Why I Loved My C-Section Birth

why-i-loved-my-c-section-birth
Image via Devan McGuinness

Gearing up for the birth of my fourth child, I was nervous. So much of this pregnancy was different, and I was anxious to bring him safely into the world. I had one extra hurdle to get through first: preparing for my first c-section birth.

I knew it was coming. It was a planned birth for a while due to a few medical circumstances, and it was the best plan of action for my case. Like I said, it was going to be a first for me since I had given birth vaginally to my three older children. But they weren't what I would call “positive experiences.” I had expected those labors to be long, given that I had to be induced for medical reasons two out of the three times, but I didn't anticipate the other interventions (including episiotomies and tearing) that were a real source of pain and discomfort for far longer than I wanted.

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I was looking forward to not having that pain during my fourth birth. I knew it was a trade-off for a large abdominal incision, staples, and a scar, but I had a feeling it wasn't going to be as bad for me as others often say it was for them. I had never had one of those magical nothing-gone-wrong births that others had described. My doctor called my previous births “surgical vaginal births,” so I felt as prepared as I could be for this large surgery to bring my baby into the world without firsthand experience.

Was I nervous when the day came? Of course. But I was also hopeful that not only would my son be born healthy, but that I would finally get a positive birth experience and a positive postpartum period. Tall order you may think, given the nature of the birth, but I was lucky, and for the first time, I have a birth I can look back on and call a “positive experience.”

Everything about my c-section birth was positive. I had a great doctor who made me feel at ease, and the nursing staff was a great combination of kind and knowledgeable people. The anesthesiologist was also one of the best I had ever met. He made sure I was comfortable and helped answer questions that my husband had about the process. 

My son was born on the small end for our babies, and especially so for our fourth child, but that was not a surprise to us since we knew of his umbilical cord issue early on in pregnancy. They had a team ready to check him out and caught his tongue tie immediately and noted he had trouble regulating his temperature. I was still lying on the table while my skilled perinatologist took great care in making sure I was going to heal right, and my son was placed skin-to-skin on my chest. I was thankful I would still get the near-immediate touch with my new child, and this skin-to-skin kept him out of the NICU, as his temperature regulated with this method. I didn't have my hands strapped to the table during my c-section, which you see sometimes, which allowed me to be as active as I could while I was still being closed up and assured that I was one of the first to touch my son — the first to cuddle and hold him.

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The recovery was not smooth sailing since I was also healing from ongoing kidney issues, and the incision had to be a little larger than average, thanks to the baby's weird and awkward breech position, but it went by with ease. The recovery was far easier on me and lasted a lot less time than with my vaginal births, and for the first time, recovering from childbirth didn't play a negative role in those first few weeks of motherhood for me. It was nothing but positive, and while I would never recommend it for any reason other than genuine medical concerns, having a c-section is not always a horror story filled with regret.

I loved my c-section, and for my personal circumstances, I would take another c-section over a surgical vaginal birth any day.

:: What was your c-section experience like? Share in the comments! ::

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Why I Loved My C-Section Birth

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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29 comments

  1. Jennifer says:

    Thanks so much for this article. I had a positive, drug-free birth with my son at a midwifery clinic almost 4 years ago and was planning the same kind of delivery for the second until finding out it’s twins. The midwives don’t handle twin births due to the possible liability issues, so I have been nervous about the possibility of having to have a c-section, even though I am pleased to report my OB is fine taking the “let’s wait and see approach” as far as medical interventions go. I’ve asked friends who have had c-sections about their experiences, and as one might guess, some have had positive experiences and some negative, but it’s just helpful to hear as many stories as possible to feel as prepared as I can be for whatever might happen.

  2. Mariely says:

    I’m am due tomorrow with my 3rd child. All though it hasn’t been talked about with my Dr. I fear it may result in a C-section. My baby and body seem to not be on the same page. Baby is still too high, but my cervix is only 1cm 75% effaced now. We are trying to avoid having baby taken by force. But after reading this story and researching it. If it comes down to having a C-section I know it won’t be all bad now. This article helped ease my fears a lot.

    • Megan Klay says:

      Good luck, Mariely! You’ll do great regardless of how baby is born. I’m happy to hear this article was helpful in easing your fears. Please let us know how it goes, and congrats!

