Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coming to terms with reality

Let me start by saying that I know some people will read this and think I'm a selfish, vain person, but this is my reality. This is something that I've had to work through, and since I know I'm not the only one who's felt this way, I'm choosing to be honest about it.

When I was little, I used to imagine what having a baby would be like. I imagined looking at my husband, saying those words we both looked so forward to hearing, "It's time", having tons of painful contractions but managing (with the help of an epidural) through them, then finally pushing and delivering our beautiful baby. Never did it cross my mind that I would have an emergency c-section. The thought of being cut open used to bring me to tears, literally. Naive? Definitely, but I've been terrified of the procedure since the day I learned that it existed. So I'd convinced myself that I wouldn't fall into that category. Everything would go perfectly... I just knew it.

Fast forward to the day before I went into labor. I had my 38 week doctors appointment, and the topic of conversation was how I so desperately wanted to avoid a c-section at all costs. She assured me that making it to 3 cms, 90% effaced was a good indicator that things would go as I'd planned.

Things didn't go "perfectly". I ended up with an emergency c-section, and it's taken me a lot longer than I thought to come to terms with it. I felt instant dissapointment the moment the doctor told me what had to happen. After the procedure was over, I was the happiest person in the world to have such a beautiful, healthy baby girl, but I couldn't shake the dissapointment. I felt like a failure. I couldn't look at myself in the mirror, because when I saw the incision, I'd immediately burst into tears that would last the rest of the day. I didn't feel like a woman. I felt like my body hadn't been able to do it's most important job. I felt like I'd been robbed of the experience of delivering a baby. I couldn't tell anyone I'd given birth, because I hadn't. Someone had cut me opened and removed the baby. It was a procedure, not a natural happening. I was depressed about the fact that I couldn't physically get out of the bed to get my daughter when she was crying. I had to depend on the nurse or Jack. To top it off, I had this ugly scar to serve as a reminder of my failure for the rest of my life, along with the possibility that any future children would have to be c-sections as well.

I reached out for the support of husband and my online groups, and boy did they respond. I ran across a post written by a mother whose story was similar, and what she wrote put things into perspective for the first time for me. Here is part of her post "Ode to my Scar" :

C-section scars are very unique. They are the only type of scar that is instantly
recognizable...They are the only scar whose creation saved two lives instead of one,
and they arre a physical sign of a mother's willingness to do anything for her children-
even go under the knife.
A cesarean scar is a reminder that all of the planning in the world can't make things
go the way you want them to.
It is a souvenir of one of the happiest days of a mother's life.

She's an amazing person to realize the positive in something so many people, just as I did, find negative. Once I finally got over my embarrassment and opened up to Jack, he made me realize the fact that I'd overlooked the entire time. This was never my plan to make. God knew exactly what needed to happen to make sure Lily was safe and healthy in the end. He helped me realize that I AM a woman, and he's made me feel stronger than ever. I faced my biggest fear head on, but I couldn't have done it without God by one side and my husband by the other. So I now choose to look at my scar, and my experience, with a bit of pride. Unlike so many others, I got the chance to experience my water breaking, looking at my husband and confirming that yes, it was time, experiencing contractions, back pains and all, and in the end, God allowed such a procedure to exist to save my baby's life, and essentially mine as well. I indeed have a souvenir of the happiest day of my life.


  1. I love this post. I know exactly how you, except I also have the failure of not even going into labor. I hate that my body failed me, i needed medical intervention to get PG, go into labor and even get the baby out. But im grateful he's here, no matter what the roads were that I had to take.

    Our babies are healthy and that's all that matters. We sacrificed an experience for US to keep our babies safe.

  2. I didn't have a c-section so i don't know completely what you are going through, but I can say that my sister had a c-section and she went through something similar to what you are describing. Eventually she looked at her scar with pride...it was by getting that scar that she got the greatest gift she could ever have...her son. Then she got pregnant again a few years later. She was going to have a natural birth (please remember it is possible to have a natural birth after a c-section, but next time you can elect which you have, unless again it is to save Little One's life). Because of an infection in her amniotic fluid her contractions were beyond what she could handle, even with pain medications. So she opted for the c-section. Again, the scar is for the other best present in her life...her second born son.

    Your husband is right, everything turned out to God's plan.

    I recommend (if you can find time) to read the Red Tent. It is a great book and I think that it might help you out a little. I know that I read it about 3 times during my pregnancy and I think that if I was going through something similar to you I would have read it again after.

    Good Luck and just remember, it doesn't matter if surgery was needed, you still carried your daughter, your the one that cared for her (with the help of Jack) and you are the one that grew her. This definately means that you are a woman.