I’ll be honest, as a late-20-something woman, pregnant for the first time, I had certain opinions of C-sections. I had plenty of friends who had delivered their babies by C-section, and while my brain knew that there are very legitimate reasons for a C-section, my heart focused on a medicine-free vaginal delivery.
My OB-GYN and I had many conversations about my birth plan, and each time, he reminded me that we can have a plan, but the only focus when we got into that delivery room was the safety of the baby and me. With my first, I was induced with Cervadil 10 days after my due date, and neither the baby nor I responded well. After pulling the Cervadil and giving my body a break, we started on Pitocin. Labor progressed normally from there, and 15 hours later, with the use of an epidural, I vaginally delivered my baby girl.
Everyone has their birth story. Why do I share mine with you? Because going into that labor, I had misconceptions of what a C-section delivery meant. And the minute my baby’s heart rate dropped with Cervadil, if they told me that the safest way to deliver my baby was a C-section, I would have told them to run, not walk, to the operating room.
What stigma exists relative to C-section births, and where is the truth?
- Scheduling a C-section is just so you can choose your baby’s birthday. Most scheduled C-sections are scheduled because there would be adverse health risks to the mother if she goes into labor on her own. VBACs (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) are possible but can be dangerous, depending on many different factors. If there are health risks, scheduling the surgery prior to labor starting provides a controlled environment, decreasing risk factors. Look at it this way – if you know you need heart bypass surgery, why would you wait until you have a heart attack?
- It’s the easy way out (or you’re “too posh to push”). I’ve had two vaginal deliveries and cannot relate to what it’s like to recover from a C-section, but I do know that only 3-4 days after delivering my babies, I was feeling pretty good. A C-section is major abdominal surgery – just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s not major surgery. It takes significantly longer to recover from a C-section that it does to recover from a vaginal delivery, so it is definitely not the “easy way out.”
- The doctor just wants to be done for the day. This misconception doesn’t even make sense if you really think about it. While you are in labor, your team of nurses are the ones with you the whole time. The doctor is consulted, of course, but he or she doesn’t come into the delivery room until you’re pushing. Again, a C-section is major surgery, and an OB-GYN worth his or her salt knows the risk factors associated with any surgical procedure. Neither a vaginal delivery nor a C-section is easy or quick.
- A C-section is not a natural birth. Excuse me? The natural thing is to allow your maternal or paternal instincts to take over and make decisions that are best for your child, and if that means that the baby is coming out through an incision in your uterus, more power to you.
Bottom line, every mother is a hero regardless of how her baby is delivered. You grew a person inside of you, protecting her, loving her, and keeping her safe. When it’s time to introduce her to this big world, the way in which she comes out is irrelevant. What matters is that she’s here and your life is richer than you ever could have imagined.