  3. Ashley says:

    I was induced at 37 weeks after being on bed rest for a month for high blood pressure. I was completely against having a c-section, my birth plan was literally get the baby out of me, but avoid a c-section unless absolutely necessary. I was given drugs to start labor, and it was fairly slow going. After about 4 hours I was told I was dilated to 3 and I would get to order lunch after I walked around. All of a sudden the monitor was beeping and there were several nurses in the room. No one really told me what was happening, the doctor just said my son’s heart rate was dropping but they were monitoring it closely. She also said I should avoid eating in case I had to have a c-section. I knew right then that I probably wasn’t going to get the vaginal birth I had dreamed of. 6 hours later, his heart rate was still falling with my contractions, and the doctor and nurses were gently trying to persuade me that a c-section was the way to go and that it would be OK. I was so scared that I hyperventilated while crying, but agreed to do the c-section because there was no other choice and all I wanted was for my son to be born healthy. During the surgery, I could feel the weird feeling of knowing something was happening to my body, but without the pain. I was numb from the chest down, and they did strap down my hands and put towels on my arms (no one gave me the option not to do this). I was still crying so hard they gave me oxygen. I am clausterphobic, and the feeling of being numb and feeling held to the table made me panic, and the oxygen mask actually made me feel like it was harder to breathe. I was shaking hard from the chills no one warns you about from the drugs you get with a c-section. When Elliott was born, I felt like everyone other than the people sewing me back up forgot that I existed. There was a monitor for me to look at to see the baby, but my glasses were fogged from crying. I got a brief look before they cleaned him, but otherwise my husband didn’t bring him to me until he was cleaned. Right at that time, I had to throw up (another side effect of the medicine), so he took him away again. I didn’t feel like I got to bond with Elliott immediately, and I had that weird feeling I heard some women have where it just doesn’t feel like I gave birth to him, since it didn’t happen where I could see or feel anything. I have struggled with feeling like I completely lost out on the experience of having a natural, normal birth for the last 18 months. I didn’t have a hard time bonding with my son, but I do think the birth experience was one of the main reasons for my postpartum depression. As far as healing, I had no problems, I feel like many women play up the pain. It does hurt, especially the first week, but I was able to walk up the stairs on the 3rd day after the birth. I wish there were more accounts from women talking about the negative aspects of giving birth, so that women who have that experience don’t feel so alone. I felt so bad for feeling like I missed something, or like it wasn’t right. It’s still hard when other women talk about giving birth, and I feel like I didn’t “give birth”, he was just pulled out of me.

    • Stephanie says:

      Ashley,
      Your experience makes me sad, I’m so sorry you had this experience. One thing that you can do with your next children (should you choose to have more) is if you get another c-section, ask your doctor about immediate chest-to-chest with your baby, many of them are quite accommodating about it as the immediate mother-baby bonding experience is very important in child development.

  4. Mel says:

    thank you so much for this article… i gave birth vaginally to my son in june of last year, and prepped with hypnobabies, which was great up to a point…. i did end up getting the epidural, and had two tears, one 3rd degree externally, and one high inside internally… i had major scar tissue areas that needed to be burned with silver nitrate, and severe scarring internally and externally, which required 9 months of physical therapy… yes a 9 month recovery from a vaginal birth…. by the time i was able to reconnect physically with my husband again, we got pregnant – the first time!! needless to say, i was terrified about the prospect of delivery again… fortunately, both my physical therapist, and ob/gyn have suggested i opt for c-section…. i’ve been terrified about the pain associated with that type of major surgery, but just to hear one positive story has been encouraging…. having “researched” too much about the “right way” (aka natural) to do things, i’m so much more confident now, with my second, that i can make healthy choices for him/her and for me… again, thank you so much!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I had an episiotomy and it made my birthing experience go much smoother. The concern with many of these procedures is that they will interfere with birth bonding and “kangaroo care” which are so important for infa

  6. becky says:

    My 3Rd child was a scheduled c sec and 9 days after I was back to work. Easiest delivery ever!! Because I also had an episitomy with 1 and tearing with the other. Also a single mom with 3Rd and recovered alone with this 1 while caring for 2 other children. I know it’s not that way for everyone but mine was the best ever compared to prior experiences.

  7. slgill says:

    I had a c section with my first 15 months ago. I am a diabetic. Due to stress on the baby and depending on my blood sugar levels, I knew there was a high chance I could have a c section throughout my while pregnancy. My doctor prepared me so well, I was more nervous about having her vaginally. I will always be induced (before my due date) due to my pre existing medical condition. My doctor let me labor for 12 hours before ultimately deciding to do the c section. For me, it was a very smooth process. I got to have skin to skin with my baby for a few minutes and I started nursing in recovery approximately 45 mins later. The next day, I was up walking around and showering. I think walking helped me the best. We are currently TTC #2, and I am not sure if I am going do a VBAC or just schedule my c section.

