Dealing with Unwanted & Unplanned C-Sections
People these days are all about individual freedom and the right to choose! We can choose our gender, women can choose to give birth to the human being inside them or not. And they can choose how to have their baby if they choose to keep it. As for me, I am happy I was born a girl! And still happier to give up the right of changing my gender, thank you very much! And, after all the suffering and tears I went through after my sterility diagnosis in 2005, I kept my right of having as many kids as God allowed me to have. February 2007, just 6 months into running my own business, and over a year after trying to conceive, I rested my case before God and gave up anything I had done that far in trying to have a baby.
March 23rd, I was crying happy tears holding the tenth pregnancy test into my shaking right hand: it was positive. The pregnancy was a breeze: no morning nausea, no cravings, no high blood pressure.
Family life went on as smoothly as it had gone prior to the pregnancy as my business grew during the 9 months that little human being formed inside my womb!
We later on found we were going to have a baby girl! I was beyond ecstatic!
We soon started making plans for her: buying a crib, tiny pinky dresses and onesies, all within a bootstrapped budget: after all, we were living in a rented place and trying to build a business. And we were pretty thrifty, too.
The one budget item we did not cut short was the actual delivery of the baby. In our country, there are state hospitals, where it is free to have a baby if you are insured and there are private hospitals that charge a fee even if you are insured.
We went with the latter, even if it meant paying the equivalent of two monthly salaries for having a baby there; we wanted to avoid giving the unofficial monetary gifts to the doctors and nurses working in the state hospitals. It is a common practice, unfortunately: the healthcare employees are heavily underpaid and patients know this; they fear for their health and life, so they offer monetary gifts in a hidden envelope and stuck in the doctors’ pockets.
So we wanted to give birth in a private hospital, but there was no birth plan in place: I didn’t even know there was such a thing.
I knew I wanted a vaginal birth and that’s it.
Little did I know that my doctor had other plans when I went in for a check up in week 41...
I went to the hospital at noon. A nurse checked on me and put me on a stress test. My doctor was still at home resting after he helped deliver a baby of over 10.5 pounds the previous night. He later came to see me and performed a manual control and an ultrasound; he was convinced my baby would be pretty large as well.
So, he gave me a pill to start my contractions. Being the weirdo that I am, after two hours of feeling no contractions, I asked him if I could go out and have a cake. And so I did.
My hubby drove me to the closest mall in the town and bought me a nice cake and some ice cream. Suddenly, I told him we needed to rush to the hospital as I started having some back pains. This was 7 PM already.
To make a long story short, I’ll tell you my water broke after about one hour of 2-3 minute contractions and I felt, oh, so close to the moment I would hold my little baby girl into my arms.
Little did I know I would meet her through a C-section.
I started thinking this was the case when, one minute after my water broke, the nurse came by my bedside and inserted a branula into my left arm. Now, I knew they were going to make me a mother through a C-section. I was in shock, too young and scared to be able to react to and oppose their decision.
They took me to the operating room trembling and shaking.
But thank God, everything went okay and at 1:40 AM the next day I could hear my little bundle of joy screaming for the first time – and boy, oh, boy, did she scream much louder and more often afterwards!
Soon after I left the operating room, a huge disappointment crept into my soul: I knew I could only have one more child besides this one. In Romania, most doctors only recommend a maximum of two c-sections and we wanted more than two kids. Also, I had never heard of VBACs (vaginal birth after Cesarean) before, so the first unwanted and unplanned c-section limited the number of kids to two.
We were such happy parents that we decided to try for another baby. I say try, as we waited more than a year for the first one!
We were luckier this time around and our second daughter would come within a few months of trying. But times were tough for business: this was late 2009 and the financial crisis hit my mortgage broker company so hard that I had to close it down. So financially, we were worse than the first time around, but we still went with a private hospital delivery.
Since I wanted a natural birth, as I wanted the first time around, I started learning about VBAC. People don’t do it often in North America, but in Romania, they do it much less often.
After watching tons of YouTube videos on successful VBACs, I finally convinced my doctor to allow me try a VBAC myself.
...Until week 39 when he told me he would take a week off from work and his fellow ob-gyns did not agree to let me try a VBAC.
So I resignedly accepted to have the c-section performed that day, which happened to be my birthday. And so, our Alexandra and I share a birthday. Needless to say, she gets most of the gifts and attention on July 22nd.
Unlike the first time, I now had a very severe headache because of the epidural. It was so bad that I cried unwillingly every time I had to get out of the bed. But it passed after a few days.
When my baby girl was a week old, I noticed some lumps in my right breast and I started having fever and chills. A doctor saw me and told me I developed a case of mastitis and refereed me to my ob-gyn for further investigations.
So I took my newborn baby girl and traveled with my husband for two too long hours to be seen by my ob-gyn. He put me on antibiotics and some anti-inflammatory pills, but warned me that several mothers who delivered in their hospital in the previous months had to have incisions to get rid of the pus that had accumulated in their breasts.
And so did I.
I had four breast surgeries within a span of one month.
In total, I had 5 anaesthesias in 6 weeks. I had developed a very severe case of mastitis, with several pus collections at different depths in both breasts. But God was good and the fourth surgery was my last one.
We even traveled to Italy when our baby was 6 weeks old as I was still recovering after the fourth surgery. The the gauze in the breast incisions needed to be changed at least once daily; that meant I could not bathe in the sea, nor lay in the sun, but I was enjoying seeing my hubby and older daughter splashing each other in the pool and in the waves.
Having gone through all this, I always advise my pregnant friends to be ready for both a natural birth and a c-section.
Not only emotionally, but with a written plan--a birth plan. There are plenty of resources out there that can help with planning. I tell them to do this research early in their pregnancy, as the mommy brains will prevent them from being efficient later on.
If you too had a c-section, let me tell you this: it does not make you a lower-grade mom. And it is still called a birth!
Yes, your lactation may have started later, but you can still breastfeed--I breastfed my third child until he was 45 months old! Yes, you need more help when you get home, but you still recover within a few days. And you have a whole life ahead of you to prove all those who bash you for feeling the birth pains wrong!
Feel like connecting? Shoot me an email--my contact info is in the bio below!
This is a guest post by Lavinia Mihut. Lavinia is a banker, turned business owner, turned stay-at-home mom of three kids, turned freelance writer and social media manager. She has worked as a VA for podcasters and bloggers and most recently she started a blog on personal finance to help educate the Gen Y female Romanians to better manage their money. If you know any Romanians, guide them to genytribe.eu.