Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thoughts on my delivery

I think I have written about a dozen posts in my head since Luke was born, yet obviously I haven't actually typed any of them up and published them. There is so much I want to say, from the birth story to how the first two weeks have gone to how Clara is handling everything, yet there has just been no time. Oddly, despite it being our first day without my parents here helping, I seemed to have found a few moments to blog this evening.

I'll get to the birth story another time, but I will say that I had a c-section. Maybe some of you could tell from the picture I posted where Ryan is in scrubs (I'm assuming fathers don't have to wear scrubs for vaginal deliveries, but then again, I guess I wouldn't know).

Those posts I wrote out in my head and never published mostly had to do with a roller coaster of emotions I experienced about the c-section. To my surprise, in the days after coming home, I found myself unable to think about the c-section without tearing up. I was depressed, and cried a lot. I did think about reaching out to the blog world for help, but just never found the time. I'm going try to explain what I'm talking about, but I can't promise it's going to make much sense!

I do want to point out first, though, that any negative thoughts I had have nothing to do with the fact that I had to have the section; I feel confident in the advice of my doctor, I trust her, and I know she moved to a section for the safety of my baby and me (I hope I wouldn't have stayed with a doctor for 39 weeks who I didn't have complete trust in). I was induced for medical reasons (gestational hypertension, which did not reverse with bed rest), I didn't react well to the pitocin (my contractions were much too strong on even the lowest dose and they had to turn it off completely a number of times), and the baby wasn't reacting well to my contractions. His heart rate was too steady (instead of moving up and down which would have showed healthy activity) and even dipped dangerously low once (a very scary couple of minutes, I might add). Plus there was my ever-rising blood pressure and my failure to dilate (despite being fully effaced and my water breaking on its own, two things that served to unnecessarily get my hopes up).

Even though I sobbed when my very sweet doctor sat by my bed side and had "the c-section talk" with me at nearly 12 hours into labor, I wasn't crying because I felt I was being wronged by the medical community. No, I sobbed because, due to my body's reaction to labor, I had to give up the dream of a vaginal delivery and all that comes with it.

[*Disclaimer* -Let me say here that I know - believe me, I know - how blessed I am that I conceived, carried my sweet baby to term and delivered him, happy and healthy, into the world. I hope I don't come across here as ungrateful in any way. But, what I am about to describe are just the honest feelings I had following my section. I am posting about them here as a way to perhaps show someone else they're not alone in their sadness, as well as perhaps receive some helpful comments from readers who have also been through it.]

Immediately following the section things were fine. It went smoothly (I'll share details when I write the birth story) and I was pleasantly surprised with the complete access and opportunities for bonding we were given with Luke after his birth, which included them bringing him to me seconds after he was born so I could kiss him first, and he didn't leave my side for the next hour and a half. (I should also add that bonding was never a concern of mine since I know how easy it was to bond with my daughter whom I didn't meet until she was five weeks old).

I felt great in the hospital too and didn't want to leave. I could really get used to nurses around the clock!

It wasn't until I got home and reality set in that I started to get sad. I think it was a combination of things - the pain pills (which really helped me but possibly contributed to some sadness when coming off of a dose), an incision that was gushing blood, feeling just plain sick and tired from major surgery, rising and falling post partum hormones, and not getting any sleep.

Whatever the reasons, I will say that my sadness centered around the feeling that I didn't "give birth" to Luke. I tried to think of another way to phrase it because I felt phony saying that. And that was a weird mind game I was playing with myself, because if I didn't give birth to him, then, well... what happened?

Somehow, I felt less of a mother because I had had a c-section. And let's keep in mind, this is me, the same woman who knew she was already a mother to Clara, despite not given birth to her at all!

Clearly I wasn't emotionally stable.

I also felt defensive of my section; I was afraid others would judge me, that perhaps I didn't fight hard enough for a vaginal delivery, or that people would feel sorry for me. But then I would try to remind myself that this was a medical issue, there was just no other way around it and there was no other safe option.

In general, I just wished I had dilated enough and had pushed Luke out.

(I feel the need for another disclaimer here - please, please know that I am not suddenly a fertile myrtle who is whining about the manner in which her baby was born. I am just sharing my honest emotions experienced in the days following Luke's birth.)

I was also very weepy in general - I cried every time I thought about how much I loved Luke, how terrible I felt that I couldn't care for Clara, or how blessed I was to have two children. I cried...a lot.

From the little googling that I have done, it appears that the emotions I experienced after my section were normal. I have friends who have suffered from post partum depression and I don't think this is it. Praise the Lord, I am already feeling better so I'm guessing it was normal hormonal shifts following birth combined, in my own estimation, with post-c-section stress. Even today, our first day home alone as a family of four, I am handling things pretty well, if I do say so myself. And if there ever was a day to break down, this would be it!

