Why My Emergency Cesarean was Beautiful
4 years ago I had an unplanned cesarean birth. I don’t usually share my personal stories, as my own experiences are irrelevant in supporting others birth the way that matters to them. However, April is Cesarean Awareness month, and in honour of all the women who have birthed in the operating room, I’d like to share my story.
Before becoming a doula and before knowing the ins and outs of the birth world, I was pregnant with our first baby. I researched and decided to hire a doula, so that I’d be more informed. My labour began, of course only as labour would, the morning after my husband had been out until 5am celebrating that he was becoming a father. We hung out and binged watched TV shows through most of early labour and/or his hangover. After about 12 hours of mild contractions they were becoming more intense. We did the positions and moves that our doula showed us prenatally and soon we needed her to join us.
Our doula showed us ways to relieve pain, calm down in the face of fear, and gave me suggestions on how to relieve back labour. In the wee hours of the morning we were headed to the hospital, excited to be leaving for the last time as a family of two. After a few more hours of working hard to breathe through contractions, having ice cold cloths on my head and my doula squeezing my hips, the OBGYN came to assess me. He said, “You’re 10 cm dilated and your baby is breech, you’ll need an emergency c-section”.
We were in shock. I cried, we both cried. I skipped over all the cesarean chapters in every book I read. That wasn’t going to happen to me. Did I have to? Why couldn’t I birth her bum down? Everything seemed so different all of a sudden. I was mad, scared and in shock. But, my doula helped carve out time for us to talk about it before agreeing. I was devastated, but she helped us advocate for ourselves. She helped us understand what it would be like and she never left our side.
Our baby girl was born in the operating room. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. My hubby and I were tucked behind the raised curtain, hospital staff talking quietly. You see, information is power. I was told everything I needed to know. I remember the look of worry on my husbands’ face, after all I was laying on the operating table. I had surrendered to this being my path – I was groggy, I was then sore, but I was fierce. It took me over a week to really feel stable, and over two weeks before I could laugh without it hurting.
Having a cesarean birth didn’t make me less of a mother, women, or wife – it actually inspired me to do what I love – become a doula. My scar doesn’t make me regret my birth. My scar is a very subtle, almost invisible reminder of how strong I am. How strong every women is.
I want to ensure women everywhere are supported through their scariest moments and loved no matter what their birth outcome is.
For more information on cesarean births, having a doula for a planned or unplanned cesarean birth, or vaginal births after cesareans (VBAC) please send me an email, I’d love to chat.