((hugs)) to you. IMO, bonding is not about the birth, but what happens afterward. I wrote this essay last year for a writing contest. My daughter was a drug-free hospital birth and my first son was a homebirth (#3 wasn't even in the picture at all yet). I didn't feel "immediately in love and bonded" with my daughter, and wondered if it was because she was born in a hospital. I was so sure that a homebirth would be different, but it wasn't, bonding-wise. Here are a couple of excerpts from that essay:
My second pregnancy, also, was uneventful. Five days after my due date, my son was born, at home, after a labor that wasn't quite as textbook as my daughter's was, but it was no harder. After all, I'd done the drug-free thing before, and I easily did it again.
But then the same thing happened afterward. I didn't feel that instant, euphoric bonding that I'd heard about and read about and wanted. What happened? What was wrong with me? I began to worry that maybe I didn't love my children or that something subconscious from my past was preventing me from having a real bond. I developed a moderately severe case of the baby blues.
A euphoric post-birth high is great, if it happens. But it's not the be-all end-all of love and bonding. Love and bonding, I've come to find out, happens in the little things. It doesn't make me any less of a mother because I didn't experience the post-birth high.
My third birth was an emergency C-section under general anesthesia, and I don't even know who that baby is yet. I didn't get to peek at him until about five hours after the surgery, and even then, it was just his little chin because of the angle of my stretcher and the position of his incubator (he was just 25w5d). The nicu nurses did make me a little photo book, though, that I looked at in recovery. It was also a few days before I could touch him, until his skin matured enough so that touching didn't cause him pain. I am still wearing his hospital bracelet, and will probably keep it on until he comes home. It's the one little piece of him that I can have with me. I am pumping and going up there at least daily to drop off my milk (and the pump is working out VERY well for me), but it's a hard journey.
I don't feel bonded to this tiny baby yet, but like I wrote in my essay, I know that bonding will come. Day by day, he'll get stronger. Before I know it, I'll be able to hold him, and to give him a bottle, and when he's strong enough, I'll be able to nurse him. He'll come home and his brother and sister will start loving on him, further cementing our family bond. I just have to take it one day at a time until then and have faith that that day will come.
But right now, immediatly post-birth, I don't feel any "less bonded and in love" with my C-section baby than I did at the same time post-birth as my other two kids.