C-section after Vaginal Delivery: Dealing with Disappointment

All I could do was shout across the operating room to my husband “How are they?! Are they okay?!” as I listened to tiny cries I was not allowed to comfort.

If you search online for C-sections and vaginal births, you will find unlimited articles, research, and support for VBACS or Vaginal Birth After Caesarian but, what about those of us who have it the other way around? Aren’t we struggling too? Struggling to deal with knowing what a natural birth is like then not being allowed or able to do it again? I’m one of those.

My first delivery was a vaginal delivery. My water broke, we went to the hospital, received an epidural after several hours of induction drugs, and my oldest came after two pushes. It was magical, it was calm, I got to see her come out and hold her immediately afterwards. It was a whirlwind of emotions and I loved every moment of her birth.

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My twins were another story. We knew from early on that the possibility of a C-section for them was likely with there being two but were told that, as long as baby A was in the correct position, we would be able to attempt a vaginal delivery. This is what I wanted. This is what I had planned.

I wanted the same magical delivery I had with my daughter.

I wanted to hold them as soon as they were born and be up and moving the same day instead of licking my wounds in a hospital bed while still on pain meds because my abdomen had been sliced open. I did not get that.

Lo and behold as my due date crept closer, Baby A was feet first. We held on to hope as the weeks went on. The OB said there was still a chance for baby to flip around. No such luck. When my water broke and we went to the hospital, scans showed that baby A was still feet down, which is NOT an option for getting him out.

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After initial preparations and tests, they wheeled me into the operating room. The procedure was quick and painless, my twin boys were born just 2 minutes apart. Each boy was removed from my abdomen, quickly shown to my husband and I over the blue sheet, then rushed immediately to the warmers to be cleaned, weighed, and whatever else they do to my precious babies while they aren’t with me. We got lucky, the twins were 5 pounds and 5 pounds 1 ounce and healthy. My husband got to go over to the warmers almost instantly to see them while they stitched me back up. He got to hold their tiny hands and touch their soft heads while the nurses got them cleaned up. I didn’t. I didn’t get to hold them for the first time until their were finished stitching me up. The wait was awful. All I could do was shout across the operating room to my husband “How are they?! Are they okay?!” as I listened to tiny cries I was not allowed to comfort.

I finally got to hold them after what felt like forever. They were perfect. They were warm and soft and snuggly, just like babies are supposed to be. But I still felt cheated. To those of you that are happy no matter how your babies come in to the world, I envy you. I do not feel this way. I feel cheated out of delivering my babies. They were cut from me instead of delivered as I had wanted.

So, how do you deal with the disappointment when there’s nothing you can do to change what is bringing you down?

 

You don’t have to accept it

Not right away, anyways. SO many people told me “C-Sections aren’t a big deal” and “It’s doesn’t matter how they get here as long as they are healthy.” Their words made me feel guilty for being so disappointed about having the C-section. Like since I hated their birth, I didn’t love my children like I was supposed to.

These people were wrong. C-Sections are a big deal to me. I hate that I had to have one. But, just because I am unhappy with how my babies were brought into this world, doesn’t mean I don’t love them just the same. Once I allowed myself to admit this, I started feeling less guilty. It’s okay for me to be angry. It’s okay for me to feel cheated.

 

Dealing with other people

This part was a little trickier. I’m referring to the people who acted (and said so often) like it was no big deal that I was sliced open. I had one thing to say to these people “Yes, it is a big deal. To me, it matters.”

It’s a gentle way of saying “Back off, your opinion doesn’t make me feel any better.” Sure, I loved the support I got, but often times, people’s well meant intentions are unknowingly trying to push their ideas and beliefs on to you to make you feel better. This does not work. Tell them how you feel and leave it at that. Most people will take the hint and not bring it up again.

 

The Healing Process

To be honest, healing wasn’t that bad for me. I believe this was because I was so distracted trying to take care of my toddler and newborn twins that I forgot about the pain. When I did start to hurt, though, it made me feel all the worse. I felt weak. My babies needed me and I couldn’t be there for them like I was supposed to be. It was frustrating and depressing.

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Having a C-Section can be hard.

This part did get better quickly. In a few days, I was able to be up and moving with my kids as long as I took it easy and didn’t try to lift too much or get out of bed too quickly. My best advice here it to TAKE IT SLOW. You’ve just had major surgery. They cut you open. This doesn’t heal overnight. Give it a few weeks/months to heal up. Also, remember to massage the incision once the stitches have been removed or have dissolved if they are internal. Do this several times a day. It helps loosen the tissue and helps it heal.

Having a C-Section can be hard. It can make you feel like you’ve been cheated out of the birth you were hoping for. I felt this way. I am still healing from it. I will probably never fully get over hating my sons’ birth and of course will always have that thin white line to remind me of the whole ordeal.  But I can move past it. And, as I watch them grow up, it seems to matter less and less.

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