By Ambrosia Brody of Random Aspects of (my) Life
My first daughter arrived at 39 weeks. On Thanksgiving Day. Her entrance came via emergency c-section after hours of pushing with little progress. You don’t know exhaustion until you’re trying to push a human out for hours on no fuel and limited ice chips. I was done.
“Do it,” I ordered the doctor. “Give me the c-section.”
The birthing class prepared us to expect the unexpected, but not being able to deliver naturally was not on my radar at the time. Therefore, my recovery was very interesting since I did virtually no research on postpartum c-sections.
It was an adventure, to put it kindly. Not so kindly: it sucked. Not being able to drive, pick up heavy items (which included the baby carrier), work out, and take a crap without worrying something would rip open made me want to scream in frustration.
But like all things parenting, you just do it.
When I found out I was pregnant with my second daughter, a planned c-section was the first decision I made. Her due date was Christmas Eve, and since I refused to spend another holiday in the hospital giving birth, my doctor marked my c-section done for the week prior.
“Shit!” was my first reaction waking up to soggy pajama pants on Dec. 15. All our careful planning had gone to shit again.
The planned c-section went out the window once at the hospital where the doctor on call gave me an option: have a c-section or deliver via VBAC. I went the VBAC route to shake things up a bit – and to prove to myself that I could deliver vaginally.
Recovery from a VBAC was amazing when compared to c-section recovery, but when friends ask which delivery option is preferred, it’s a tough decision.
I would want a combination of both: the known delivery date and knowing what to expect of a c-section and the ability to eat right after delivery and the easier recovery of a VBAC.
Other than that, c-section and vaginally deliveries share several commonalities:
Exposed: You have to get naked either way, so be prepared to have your hoo-hah examined. Your ass will also be on display when getting up to use the restroom and getting your epidural. Don’t forget that you’re naked from the waist down for a good portion of delivery so leave all “what if they see me naked?” worries at the car door, ‘cause it will happen.
Starving: You can’t eat up to eight hours before a c-section and food is not offered when you go into labor, so you’re screwed if you’re a stress eater or just hungry. More reason to indulge in pregnancy cravings.
Numb: Once the epidural hits that nerve you are numb from the waist down – if you’re lucky. That “can’t feel my legs, stomach and waist” feeling doesn’t end once you’re out of surgery or you’re done pushing. It can take awhile until you feel comfortable standing, so take your time.
Skin to skin action: Your baby does get to spend that precious time cuddling on your chest as he/she adapts to the outside world. C-section mamas have to wait a little bit longer for that skin-to-skin action, but it happens, and once it does, that baby does not want to leave your side. Plus, receiving a baby straight from your vagina is not too pretty and a little gross if I’m being honest. I actually asked the nurses to wipe down my daughter after they put her on my chest.
Everything hurts: Soreness abounds after delivery in places I didn’t even know had nerve endings. Your legs are still waking up from being numb, your stomach is sore, along with everything in the vaginal area. Sitting down still sucks; standing up still sucks, and getting up from a chair is still a monumental task. Your boobs ache from the hungry little mouth that has been attached to your nipple since the nurse handed him/her over.
Battle scars: Both delivery methods have their pros and cons and both have the same end result: your own set of scars you can show (or threaten to show) to your child later in life to prove you carried her for 9 months and gave her life—whether that be a scar across your abdomen, stitches in your under regions, or stretch marks; it all resulted in going home with a baby.
About Ambrosia Brody