Does everyone who has had a c section feel that their birth was traumatic? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 46 Old 04-25-2010, 09:11 PM
 
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I suppose it depends on what you mean by "physically traumatized." Obviously, having your abdomen cut open has to be a physical trauma, by definition. It is painful and requires time to heal from. Women seem to differ greatly in how much post-surgery pain they suffer and how long they take to recover, even when there are no longer term effects. I think we need to give ourselves more time and TLC than we sometimes do. I took almost two months to feel okay again after my CS, and I got some mild criticism from women who were up and around in a week.
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FWIW, if you look at the WHO's c-sec goal, 15%, then it's worth noting that about half of all the c-secs done in America ARE necessary.
Actually, the WHO's goal is a maximum of 10% for community hospitals, but up to 15% for special high-risk care centers which get a large number of complicated pregnancies. If you trust the WHO on this, it would mean up to a third of CS's in the United States are necessary, not half. Since birth outcomes have not improved significantly since the CS rate was well under 10%, and since some birthing centers and home birth practices produce good outcomes with even lower CS rates, you could argue that something closer to 20% of hospital CS's are actually necessary.
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#32 of 46 Old 04-25-2010, 09:15 PM
 
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So, I think c-sections can be non-traumatic if they are necessary, well-researched and the mama is accepting of the situation.
...and things go okay post-op. I actually did fairly well with my third section (went into labour the night before, so I had a boost from having put them off long enough for ds2 to pick his own birthday)...until two staples tore out, my incision got infected, and it stayed open for over a month. That was also the section that resulted in the permanent nerve damage. After initially being my least traumatic to date, that one ended up being probably the most traumatic in the long-term. I think there are just soooo many factors, yk?

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#33 of 46 Old 04-26-2010, 12:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
Actually, the WHO's goal is a maximum of 10% for community hospitals, but up to 15% for special high-risk care centers which get a large number of complicated pregnancies. If you trust the WHO on this, it would mean up to a third of CS's in the United States are necessary, not half. Since birth outcomes have not improved significantly since the CS rate was well under 10%, and since some birthing centers and home birth practices produce good outcomes with even lower CS rates, you could argue that something closer to 20% of hospital CS's are actually necessary.
Depending on how one sees it, a third to a half of c-secs are necessary. Keep in mind that the standards of "high risk" vary depending on who one talks to, and that in America at least, rural communities rarely have the option of a community hospital vs a high-risk care center, so . Add to that other issues in the American population about health, not least among them the reality that more and more women over 30 and 40 are having babies, and a 15% rate makes sense. I get that there are still a lot of unnecessary ones, but it is traumatic to have to defend my first one by giving my entire medical history to women who think it must have been unnecessary because they think almost all of them are. I've long wondered if they realized that somewhere between a third and a half of them are necessary, whether they would at least have the courtesy to not judge me immediately. It's even more traumatic when, despite my explanation, someone still suggests I could have prevented it because they are so convinced that "most" is almost equivalent to "all." (For example, I've been told that I should have just eaten more protein in my first pregnancy despite 37 weeks of hyperemesis, and somehow that would have prevented the pre-e that went undiagnosed until I was in labor and led to the emergency c-sec. Looking at the numbers and realizing that in actuality, up to half are necessary helps me feel better in those situations where someone wants to believe that no matter what, to them, my c-sec was unnecessary. If it makes you feel better to cite the smaller numbers, that's fine, but either way, there's a lot of us out there who needed the surgery.

BTW--I had problems with my incision healing this time. It was strange because apparently it's something that mostly happens to larger women (I'm thin--more so from 34 weeks of nasty hyperemesis with pregnancy #2), and DH ended up wet packing the part that didn't close with gauze for about a week and half. But, I don't consider that traumatic either. It's closed now and I'm chalking it up to "another thing that my body apparently doesn't like about pregnancy" because it didn't react well to the first pregnancy, and it reacted even more poorly to this one. (Happily, my body loves to BF and we don't have any issues there!)

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#34 of 46 Old 04-26-2010, 12:34 AM
 
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I was very disappointed that the birth did not go as we had planned (especially since we are only having one child), but I wasn't traumatized. I was just so happy that my DD was healthy with no serious long term problems. I honestly don't think about it all unless someone asks. I was really uncomfortable the first day, but then my recovery was fine. Honestly, my biggest problem was the hospital bed - it was so uncomfortable that I couldn't really sleep and was kind of cranky and couldn't wait to come home.
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#35 of 46 Old 04-26-2010, 12:43 AM
 
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First of all--congratulations! I'm sorry you're having a rough time healing.

