I would just like to start by saying that this is my own personal experience with my own personal opinions and feelings. I appreciate that not everybody who has birthed the same way that I did will have had the same experience or that they would feel the same way I do about it.
I would be interested to learn what other peoples feelings are about this subject I don’t think I have spoken to anyone who has had a similar experience about their feelings on this.
I have three beautiful, happy, healthy boys. More than I ever could have dreamed and something that, at one point, I didn’t think was ever going to happen for me.
When I really think about it I am so in awe of my own body, that I carried and grew a child three times. I am so grateful for them but I can not shake the feeling that having three C-sections I missed out on the ‘natural’ birth I always wanted.
Am I selfish for thinking this? I mean three children is more than some people could ever dream of and I’m here with a feeling that I missed out on something when I have three children how can I have missed out on anything worth worrying about?.
I was 19 when I was pregnant with DS1. I had a very straight forward pregnancy and I was so excited to become a mother for the first time. It was 3am when my waters broke and I was 38 weeks pregnant. I was advised to go straight to hospital but as I hadn’t had any contractions yet I didn’t see the need to rush. By 8am I had only had about half an hour worth of contractions but wow they were painful! I didn’t seam to have a break in between the pains so hubby rushed us there thinking things were moving quickly. Once we were settled in on the delivery ward, bump all strapped up to the monitor, my contractions were very sporadic. I would have extremely painful long lasting contractions in a cluster and then I could have nothing for up to an hour. Baby’s heart rate had dipped a couple of times nothing serious but I had to stay strapped to the monitor and stuck on the bed. All the while I wasn’t progressing past 3cm. After 24 hours the midwifes were keen for me to go for a C-section. I was too exhausted and frustrated to want to keep going so once the forms were all signed I was taken down to theatre.
It all happened so quickly I went from being in a dark quiet room with a midwife popping in every so often to laying down looking up at a dozen people in surgical masks prodding me and asking if I could feel whatever it was they were doing to my legs. I quickly went form exhausted to absolutely terrified. I couldn’t tell if I was shaking with fear or if it was the drugs but I couldn’t stop. It only felt like a couple of minutes before I heard my baby cry. The beautiful sound that grabbed my heart, threw it up into my throat and flooded my eyes with tears of joy. I just wanted to hold him. It felt like forever. My husband caught a glimpse while he was being dressed by the midwifes before they passed him to my husband to hold. I could just see his beautiful scrunched up face beneath his hat and blanket and he was held closer to me while I was waiting for the surgeons to finish but I was desperate to hold him. When I was wheeled through to recovery I was finally able to hold him and the tears came flooding back. My husband was allowed to stay for ten minutes in recovery with me then he had to leave until I was put on a ward.
Of course at that point I didn’t have a minute inbetween the fear, euphoria and exhaustion of becoming a mother for the first time to reflect on how I felt about the birth.
When, two years later, I was pregnant with DS2 I was certain I was going to have a VBAC. I was so sure I would get my ‘dream birth’ which to me was of course a painful but a relaxed, as natural as possible, unclinical as possible positive birthing experience.
My confidence in this plan was shattered after meeting with my consultant late into my pregnancy. He told me that he personally would advise against a VBAC listing the many reasons he thought this wasn’t a sensible idea, including that they predicted this baby was going to be large, but that of course it was completely my choice.
I left feeling completely deflated I had been so eager and excited for my ideal birth and my usual midwife was also very positive about it. Everything he said was ringing in my ears. He was of course giving me his honest professional opinion and there was nothing he said that was wrong but it shattered my excitement. After a lot of thought I decided to take the professional advice and opt for a planned c-section.
I wasn’t any less terrified the second time and I thought I was going to black out. We’d waited 7 hours(!) Past our planned time for the c-section and I was already exhausted before my body couldn’t stop itself shaking like a leaf again.
DS2 was a healthy 8lb6 and was so calm from the minute he was born. Even his cries were quiet and calm and I felt on cloud 9 with my two boys.
It took me longer to recover from the second c-section and I was frustrated with having to stay still when there was so much to do and DS1 needed attention to. I ended up over doing it and had an infection that made the recovery even longer. The feeling that I had missed out on the ‘natural’ birth I wanted wouldn’t shake.
At 25 I was enjoying being a mother to my two boys. Hubby and I decided we would love to add another little person to our family. I was more determined than ever that this time I would get my ideal birth no matter what anyone told me I was going to do it.
Again my midwife was cautious about it all but supportive. But as before late into my pregnancy my consultant was a different story. It was a different doctor and he was so against me trying for a VBAC after two c-sections that be told me he wouldn’t be comfortable having me under his care if I went ahead. He told me how it just wasn’t worth the risk and he had had a bad experience with a patient in the same position in the past.
Again I was completely deflated. I was given an ultimatum. Go against the doctors very strong advice for a chance for my ideal birth or take the safer option and give up all I’d hoped for birth wise.
I sat in the hospital car park in tears I rang my husband and told him everything. He was always supportive but told me that if the doctor was so adamant I should take his advice.
We were at a different hospital for DS3’S birth than the older two boys. On the day of the c-section we waited for our turn with two other mums to be and were told we would either be 1st, 2nd or 3rd. I was 2nd.
A lady surgeon who was a lot younger than I’d expected, probably around my age, called us in to speak to us like she had the lady who was 1st on the list. She was very friendly and introduced herself. After going through what I should expect she asked me if there was anything I wanted to request to make the experience more personal. I was a bit taken aback by this. I hadn’t been asked this before.
“Can I see the baby straight away?”
“Of course” she said
I didn’t see the other boys until they were dressed and it felt like forever.
“would Dad like to cut the cord as well?”
Me and hubby looked at each other like, what? You can do that? Hubby was really excited about this.
The birth with DS3 was a much more positive experience. I was shown my baby straight away (until he peed allllllllll over me while they held him up, I’m not even kidding), hubby cut the cord and I was able to have some skin to skin time it was amazing.
While the doctors were finishing up and I was still lying there waiting to be wheeled to recovery the surgeon came over to speak to us. Everything went well she said but I do have to tell you that we did notice your womb was so weak from the previous sections that it had already begun to rupture and if you were to have any further pregnancies it could be very dangerous and unlikely you could carry the baby full term with out a rupture.
So that was that. A definite end to my birthing experience.
Although I do feel I missed out on the birth I so desperately wanted I had the ideal c-section in the end and it felt so personal and of course my boys are my reason for being no matter how they got here.