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Sometimes C-section is the only way

I have a friend who had this long-lasting grudge against her OB because the doctor ordered an emergency C-section while she was laboring, thus denying her the privilege of delivering her first born naturally. I have to hand it to her, she was determined to do it “right” the second time and thus delivered her second-born the normal way – with another OB understandably. Still, I couldn’t understand this continuing anger at her first OB – anger which manifests in her maligning the doctor to every body she knows. Though I didn’t know the full details of the story, I always thought there must have been some mitigating circumstances why the OB ordered the emergency procedure.

My sister labored for almost 24 hours before her doctor decided for a C-section. By then, the baby had fetal stress and had to be taken out fast. She had a difficult recovery afterwards, not from the C-section, but from the prolonged labor. On her second delivery, she went for the C-section right away. She’d rather spare herself the pain and the baby the stress, she said.

Then came my turn. I really wanted to go for the natural way, what with this talk (and research studies!) about bonding and feeling of fulfillment. However, my doctors (yes, there were several of them) advised me against it for 3 reasons: I was one of those 35+ mommies, I was pretty small (still am actually), and I was carrying twins.

Yet in the end it was all up to me whether to try it the natural way or immediately go for the cut-and-out procedure.

The considerations are as follows:

  1. The ideal scenario: I’d go for the natural way and get the babies out successfully, we will have our bonding moment and I will be proud and feel truly fulfilled.
  2. The not-so-ideal (and very likely scenario): I’d go for the natural way, and with luck manage to get one baby out after a couple of hours of labor. By then the other one would be truly stressed by weight of his brother and the pushes of his mom. With luck, he will survive the ordeal and make his way out as well.
  3. The not-so-perfect recommended scenario: I’ll a have schedule C-section that will take out the babies in a couple of minutes, one after the other, to be taken straight to the neonatal station where incubators have been prepared for them. However, I won’t have that emotionally overwhelming bonding moment and (since it was my first and last pregnancy) will never experience natural childbirth, said to be the most beautiful and self-fulfilling life experience.

In the end I went for scenario # 3 and I think I made the right decision. F, who was the smaller of the 2 had breathing problems and had below-normal APGAR scores when he taken out. But the little fighter caught up with his bigger and more robust twin brother R in no time. The doctor said that from the way they were positioned in my uterus, it was likely that R would have made it out first naturally, while F had to wait till his brother got through. At any rate, it was doubtful whether he would have survived the waiting time.

There are many reasons why a C-section delivery is performed. It may for convenience, it may be to avoid pain, but most of the time, there are sound medical reasons behind choosing this option

A friend who had her 3rd C-section a few months ago says she sometimes feels guilty, at the same time resentful when she hears and reads about natural birth experiences of other moms. In her playgroup, she feels unfulfilled, inadequate, and left out when other moms talk about labor experiences.

What about me? Did I regret the decision not the try? Do I long for that fulfilling bonding moment? No, I don’t. I feel proud of delivering my boys minus the pain and the pushing. I was convinced and still am convinced that though C-section may not have been the best experience for me, it was definitely the best for my boys’ well-being. If I were to do it all over again, my decision wouldn’t have changed.

A C-section doesn’t make me less of a mother. We are all moms regardless of the method of delivery.


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7 years 7 months ago
Having had 3 very unwanted c-sections I can understand your friends anger. My first was a c-section following a pitocin induced labor, and induction that was not necessary. My second was an “elective” c-section. Really I was coerced by my OB who told me that if I attempted a VBAC I would injure or kill my baby. My third I attempted a vaginal birth but due to my babes poor position was unable to put her out. So I had a preventable, an unnecessary, and a life saving c-section (and yes life saving she was in severe distress and was… Read more »
7 years 7 months ago
I feel truly sorry that women feel guilty for having a C-section. A C-section is hard, too, just in different ways than labor. I labored for about 30 hours before my C-section with the majority of that time being without an epidural or pain medicine. And yes, I had pitocin without an epidural for about 4 hours. I know what labor feels like. I just don’t know what pushing a baby out feels like. And that’s ok with me. My baby is alive and healthy. And I don’t feel like I missed any emotional bonding with her because of my… Read more »
Melissa H
7 years 7 months ago
I don’t fully understand the idea that a c-section makes a woman less of a mother. I had a C-section and my MIL kept telling my mother that everyone would have to work really hard to be sure that I didn’t feel bad about the way the baby was born. The only person that had a problem with how my daughter came into the world was her! I still don’t get why. I am a mother who has an AMAZING bond with my child. HOW she made it into the world has NOTHING to do with that bond period. I… Read more »
7 years 7 months ago

It’s unfortunate there are women who feel they somehow don’t measure up simply because they had to have a c-section. A mother isn’t defined by how long she labors or how hard she pushes, but by what happens once her child is delivered. I think you have the right attitude – you do what’s best for both mother and baby given the circumstance with which you are presented.

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