c-sections, not bad after all

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At the beginning of my first pregnancy I felt so overwhelmed by the novelty and changes to come that I needed to feel medical presence and guidance around me; I was so not into the natural birth movement. At around 10 weeks pregnant (with no bump in sight) I went to take a tour of the maternity ward at University College London Hospital, and I did not even want to look at the natural birthing center! At that stage, all I wanted to see were traditional birth beds, stirrups, cables and monitors.
Then, during the second trimester, I moved close to Primrose Hill and started attending pregnancy yoga classes at Triyoga. They were taught by a (childless) teacher that looked like twiggy and was probably the most acerbic yogi you will ever meet. Nonetheless I stuck to it because I thought it was good exercise. Slowly the natural way started to become more appealing. I liked the chanting, the meditation, the exercises to turn my breech baby, the raspberry leaf tea (and Esther’s company)! I even bought (and began reading) Yehudi Gordon‘s big pregnancy book. Giving birth was still scary, but everything I was doing, from yoga to NCT classes, felt really empowering. I started to believe I could really go the natural way. I even claimed (briefly) I was going to do it without an epidural! At 37 weeks, the midwives announced that my baby was cephalic; all that stuff at yoga had worked! I was proudly telling everyone how I managed to turn the baby, and how after such an accomplishment, giving birth was definitely ‘do-able’. Still I was feeling weird kicks in the wrong places, and my baby had an unusually toned ‘butt’. To cut the story short, at around 38 weeks, the very same morning in which I called the birthing center to tell them I was ready to give birth there, I found out (with a scan) that the baby was still breech. Very breech, extended breech: folded in two! Not a chance he would turn. A c-section had to be scheduled.
I was initially in shock, and felt like a failure. But then I started to look on the bright side: I knew when the birth was going to happen, I would have a 39-week pregnancy, no risks for baby, more predictability, and last but not least I could avoid the NHS and go to a posh private hospital (most private insurance companies pay for caesareans if needed).
So that’s what happened. I had a very smooth delivery, was awake the whole time and my husband stayed beside me (he even took pictures). The experience was so positive that with my second pregnancy I was quite happy to listen to the (Italian) advice that I should repeat the c-section, avoiding labour altogether for the second time! And from what my friends tell me, missing out on labour is not such a bad thing after all!

-Michela

5 COMMENTS - Add your own

1. Esther | March 21, 2008 | Reply

I remember all of this so vividly!
Can you believe the amount of time and money you spent on all those posh yoga classes… Well, I was certainly very happy with your company :-)

2. molly | March 21, 2008 | Reply

ahhhhh, I had a c-section too (after 52 hours of a pain free “labor”) and looooooved it. I had heard so many horror stories before, so was a bit scared-but it turned out great for me. And, I was on a walk with the baby, husband and dogs in 2 days.

3. Sandy | March 21, 2008 | Reply

I can really relate to your story. With my son, I did yoga for gentle exercise and relaxation. I took birthing classes at my hospital and I watched a ton of episodes of “The Baby Story” on The Learning Channel. After all that, I really felt physically and mentally prepared to go through all the pushing and the pain. However, after I was admitted to the hospital and got hooked up to the monitor, the attending nurse immediately left the room and came back with a swarm of other nurses and doctors. My son’s heart rate was dropping fast, so I had to have an emergency c-section. Within 20 minutes, I had my son. It was a big scary whirlwind of a ride. After he was born, we found out that his umbilical cord was tied in a knot, a “true knot” as the doctor termed it.

For my second child, I had to have a c-section again. I knew the date. I knew the time. It was so easy. I would have liked to experience childbirth the natural way, but I have two healthy children and I am so thankful for that.

4. Jennifer | March 23, 2008 | Reply

Yes I totally agree — scheduled C-sections are fantastic! I have given birth both ways and for my third pregnancy, I am now thrilled to be scheduling another c-section. I felt so much better after the birth and was able to enjoy my new baby immediately without so many complications and difficulties. From the first (traditional method) birth I am still battling my hemorrhoids, haha. And the c-secion is definitely better for the sex life, too, haha.

But the important thing is that women now have choices about birth and shouldn’t be made to feel superior or inferior based on what choice they make. I find it intolerable listening to women judge each other based on their birth and feeding choices.

For me, the c-section was by far the best method for giving birth (hence why I am doing it again in a few months!) but I really respect and admire women who give birth in other ways and make other choices for themselves.

5. Edith Bowman | August 15, 2008 | Reply

I wasn’t given a choice of having a natural birth as i have a heart problem so a C-section was my only option. It really annoys me when women go on about feeling like failures having C-sections. You’ve still carried and nurtured your child for 9 months and go through a huge operation to bring them into the world.

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