Mental Health

C-section talk (and more)

I had a pretty smooth pregnancy with little issues (heartburn and swelling was probably the biggest thing I had to deal with), so my doctors and I didn’t expect any complications. I didn’t have a birth plan at all, because we all know nothing goes as planned. I told my doctors I just wanted to try and go all natural, but if it came down to it, I wasn’t opposed to an epidural.
I remember the labor pains started around midnight the night before. I timed contractions like I was supposed to. Austin got up for work at 4 am and I (stupidly) told him to go and that it was still hours apart. By 5 am I was calling him and telling him to turn around and that we needed to GOOO. By the time we were on our way and getting closer to the hospital my contractions were just at full intensity and were getting close to two minutes apart. They checked me out in a room, only 1 cm by 8 am. They didn’t send me away because my contractions were getting closer and closer together, so I got all hooked up to the machines and an IV. I kept telling myself that something wasn’t right, this was too much pain to only be 1 cm. Of course I expected labor to be painful, but I felt like I was ready to push! They noticed a teeny tiny bit of an oxygen drop for Kevin with the contractions but let me get an epidural set up. At about noon I started to dilate really fast. I think they last checked on me at 1130 and I was only 2 cm, by noon I was 8 cm. The nurse looked at the monitor, and immediately called the doctor in. Kevin was experiencing something called late D Cells, which basically means his heart rate was drastically dropping with each contraction. Since I wasn’t ready to push they rushed me into the OR for an emergency C-Section. At the moment, I felt okay with it. I didn’t fight their decisions, and I didn’t feel like it was wrong (I still don’t feel like it was wrong) and at the end of it I am so extremely grateful that my son made it out okay.
The weeks to come were not easy. Recovery wasn’t anything close to easy. I felt like my stomach was going to fall out and I was sad that it was difficult to even hold my baby. I experienced the “baby blues” that my doctor warned me out. However, I think I let the sadness I felt about having a C-Section really take control of me and I ended up experiencing really bad post-partum depression. Surrounding myself with friends and family members who understood helped me cope a little along the way, and I truly appreciated all the advice I got, but I still never shook the sadness of it. Some comments didn’t make things any better and It completely consumed me for months, longer than my doctors said it could. I felt very disappointed in my self and I felt like I was robbed of an amazing experience. I still have difficulty with it today. I have a scar across my belly that will forever remind me of that day, but I also have a beautiful and happy two year old boy because of it.

Anyone out there struggling with something similar I want you to know two things:
1. You are not alone
2. What matters is your baby and your health
While I stayed silent about my feelings (even though I’m telling you exactly what people told me), you shouldn’t! Even if you just vent to a friend online about it, it’s so much better for your mental health than keeping it to yourself. You never know who else is out there feeling the same way as you do! You’re 100% not alone.
You did the best thing for your baby. Things got intense and dangerous and it led to something that wasn’t in the plans, BUT you made this sacrifice for your baby. That is courage and bravery and sacrifice at its purest.
This goes for ANY mother out there who has given birth. The vaginal vs C-Section or natural vs medicated debate and shaming is SO stupid and overrated. There is NO DEBATE. Regardless of the way you gave birth, it was hard! Any woman who brings life into this world is a freaking strong warrior goddess who went through hell and back for their babies. It doesn’t matter how you brought that baby into this world, neither way makes you better or worse than anyone else.

Thanks so much for listening me ramble tonight!
-Haley

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