So, I really hope you all don't think I'm crazy, or ungrateful. I was, honestly, shocked by the way I felt. I didn't know it was possible to be so completely over-the-moon happy and yet be sad about something as seemingly silly as the fact that I had to have surgery to birth Luke.

I think I started to turn a corner when I read something online that someone else going through it had written - that sometimes things happen that are out of our control, things that we wish had happened another way, and we can either dwell on them or pick ourselves up and move forward. I am choosing to move forward. I just had a beautiful baby, after all. That is not lost on me! And I know one year ago I would have killed to have had a baby, whether it would have been vaginally, via c-section or out of my belly button! Now that I am able to put things in perspective and the blues have worn off, I can see that a section is not the end of the world. Actually, it was just the opposite for little Lukie :)


  1. I've been thinking of you since I saw the first pictures of Ryan in scrubs, thinking it must have been a c section.
    So glad you are feeling better and healing. It's normal to feel let down, PLUS the postpartum hormones!! My goodness!
    We are praying for you.

    You may be interested in ICAN, which is a "support group" of sorts for women who have had C Sections.

  2. p.s.
    in my "postpartum hormonal-ness" I cried that my baby had to wear diapers. She was so helpless. Diapers. It made me sob.

    Yes- totally irrational! So, you are way normal. :)

  3. Oh my gosh that reminds me that at one point I cried because I thought the poor thing must be so bored, just laying there! Haha! The things that go through our post-partum minds!

  4. Let me tell you, i could have written this myself. And my c section was almost 4 years ago.

    But I get it completely. We planned for a natural unmedicated Bradley birth and it never crossed my mind we'd be a section! I am upset even today that it could have been avoided if my actual OB had been in the rotation that day, or my doula we paid a lot of money for had thought to ask a few more questions.

    Basically, I had scar tissue on my cervix from a procedure the year before. The scar tissue prevented me from dilating fully. No one thought to ask about this til AFTER baby came! It could have been dealth with during labor but was never mentioned.

    Anyway, I was devastated. Yes, I had a healthy beautiful baby in my arms and we all were fine. But I felt robbed and in shock and like I had been run over by a truck. Having labored for more than a day without drugs, zero sleep, then sliced open left me mentally and physically jacked up:)

    It's been proven that women who section do not have the benefit of the awesome labor/post labor hormones vaginal deliveries have so Post partum depression and recovery are higher and more severe. That was teh case with me also.

    I hear women all the time who opt for a section b/c it's easier, convenient, less "work", but I wish I could convince them otherwise.

    You are totally justified in your feelings, no matter how glorious the outcome:) C section is not the natural way of things, and it's hard to reconcile that (once again) your body isn't going to cooperate and work the way God intended.

    And being told not to feel guilty and even knowing 100 percent that there was NO OTHER OPTION....still doesn't change things:)

    There are great support groups for c sections. And I don' tmean to imply all c sectons are bad and you are a bad person if you volunarily choose one, but this is my own personal experience.

    And yes, I always feel like I have to defend my section b/c I am afraid of people judging me to be a "voluntary section". I know I need to get over it, but I'm just that way about everything:)

    We are trying for a VBAC this go round! Enjoy your little one, you did great!

  5. I can't say I really understand because I have never been pregnant, so I have obviously never had a c-section. One thing I do want to say is that I have friends, and a sister-in-law that had to have an emergency c-section with their first born because vaginal delivery was just not going to happen...all of them AFTER laboring for 12-36 hours! They all shared the feelings of feeling like they failed somehow. It takes time to heal, both physically and emotionally from an unplanned c-section. All of these women have gone on to have additional children via scheduled c-sections and they do much better emotionally with them than the first.

    I will pray for your healing in all aspects!

    Luke and Clara are adorable and would be so even if they popped out of your belly button!!

  6. Oh K, I think this is a beautiful post and I don't think you need to add any disclosures, these are your real feelings, emotions and I surely wouldn't ever discount someone's birth experience. It is unique to every person. And, yes Luke is healthy and beautiful and wonderful, so is his Mama!

  7. I don't think any of your disclaimers are necessary! You had a dream of how you wanted the delivery to go, and when they didn't end up the way you imagined, of course you feel some sadness. It was absolutely necessary to have the c-section(hypertension is no joke!), so you didn't fail in ANY way. And certainly none of us think you aren't grateful for your two children, because you're upset by this.
    I'm so glad you found some support online from other women who have been there and are feeling the same things :). And glad you're feeling better!

  8. Thanks for sharing your honest feelings with all of us. I have been trying to prepare myself for the depression that would inevitably follow a necessary c-section in my own case. I am pretty sure I will feel exactly the same way as you do right now, but will also move on (the best I can) and focus on the blessing of the baby. As your friend, I just want to say that I am thrilled both you and Luke are healthy and that is THE most important thing!!!

