When I was a few months pregnant with my son I had a startling thought: due to the surgery I’d had more than a year prior, I realized I might not be able to have the water birth I’d been contemplating. I immediately phoned my surgeon who confirmed it for me. I would have to have a c-section. I consulted with my OBGYN and started researching. What I found was an overwhelming amount of fear mongering, detailing everything from milk delays and a lack of feeling bonded with the baby, to higher physical risks for injury and potential infertility. Essentially, this was going to be the worst experience of my life, and I might as well give up trying to make it any better.
Still, I kept up with my research and started to find a few scattered articles and blog posts with the opposite point of view, those that said c-sections aren’t the end of the world. They’re not setting your child up for a disastrous infancy and can actually be just as warm and fuzzy as the most textbook home birth. These sites were filled with birth plans that laid down plans of attack to make sure you had the birth you wanted. Unfortunately, they also disregarded the fact that this is still major surgery.
Ultimately, after many conversations with my doctor, I eschewed all of the trappings of what I started to refer to as the new-age cesarean. The lights stayed bright so she could see where her scalpel was aimed. There was no music so that everyone could hear. My arms weren’t tied down because they only do that in emergencies when the mom has lost consciousness. And while I hate to engage in the “my way is better” conversations that we hear so much about, for me it truly was. Laboring for hours or days is not something that I’ve ever found appealing. Knowing early on that I was required to start at what many consider to be the worst case scenario removed all of the wonder and what-ifs from my head. (You know the ones: What if he’s breech? What if he’s too big? What if I don’t dilate?) Instead, I was able to place myself in the hands of a very capable doctor and hospital and the result was a very peaceful and smooth delivery.
I allowed my son to be taken away for testing before he was placed on my chest, and you know what? I don’t remember that separation. My husband stayed with him the entire time, and when he was brought to me in recovery my doula was there to help us establish breastfeeding. He was in my room “on demand” for the rest of our stay. I am not ashamed to admit that I sent him to the nursery for a few hours every night so I could sleep and recover. Everything I did was purposeful, knowing that after our hospital stay I would be at home without a team of trained professionals to help ease the transition.
The day after we came home I wrapped my son in the moby for the first of what would be many times. I nursed him on demand and slept right next to him. I have never felt like I missed out on any part of bonding with him because of his entrance into the world. If anything, what I hear now is that we’re “too” attached!
Photo Credit: Author
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