Why I Chose To Have a C-Section
Studies show that Cesarean sections, or c-sections, are the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States. So why is there so much controversy, and contrast of opinion when women opt for a c-section?
When it comes time to develop a birth plan, educating yourself should always be at the forefront. Despite what anyone else thinks, by doing your own due diligence, you’ll be able to confidently make the best decision for you, and your baby.
Elective vs. medically-necessary
Some c-sections are medically necessary - I’ll go into the details of my own medically necessary c-section later on - while others are elective, meaning that some women may choose to have a c-section whether there is a medical need for it or not. Both are totally normal, and nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. When creating the birth plan that’s right for you, it’s always a good idea to go with whatever makes you, and baby, most comfortable!
Controversy surrounding C-Sections
C-sections, like many topics surrounding parenting, are controversial to say the least. Usually, every mom you meet will have an opinion on them. This is a deeply personal decision that you have to make for yourself and your family after consulting with a physician, doing the research, and discussing it with your partner/family.
My own journey with C-Sections
In my own case, both of my sons were frank breech (feet at face in the womb, pretty much folded in half), which meant that it was medically necessary for me to have a c-section. Enzo was breech, and we tried everything we could to encourage him to move to the correct position -
When I found out Enzo was breech, my husband and I tried EVERYTHING! I saw a chiropractor who helped us give the Webster Method a try, as well as acupuncture, moxibustion - I used all the spinning baby techniques..I spent a lot of time walking and in the pool. Nothing worked. Around 37 weeks I stopped trying, and eventually just accepted that for whatever reason, he wanted to be there, and he wasn’t moving. It was also my first parenting lesson, nothing is in your control - ha!
Making the decision
Once I stopped trying to get him to flip I started doing a lot of research on c-sections. We talked to our Doula about it, and she helped us come up with our “gentle c-section” birth plan. I also watched plenty of c-section births online and read up as much as I could on the recovery process. In the end, I felt 100% confident and prepared for my delivery.
That said, emotionally, I was heartbroken when I realized I was going to have to have a c-section. I really wanted to have a natural, vaginal birth and was even hoping to go it without any drugs - I cried a lot! But once I started to explore my options with a c-section, and I had done a ton of research, I was very much put at ease. With my second, most recent pregnancy, Elio was also frank breech. However, I had actually already opted for a c-section ahead of time because I was familiar with the process and felt most comfortable repeating it.
The thing I hated most about having a c-section is the uncontrolled shaking and feeling like you’re freezing. I had read about it, but it’s a horrible feeling. Overall, I guess I liked having a c-section, mostly because I am a control freak. It was what I knew after Enzo, so the second time around, it felt like the most comfortable option for me personally.
With Elio, my surgery was scheduled for 7:15am, so we had to arrive at the hospital at 5:15am, which meant we had to wakeup at 4am. Around 2am that morning, I woke up to cramping and contractions. When they checked us in and hooked me up, they confirmed I was actually in labor. It was a nice feeling to know I actually have labored - ha! It may seem like such a small thing, because it was so mild, but it still feels like I got to check that box off my list. I had always wanted to naturally experience labor, so in some way, I feel I fulfilled my mission. We are definitely done having kids, so it was nice to have experienced it!
Preparing for C-section Surgery + Recovery
Preparing for a c-section is pretty minimal. You really just pack a bag and show up! The first time I brought way too much, so the second time around I knew what I really needed.
Nursing gowns (I really love Dwell and Slumber) and I brought two
Slippers that I was willing to toss right after we left the hospital
A robe to walk the hallways in
Compression socks (you swell a lot due to all the fluid they give you in surgery)
I Pad, Phone charger
Water bottle (I like to have my own 32oz water bottle to make sure I am drinking enough water.)
I wore the same outfit to arrive and leave from the hospital, a big baggy dress - perfect!
A onesie for the baby's ride home
My kids didn’t wear cloths at the hospital, they were just in a diaper and were laying skin to skin with me all the time unless I was walking or sleeping, so no need to worry about that having too many cloths for the baby
I brought some FitJoy protein bars to make sure I always had food if the kitchen was closed. Beware - they only served food at certain times of the day!
And my sleeping and nursing pillow (tip: put a patterned or colored cover on your pillow so you remember to take it home with you)
That is really all I brought with me!
Recovery with Enzo was MUCH harder and they say the second one is easier and that was definitely my experience. I was pretty much bedridden for a good week to week and a half with Enzo, but I was out grocery shopping the second week with Elio. Everyone’s body is different, so trust your gut, and stay on top of your pain medication! I only took Motrin for the first two weeks and then Tylenol when I needed it for the two weeks after. Get help, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family!
I also had a postpartum Doula help at night for the first two weeks so I could get as much sleep as possible, and allow my body to properly heal. That is probably the greatest gift you can give yourself - rest! I am breastfeeding exclusively, so I still woke up to nurse, but she took care of the burping and soothing. Those first two weeks are the hardest, so be kind to yourself.
It’s your choice, trust that your body knows what to do
Many women think their body failed them if they can’t have a vaginal birth, but always know you had a c-section for a reason. That reason is to keep you and that baby alive, and THAT is what is most important. Once that baby arrives, you will be forever changed <3
For anyone interested, I will include my personal birth plan for my most recent delivery with Elio, below - hope this helps!