My Planned C-Section Wasn’t Nearly As Traumatic As My Emergency C-Section

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doctor pocketI have been very vocal about the bad experience I had with my first birth and my huge fear of having a repeat c-section. I spent my entire second pregnancy trying my hardest to put myself in an optimal position to have a VBAC. It still wasn’t in the cards. At 42 weeks pregnant, I had to have another c-section because my adorable baby girl still showed no indication that she would be vacating the premises any time soon — and it wasn’t that bad.

I was having very mild contractions but had not dilated at all. All the weeks I spent doing everything in my power to make this baby come were for nothing. I could have just kicked my feet up and ate Ben and Jerry’s all day instead of shuttling back and forth to chiropractic appointments, doing all sorts of new-age exercises and following every old wives tale in the book. Oh well. You can’t say I didn’t try.

I’m making light of the whole situation because it is over, but I was seriously terrified of having a repeat c-section. Terrified. Having been through one already, it was even worse. I imagined that my experience would be the same: the actual surgery itself was rushed and frightening. The recovery was awful. Thinking about all of these things made me approach this birth with a dread that I cannot even explain. Also throw in the fact that I was convinced I would die on the operating table and leave my children motherless.

If sheer will alone could have made this baby come out, I would have held her in my arms much sooner. But eventually, I had to face the fact that my body was not cooperating and surrender to the operating room. My sister, husband and I packed a bag and drove to the hospital. They put me on monitors immediately. We saw that the baby was doing fine and had a strong heartbeat. One troubling thing that we did notice was that even though I was only having very small, erratic contractions  the baby was not responding to them well. She seemed to go into a little bit of distress every time one of these contractions happened. This worried the doctors a little, because they weren’t confident that she would actually be able to tolerate the real deal. At that point, I had already surrendered to the reality of the repeat c-section, so I wasn’t even going to attempt a trial of labor if the baby wasn’t going to be able to tolerate it.

My doctor calmly addressed my fears and explained how an emergency c-section is very different from one that is planned. There would be no rushing, no panicking doctors, no run to the operating room. I would be slowly prepped for a surgery that would take much longer than the first. It would be a calmer experience.

I was skeptical.

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