I am 1 in 3 American women. When you are pregnant with your first baby, you plan on your water breaking, contractions starting and then you push out your baby. Little did I know that there are risk factors that put you at risk for having a cesarean section or casually known as a “C-section”.
Let’s start with those risk factors:
- Birthing multiple babies
- Baby with complex medical issues
- Premature labor
- Mother’s age
- The health of the mother
- Breech baby
- Placenta Previa
- Being overweight
- Being induced
I had no idea I had risk factors going into this or I would have thought more about trying to naturally induce labor. My weight was a risk factor as I guess I was more prone to gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes could cause a larger baby, which in turn could cause issues getting the baby through the birth canal. I did not get gestational diabetes for all my pregnancies, so that risk did not play out for my case. When I didn’t have one single contraction, ache or pain and my baby was still sitting next to my chin at my 40-week checkup, the doctor and I decided to set up an induction date. I went in for cervical ripening gel overnight, started Pitocin the next morning (Brutal, so very absolutely breathtakingly, brutal), they broke my water, I progressed to 5 cm and the baby wouldn’t drop. Labored all day and all night, thankfully with an epidural. Nope, baby still wouldn’t budge. Ok, times up. So there we were waiting for my baby to arrive via c-section. It didn’t move fast or was an emergency, as the OR was booked with an appendectomy in the middle of the night. My baby was born via c-section. He was a big boy with a huge square head! It’s no wonder he wouldn’t drop. A square peg doesn’t fit into a round hole is what I always say when people ask why my labor ended in a c-section.
At that point, I wasn’t even thinking about what I had gone through but was only happy that my baby was safely here, meeting him for the first time. Everything went well with my first c-section. No pain meds were needed. I had a pretty great recovery and had no complications. My milk came in just fine (it’s a myth that if you have a c-section your milk takes longer or won’t show up). My scar was pretty ugly, though. Lucky for me, I would get to go through it all again soon, as I got pregnant again at only 8 months postpartum.
I was worried that there would be complications with c-sections so close together. I was reassured that everything would be fine and that I could even try for a VBAC if I wanted to. I debated that for a second but felt that a repeat would be safer with how big my first born’s head was. We planned it for one week before my due date (they don’t want you to go into labor if possible). The repeat c-section was so easy for me. Everything went perfectly. I asked the OB how my insides looked and asked about scar tissue. No scar tissue and it would be fine to have another c-section if we had more children. She even fixed my external scar!!! Free cosmetic surgery bonus too! No complications again. My baby’s head was one inch bigger than his older brothers so a VBAC would have provided a failed attempt.
Fast forward to 3 years later and there I was with my third c-section. I went into labor before my scheduled repeat c-section. My hospital was full so I had to travel to a different unknown hospital. After laboring for four hours and progressing, they deemed it active labor and I was prepped for the OR. Ta-da another baby and insides that look just fine to have another!
So here I am today. Three c-sections and a scar that is barely visible. Would I have chosen the c-section route for my childbirth? Absolutely not. Surgery is surgery and always comes with risks. There are specific risks with a c-section that your medical team will discuss with you. Would I change anything about my birthing experiences? Absolutely not. I’m here, my children are here; so my birthing experiences are now a figment of my mind. I cannot change what already has happened. Do I want to have a fourth c-section? Absolutely not. My husband and I are not planning on having any more children. Honestly, the c-section is the number one reason why. Personally, I don’t want to have surgery again, even though I am totally cleared to have another. I’m happy with how complete our family is.
So what have I learned from having c-sections?
- Always be informed. Ask your medical team any questions you may have. If you are craving statistics or personal experiences, do your research. Decide what is best for you and your baby.
- Know your limits. You know yourself best with past experiences and your medical history to obtain your best medical experience.
- Giving Birth is Giving Birth no matter what way you do it. Both ways are not easy. There are pros and cons to each way you deliver but the end result is the same. A baby!
A mother’s worth is not measured by her birthing experience. We all did one of the greatest things one could ever do. Celebrate your journey coming into motherhood and the road that is before you.