  9. Thank you for sharing this! Your beautiful honesty is going to inspire so many women here. We are human, and God gave us our feelings and emotions, but you are so right that we have the choice to control them, deal with them, and move on or just dwell.
    You and your family of four are in my prayers!

  10. Although I will be eternally grateful just to hold my baby in my arms, I know I will feel very similar to this if we end up with a c-section. From everything I've read and everyone I've talked to-this is a totally normal reaction. Years of infertility doesn't make you immune to the sadness and hormones that follow an expected c-section.

    I'm glad you posted on this! And I just told my husband that two women cried because their babies had to wear diapers and looked bored. Although I laughed at those comments, I know that's gonna be me in a few weeks! He thanks you both for warning him of the weirdness that is about to occur.

  11. I know I would feel the same way, I"ve thought about that alot. Thanks for this post K, good to hear from you again!

  12. I could have written a similar post in 2003, after my emergency c-section. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

    I've gone on to flunk the VBAC guidelines and needed a total of 4 c-sections. I've wished and wished that I didn't have to carry the c-section cross.

    Now FINALLY I'm sort of proud of that badge. C-Sections are a place of suffering that help save souls (mine included.) I hate surgery. The only thing that would make me crawl on that table is my complete love of my unborn kid. There is no more direct place to offer up your own suffering for the safety and well-being of another life.

    You tell that Devil to go take a HIKE!

    Our Blessed Mother didn't have a normal vaginal birth and NO ONE can say that she wasn't a perfect Mommy to Christ.

    Hugs and Prayers from Washington D.C.!

  13. Although I did not have a c-section, I did have all of the crazy emotional ups and downs associated with post-partum. It was not good. The first night home from the hospital, I slept on the floor of the baby's room and cried...a lot. At one point, I even asked my husband if he thought I was depressed. I guess it was just hormones and major sleep deprivation.

    It WILL get better, but it was like nothing I had ever expected...or even been told to expect. Hang in there and just take one day at a time. They can feel like long days, but allow yourself time. You are in my prayers.

  14. This post was beautiful! It was so honest and real. I know I would feel the same way if I ever had a c-section. Thank you for writing this!

  15. I felt the same way after my c-section and then fell apart when my milk wasn't coming in and Noah wouldn't latch. I felt like a failure and it took me time to get over all of that. And it was hard to even say anything b/c here I was longing to be a mom for so long and so that made me feel worse. So don't feel like u are alone! I think alot of women go through that!! I am so happy that you are a mommy to two amazing kiddos. It is amazing to see how God has worked in your life!! It is such an inspiration!!! Sending many blessings to you and your precious family!!! Love U!!!

  16. Wow, thanks for being so honest.

    I had a c-section with my first after being 15 days overdue and in labor for 30 hours. I was fine with the decision because I trusted my doctor and when the surgeon removed my beautiful baby girl he said that there was no way she would have come out naturally because the umbilical cord was wrapped around her chest holding her up.

    Like I said, I was fine with the decision, it had to be done - until . . . .other people heard what happened. I had people tell me that I never really gave birth to my baby and that I took the "easy" way out. Let me tell you there was nothing easy about it. Especially since my c-section incision re-opened after 4 months.

    I have come to realize that these people were just being hurtful. I carried my baby for 9 months and gave life to her. I may not have birthed her the way everyone else in my family gave birth to their babies, but I DID give birth to her.

    It is prefectly normal to feel all sorts of emotions after having a baby any way - vaginal or c-section.

    Enjoy your children and find joy IN them :)

  17. Oh K, you DID birth your baby! Sounds like you had a good case of the baby blues (which is different from PPD) and now are coming out of it. Baby blues is totally normal even for vaginal birth. Plus I think that as formerly IF women we have had so much time to build up what could be in our mind that reality sometimes is a little hard to take. Hang in there, I'm praying for you!

  18. I had a feeling you had to have a section judging by the earlier picture of R. I just want to say that I had the exact same feelings over a section and I'm still feeling it b/c it's pretty obvious that a VBAC isn't in the cards for me this time around. I'm glad you were able to share such raw and honest feelings. God Bless you.

  19. This post is perfect.... oh my gosh... I haven't had a baby but I just "get" this, b/c I've pondered this scenario in my own life many, many times.

    Blessings to you, sweetie, and your little Luke!

