REBLOG: April is Cesarean Section Awareness Month. For more information on avoiding unnecessary c-sections, planning a vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC) or empowering women in the delivery room, please visit ICAN Online or find a local ICAN group in your area.
This post was originally written to be a guest post but I misunderstood the intentions of the blog host. She kindly offered to still use some of my pictures and quotes and while I greatly appreciate the offer and normally love my work to be spread around, I was worried that just one single quote from this piece could be taken the wrong way. Since a guest post wasn’t what she planned, I decided to still run this on my own blog. It has been sitting in my drafts for months but NOW is the time it needs to be shared. I want my story really told. The questions and titles belong to her so you may have seen them on her blog already. She get’s full credit for these ideas. Please go visit her site as she’s a very lovely momma.
In the past I’ve discussed one of my birth stories. I went into extreme detail about the emotions I felt and the weeks and hours leading up to the emergency C-section of my identical twin daughters. What I didn’t touch on very much though was the actual C-section itself. When Valerie presented the idea of moms writing about this topic, I jumped on the opportunity because my life has been significantly impacted by this surgery that so many people take very lightly. Here are the questions I received from Val and my answers:
When Birth Becomes an Emergency
What was the emergency that led to your C-section? On paper it was “breech presentation of baby B.” The situation as it was presented to me was that baby B was positioned footling breech with her umbilical cord wrapped under her slightly bent legs. I was given these scenarios: 1. Rush to the OR for a C-section before my labor progressed any further 2. Deliver baby A vaginally hoping and praying that baby B would in fact turn in the extra opened up space and not come out with 1 foot up and 1 down or worse yet with the cord before her (cord prolapse). I chose the first option.
Do YOU feel it was an emergency? I go back and forth on this. I’ve read stories over and over again from twin moms that delivered babies via breech extraction or that their baby B (in normal breech position, not in the feet down with umbilical cord position like mine) did in fact turn. I have dreams about my labor progressing and delivering my girls naturally. But the harsh reality is that the bad scenario was there, a very real possibility for us. It could have killed her. It could have killed me. So yes, I do feel it was an emergency. Final answer.
How long had you been in labor before the surgery? 8 weeks. No really, for this particular instance, my contractions started around 3 p.m. (I didn’t feel them. They were picked up during an NST.) I was hooked up to an IV for fluids around 5 p.m., given magnesium sulfate around 6:30 p.m. and by 9 p.m. had progressed to 6 cm. My girls were born at 10:36 and 10:37 p.m.
Were you induced (Pitocin, artificial rupturing of membranes, etc.)? Or was your labor natural? It was all natural. We were doing everything we could to STOP it actually.
Did you have an epidural placed during labor? No. A spinal and epidural were placed just minutes before my C-section in the OR.
Did you have any conditions prior to birth, such as gestational diabetes, high blood-pressure, etc.? I assume this question is asked because these high risk scenarios typically have higher C-section rates. So no, I didn’t specifically have those two examples but I was carrying two babies which automatically made my pregnancy a higher risk. I had no other complications though other than the preterm labor. My doctor has gone back in my history and still can’t pinpoint an exact reason why my labor started at 24 weeks or why I delivered the night that I did.
Once it was over, how did you feel about what happened? What about now? I suffered for many months after my C-section. Mentally, I played the “what if…” game. I suffered from postpartum depression. I was extremely detached from my daughters. I knew I loved them but I simply didn’t feel it. I hated myself for it. I couldn’t understand why I still felt so much love for my oldest daughter but hardly wanted to be near my youngest two. I wouldn’t let anyone see my incision. I flinched when I washed over it. I couldn’t even stand for my husband to put his hand near it. Most of those feelings went away. They say time heals all pain and while I don’t know if I’m completely healed, time did help. (Getting treatment for my PPD also made a huge impact.)
It’ll be three years in December since my surgery and I am okay. I’m very sensitive about discussing my C-section, especially when someone assumes I had one just because I have twins. It seems slightly silly to correct them and say that it’s very possible to deliver twins vaginally and then backtrack and say but yes, I had a C-section. In a way I just want the world to be better informed about WHY this surgery needs to take place but more importantly all the reasons why it does NOT need to take place. So that’s where I am now, just trying to use my story to change the world. Wish me luck.