  8. Angela says:

    I’m sorry for those who had negative experiences with c sections. I’ve had 4 c sections and had no problems other than a slight spinal headache this last time. The doctors, nurses,scrub techs, anesthesiologist and the rest of their staff were all professional and made it all a pleasant experience for all of my deliveries. I have an 8 week old and you can barely see my incision. Oh and thankfully my doctor has never used staples to close! I was up and showering and eating a regular diet before I was even 24 hours post op! The best advice I ever received about having a baby was researching your doctor..asking questions..knowing how they will handle each method of delivery!

  9. Brittany says:

    I have had one vaginal birth and one c section, and if I ever have another baby, I will most def choose a c section again. With my first child, I was in labor for 16 hours, and pushed for 2 of those 16 hours. I would not call my vaginal birth a bad experience whatsoever, do not get me wrong!! The epidural did make me sick, and before getting the epidural I got a small dose of statol which made me very “loopy” (that WAS awful, never again!!). But my daughter was born healthy and my recovery (from vaginal) was very pleasant- I didn’t have an episiotomy or tear so I really didn’t have any pain.

    With my second child, my doctor and I agreed that a c section would be safest, due to my baby’s large size, and proportion of head to body (worried about shoulder dystocia- which could cause many problems). I was admittedly very nervous bc I had never had any type of surgery before this. My c section experience was great though. I have an amazing doctor which is a main aspect, but the nursing staff was wonderful when it came to answering any questions or concerns I had about the operation. I (again) got sick after having a spinal block, but I expected this. The duramorph (pain med) they put in the spinal block made me VERY itchy, but all in all the experience was great. I was scheduled for a 7:30 c section, and my baby was born at 7:54. The duramorph took care of the pain for the first 24 hours, and then of course there was pain for a little while at the incision site, but I took the prescribed pain med for the first couple days, after that Motrin took care of it. I was up in a chair that night, and getting around to the bathroom and around the hosp room the next day. All experiences will be different of course, but for me, a c section was great!

  10. heidi says:

    I agree. My first child was a vaginal birth and I had more stitches from tearing than I did from the c-sections of my two subsequent births. Also, the healing process was much easier and faster. 10 days with my first c-section, and 5 days with my second c-section. Truly, I had almost no pain with the second one. All I took was 800 mg Motrin for about a week.

  11. Katherine says:

    Good for you for feeling you had control over your birth. I’d probably feel similarly if my vaginal birth were medically interfered with. Personally I was pressured into my 2 sections. I think when medically necessary, yes they are good but over looking the over use of intervention is misleading. I planned on having more children and unfortunately my first 2 set the tone for further deliveries. Going into a Csection not understanding what impact it has on future pregnancies will lead to potential health risks like your bladder adhering to your uterus and then potentially hysterectomy. I think one should think quite seriously on advocating a position before completely knowing your risks. ICAN (international cesarean awareness network) was a great resource to finding the truth and letting me find the truth about the risks I faced. I have large babies. I go to 42wks. I have VBACd 4x. Csections can be traumatic and one can suffer PTSD from a negative birth experience. The US has one of the highest Csection rates in the world. So hope this info can help other woman who question their health provider, you have every right too. What is normal is quite broad as ACOG is slowly acknowledging!

    • Brittany says:

      I def agree that anyone should speak up against the provider if they feel they are wrong. In my case, I had a wonderful provider who gave me my options and let me think about everything before any decisions were made. I do feel though, that far too many women do in fact feel “bullied” into decision they may otherwise have not made, had they been given the chance to consider everything!

      • Katherine says:

        A woman who is faced with an episiotomy are woman who in general are not in good positioning, meaning if you have done your best to avoid an epidural you can actually move into a better position so that the baby can turn etc do as to avoid episiotomy and even larger tear. Woman bragging about getting epidural at 3cm also put themselves at risk of slowing labor down (whatever you get into you blood stream do does baby). Unfortunately when you are in labor you are incredibly vulnerable. I’m not sure I know many woman who can boss the nursing staff around and tell their doc or midwife where to go when they are questing their care while in transition, it’s usually in hindsight that one feels things should of been handled. Sometimes we think the OB is looking out for our best interests but as I have discovered many are their to protect their liability and some consider cesarean a profitable and safer option. Personally I swelled from head to toe and had a rash for 6 months post partum and was readmitted for an extra 5 days of observation. The OB couldn’t give me a diagnosis of why I reacted this way which led me down the path of vbac and doing my best to avoid a spinal/ anaethesia. It’s luck of the draw for me if I face a cede area again. Just saying……

        • Brittany says:

          I’m not sure if you thought I was arguing or disagreeing with your point of view, but I totally agree with what you’ve said about some people not being able to make decisions or having their obgyn make the decision without getting a say or whatever the case may be. I realize this happens a lot, and it is so wrong. I am the type of person who would tell my obgyn what I do or don’t want. And I also think every person is different. Some may think vaginal is the best and only way to go about it; some may think a cesarean is the best and only way to go about it. The choice should always be up to the mother. Unless of course there is an extreme emergency where only the cesarean is feasible. Anyway, wasn’t sure if you were trying to further prove your point bc you thought I was arguing it. But to each their own, the decision should be given to the mother with all the facts she needs to hear.

