I am due to give birth on the 15th of April and I have decided to have a selective C Section. The BIG debate; Natural Birth or C Section, (along with all other debates when it comes to mom-to-be’s personal choice) belongs in a bin of “unsolved” agree to disagree arguments. In my opinion, it is a decision which is entirely up to the mom to be, and should not have to be justified. I did want to give some insight to readers as to why I decided to have C Section, not for justification but rather for sharing information.
When I grew up, like many other girls, my mom was my very first role model and the person I looked up to, as an example of what a woman must be. Her beautiful figure, her perfect hair, the way she applied her makeup for work, the way she always just looked immaculate, the way she dressed, the list goes on forever. One thing that she also had, was a proud, childbearing scar of birthing two daughters with a selective C Section. I grew up knowing that children are born “out of mommy’s tummy” quite literally. Did this subconsciously play a role in my decision? Maybe to a certain degree.
I, like most other women today, have information is at our fingertips and I did not make the decision without considering all options and knowing what the pros and cons are/were. There are a couple of questions I thought you might have as well as a couple of reasons I made my decision.
I liked the fact that there are no unplanned surprises and you have a planned date for your birth
With a selective C Section, your date is mapped out and set to 37 or 38 weeks (a week or two prior to the “natural birth”) expectation date of around 40 weeks. This means that you are prepared and there is usually a set plan for the procedure. I like the fact that that you know when and what is happening and that you can plan a little bit better. Yes you can also pack your bag and “be ready” for the hospital with a normal baby. Nothing stops that baby from deciding, “now is the time,” in a cable car on the way to Table Mountain for example.
The procedure is not the easy way out
Because you do not actually go through labour and labour pains does not mean that the procedure is much easier and simpler. It is definitely not. It is actually more painful and takes longer to heal, and for you to get back to everyday things. You will need about 6 weeks before you will be able to start, very low intensity workouts such as walking. The operation is major abdominal surgery and cuts through all your major abdominal muscles to get to the uterus.
You are 100% awake during the procedure
You are 100% awake during the procedure. Unlike most people think, you are actually not under/sleeping completely during a C section. You are actually awake during the whole procedure. Your body is numb from the ribcage down from the anaesthesia. You will also have a catheter and IV in place to administer meds.
Can you feel the operation?
Apart from prodding and tugging sensations you will only start getting sensation back in your lower body after a few hours. This feels like pins and needles. Pain meds are administered for a day or so afterwards. You are not able to feel anything else, cutting or pain.
Can you hold your baby?
Everything still stays the same as with normal birth, you are able to see and hold your baby just the same. Unless baby needs medical attention which was the case with Sammy and my first birth. He was in ICU for 3 weeks.
Can you breastfeed?
As soon as everything has settled down, your operation has been completed and you are back in your ward you are able to do everything just the same.
Is keeping your vagina “intact” a good enough reason to have a C Section and did it play a role in my decision?
This was not something I did take into consideration when I made my decision. I am not sure what happens/happened to other women during normal birth and what the outcome was in terms of “before and after” the birth. I think like with C Sections there are also many “case scenarios”
I do feel that I have a whole lifetime ahead of me where I wanted to feel confident and comfortable during sex and it was not something I wanted to gamble on. Again, I don’t know what other women’s experience was these were just my own personal thoughts and opinion.
Do you get post-natal depression after a C Section?
Post-natal depression is a medical condition caused by pregnancy hormones and the way your body copes with them. Your mental state in general and before the baby even will also play a huge role. A lot of women have depression already or are prone to depression due to a family-history and other life factors. Post-natal depression is not something that is only C Section related, but all women who just had a baby birth can suffer from it.
Can you have a natural birth after having a C Section the first time?
You can absolutely, but it depends how long after the first operation. There are numerous other factors that you need to take into consideration but about 75% of vaginal births after a C Section are concluded successfully.
Does it leave a big ugly scar?
No, my scar healed and faded quite quickly. It is also not in sight when you wear a bikini or underwear. I have a 15cm scar and it does not bother me at all. This might depend on person to person again but from what I have experienced, no. I think doctors these days are also much more in tune with the modern day woman and they keep these things in consideration when they are working on your body during a C Section.
I think that before you make your decision to have a C Section you should do proper reading and talk to your Gynae about it at length. Your decision should not be made lightly but know that it remains yours. Never feel pressurised to have natural birth or a C Section if you do not want to.
As a woman I am lucky enough to have a choice, and taking all of the factors into consideration I will most definitely do what I feel is best. Maybe not the perfect reason everyone would want to hear, but definitely good enough for me.
I appreciate your comments and feedback. Please take the time to let me know your thoughts and experiences.