushing….and im lucky he still goes down there after what he saw. (and had two more children with me)

    • Raeronola

      June 21, 2013 at 11:11 am

      Hahahaha poor both of you! I love my husband but he can’t even handle it when I stub my toe. I feel this would send him into some sort of catatonic state. Sounds like you got a good one!!!

    • ElleJai

      June 20, 2013 at 11:53 pm

      My partner watched the birth and found it empowering. We’d discussed shoulder level but when the nurse invited him down he went with permission. And I too stare at medical procedures (on me, on TV it makes me sick) so I would be checking out that birth. I want to see bub emerge!

      A cousin of mine opted to have hers under general though, and doesn’t feel she missed out, so we’re all different. Just thought I’d mention it in case anyone didn’t know it was an option.

      That Frankie is here, healthy and perfect, makes her birth brilliant. I’ve been waiting for news so excitedly, as I might not be allowed more babies I have to live vicariously atm!

    • eloquacious

      June 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      With my second C/s, they asked me if I wanted to watch. (I was under general anesthesia for the first, so watching wasn’t an option.) I said that I didn’t, but there was a lamp with a reflective surface above me, so I wound up watching anyways, albeit in a somewhat distorted, fun-house mirror sort of way. It was way cooler than I was expecting. If my third winds up being a scheduled C/S, as seems likely, I will totally ask to watch.

  8. Courtney Lynn

    June 19, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I’m glad to read this. I’m having a planned repeat c/s after my son was an emergency c/s. This really helps.

  9. Sara J. Hutchinson Underwood

    June 21, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    I had an unplanned c-section with my first, and a scheduled c-section with my second. Both had their own issues. With the first one, I just couldn’t push him out. My doctor said I’m probably one of those rare women who has poor bone structure for birthing babies… I pushed for 7 hours, hard enough to black both my eyes, has three vacuum attempts, and then went c-section. So it wasn’t the c-section that made it so horrible, it was the pushing. After he was born all I wanted to do was sleep. I didn’t want to hold him, feed, nothing… Just sleep. So for my second child I figured a scheduled c-section would avoid all that. That time I had a reaction to the anesthesia (I went into labor a few days ahead, so I went to the hospital and got an epidural while I was waiting for them to set up for a c-section) and I woke up unable to move and with three tubes shoved down my throat to keep me breathing. So also a crappy birth experience. I’m always jealous of women that have these awesome birthing experiences, because mine sucked. Although after the first time, I just kept an open mind.. I don’t blame my body, my doctor, the hospital, the baby… What happens happens.

  10. eloquacious

    June 21, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    I had a very similar experience. My first cesarean was terrible, it felt like I had been hit by a truck and handed a baby after waking up from the surgery. My second was an attempted VBAC which failed because my son’s arm was extended out of the womb ahead of his noggin. I was able to get a spinal, be awake, and see my baby boy as soon as he was born. (My first I didn’t see until over three hours later, after everyone else in my family had seen him.) This was calm, relaxed, and pleasant. I am now expecting my third child and I’m torn between scheduling a cesarean, which still sort of feels like capitulating, and trying again for a VBAC. The doctor, strangely, is the one who is most pro-VBAC, and he’s the one who performed my second cesarean,

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  14. Jannae

    October 4, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Thank you so much for posting your experience up here. It was something I needed to hear, from at least one person.

    My emergency c section was the culmination of over three days of trying to induce and getting nowhere past 4cm, despite breaking my water…which led to a mild infection and led to an emergency c-section. I went in completely unprepared, exhausted, and starving. I do want another child in a few years, and it may have to be another c section, so this goes a long way to reassuring me.

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