Bonding With My Cesarean

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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About The Author: Emily Bartnikowski

Emily B emmieb My NPN Posts

Emily is a wife, mother, photographer, and aspiring novelist. She blogs about parenting and life at Embrita Blogging.

5 Responses to Bonding With My Cesarean

  1. Leigh  

    Fantastic story. So glad you shared it, wish more people talked so postively about their experience. It will help to dispel the idea that a caesarean is always a desperate last resort.

  2. Issa @ LoveLiveGrow

    I had an unexpected cesarean after planning a freebirth, and I really identify with what you’ve written here. The cesarean birth was exactly what I needed, and I’m glad all those professionals and all that technology was there when I wanted them. I had no complaints about my experience and no trouble bonding or breastfeeding afterwards.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  3. Ana @Pandamoly  

    I had a C-Section also, which was scheduled, per se, but expected and prepared for. I knew from the getgo when it was first brought up that I wouldn’t let it turn into a horror story like so many I had heard both in doing research and from friends’ personal stories. I think it’s important for all women to know that you can have a successful birth even when scalpels are involved. Maybe I just tried harder (if that’s even possible) after the C-Section to bond with my son, but we’re the same way – inseparable (except when I have to work…) and if anything, we’re too close, too attached. C-Sections are rough, but with adequate preparation, emotionally and physically, and adequate healing time, it doesn’t have to be a traumatic or negative experience. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Kate

    I agree 100% with you! My daughter was born via an emergency c-section after 48 hours of labor. She ended up with a horrid infection that landed her in the NICU for 4 weeks. When I was pregnant with my second my doctor who I trusted 100% thought it best to schedule a c-section 1 week before my due date. I was prepared, relaxed and ready when the date of my c-section came. He was only away from me for 15-30 minutes or so while I was stitched up and brought to recovery where we were reunited. The bond with my son is amazing and I feel that his birth could not have turned out better.

  5. Teri

    I didn’t have a C-Section, but I was so glad to read your story. I really believe that we need less fear around birth – all types of birth – and so often you hear only horror stories about it. Whether it be assisted or natural, birth should be celebrated. Thanks for sharing 🙂