(I posted this on the c-section board accidentally, before realizing this is a better place for it.)
I haven't been here in a while, but I figure this is one of few places that will understand how I feel.
Some brief background, first:
My first birth, in 2002, was via c-section. I was induced due to preeclampsia, but what no one realized until 8 hours later is that my daughter was in footling breech presentation. (Well, I
knew that, but I was just the pregnant woman, so no one believed me.) So I didn't dilate at all, and had a c-section.
My second birth, in 2004, was also via c-section. My water broke 30 days from my EDD, and this girl was also
footling breech. So, repeat c-section. It was a traumatic delivery because the anesthesiologist had great difficulty placing the spinal--I have scoliosis, and it took multiple attempts (I quit counting after the fifth) over a longer amount of time than the surgery itself for the anesthesia.
My third birth, in 2005, was a VBA2C. I went to 41+3 and quite frankly lied my way into it--I told them my first birth had been vaginal and my second a c-section. Whatever; I got my vaginal birth! I was incredibly happy.
My fourth and fifth births were also VBA2Cs. The fourth was hellish because it was at a bad hospital that insisted on shaving me and bullied me into an epidural, but the fifth was perfect.
It was 100% natural, (nurse) midwife-attended, and an absolute rush.
This brings me to my seventh pregnancy (I had a miscarriage in 2007). I went back to my lovely midwives, who had seen my son into the world. I was all set for a VBA2C again. My fourth! We got crushing news at the 18-week ultrasound--my daughter was diagnosed with Limb Body-Wall Complex
, a rare condition which is invariably fatal. We chose to carry her to term, a decision I do not regret at all.
I had my lovely girl with me for another 18 weeks. At 36w 1d, I went into labor. We'd planned, at that point, for a c-section since it seemed the only way for us to meet her alive. We didn't get a chance to schedule this, and when we met with the doctor in L&D, she said she was afraid she would need to do a classical-incision surgery because Psalm was fused to the placenta. So we switched back to planning to birth vaginally. We weren't sure it was even possible, though.
And it wasn't. I was in labor 8 or 9 hours all told, and never dilated. She didn't move down. So I had a c-section. And I had to face my fear of spinal anesthesia, though the epidural which was placed actually only took two tries. A window did open up during the surgery, though, but thankfully it was after the initial cut was made so the pain wasn't really worse than natural childbirth and the doctor got more medicine to me right away. And the hours of labor thinned my uterus enough that the doctor was able to perform the standard low-transverse incision, which protects my future fertility as well as anything can.
Our sweet girl lived a bit over an hour, and except for a brief time when they removed the placenta, she was in my or my husband's arms the whole time. So it was as good as it could have been, given the circumstances.
But of course I am mourning. And my sadness over having to have a third c-section is all mixed up in that. I want at least one more child, but never again will I have a vaginal birth.* Never again will I be able to listen to my body, to anticipate labor, to speculate happily on when my child will choose to make his/her entrance to this world. I won't go to the hospital room and have the lovely bed set-up and the warming tray--I will even miss the monitors, at this point! No more contractions, no more pushing, no more sense of exhilaration.
My babies won't be able to make their own way into the world. Five out of six picked their dates of birth, and three of them were born after their EDD. Two of them--my third and my fifth--were born after 41 weeks. I think this bothers me most of all, because a 41-week baby is born so alert! Doug was holding his head up pretty good before we even left the hospital!
It's such a strange thing, too, because I do not regret this c-section at all. It was absolutely necessary. It meant I got to see my daughter open her eyes and look at me before she flew away. But now things will never be the same, and I will probably not have as many children as I otherwise would (we were ones with no upper limit in mind), because I know risks increase the more c-sections you have. And the birth was traumatic too, because how couldn't
it be, given the circumstances?
I don't really know how to process this at this point, one of the reasons I've reached out here. I guess I just want commiseration.
*I am aware some women have VBA3Cs; I am not comfortable with that after my own research, and wouldn't be able to find a supportive provider here anyway.