          • Katherine says:

            I’m not arguing just making more of a statement to the article. I personally feel the interventions in the article are unfortunately come with side effects that so many woman have no idea can happen. If woman were more aware that an epidural brings about a house of cards. You get it too early, you can slow down labor, get it at all and you can’t change position to better avoid an episiotomy etc is all my point. If women were more educated on the side effects not only would women heal faster but go on to have healthier babies too. Which is another aspect to cesarean. Our babies are at a higher risk of respitory illness and eczema. Unfortunately the mainstream doesn’t make it a priority to educate woman on both sides of the story so what is being advocated at a time of history goes rather than giving people both sides. The article doesn’t state what her condition was which might have been avoided via cesarean. Major abdominal surgery is not something to be taken lightly, ever.

  12. Kelsey says:

    I’m glad the author had a positive experience. Mine was about as bad as you could get. After a 40 hour labor I was sent to get a c-section. I was strapped to the table while the nurses in the room chatted loudly with each other about their weekend, while a bored-looking anesthesiologist shot me up with so many meds that my speech went out almost entirely and my body was shaking violently. Everyone completely ignored me as they prepped me, and I managed to slur out “I’m scared please help me”, to which I was ignored. I said it again and the anesthesiologist looked down at me and told me I was being “dramatic”. My husband was finally let in, and asked if I could have the baby put on my chest after he was removed. We were told no. My son was held up for a brief second and then whisked away (he was 100% healthy) and only after a good 15 minutes was my husband allowed to hold him. I was shaking so violently that I could not even lift my arms to stroke my little boy’s cheek, I just sat there with tears running down my face. An hour later my speech still hadn’t stopped slurring and my arms were still unable to hold my son…the anesthesiologist mused “Hmmm maybe we should give you demoral”. One shot and I returned almost to normal…why they waited an hour I will never know. Fast forward 6 weeks – my incision still hadn’t healed and they found out I was having a reaction to the sutures and glue used to seal me up. The sutures were working their way, undissolved, out of my incision and causing a huge infection. I had to have the pieces plucked out of my infected incision one at a time, and then cauterized shut. It was a horrible experience that I would not wish on anyone.

    • Latoria says:

      I hope you made an official complaint with the hospital and contacted a lawyer

      • Ashley says:

        What case would you have? Honestly, I had a similar experience, and I think this happens a lot of the time when a woman has a c-section. The drugs they give you totally mess with your body, but no one explains that (at least not in my case). I had to ask through chattering teeth in the recovery room why I was shaking violently, only to be vaguely told it was the drugs and “probably hormones”. I was also strapped down, said “I can’t breathe” repeatedly only to be given an oxygen mask that made me feel even more claustrophobic. I think hospitals and medical teams forget that they need to explain to the patients what is happening, and give every woman the option of whether to have her arms held down, whether the baby can be put on her chest right away, and there should be care taken to make sure the baby and mom meet right away instead of 15 mins later. I hope this is something that actually gets addressed in hospitals, but I am sure it will remain that medical staff won’t explain unless asked, and when trying to give birth to another human being, it is hard to ask all the right questions.

  13. Champagne says:

    I had a c-section with my son (my only child thus far) & it was a horrifying experience for me. It was not planned it actually was an “emergency” or so the doctors said because the baby’s heart rate was fluctuating (which I believed was normal during labor but whatever). Ofcourse I wanted my son to be born healthy & at ease but not having a say so over this maybe once in a lifetime experience, really upset me & to top it off the hospital staff didn’t inform me on how the surgery would go they simply said they needed to get the baby out & rolled me to the operating room. Now earlier on I had an epidural but it began to wear-off & I started having what they called “breakthrough pain” all while I’m about to get operated on. Then it happened, the most terrifying thing I could think of at the time, I felt the 1st incision. I screamed so loud until I was then completely doped & when I woke up, it was 3 hours later i was in recovery. I hadn’t met my son let alone gotten the chance to breast feed him as I had originally planned & to top it off I was in excruciating pain & had a nurse tell me that I needed to get up & walk as soon as possible….4 days later I’m at home taking my Percocet bcuz I was still very much so in pain at the site of my incision. I didn’t get to walk confidently again for about 2 weeks after my C-section. It was such an unfortunate experience for me that I’m now petrified about ever giving birth again.

