April is Cesarean Awareness Month. For some of us at Indianapolis Moms, this month is very meaningful. Bringing a child into the world is special regardless of how they were born, but having a cesarean (c-section) planned or not can be a very scary and poignant moment for parents. The women of Indianapolis Moms are proud to share their stories and thoughts from their c-section births. It is our hope that it provides others with the love and support or even comradery, they are looking for.
When I learned my baby was breech in my third trimester, I panicked. I did all the thing—laid upside down off of my couch while watching tv, downloaded a Hypnobirthing “Turn Your Breech Baby” MP3, went to a Webster Certified chiropractor, messed around with icepacks on my belly, and even did an external cephalic version (10/10 would NOT recommend, literally the most pain I’ve ever endured, even considering my VBAC experience in 2020). And all because why? Because I let my delusions convince me having a c-section meant I wasn’t “giving birth”. My c-section happened almost five years ago and I can assure you all births are natural births. Every mother is equally strong, powerful, and incredible, no matter how your precious babe comes into this world. –Liz Wertz
My first pregnancy was as picture-perfect as it gets. The baby was head down, water broke just after my 38-week appointment and less than 24 hours later he was here via vaginal delivery. However, the second time around wasn’t so easy. My daughter was transverse much of my pregnancy. Unfortunately, the attempts to flip her (visits to the chiropractor, flipping in a pool, even laying upside-down on an ironing board against my couch) resulted in her turning breech and a scheduled c-section. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a c-section at first but knew it was the right decision for us and our baby. It took me a while to wrap my head around giving birth any other way but looking back, having a c-section ended up being super special. I think the most unique thing about my delivery was that my husband was the first person to hold our child. Not me. I know this sounds crazy, but after a year of quarantine and Covid-19 preventing him from coming to any appointments to see his daughter it was almost poetic. I knew her already, I had carried her for 9 months. So, seeing her swaddled in his arms first was something I will never forget. My c-section scar now is now a reminder of that special moment. I went through 2.5 years of fertility to treatments to have my daughter and that scar is a badge of honor I proudly share with so many women across the world. –Lauren Schregardus
I am the typical story of the c-section: unplanned. I had spent the months prior to the arrival of my first studying, preparing, and readying myself for natural childbirth. Then as so often happens, nothing went as planned: a harsh lesson that rarely anything in parenting goes exactly as planned. I finally ended up with a c-section after many hours of laboring and was devastated. I felt I had failed at my first test as a parent: I could not even give birth the right way. I hated that I could not even get out of the bed to care for my baby those first few hours after birth. I hated that I had been so pumped full of medicine for the surgery that my memory of her birth is fuzzy at best. That feeling of failure stuck with me for far too long in my journey into motherhood. I am confident it was a large contributor to the extreme postpartum depression I experienced for most of my eldest’s first year of life. I gave birth two more times via c-section. Each time I would fight feelings of inadequacy and find myself justifying why I had to give birth via c-section. It was with my third pregnancy that I finally realized I had to stop allowing the way my children entered the world to define me. I was hospitalized for preterm labor and even after days of contractions I was not a single centimeter dilated. I had to accept that my body just will not do what it is designed to do and that I am not any less of a mother because of it. I am so glad I did. I spent years feeling inadequate because of my c-sections but now I can acknowledge that I should appreciate that my body was able to carry and give me three beautiful, healthy, and perfect children. I am forever thankful that I was born in a time period where this life-giving procedure can save the lives of women and children like me because until it was developed women (and their babies) likely would have died in childbirth. It took me a long time to be able to acknowledge that my c-sections do not define me as a mother. Just like every birth story, it is unique and worth celebrating. –Alicia Noneman