  20. hey K, I think you had the baby blues too! This is a really beautiful post! Perfect description actually of how one can feel after having a c-section. I still get emotional thinking about having one...I know it is a healing process both physically and emotionally. You are a wonderful mother though and I really do believe that although you had a section you still birthed Luke exactly how God ordained for him to enter this world ;) Wonderfully!
    Prayers and xoxo,

  21. Working in the field of infant mental health with new babies and moms, I can tell you that all that you are feeling and felt is NORMAL. There are tons of articles and books written about it. It doesn't make it easier, and it can never change the fact that Luke's birth did not meet your expectations, but just know you are not alone. I know the urge is there for disclaimers, all of us IFers try so hard not to offend someone whose shoes we were in only months ago - but believe me, no disclaimer is needed. These are YOUR feelings, your experiences, and they deserve to be honored. I am SO proud of you for getting through your first day as a family of four (without help) AND having time to blog! I can't wait until you have the time to pass on all your tips to! I KNOW I will need them:). Take care, hun, can't wait to hear more about how you all are doing...

  22. Thank you so much for writing this post. I feel like God led you to write it for me and the journey I am on right now. I feel like God is using your words to bring me further peace in knowing that a c-section is not the end of the world and you have made me very thankful that my doctor has honestly anticipated that I may also have a very difficult labor and my body may not progress as it should for a successful vaginal birth. I am so glad that she has had the wisdome to prepare me emotionally for that outcome. The emotions I experienced in the last few weeks are similar to ones (emotionally) to what I have been dealing with - worried about judgment from others, not really fully experiencing birth, etc. I already anticipate a meltdown emotionally for some reason and I think being more prepared will help lessen the blow at that time.

    I have come to the conclusion that a c-section may be the answer to our 9 month prayer request for a healthy and safe delivery. I worry alot and still have to trust that God wills for us to go home with a healthy, thriving baby at the end of this pregnancy so knowing that there is a plan is beginning to bring more peace than fear into my heart. Seriously, I wake up in the middle of the night worried that he is not moving right and get so scared so I am ready to offer up the cross of a c-section to have a sweet baby boy just like your Luke!

    Sending love and prayers your way! J & I love to see your family growing and thriving!

  23. I'm with Shannon... I totally "get" this, even though I have not experienced it. I get what you are saying, and you are very brave and wise to share it with so many who will find comfort in it.

  24. Completely understandable. When your image of what should be and the reality of what is collide, there's bound to be a few tears shed.

  25. K, xo and praises for a wonderful, healthy delivery, in whatever way it had to be!! You are awesome--you did what was best for you and your baby, there's no arguing with that! We can sing praises we live in the 21st century and have the medical wisdom to make healthy deliveries like this possible! My first two babies probably wouldn't have survived 50+ years ago (so humbling), but are here thanks to modern medicine. Praise God.

    Also, to add to the postpartum emotion stories, I can remember crying about the baby being allergic to our dog with no basis for this! lol

    Be well and keep laughing (as much as your stitches will allow!)

  26. Oh bless your heart! No one really prepares you for how emotional you may be after you have a baby. I was a crying wreck for 2 weeks straight after having DD and then at exactly 2 weeks it lifted. But I was very unprepared for it. I'm sorry you didn't get the birth experience you were hoping for, but so happy for you that you have little Luke in your arms! God bless! :)

  27. Oh K, you are beautiful example to others how everything continues to be in God's hands right up to the moment of delivery! All that matters is that you and sweet little Luke are happy and healthy! And I love that picture of you guys- so cute!

  28. I don't think your ungrateful, your morning the loss of the birth you thought you would have. It is common for woman who have had cesarean births to feel exactly as you do. I do believe with every fiber of my being that you did give birth to Luke. It takes strength and courage to give birth vaginally, but it takes just as much, and maybe more, to give birth with a cesarean!

  29. I had to come back here and look at that beautiful picture again! The smile on your face and the one on Ryan's face that is hidden by the mask makes my heart so happy! Such an incredible journey! So glad you are feeling better, you are one great momma finding time to blog with two precious little ones at home :)

  30. Thank you so much for sharing this. It is a beautiful, honest reflection of your feelings. This helps a lot.. because I know tomorrow things may not go as planned... so I'm trying hard to be open to whatever entrance into the world God has planned for these little ones, despite being terrified and unsure of myself. At the end of it, you have your beautiful son in your hands and I am so happy for you!

  31. (((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))

    I have been thinking about you and you are in my prayers.

    You said it beautifully. Please know that you are in good company (ahem - LOL) and crying, sobbing, and being a crippled mess are extraordinarily common after Section. Thank the good Lord, it only (usually) lasts for a few days. I am certain it's due to the extreme discomfort/disgust of the whole thing. I was nauseated every time I remembered the feeling of the tugging/pulling BLECH even today it grosses me out.
    Rest assured, you most certainly DID birth that baby, and in the most difficult way. Pat yourself on the back. Section is bad - you just have to OWN it, Mama. Rock that scar. I AM!
    It's my "battle scar", I call it.