I did have a difficult time recovering from my C, but I was also recovering from preeclampsia. But I emotionally, I felt it was necessary and even though my daughter had to be in the NICU, I felt we bonded well.

That said, I had a worse time recovering from my first VBAC.

I was physically worse off from that birth for months, not to mention the postpartum psychosis following.

Luckily, I was able to have another birth with no ill effects at all!

I hope your recovery goes well, and speedily.

Jessica: wife and helpmate to a farmer and mama to two girls and two boys
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#36 of 46 Old 04-30-2010, 05:42 PM
 
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I was walking well, baby mostly in stroller or carried by DH by 3 weeks after. I was carrying her by 6 weeks after. Did a full day hike probably 7 months later. About 1 year after my c, I felt 90% healed, mild numbness in a few spots. By 2 years after, I felt 100% healed. I don't have numbness or any lingering pain.
thank you so much for this post. I can't tell you what seeing that 100% means to me.

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#37 of 46 Old 05-03-2010, 05:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Katie34 View Post
Does a c section ALWAYS indicate a traumatic birth?

I am feeling currently traumatized by my c section- mostly just physically so.
and I am wondering- does anyone ever have a c section and not feel traumatized by it? If so- please share!

I would love to hear about that perspective.
I don't know, but I don't think so.

I felt traumatized after my c-section, but it was not the physical aspect. I truly believe my c-section was necessary, and I was up, walking, and released from the hospital 30 hours after my DD was born. After about 12 months, I no longer had the twangs and pulls in my incision area. Things don't feel "tight" or "off" anymore (15 mos. PP). I can think about the birth without flashbacks of, I don't know, fear and anxiety. They were intense for a while.

The pain was nothing compared to my fear for my daughter--long story short, she didn't eat or pee for 24 hrs.; airlifted to NICU 4 hrs. away; spinal tap; ng tube; npo for 4 days; 3 wk. NICU stay.... That's the birth stuff that was traumatic. I pulled a stitch the second day and didn't notice. DD was/is fine, thank God, but the not knowing and the separation were traumatic. I cried every night for three weeks because I wanted my baby....

But that was just me.

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#38 of 46 Old 05-03-2010, 10:12 PM
 
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Honestly, my c-section was neither physically nor emotionally traumatic. I underwent the procedure when DD was 35 weeks, and I was more worried about her than me. I was uncomfortable for a week or so but was back to work at six weeks post-birth. I'm not sure if it was because I was in very good physical shape going into the pregnancy or if it as just luck of the draw. Either way, I count myself very fortunate because it is major abdominal surgery and for some reason I lucked out with a steady and quick recovery.

There was one non-c-section painful aspect for me around that time. A few weeks before DD was born, I broke my foot. I kept telling the doctor that I thought I broke my foot and by the time I had to go into the hospital, my foot was swollen beyond recognition and I could barely walk. I was told repeatedly that it was "pregnancy swelling." I went to a podiatrist the same week DD was born and he confirmed that my foot was broken. I was in a cast for three months following DD's birth. That irritated me a lot because I was so used to being self-sufficient and "able-bodied", and because of that temporary disability, I probably spent a lot less time thinking about the c-section. We don't have a car, so I had to walk everywhere in the cast along with DD in the sling. It is water under the bridge now. Wish I had been a little more proactive but was so wrapped up mentally in the arrival of DD.

"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
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#39 of 46 Old 05-03-2010, 10:54 PM
 
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I suppose it depends on what you mean by "physically traumatized." Obviously, having your abdomen cut open has to be a physical trauma, by definition. It is painful and requires time to heal from. Women seem to differ greatly in how much post-surgery pain they suffer and how long they take to recover, even when there are no longer term effects. I think we need to give ourselves more time and TLC than we sometimes do. I took almost two months to feel okay again after my CS, and I got some mild criticism from women who were up and around in a week.
I agree with all of this.

I had an emergency section, and while I don't feel physically or emotionally traumatized by it, that doesn't mean I don't sometimes ache. Several of my abdominal muscles were cut. It's been seven and a half months and they're still not back at 100% and I am still terrible at remembering that. I push myself harder than I should and then I pay for it. My new limitations aggravate and frustrate me. My body is different than it was before and I don't always like the changes.

Four weeks post-section though, I didn't have all this perspective. I felt like I'd been hit by a truck, I distrusted my body (not because of the surgery, but because of the circumstances that required the surgery - I felt like my body had pretended to be my friend and then lured me into an alley for a beating), I was exhausted and hormonal and not taking enough pain medication.
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#40 of 46 Old 05-04-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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I felt like my body had pretended to be my friend and then lured me into an alley for a beating
so well said! Yes, that was me, too.

Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DDenergy.gif(Born 10/09/08 ribboncesarean.gif). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!

