10 April 2012

Cesarean Awareness Month ~ 17 Months Out

Cesarean Awareness Month - April 2012
It came to my attention yesterday that April, on top of containing Real Diaper Week (woohoo!), is National Cesarean Awareness Month.

It seems like every month is the National month of something, but this one is particularly meaningful to me.

I've had 2 C-sections.

The first was much needed and sensitively done, and was all in all a wonderful birth experience and most likely saved my child who would have otherwise been stillborn. (Aedyn's story)

The second one still causes me to wake up crying in the middle of the night. It is still the subject of every fear and doubt. It still affects how I view myself as a woman and a mother. (How I was treated postpartum has a lot to do with that as well.)

I'll list all my posts about Jaron's birth and my failed VBAC at the end of this one.

For awhile I told myself that I was more upset about the postpartum treatment than the C-section itself. Maybe that's true, maybe not.

In any case I find myself envisioning different scenarios for our 3rd child that we are hoping for sometime in the next year. They range from an intentional unassisted home birth to birthing in the car on the way to hospital to going to the wrong hospital (that doesn't have a Labor & Delivery unit) to giving birth in the park next to the hospital. None of them have me actually giving birth in the hospital.

However, I'm sure none of them will happen; mainly because I don't want to deal with the "baby born in non-sterile environment" protocol and having to be separated until who knows when, not cool.

However, this time around I do plan on hiring a Doula. I couldn't with my first VBAC attempt because I didn't think I could afford it. We couldn't, we were barely making bills and $500 (+/-) was nowhere in our realm of doable. I had no idea that there were multiple doulas in my area and some of them are willing to work on the pricing. This time I'm making it a priority, we're in a better place financially and will be saving from this month on...and if it comes to it, I won't hesitate to ask.

I thought I was educated enough, I did have the head knowledge, but I was so distracted with everything going on I didn't have enough brain power to separate from the situation and remember what I knew. That's what I need someone to do for me, help me remember what I already know.

In between all my different birth scenarios I've also thought about not having anymore children. Jake and I have both wanted 4 (and then adopt another 2) for, well, forever. But I don't think I can handle another C-section. Physically, yes, I can do it. Emotionally? I don't know. I see how much this one has messed me up. How, for the past 17 months, I've worked through it and the accompanying emotions over and over and think I've dealt and moved on; only to have the memories and doubt and guilt and sense of failure well up over and over again.

I'm scared that if I do have another C-section I'll fall apart into a depression that is more than just the baby blues. I'm scared of what that will mean for my children if I'm an emotional wreck.

Fear. Doubt. Guilt. Frustration. Anger. Hurt. Sadness. Regret.

As you can see I obviously haven't dealt with it.

I've tried talking about it, not talking about it, rationalizing, praying, giving it up...I just can't shake it.

The only thing I can hope is that going ahead and having another baby will give me the chance to know that I'm doing absolutely everything I can to increase my chances of success. People tell me I have nothing to prove, but I do. At least to myself I have something to prove.

I love and appreciate all comments, however, please be sensitive. I know that the end goal is a "healthy baby", but it is also a "healthy mama" and that means both physically and emotionally. I haven't written this post as a pity party, but to let other moms like me know that this is ok. It's ok to still be not ok 17 months later. I'm not alone, they aren't alone. Please remember that and be supportive, Thanks!

Processing Jaron's Birth:
Original Birth Story

2 Months After

8 Months After

10 Months After

If you want to hear more about my 2 (not always) sleeping babies and the rest of the family you can follow us on Google+Facebook, and Twitter! 


  1. Heather, I certainly cannot imagine what you've been through, both physically and emotionally, and I know it must have, in some ways, broken your heart. Even though I delivered N naturally, I didn't have the "ideal" birth situation either. When we decided to have a natural, non-medicated birth, I had no idea that my labor would be 41 hours long! But despite it all, we got through it and N arrived healthy and as happy as a newborn can be. I am telling you our story to encourage you about hiring a doula. If we hadn't had our doula, I don't know that I would have been able to "stick to birth plan" and last all 41 hours without any pain medication. Our doula was also the instructor of our Bradley class, and once I'd been laboring for 24 hours and was running out of coping ideas, she stepped in and reminded me, "well have you tried this? Have you tried that?" She also was the one who reminded me to tell the nurses that I wanted immediate skin-to-skin contact with my daughter, and reminded me of other things I'd written out on our birth plan but seemed to forget about in the heat of the moment. The Bradley class was also extremely educational about things like what happens when your water breaks early (PROM), and how long you REALLY can go (as opposed to how long the doctors say you can go) past that before labor should start. Even if you're not interested in a drug-free birth next time, I still highly recommend reading "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" as well as watching that Ricki Lake documentary, "The Business of Being Born". Both were extremely educational for me as far as understanding the medical side of how doctors treat laboring mothers, and the physical aspects of labor for the moms. I felt like more knowledge empowered me to make more educated decisions and stand up for them in the heat of the moment. I hope this is encouraging for you, girl, and I want you to know I'm praying for you!

  2. Thanks Shelley! I know a big fear of mine, outside of the money, was that a doula couldn't do anything for me that I couldn't do myself. Of course hindsight, a doula is a little more removed from the the situation and clear thinking! Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have had a C-section with my baby. It was totally unnecessary and against all I wanted for my natural birth.  There was no breach or anything, just 'failure to progress' as diagnosed by a physician on the phone every hour with my midwife.  I should have hired a doula but I thought I was prepared by myself. For the second (hopefully some time soon) pregnancy, I am going homebirth. I will have adequate support, not just my husband like I thought was all I needed the first time.

    Your post inspires me to do my own for this special month of awareness.

  4. I'm sorry your birth didn't go the way you planned. Please comment with a link to your post, I'd love to read it!


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