  32. Oh, PS. Our milk doesn't come in for TEN days either - that adds to the pressure/guilt.

    PPS WHO looks that GOOD after having major surgery?!


  33. Lurker here, making my presence known because your words resonate so much with me. After having a hard time conceiving our daughter, she was born last February. Despite being with midwives who let me go 14 days past my due date and starting labor on my own, laboring for 26 hours drug-free, with pitocin for 6, then an epidural for 10 more hours because I was exhausted, with pitocin full-blast, I got to 6 cm. SIX in 34 hours of labor. Sounds like you: her heartrate was ugly, I spent 45 minutes terrified for her safety, and cried tears of relief when they called in an OB and recommended a c-section. Afterwards, I was completely confident in my decision, and my midwife stressed that without modern medicine, I would have died (won't go into detail here). So...all was well and good, and of course, I praise God for her. It should go without saying that we are grateful. It's ok to be sad about something difficult and traumatic that came about in the midst of great joy. Don't let anyone tell you you are ungrateful or selfish. The emotions surrounding a c-section are deep, and touch our identity as a woman and mother. I find that they affected my relationship with my body in such a profound way. For the first time in my life, I see myself as fragile and vulnerable. I felt very mortal following the birth of my daughter.

    Now, she is 10 months old. Everything makes me want to try for another baby. My only impediment is that birth experience. It was traumatic, and the healing took so, so long. I have a constant reminder, courtesy of my scar. I pray for the strength to face another pregnancy (God willing) without fear of the birth.

    Know that you are not alone.

    I have started a blog: sweeter-still (dot) blogspot (dot) com that will explore my vulnerabilities as a mother, and hope to express a lot of my feelings on my birth experience in the months ahead.

    God bless you,

  34. Lurker here, making my presence known because your words resonate so much with me. After having a hard time conceiving our daughter, she was born last February. Despite being with midwives who let me go 14 days past my due date and starting labor on my own, laboring for 26 hours drug-free, with pitocin for 6, then an epidural for 10 more hours because I was exhausted, with pitocin full-blast, I got to 6 cm. SIX in 34 hours of labor. Sounds like you: her heartrate was ugly, I spent 45 minutes terrified for her safety, and cried tears of relief when they called in an OB and recommended a c-section. Afterwards, I was completely confident in my decision, and my midwife stressed that without modern medicine, I would have died (won't go into detail here). So...all was well and good, and of course, I praise God for her. It should go without saying that we are grateful. It's ok to be sad about something difficult and traumatic that came about in the midst of great joy. Don't let anyone tell you you are ungrateful or selfish. The emotions surrounding a c-section are deep, and touch our identity as a woman and mother. I find that they affected my relationship with my body in such a profound way. For the first time in my life, I see myself as fragile and vulnerable. I felt very mortal following the birth of my daughter.

    Now, she is 10 months old. Everything makes me want to try for another baby. My only impediment is that birth experience. It was traumatic, and the healing took so, so long. I have a constant reminder, courtesy of my scar. I pray for the strength to face another pregnancy (God willing) without fear of the birth.

    Know that you are not alone.

    I have started a blog: sweeter-still (dot) blogspot (dot) com that will explore my vulnerabilities as a mother, and hope to express a lot of my feelings on my birth experience in the months ahead.

    God bless you,

  35. Opal,

    Me too! I had midwives, labored for days and days, but due to cervical scarring would not dilate, not even to 1.
    (Finally I did, but after so many days and so much stress, he needed to come OUT, pronto.)

    One of the things you mentioned is something a lot of people don't realize. You want to try for another baby. Me too. I'm not scared - matter of fact, if I have to have another C (unlikely) I'm okay with it.
    BUT! I am not supposed to get pg for 12 months at the LEAST, 18 months is ideal. I'm 38 years old.
    A section scar needs time to heal if you're going to VBAC, and I just don't have that time.
    Plus, they say ("they", haha) that you should only have a max of 3 or 4 sections, period. Anything more is risky, I guess.

  36. I assumed it was a c/s when I saw the scrubs, but I didn't want to say anything since I wasn't sure how you were feeling about it!

    My first two children were c-sections. My third was a vbac. my fourth was a c/s. I've been all over the place emotionally. Actually, this is something I plan on writing on post on, if I ever get a chance :)

    I would say, be careful with ICAN. They can hurt more than they help.

    FWIW, I have a friend who has had 6 c/s and her uterus looks great. And I just read an article in Above Rubies from a mom who's had 9 c/s, and the last one was for TWINS!

  37. I definitely could have written this same post about the birth of Joseph. You are not alone. I'm glad you are feeling better about it all.

