With the birth of our daughter being born via c-section, many people have inquired whether I prefer a regular birth experience or a c-section. I thought I’d just share my birth story and some information I’ve gathered since, for your interest. Vaginal or cesarean? There are many thoughts and opinions surrounding those two words considering a birth experience.
Here is some information on Cesarean Births in the United States:
~The World Health Organization’s finds that c-sections performed above 10% is considered more harm than good. Currently the United States has a 32% rate of cesarean.
~Mayo Clinic reports that certain risks are higher after a Caesarean than after a vaginal birth this includes infections of the bladder/uterus, injury to the mother/baby, risks in future pregnancies and higher risk of postpartum depression.
~Common side effects of caesarean are fatigue, incision pain, constipation, bleeding, cramping, pelvic pain, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder.
For this pregnancy I had a midwife but still planned for a hospital birth. At the last check-up before our daughter was born, the midwife said, “I think she’s breach”. She then ordered an ultrasound which proved not only was she a breech baby she was a “double footling” breech baby. Only 3% of all breech babies are what they call a “double footling” breech. When this was confirmed, I knew the next day I would have an appointment with an OB/GYN doctor who specializes in higher risk births. I inquired about my options. What could I do? What is safe? How long do I have? Can I wait till I go into labor on my own? Since the risks were too high, we scheduled a cesarean the next day. We had to be at the hospital at 6:00 a.m. for my c-section at 9:00. I was very scared and nervous. I had never had any major surgery. I was trembling. Thankfully, God knew who I needed for my anesthesiologist. There was a student who was cheerful and outgoing and then the experienced one who was calm and very assuring. When they did wheel me into the operating room, I was so scared I began to cry. After administering the spinal block, I no longer had any feeling from my chest down but was totally cognitive. Everything then proceeded as an average c-section surgery. Once in recovery they hooked me up to Pitocin to help control the bleeding so for the next 7 hours. On top of the surgical pain then I could also feel contractions from the “Pit”. For twenty-four hours after surgery I was completely immobile. The hospital staff did excellent with pain relief and support. It was very difficult to laugh, cry, and sneeze. You’ve got no clue how many stomach muscle you use on any given day until they cut through all the layers:) I LOVED being in the maternity ward for the following three days. Just having nurses at your every call and catering to every need was really good. I could rest and not have to worry about taking care of the other children or trying to do steps at home. For a vaginal birth, I usually stay only twenty-four hours afterward.
There are pro’s and con’s of either birthing plans. Personally here is my ideas. For a cesarean, people are a lot more willing to pitch in and help. I’ve gotten more meals than I ever did with my other two babies. I’ve got full-time help. I do think recovery is more difficult. I’d rather be up and doing my things at my speed instead I’ve got to use caution. The emotional after effects of major surgery are greater. In fact, my midwife informed that my risk for postpartum depression is around 95%. I’ve had breastfeeding problems which I’ve discovered is not uncommon in cesarean births. For a vaginal birth, I could pretty much do what I wanted with in a week of giving birth. My hospital stay wasn’t as long and if I tore there was pain from the stitches which wasn’t as nice. Pretty much all around a vaginal birth is definitely better for mom and baby.
For additional advice/info:
ICAN The International Cesarean Awareness Network aims to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesarean through education, provide support for cesarean recovery, and promote Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). It has a register of care providers, informative FAQs and a community.
I’d like to hear from my readers. What type of birth did you have? What side-effects have you experienced? What helped you or your family adjust to a new one?