My 6 year old was born in 2011 and was a vaginal birth. When we found out we were pregnant I was nervous but learned a lot from my first experience that made me more confident in tackling having a second child.
Now to current – I am 5 weeks post c-section with our handsome baby boy. We discovered he was breech a few weeks before birth – we prayed, I laid upside down, and tried chiropractic solutions for turning him. At our 37 week appointment on the morning of August 17th, there was a plan put in place to schedule a c-section for the last week of August.
Fast forward to 3pm that afternoon, my water breaks and we make a trip to the hospital with a pit stop at the doctors office (because they wanted to confirm that my water had really broken… really?!?!). By 4pm we were having contractions every 3-5 minutes and I was 7cm dilated by the time I saw the doctor prior to my c-section. He was born at 6:07pm!
I’ve had the last few weeks to think about the differences between the two experiences and wanted to share for those that might be interested.
Excitement over labor – while the start of labor in both cases meant that we were in our way to meeting our new baby, the start of labor with a c-section had me anxious for the upcoming surgery.
Feelings about contractions – contractions during labor means progress… but for a c-section the progress is irrelevant. No matter how I progressed, we were still headed for surgery. With my vaginal birth contractions were awful, but at least I knew it meant progress!
Actual birth process – there is no “work” involved in prepping for a c-section, but being prepped for surgery that you will be awake for is not for the faint of heart. Nearly vomiting from all the meds, getting a spinal without the comfort of your partner, and hearing them prep for surgery while you lay there is enough to make the strongest woman weak at her knees. During the c-section I could still feel pressure but no pain, so I felt a “release” of pressure when they actually took him out. With my vaginal birth, there were several hours of pushing, an epidural and a lot of coaching from amazing nurses.
Recovery – while recovery for either can be a challenge, I found that the c-section was obviously more challenging because in addition to taking care of a newborn you are recovering from abdominal surgery! Any movement that you use your abdominal muscles for was difficult to near impossible in the first week – and when I would try to move in a way shouldn’t, it would hurt so bad!
Feelings about birth postpartum – this is the only item that is close to similar! While I have had a few moments of mourning for not getting the birth I wanted with my youngest, bringing a healthy new baby is always the goal. I’m no less of a mother because of a c-section – this is a mentality I battled before and after. I can now look back at both experiences with the same gratitude for a healthy baby!