    • Kristina says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your experience but I had a very similar situation to your and my experience was very positive. If you have another child I HIGHLY recommend you find a new doctor and hospital as they are the problem not you. My doctor built a rapor with me so that I trusted him, new what could happen if vaginal was not going as panned. The anesthesiologist should make sure your comfortable and that you feel nothing prior to going into OR. The incision site won’t feel great but shouldn’t have hurt you like it did. You have another and you really need to get a new doctor and hospital.

  14. Megan says:

    Only one c-section, but I’d had a previous chest surgery earlier in the year (just before getting pregnant) so I knew how to do the recovery process. But I hadn’t planned on a c-section. I got induced due to the fact my kid wasn’t doing anything to get out and my body was content on having him stay in. Also he was a large baby (I got told to induce 3 weeks before my due date-when I did get induced) and I was having medical issues with health. After 24 hours of labor and stalling at 4, I had a choice to either wait or go for a c-section. If I waited, there was a chance my vaginal delivery (when it finally happened) would end up turning into a c-section due to issues developing, so we opted for the c-section. I had to get knocked out due to other things.

    Considering everything going on, the only bad thing about my labor and delivery-my mom and mother in law were being annoying. LOL. Other than that, I honestly can’t complain. I recovered well (no staples or stitches-he used a type of glue) and I rarely had to take pain meds. My family was a big help. If I had to do the whole thing again, I’d try for a c-section.

  15. Ericka says:

    I’ve had two c-sections. The first was an emergency, and recovery wasn’t fun, but wasn’t too awful. During the second, a planned one, an artery was severed and I bled out, had a blood transfusion, then got an infection in the hospital. My 2nd kid went home 4 days before I did (9 days total for me). I’m having a third, and I don’t think recovery will be a one day “up and at em” like everyone else is saying theirs was. While I’m glad so many had good experiences, they are not easy on others. 🙁

    • Megan says:

      Honestly, if I hadn’t had a previous surgery near that area, I probably wouldn’t have recovered well at all. But because I’d had my gall-bladder removed in July (I gave birth in April), my hubby and I were able to work on the recovery right away. But surgery can be hard on anyone and for every one of us saying we were up the next day, there are probably about 3 who weren’t and couldn’t. All that matters is that everyone can get home healthy and safely.

  16. Unknown says:

    I had two c-sections, both necessary. The first one I took nothing other than ibuprofen after we got home… The second, I accepted medication to take as needed. But, with both, I was up and at’em really quickly. Climbed stairs from day one at home and never had any issues. I think that if you are healthy before the pregnancy, a c-section is easily overcome. Of course, sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to push, etc., but all these years later, it’s my kids I think about the most… (Obviously) 🙂

  17. Lisa says:

    The worst thing about my c-section was how freaked out I was BEFORE. I developed pre-eclampsia, and the day my son was born, I went in to the OB for a non-stress test. I was expecting to be told to go home and rest over the weekend and then be induced the following week. Well, I never had the test. The nurse was getting me ready and the doctor came in and said, “no go to the hospital.” I did just that, still not planning to have a baby that day. The OB who was on duty at the hospital checked me, and since I wasn’t dialated or effaced at all, didn’t want to take the time to induce me, so she ordered a c-section. By the time I was wheeled into surgery, I was shaking so hard they had a tough time getting the needle into my back to numb me . . . then the medication kicked in, they let my husband in, and just when I was starting to wonder when they’d get started on the surgery, I heard someone say, “note the time: 3:17,” followed by my baby’s first cry. The four days in the hospital weren’t my idea of fun: waking up to a pool of blood, not being able to eat or shower or walk around for a while . . . but I had no pain. And my recovery was honestly great. I hardly had to take my percoset at all.
    Next time around, I think I’ll do a planned c-section just because I know what to expect, and I don’t like surprises.

  18. Ashley says:

    My son was delivered via planned c-section, we had a great experience as well. He’s my one and only so I don’t have anything to compare it too but I was pleasantly surprised given all the discouraging stories I read on the message boards. Very little pain, no pain meds after 2 days getting home and walking with ease by the second week. My only complaint was that I didn’t get to experience the skin to skin until the recovery room and the medicine delivered via my spinal made me a little drowsy. Otherwise, it was the best decision for me and my son.

  19. I had a csection with my 2nd child and recovery was not a big deal. I had expected far worse by everyone’s horror stories but I was up and going with in 3 days and never took pain meds but the 1st day.

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