C-section disappointment

by Ginger on October 1, 2009

in Mom Thoughts, Oh Baby!

*Disclaimer: This post is a continuation from yesterday, and will discuss my delivery. I’m not so much for the crazy sharing, so it won’t be graphic and gross, but if you’re not into the stories of this sort, be forewarned. Also, it’s long. What can I tell you–I had a lot to say*

I did not want a c-section. It was the one thing I had talked about throughout my pregnancy as not wanting. But there seemed to be this perfect storm of reasons leading me that way. And my doctor is sitting there saying, look, we can wait some more if you want but we’ve been waiting at the same place for hours and there’s been no change. You can wait but he’s not going to change position. You can wait but you’re stuck and we’ve spent hours trying to get you unstuck to no avail.

My first instinct was to tell her “let’s wait”. Let’s just wait one more hour with the pitocin and let’s see if anything changes, and then we’ll talk about a c-section. I kept thinking to myself, surely things will change if we just wait a little longer. The baby isn’t in danger, I’m not in danger, surely this is going to happen if we just wait.  Everything was moving along so well before, surely things will pick back up again. But the more we talked–to the doctor, to my mom, to each other–the more that came to seem like wishful thinking. I had been stuck at the same point for hours, my baby wasn’t in a good position for a vaginal birth (in a couple of ways), and because of the epidural, I couldn’t get up and move around to try and move him–though by that time, he was already engaged, so I don’t think he would have moved anyway. I finally said yes to the c-section.

I wasn’t scared of the surgery–I knew what to expect, I knew my doctor was excellent, and I knew that I was in good hands. But there was a portion of me that hated myself as they were wheeling me to the OR. I knew that now I wouldn’t get to hold  or breastfeed my baby for hours. I knew that now I wouldn’t even get to touch my baby for hours. I knew that now I would spend the time immediately after Jackson’s birth by myself in the recovery room, while my husband kept a watchful eye over our son in the nursery that only gets used for c-section babies. It broke my heart to know that I wasn’t going to get that time with him.

Turns out that everything my doctor said was right–Jackson was a big baby (with a big head and a big chest to boot), he was facing all kinds of wrong directions, and because of how he was looking, he was kind of “stuck.” I think, all things considered, the c-section was probably the right call–I’m positive that had I somehow progressed to be able to deliver him vaginally it would not have been pretty, and I’m not sure it wouldn’t have resulted in the use of forceps or vacuum extraction or a giant episiotomy or tear due to his positioning. Or all of those things. And there’s always the chance that had I not done the c-section, things would have gotten to an emergency situation.

But somehow, I still feel like a failure.  I feel like I should have fought the doctor more, or tried to do without the epidural longer, or tried to go off the epidural to be able to move around, or, or, or…something. I hate that for the first 3 hours of Jackson’s life, I was off in another room, separated from him. I hate that I didn’t get to hold him as he came into this world. I hate that I feel like it’s my fault. I hate that I’ll always wonder if I could have changed things. I hate that I feel this way, when I have a beautiful amazing little boy sleeping in the next room–why do I care so much how he got here? Why does it bother me so much?

I don’t know why, but it does bother me. Maybe it’s because of the surprise of it–things were going so well on their own for so long (or so it seemed to me). Maybe it’s because I was hoping that, even though my pregnancy didn’t live up to my expectations, my delivery would. Or maybe it’s the reverse of the women who feel judged for all-natural births. Maybe I feel like I’m being judged for taking the “easy way”–I mean lots of women have back labor, and lots of women have longer labors than mine, and lots of women deliver incorrectly positioned babies vaginally, and lots of women sacrifice to make sure the entrance of their child is “better” for the baby, not just easier for mom. Maybe it’s just one more level of the judgment and criticism that moms face that I internalized without realizing it.

I didn’t get the delivery I hoped for, and that is something that I’m having to reconcile in my mind. It in no way diminishes the kid–he’s perfect and amazing and somehow separate from the disappointment I feel about how things worked out–but it is there. Luckily, I’ve got an amazing gift out of it all that can help me with that. He’s the prize, and no matter how he got here, the end result is worth it.


Katherine October 2, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Lots of women have c-sections. You know it’s perfectly normal and you know it was the best thing to do under the circumstances. You are punishing yourself over something you had no control over. 3 hours is nothing in the grand scheme of the time you will spend with Jackson. So you didn’t have that idealistic moment you had imagined (and I gather had beat into by baby books and other people)? You delivered a healthy baby boy. Job well done mom.

Plus now he doesn’t have squished newborn head in all of his photos. = )

There was a story on the news the other day about a woman who had her baby in her car in 25 minutes. These things are unpredictable.

Katherine October 2, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Please forgive my unusual use of punctuation. I’m blaming the cold.

bekah October 3, 2009 at 7:48 am

He is a beautiful baby boy, and in NO way did you fail him. You did what was best for him, despite the fact that it broke your heart. You are his mommy, you took care of his needs over your desires. We (pregnant women) spend so much time preparing for what we want out of childbirth, that sometimes we get completely fixated on the birth WE want, not the birth our child needs. Your baby needed some help, you (wisely) chose to get him the help he needed, and because of that sacrifice you made, he is a healthy, gorgeous baby, GOOD JOB!

christy September 22, 2010 at 10:31 am

As I sit here and read your story. I think to myself that I am reading my own birth story. I understand word for word what you have gone through. I have now had 2 c-sections, the first was after 28 hrs. of labor and the 2nd was after 31 hrs. of labor. I am so sorry you have to feel this way. I feel the same, it is heart breaking, but just know that you are not alone. Thank-you for sharing your story! 🙂

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