I had a c-section. And I wish I could say that I had an all-natural vaginal birth of my twins. But I got extremely sick during labor, my blood pressure was dangerously high, and my vision became altered. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia with HELLP syndrome after having contractions for four hours at the hospital. What was supposed to be the happiest day of my life suddenly became life or death.
I can tell you that there is nothing convenient about a c-section.
Of course, I was sick -- so the inconvenience was heightened by this fact. The drugs to stabilize me. The drugs to keep me from having a seizure. The drugs to keep me from having a stroke. It pains me to know what these drugs were going to my twins. My heart just stopped thinking about it. What a scary experience it must have been for them as well.
But scheduling a c-section out of convenience is like thinking that making a Thanksgiving dinner is easy -- maybe it is if you know how to baste a turkey, but don't forget all the time that goes into cleanup. The difference is that with a c-section, you can't have someone else do the dishes.
And that's exactly it: You can schedule a c-section so you know exactly when you are going in the hospital -- it's tidy, it's a solid in the date book -- but the recovery time is much longer, the scar is forever, and the numbness may be, too.
There are many reasons a woman must have a cesarean birth -- my reason is just one of them. And if you choose to have your baby via c-section, then that's your choice as well. But don't fool yourself into thinking it's convenient. Many c-sections go smoothly, but there are additional risks as there are any time a person has to go through major surgery. It's not a little slit and the baby pops out. Here is an example of a c-section procedure (not all are exactly the same).
When I was admitted to a room with another new mom as my roommate, I remember being envious. She delivered an hour after I did, but she was able to walk around because she had a vaginal birth. She didn't have to deal with her body regaining feeling again and she didn't have to worry about the stitches in her abdomen. It took me two weeks to be able to go number two without it hurting my incision area. Two weeks that I couldn't cough without extreme pain. I continue to have pain in the area when I have gas nine months later because those nerves take a long, long time to heal.
There are also c-section complications. Infection in the uterine tissues occur in almost 40 percent of women. Postpartum endometritis is 20 times more likely with a cesarean. There is up to a 15 percent chance that your incision can get infected. And urinary tract infections are common because of the catheter. The risk of blood clotting is five times greater for women who have a c-section than those who deliver vaginally.
There are complications from a c-section that extend to any future births including preterm or breech baby, low birth weight, and a ruptured uterus. The more c-sections you have, the more you put yourself at risk for placenta previa or placenta accreta. C-section babies have a great risk of neonatal respiratory distress in the first few days of life because when a baby is born vaginally, the lungs receive pressure during the birth and excess fluid is naturally pushed out. They also are affected by the drugs the mom must take and can be lethargic and not always up for breastfeeding. They often score low on the Apgar scale as a result. Though rare, the fetus can also be cut during the incision.
I want to make it clear: I love my c-section babies. It was the route they had to take to come into this world. I won't even judge a woman who chooses to have a c-section because she is scared to have anything come out of her vagina (we all have our hang-ups), but even that woman should understand all that comes with choosing a c-section. It was a lot of things to me, but it was not convenient.
Do you feel a c-section can be convenient?
Image via tifhermon/Flickr