In my mind, I think I always knew that I may end up delivering my kids via C-section. I always said that my birth plan was “to give me all the drugs and get baby out safely by any means necessary”. My pregnancies were extremely difficult on me physically and I had high blood pressure throughout, putting me into the high-risk category. Add the fact that I was considered “advanced maternal age” and I was a special case scenario in the wonderful world of pregnancy. I ended up being induced due to blood pressure issues at 35+5. After 36 hours without much progress, my doctor came in and said “Let’s schedule you for a C-section in the morning…we are having a baby tomorrow!” According to my nurses, I had the best reaction they had ever seen, which was a huge feeling of relief. While the first one was a little unnerving as they wheeled me into the operating room, the doctors and nurses literally talked me through every step of the way, which really helped ease my mind. When baby #2 came along, I never thought twice about doing a repeat C-section. It was controlled, it was predictable (for the most part) and I knew exactly what was about to go down. For me, that was the best way to bring my babies into this world, planned or unplanned. –Janelle McDonald
After 38 weeks of an uneventful pregnancy, a routine OB appointment ended with an unexpected admission for preeclampsia. My bag was not packed. I was not ready. After 36 hours of the medicine for high blood pressure working against the medicine-inducing labor, my cervix would not dilate. My body was confused. I was not ready. After two hours of abnormally intense contractions despite no dilation, I got an epidural. My baby’s heart rate dropped. She was not ready. After a flurry of activity and quick thinking by the doctor, they wheeled me to the operating room for an emergency c-section. This wasn’t what we had planned. We were not ready. After what seemed like both hours and seconds, my stomach was cut open and my beautiful, red-haired girl was pulled from her protective shell. But she didn’t cry. She was not ready. After what seemed like an eternity, the cries finally came and the NICU team left a seal of approval. As my insides were replaced and my stomach closed, my husband brought my daughter to me. We started into each other’s eyes. Now we were ready. –Brynna Barnhart Blodgett
My dream birth plan is and always has been a c-section. My siblings and I are all products of c-sections which, combined with the way childbirth pain was explained to me when I was a child, are contributing factors. I’d heard from many women in my family all about the perks of a cesarean, chief among those being the perfect roundness of a baby’s head after birth. I remember I started asking my doctor if I could have a c-section long before I was ever pregnant or even in the childbearing stage of my life. She always said, “We will see!” and nodded politely to pacify me. When I finally was pregnant, I jumped at the chance to start my campaign for the surgery-assisted birth my heart so desired. Unsurprisingly, the medical community is rather unwilling to grant this wish to an otherwise healthy 30-something with an unremarkable, healthy pregnancy. Bless my sweet first-born baby boy for growing to nearly ten pounds with a sizable head to make my entrance into motherhood into an experience. My elective induction hit the 24-hour mark with about 3 hours of pushing my hardest and my son was stalled at station zero; otherwise known as my pelvis. My doctor came in to gently try to soft-sell me on the notion of a cesarean. Her words still ring in my head, “You can definitely keep trying to push! But we may need to discuss other options pretty soon.” Her voice trailed off. My face lit up. I couldn’t get the words out fast enough. “Does this mean I can finally have that c-section?!” She seemed relieved and affirmed my choice by letting me know that my son was definitely stuck. En route to surgery, I cracked jokes about the complimentary tummy tuck that I thought should be included in these types of births. I laughed with the nurses, giggled at my husband in the obligatory surgical suit, and felt relaxed and elated. Less than 25 minutes later, after wrestling with my son’s head and my pelvis like a stubborn cork on a bottle of champagne, Harrison was born into this world. The jokes continued into the recovery room. My son refused to latch and a sweet, dedicated nurse had to literally milk my colostrum into a plastic spoon. I’m grateful to a strong epidural to numb me from the physical pain of all the laughing that ensued. I was up and walking in less than 12 hours after surgery. Thanks to modern medicine, I felt little pain in the weeks following. The worst of the pain just seemed to be the dull soreness that tends to come after doing a deeply intense ab workout. Perhaps it was the artful suture work by my doctor, but my ab muscles felt stronger in the following weeks and months than they had in a few years. I raved about the experience and this affirmed that my dream birth was indeed a c-section. Better still, I’d secured my future births as c-sections as well. When April 8, 2021, rolled around, I was 38 weeks pregnant and ready for my second c-section experience. By contrast, my second c-section, being planned, felt much more routine yet no less magical. My late check-in requests were denied, I showed up at 5:30 AM with two Costco sheet cakes in hand for labor and delivery and postpartum nurses. It felt more like an Indy 500 pit stop with each part of the surgical team performing their part of the prep, and surgery itself, with smooth, calm precision. I’m happy to report that no unsuspecting nurse had to milk me this time around. The surgery was just as pleasant and exciting as the first time. It remains to be seen just how the recovery will end this second time around but, so far so good. –Megan Montague