April is C-section awareness month. We’re now nearly at the end of it and although I’ve known about it all month I’ve been struggling with this post.
Are all these ‘awareness’ months just another ploy to play Mothers against one another because of decisions they make? Decisions that, on this occasion affect the well being of them and their baby. There are still mumbles of being “too posh to push and taking the easy way out” amongst some and it’s just uncalled for. Maybe it is the ignorance of fellow humans that cause a need for this month.
I don’t think there is an easy option in birth. Every option has risks. A c-section is a major operation. A decision not to be taken lightly, but for both my boys it got them here safely and healthy in the end. I’d make the same decisions again, over and over. At the end of the day all any of us want is a healthy baby. How they are delivered makes us no less or more of a mother than the next person.
The reasoning behind c-section awareness month is to raise awareness and educate people about cesareans. The aim; to reduce the number of cesareans in mothers who do not need or will benefit from this procedure compared to a vaginal birth. Here’s where I wavier with my support… Statistics show one in four births end in c-section. Who decides if a c-section is not needed? What if a mum-to-be wholeheartedly believes a c-section is the right option for her and her baby but a doctor being forced to save NHS funds disagrees? Who wins? My view, it should always be the mother. Some births are bloody traumatic! The thoughts of reliving that experience can be pretty horrific. Surely if more help or counselling was given to mothers who have suffered trauma during previous births the numbers of elective second/third/fourth births would organically reduce?
I’ve had two c-sections so I feel pretty knowledgeable on the whole experience but that does not mean my experience is the same as the next.
My first birth was an emergency c-section and the second, elective. I wrote about the judgement I felt for opting for an elective c-section second time round (even though I was advised to do so!) over on Mummypages, if you’d like to read it you can click here.
Here’s the bit I have never mentioned before. There is a reason I haven’t shared my c-section experiences before now, I would NEVER want to scare any one but this post is aimed at c-section awareness so I’m gonna share in the hope it highlights the fact a c-section is by no means an easy option.
For anyone who is thinking of having a c-section my advise is, inform yourself! Read facts not opinions. How else can you make a decision that is right for you and your family?
First time round after a 45 hour induction and failure to progress I was whisked to theatre and the Biggest Little C arrived. I shivered with a teeth shattering shake the whole way through my op. I heaved continuously and when they put my baby boy on my chest, I was so exhausted and weak I didn’t have the strength to hold him.
Giving birth like this wasn’t how I imagined it would be. I was expecting this miraculous moment, with tears of joy and skin-to-skin and “Oh who does he look like?” moments. Instead there was a feeling of “Right, that’s, that over with.” I was deflated rather than elated, which feels pretty rubbish looking back.
My second, elective section was for me, my positive birth.
I was in control.
The previous reaction I had, had to the administered medication was monitored so closely the anaesthetist knew before I did that I was starting to feel unwell. He tweaked something or other and before I knew it I felt fine again. All’s I wanted was to be able to hold my baby while I was stitched up. I got my wish and came out of surgery raving about how well it went.
My buzz didn’t last and I began to feel very sleepy and very sick. I have spoken before about the fright the Little C gave us at this time but like I’ve said above I have never wanted to scare any one so I didn’t mention that I was haemorrhaging at the same time. I was whisked back to theatre. There surgeons inflated a balloon in my womb to stop it filling with blood, save my chances of ever being a mum of three and possibly my life.
That all sounds quite dramatic and for Mr C it was!
I was whisked away and then the Little C was also taken back to theatre. I, on the other hand wasn’t quite ‘present’ and my memories are quite blurred. It’s probably for the best. No good will come of over thinking, or asking ‘what if?’ In a few days, I was fine. My recover returned to that of a normal c-section and the Little C well, he is the boss of this house and God help anyone who gets in his way!
Even though my second birth on paper was the dangerous, life threatening one, for me it was the less traumatic. I had come to terms that I would never give birth the ‘natural’ way. I wanted to make my experience as calm and positive as it could be. Up to a point it was and that’s what I hold on to.
C-sections serve a purpose. They are there to save Mothers and Babies that in years gone by may not have made it. I’m pretty darn grateful to the team at Queen Charlotte’s for looking after me and my boys so well.
If I could guide any mother thinking of opting for a c-section, I’d have to say go with your gut. Arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible and prepare yourself for the recovery. Listen to your body, pushing yourself too much too soon will only set you back! Maybe you could use it to your advantage and designate a few household chores to himself for a change. A silver lining if ever there was!