Today’s interview is with a woman I’ve never actually met in person! When I was chatting with The WellRounded Midwife about this series she said she had a previous client that might be interested in sharing her story and that’s how we get to hear from Christina today. Thanks so much for your help with this, ladies!

How many children do you have and how many were born via cesarean?
We have two children, one was a cesarean birth.

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? My 5 year old was born at home and we were planning on a second home birth but during an ultrasound they discovered I had Complete Placenta Previa. So my midwife transferred me to an OBGYN and had a scheduled cesarean at 37 weeks.

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 pretty disappointed and terrified at first. I really wanted another home birth and with all the potential complications with Placenta Previa. I felt like I just had to do what I was told by the hospital and doctors. My midwife stuck by our side and still gave us her support. She showed me that just because I was having a cesarean didn't mean I couldn't make what I wanted out of it. I took her positive influence and made a birth plan and she discussed with me with my doctor. Everyone stuck to it the best they could, including allowing me to have a music play list. So I guess the answer is yes, I was happy with my experience, not the one I wanted but yes happy with it.

Have you ever experienced any shaming or questioning that made you feel uncomfortable after your cesarean? I have not experienced this, I got more shaming from having a home birth. And having experienced both sides, a cesarean is not the "east way out". I have heard people saying these things in the past but not to me thankfully.

Were you able to do skin-to-skin with your baby immediately after the birth, even before leaving the operating room? I was able to do skin to skin in the OR. Since I was early full term, the nurse checked him out to make sure he was okay and then immediately put him on my chest and was able to hold him for the rest of my procedure and she monitored him while he was on me.

Was there a clear, see through drape between you and Baby at the time of the operation? I had a blue drape but once they got my baby out, they removed a piece so I could see him while they cut his cord. Once he was out they put the blue piece back up.

If you chose to breastfeed your baby, were you able to try nursing your baby within the first hour after birth? I think it was pretty close to the first hour. He wasn't quite ready in the OR. My midwife was waiting in the recovery room for me. I'm not sure if they would've offered support if my midwife wasn't there but I didn't get any until I got up to my room which was a few hours later. But with my midwife there she was able to help me right away.

What was your recovery like: Better or worse than expected? More emotionally or physically draining than you were prepared for? Both, some parts were a lot harder than I thought and some things were a lot easier. I had such anxiety leading up to it that I was so relieved when it was over so the emotional side was easier than expected and I had amazing support excepting what was going to happen. The spinal made me super sick so the first hour in recovery was hard but I had amazing nurses helping with the other stuff. I also built walking for the first time up in my head that when I actually did it, it wasn't so bad.

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? I did feel prepared between my midwife and my doctor. They tried to help me as much as possible. I also had an amazing team that talked me though everything and they understood what I needed to make me feel comfortable. Everyone did the best they could to stick to my birth plan as much as possible.

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!)

  1. Just because you're having a cesarean birth doesn't mean you can't make it what you want. Make a birth plan for one, if its planned or not. I like to joke so I tried to make mine as fun as possible.

  2. You still need support!! I would recommend still having a doula or midwife with you. Everyone at the hospital was busy and having her there to support me and my husband was amazing and I'm not sure I physically or emotionally could've done it without her.

  3. Cesarean birth is hard!! I thought it was way more difficult than a vaginal birth and I had fairly uncomplicated recovery with both of my births.

    Anything else you'd like to share about your experience(s) or that you want the public to know about cesarean birth? I know not all women have the same experience that I did, mine was perfect, yes I would've preferred a home birth but this is our son's birth story and yes its very different than my daughter's, but I wouldn't have changed a thing. Don't feel like your body has failed you or your baby, embrace what your body has done, creating this perfect tiny human.