When You’re Scared of a C-Section
Due to some complications during this pregnancy with my baby's size and a large amount of amniotic fluid (a condition called polyhydramnios), my daughter was staying stubbornly in her favorite position:
While I tried desperately to turn my baby into the head-down position, my doctor did her best to prepare me for what may be the inevitable birthing option for me:
My first-ever c-section.
I have to be honest with you: I've worked almost four years in labor and delivery and have given birth to three children of my own, but the thought of a c-section fills me with absolute panic.
Not because I am stuck on some kind of idea of what birth is “supposed to be” or even because I'm an all natural-birth guru (loved my epidural, in fact), but simply because the idea was so foreign to me. I've never had any sort of surgery in my life, and kicking things off with a major abdominal surgery that I would (gulp) be awake for didn't really seem like easing in to the surgical scene.
I know the ins and out of the c-section process, from the surgical prep to the point where, as the nurse, I would hold my sterile arms open wide for the doctor to hand the baby to me. But let's be honest—being the nurse in a c-section is entirely different than being the mother receiving one.
Why am I so afraid of a c-section?
Well, there are risks to a c-section, of course, and the recovery can be more difficult, especially if, like me, you have other young children at home. And then there's the fact that it can complicate future births, as well, as not all doctors support VBACs, and the uterus itself can be weakened through the surgery.
But when it comes right down to it, I suspect my fear over a c-section birth is just good old-fashioned fear of the unknown: I'm afraid of what I haven't done before.
Some kind of anxiety and fear is perfectly normal with a c-section, but you definitely don't want your fear of the big day to ruin your little one's birthday. To combat your fear, do your best to arm yourself with as much knowledge and information as you can for the day of your surgery. Set up a special appointment with your doctor to discuss your fears, stop in at the hospital for a tour of the surgical suites, and familiarize yourself with the OR and waiting room (for your partner). Most hospitals will have you come in a day or two in advance to receive some pre-surgery education, so take advantage of that time to ask the knowledge staff as well—the nurses will want to help you alleviate your fears.
Talk to other moms
And lastly (and what helped me the most), reach out to some mothers who have undergone c-sections in the past. I was surprised to hear how many mothers actually had very positive c-section birth experiences, like my friend Jenny, who commented that her daughter was breech and “my experience with a c-section was wonderful!”
Or check out EverydayFamily's very own Devan, who wrote about her positive first-time c-section experience here. “I loved my c-section and, for my personal circumstances, would take another c-section over a surgical vaginal birth any day,” she writes.
The most important thing you can do to alleviate your fear is to understand that no doctor would choose a c-section for a patient lightly. Understanding that you are doing the very best thing for you and your baby is the first step towards a positive birth experience, so face your big day with a smile on your face because you are starting off motherhood right!
How did you prepare for your c-section?