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#41 of 46 Old 05-04-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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I honestly didn't feel traumatized by either of my two c-sections.

I credit both to communication, communication, communication.

With my first I had a wonderful doctor who knew me well and I trusted. Each intervention that we tried was 100% my decision. The doctor would explain why she thought an intervention was necessary. We'd talk about the options and I would make a decision. Even when it came time to opt. for the c-section it was my decision. She respectfully explained that she thought it was time to go that path and why. But she also gave me the option of laboring longer and assured me that I either decision I made was fine. I opted for the c-section and have never regretted it. It was my decision.

With the second, I feel a tinge of regret, but I didn't feel traumatized. I chose to have a repeat c-section instead of a VBAC. Then during and before my c-section I spoke up about what I wanted and worked with my doctor to make it the best experience it could be.

I feel I was communicated with appropriately and that I made the ultimate decisions.
---------
I initially answered before I saw you were asking about the physical aspects. Yes I found the first one physically traumatizing. I hurt so bad afterward. I did heal pretty quickly and was doing well within a couple of weeks of the c-section. But the initial pain was bad.
The second c-section recovery was no where near as physically painful. In comparison to my first one I felt fantastic.

The first one involved 24 hours of hard labor and progressing to 10cm dilated before going to c-section. The second involved a couple of hours of light contractions and then on to the planned c-section. I just figure my body had alot more to recover from in the first c-section.

Mom to DS 4/24/03 and DD 4/17/06
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#42 of 46 Old 05-04-2010, 07:10 PM
 
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I did not feel physically traumatized by my c/s. At about 2 weeks I felt 80% healed and only ever took a full dose of pain meds for one day in the hospital. Ds developed colic at two weeks old and I had to walk and bounce him pretty much constantly for the next couple months. That slowed my recovery but after about 8 weeks I felt 95%; at 6 months I felt 100%. No pain, no numbness, no tingling, no weakness. Overall, ds's colic was far more traumatic to me emotionally and physically; I didn't really process my profound emotional disappointment with my c/s until about a year later. But I do believe that it was a necessary c/s and I too get tired of defending our birth outcome to the natural childbirth community (of which I consider myself to be an advocate, even still). Everyone is different. I have friends who birthed vaginally who took longer to heal than I did from my son's c/s birth.
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#43 of 46 Old 05-15-2010, 09:42 PM
 
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I never felt physically traumatized by either of my c-sections. yes, they were major abdominal surgery and had the accompanying concerns. I was up and moving 24 hours after the first (longer then I would have liked due to a uterine infection) and 6 hours after the second. I was off the pain meds 3 days after the first and 4 days after the second. I felt fine to drive and hold my son when I left the hospital (but didn't drive until about 10 days after to be safe). I did take the exercise route a little slower. With DS #2 I had to be in and out of the NICU for the first 3 weeks, so I really had no choice but to be up and going. I actually think this helped me heal quicker.

All that said, I am still going to attempt a VBA2C. Those first 24 hours after a c-section suck and I would prefer not to go through them.

Mom to W (12/04), A (05/08) and S (06/10)
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#44 of 46 Old 05-17-2010, 05:34 PM
 
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I don't, really. I was disappointed, of course, but I felt that I truly needed a c-section for my health and the health of my babies. I had blood pressure of 212/120 and was showing beginning signs of HELLP syndrome. My babies were in distress and I wasn't at all dialated, thinned, or effaced.

It's not the ideal situation, but I was far more traumatized by my babies spending 4 weeks in the NICU, than by how they arrived.

Welcoming our twins :: born February 21, 2009 at 33 weeks! :
C-section due to pre-eclampsia and HELLP:
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#45 of 46 Old 05-17-2010, 05:44 PM
 
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I didn't feel it was traumatic at the time and don't look back with regret. I remember being so relieved that everything went as well as it did. I had heard many, many horror stories - and my experience was respectful and positive.

I can't control everything. I just will not be sad about something I couldn't help or change, or about making the best choice I could at the time. What happens, happens. It probably also helps that soon after that, my daughter had other health issues I had to think about so there was no real time for me to beat myself up about it.
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#46 of 46 Old 05-20-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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I've had 2 cesareans-1st one ten years ago, the next 6 years ago and wasn't traumatized by either birth. The first one saved my baby's life. The second was scheduled, and although I certainly didn't want to go through it at the time, I doubt I would have felt differently about a vaginal birth!!! I loved pregnancy, I loved caring for an infant, I loved raising toddlers, preschoolers, and older children-but frankly-I will acknowledge I am just not into birthing and that is totally ok. Missing out on "natural" childbirth just isn't that big of a deal to me.
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