  38. O, AYWH! I went through exactly the same thing when I gave birth. I was so intent on doing it au naturale. I was very teary and depressed after, and I believe that was due to the anesthesia, pain killers, and hormones. I was also so dissapointed, and I felt like I didn't really "give birth". It bothered me for many months, but my daughter is 7 months old now, and, while I am still dissapointed, I'm not dwelling on it anymore. I say don't deny your feelings. Pray, give it up to God, and talk to your doctor or a psychologist if your feelings of depression persist. No shame in it.

  39. Thanks for that info, Katie.

    Gives me hope.


  40. I could have written this, too! My sectionw was traumatic after a failed 2 day induction (then being home for a week before the section). It was hard. Felt like I have giving birth for 2 week but never had labor pains!

    I kept telling myself, "why would this birth be normal if conceiving and pregnancy weren't for me!" Recovery is rough, I don't doubt that at all. I cried, too. A lot. (Don't get that Jewel lullaby CD, I cried every night listening to that!)

    I know that a section was for the health and well being of my baby and I don't doubt that for Luke! You did birth him!

    One book that is great, "Birthing From Within." It has great stories of women working through sections that go on to give vaginal births.

    Those emotions are all so normal. Give yourself a break. Its okay. Isn't it so hard to surrender one more thing?

    Prayers for healing for you. You are one strong mama!!!

  41. I liked Birthing From Within too. It always uses the phrase "delivered by ceserean" rather than "had a c-section" because you DID deliver!

  42. I've been so happy for you and your blessings, but not posted. I've done extensive reading about birth and from what I know the reason for your c-section was very, very valid. It certainly wasn't the typical section due to a mis-managed vaginal birth. There really was no other choice in your situation. That being said, the grief is normal and healthy. What I would caution about is not getting caught in the trap of having to have a second section (should you be so blessed), just because you already had one. That's the only caution I would give.

    Bless you and yours!!!


  43. I'm sorry to hear that your birth experience wasn't what you hoped for; I've not had a section, but there are things I'd love to have go differently...we can always hope and hold loosely to our dreams. Personally, the postpartum hormone shift is what I think I dread the most about (post)birth. Though I can mentally know truth, the feelings train takes me for an all-consuming ride of high-highs and low-lows when I'm at my most sleep-deprived and physically taxed. I can only guess that it's a result of the Fall..."in the beginning it was not so." Praying that "mother nature's" course runs quickly and that you heal swiftly in all ways needed. Come Lord Jesus.

  44. No personal advice or experience to offer but

    1) you DID birth your baby! You beget him from your own body! You know, most theologians believe that Mary never underwent "birth" as we know it. Rather, God preserved her from the pain and torment of labor since after all it was GOD that was coming into the world and also because it preserved her virginity...kept her "intact" if you will. It's a mystery, but I've heard Christ's "birth" being likened to "light passing through glass". Christ was one moment in her womb and the next moment in her arms. So if the Blessed Mother can still "give birth" to a son without a vaginal delivery, so did you! I know you were not immaculately conceived and I know Luke is not Jesus...but you get my point.

    2) I think the feelings of disappointment following a C/S are normal for any woman, but I suspect it's amplified after dealing with infertility. Your body finally does something right and you (general "you") assume that it's smooth-sailing from the conception on out. It seems like IF is sometimes only the first of many symptoms of a renegade reproductive system. And it think it just serves to render difficult deliveries, breastfeeding issues and indeed even *parenting* issues (sleep disturbances, colicky babies, discipline, etc.) sometimes more difficult to endure. Not always the case, of course, but it's something I've just observed over the years.

    Congrats again on your beautiful boy and enjoy these first few weeks of getting to know each other and getting into sync together.

  45. Thanks for posting. I was a mess when Ivory was breech at 37 weeks. I started having the c-section blues even prior to her being born! But now after 2 successful vaginal deliveries, and women around me with multiple sections (my mom had 6 and my sister has had 4 and counting), I realize that our love for our children and "motherliness" is no different. Also, remember that Mary was a virgin prior, during, and after the birth of Jesus. Meaning that she didn't have a vaginal birth. In the mystery of it all, Jesus just kinda came out and "was born."

    Also, during my recovery at one point in the last two weeks, my husband caught me saying, "It would have been better to have a c-section!". I had pain for a year after Benedict was born. I'm praying that the same doesn't happen in my recovery with Ivory. It would not be fair to my DH.

    And I agree with don't need the disclosures!

  46. Reading Kerry's comment, and thinking that I wish I had known about the ICAN group!

    I posted here before your delivery about my experience and it was very similar. All I can say is that it was a bit of a whirlwind. I labored with pitocin and no pain meds for 12 hours and then was told the same thing: time for the knife.

