These questions were answered by my neighbor, Molly. She has two boys the same ages as my two kids and they all go to school together. In the last year I've gotten to know her more, mostly through chats on the playground after school or play dates for our boys. I love how just by ten simple questions I'm getting to know the women I've interviewed better and I'm really thankful for everyone's participation.
How many children do you have and how many were born via cesarean?
2 children. Both born by cesarean.
If you’ve had more than one cesarean, were the others planned? If so, what was the reason? If not, what happened in the birth that ended up resulting with a repeat cesarean?
If not, what happened in the birth that ended up resulting with a repeat cesarean?
Both were planned. First son was breech. With my second, I felt more comfortable knowing how everything would go based on prior experience. I got an extra day at the hospital, which I especially appreciated after my first as a transition to post-baby life. Doctor would have allowed VBAC but I wasn’t really interested.
Were you happy with your experience? If you’ve had more than one cesarean, were you happy with one and not with another? Explain? I was happy with both experiences.
Have you ever experienced any shaming or questioning that made you feel uncomfortable after your cesarean? I ask this because many women have shared that they’ve almost felt bullied by other women who had vaginal births and have been told that cesarean was “the easy way out” or “not real childbirth”. I hate to even bring this up, but its a real thing in our culture and I’d love to hear your take on this if it is something you have experienced. I am familiar with this. I don’t feel as though I’ve experienced it from anyone else. I probably do more self-shaming on this by assuming people think these things. I know that they lived in me for over 9 months and they came from me.
Were you able to do skin-to-skin with your baby immediately after the birth, even before leaving the operating room? No.
Was there a clear, see through drape between you and Baby at the time of the operation? No. There was a drape but it was not see through.
If you chose to breastfeed your baby, were you able to try nursing your baby within the first hour after birth? I did breastfeed but definitely wasn’t able to do this within the first hour for either child.
What was your recovery like: Better or worse than expected? More emotionally or physically draining than you were prepared for? I imagine whether you deliver naturally or by c-section one is drained both physically and emotionally. My recovery went well, probably better than expected as I didn’t have any complications. For my second, I knew what to expect and recovery went just as well.
If your cesarean was planned, did you feel well-prepared for the procedure itself, what to expect regarding recovery and was your healthcare provider willing to work with you to get the birth experience you desired?
Both were planned. In general, I had no idea what to expect. I think that’s what I wanted. I really trusted my doctor and I felt comfortable with her guiding me. When I found out my first was breech I just felt like I had no control over it. My husband read up on methods to “turn” the baby and I wasn’t really interested in pursuing those. I felt more in control by setting a date and time and just working toward that date. I would have had a much harder time just waiting for labor.
What are three things you’d like the world to know about cesarean birth? (If its too hard to narrow it down to three, list more!)
It is major abdominal surgery.
Your core takes a long time to fully strengthen. Almost 5 years after my 2nd surgery, my core finally feels strong again.
It took a very long time for the nerve endings to repair themselves. The area around the incision felt “numb” for a VERY LONG TIME.
I hate to hear of women who labored for many hours then having surgery. I think the recovery in those situations would be harder.
Motherhood comes in many forms and fashions whether delivery is natural, through surgery, adoption, etc.