    I sobbed at first, and in recovery (I did not have my son by my side until an hour later)and went through some serious withdrawal-type convulsions. It was scary and emotionally painful, but getting to hold him was the biggest miracle ever. I was in complete shock!

    We tried, and that's all we can do, is our best. Please don't feel like less of a mommy. We are just as life-giving in our pregnancies and c-sections as any other woman who has delivered vaginally. I take offense when women judge us for having a miraculous way to get our babies here safely. Many years ago we may have lost our lives in childbirth, and possibly our child's life too. I feel empowered and blessed to have a SAFE way to birth my children!

    Hugs to you and prayers for a swift recovery. I am sorry that your incision has been a problem. I hope that heals soon.


  47. I had to come to terms with this.
    I had to realize that being overjoyed at the blessing of my child and being sad about my C-Section were perfectly legitimate simultaneous feelings.

    I hurt. I couldn't get out of bed without taking 10 minutes. I couldn't walk upstairs.
    I couldn't squat down to play with my daughter.

    I was mad. Mad that a cone biopsy and cryosurgery came with ZERO information about how they could prohibit dilation in a future labor.

    I was sad that we were unable to delay cord clamping, unable to put baby on my chest immediately after birth, unable to make his entrance into the world gentle.

    I was guilty that I'd "gone too long" - he had meconium from a stressful birth and had a little trouble breathing to start. Should I have just asked for a Section 12 or 24 hours before?

    Oh, and hey, it took 10 days for my milk to come in. They kept saying, "It'll come soon. It'll come soon. Just keep breastfeeding."
    I didn't know any better. Nipple confusion, breast rejection, yada yada. I thought he was fine!
    Four or five days later, he was so dehydrated that the doc almost admitted him. He'd lost a pound and a half since birth. (Dummy me, didn't know any better.)

    I felt like if I complained about pain or sadness or anger, it would somehow be selfish, like I didn't realize the tremendous gift I'd been given. "At least your baby is healthy. That's ALL THAT MATTERS" is the old chestnut.
    And yes, a thousand times yes, I'd throw myself in front of a train for his health.
    But mommies matter too. If you are in pain, it's harder to be a good mother. If you are overwhelmed with guilt, it's hard to move forward. If your head is spinning because your entire "plan" came crashing down, you have to address that. You matter!

    Yes, I wanted to scream THANK YOU GOD! He is perfect! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Section sadness, birth joy?
    Apples, oranges.

    I long ago reconciled me feelings.
    The pain? Temporary.
    The anger? Meh, water under the bridge.
    The guilt? Gone. I did the best I could for him and I know we did everything we could to make his birth gentle and safe.
    The sadness? Also gone. Thank God there are nurses and doctors who can scoop your baby up when he's born and take care of him when he needs it. THEY were my hands. They were just an extension of me caring for him.

    The lesson I took from it? Things don't always go as planned, even when you've exercised and eaten right and studied. Even when you've done everything in your power to make things go a certain way. God is in control.
    Let Him be.

    (BUT, I also am certain of this: ALWAYS give it your best shot. Always, always, always stack the odds in your favor. This can bring so much comfort in hindsight.)

    This kind of rambled, but it's only because I remember it SO well. It's still pretty fresh.

  48. I understand EVERY word you wrote. Somehow, I actually think being infertile then having to have a c-section (being numbed out and in a surgery mode) makes it worse. Because in a way, we NEED the birth process to bring home the reality of our precious gift. I felt like a martian because of my the baby just appeared. I was sad and mad too. But, the line people give that "the most important thing is a healthy baby" did sink in and help me to accept.

    Love Dr. Gianna said about the Virgin Mary!

  49. I've never commented before but I stumbled across your blog two years ago when I was dealing with infertility, and have been following your blog ever since :) I ended up naturally getting pregnant in Jan. 2009 and then had to have a c-section with my son nine months later. He was "sunny-side up" and got stuck when I pushed, so they had to do a section. I, too, felt kind of bad about the section. I wanted to comment, to let you know that your feeling are totally normal! You just had major surgery, are dealing with crazy hormones, and unlike most surgeries, you don't get to rest and sleep--you have a brand new baby to take care of (as well as a one year old! :) It is wonderful and exhilarating but at the same time completely overwhelming! I wanted to let you know, you are normal and ok to feel this way and will get easier! I remember being in an emotional, exhausted fog for weeks and I did not believe people when they told me that Carter (my son) would ever sleep through the night but...he is 14 months old and has been sleeping through the night for a long time now--it will happen :) Sorry if this post is so random, I just wanted to comment to let you know that you are not alone, your feelings are normal, and it WILL get easier :) Also, enjoy Luke and Clara! Some days are tough and seem to drag on but, in general, the time really does fly by (but you know that already :)!
    Praying for you!

  50. First of all, I am SO thrilled Luke is here, and healthy. Second - Your post describes my C-section exactly. I too labored for hours, only to feel like I was taking a huge step backwards to have Naomi delivered via c-section. And at the end of the day, she is here, and healthy, and beautiful. But I completely understand all of your emotions and the ups and downs, and it gets better! I don't have two little ones to keep me busy, but the scar heals, both physically and emotionally!

    Keeping you and your family in my thoughts!

  51. Wow, send all these women over to my blog in a few weeks in the event I fail VBAC:)

    I just wanted to add a word about PPD (post partum depression). Baby blues are normal in any kind of delivery. But there is some research to back up the increase in PPD for women who deliver via Csection. The natural hormonal process that occurs with a vaginal delivery is absent and hormones plummet. I experienced PPD severely and did not have support people to spot it. It made an already difficult transition to motherhood and section recovery almost unbearable. Praying for you that your recovery goes well!

  52. Thanks for your beautifully honest post. I don't think I know anyone who's delivery has gone as planned-I think that is our first preparation for the independent little beings our children are. I'm a physician and planned a natural Bradley birth, taking all the classes with my husband, and believing I would do so well-I thought I was tough, I was an athlete, I was a doctor and had delivered babies myself! But then my water broke and I completely caved to the pain and immediately requested an epidural. I felt so weak. I did have a vaginal delivery but was so numb when it came time to push, I never felt that urge-they had to tell me each time, and it felt surreal and disconnected. My mother and husband, who were at my side, looked more involved and emotional than I felt. I just felt disconnected from the whole thing. Then they gave me my daughter and left us for two hours, where she nursed and snuggled, and I finally was able to absorb it all and feel joy.
    I see your picture right after the section and I see so much joy in your faces.
    In my reflections afterward, I accepted that the delivery is about what's best for you and safest for the baby. I think now that if I had labored in pain I would have ended up with a section because I would have been way too exhausted to push for 2.5 hours. What if we lived in times where sections weren't available-sections have saved millions of moms and babies. And you can know that those 12 hours of labor you experienced provided many benefits to beautiful Luke.
    I felt very weepy for the first 2 weeks after birth. One thing that made me feel better for some reason was re-living the birth experience by talking to my mom and husband. It helped me feel more connected to the experience despite the fact that I felt so disconnected during the actual event, and make it a real, happy memory to pass on.
    You birthed Luke! He was born of your womb, from a miraculous, simple incision, he arrived and took his first breath.
    Lots of prayers for you and you settle into your busier life with your 2 little ones.
    God be with you.

  53. Wow k! What a great and honest post! I'm so sorry it didn't go as you planned and was tramatic for you....I know I had the horror of a section for most of my pregnancy and the impending doom leading up to it....Especially when we were considering an induction early because of the shape I was in and my pressure was 160/110 when I was supposed to have that talk with my doctor. So I was very stressed about a section as well.....

    Though I did cry at the drop of a HAT! About everything from the moment she was born.....It was crazy what I was crying about.......Insanely crazy! :)

    My aunt has had 9 sections....

  54. Yes, I have heard that there are baby blues adn there is post partum depression and it sounds like you had baby blues and didn't need hormonal supplementation, thankfully. He is beautiful! You didn't sound ungrateful at all, and I appreciated your honesty about how you felt. I am glad you are feeling better and hope you continue to feel better every day. I look forward to more updates!

  55. Hi K, congratulations on your sweet Luke! The pictures of your TWO babies melt my heart!

    I had a c-section with my first and processed a lot of emotions, still do sometimes. I believe it's important to acknowledge that it is a loss in some sense and (for some) there can be grief. People react differently from a very complex, personal place inside - not just hormones - and it helps so much to be acknowledged. ICAN also helped me to process, and then to make choices that allowed me to have 2 VBACs since. I deeply understand your feelings and hope you continue to honor them, while still being thrilled to have your sweet baby boy. It's a funny thing that joy and grief can coexist so closely. Bless you and your family!

  56. I have had an emotional breakdown about a week after each kid's birth. This one was probably the worst because of the breastfeeding situation. I really think it has something to do with hormones crashing.

  57. I underestimated baby blues! I was so unhappy that I took some old prozac for the end of the second week postpartum (not expired, just not a recent prescription). By the end of week two, however, I stopped the prozac and, in a couple more days, was well on my way to being back to normal.

  58. Hey! Found this post from the Cathsorority site! So glad I found it because I'm glad I'm not alone in my feelings of getting a c-section. I was devastated when I had to have a c-section with my first, due to pre-e. Then I felt like a big fat failure when I didn't get my VBAC. I too trusted my doctor and some people out there make me feel like if I would have listened to myself then I would have gotten my VBAC. It's very frustrating, but it's all in God's hands!