Monet and I were overwhelmed by the hundreds of emails and comments we received with women's stories and images of their births and scars. Though we can not share every story and every image, today we launch our first story in this new series, The Strong Cesarean Series - Stories and Scars. Each week we will feature another story of powerful women who birthed their babies with beauty and strength - for this series, we will focus on moms who experienced a cesarean as part of their story.
Suzanne is a 33 year old nightshift nurse who lives in San Jose, CA. She is mother to Athena and wife to Jameson. Today she shares her story of her cesarean birth in Goshen, IN.
I have been thinking about my daughter's birth the last few days - about the delivery and the whole experience up to and after. I think I should probably reflect on it a bit more throughout the next year or so. What is unfortunate is that there is absolutely no time to do that once the baby is in the picture, which is immediately! I kind of feel like I haven't been able to come up for air since that day.
For me, it was all sort of a shame. As soon as the "due" date came, it seemed like people really put the pressure on. Everyone continued asking - "where's the baby?!"
I am already a worrier, so these persistent questions things worse - planted seeds of doubt and fear deep within me. I think my stress of my daughter being later than two weeks (the cut off date) probably prolonged the pregnancy. I was really stressed the weeks before and after the due date. I say "it's a shame" because I think that is supposed to be a special, somewhat magical time, and I feel a bit robbed of that. The delivery is a complete haze to me. I began my labor at a birth center. That part was beautiful - calm, peaceful, powerful. However, once I transferred to the hospital, even though everyone working there was really kind, it was kind of a mess! My midwife was on her third straight 24 hour shift.
I expected my midwife to help me with positions or maneuvers or SOMETHING to help my labor progress. But nothing really happened except for waiting. The waiting led to a pitocin drip which was absolutely terrible!
As I was not progressing, by the time the idea of a c section was brought up, I was so exhausted, I did not have the energy to really think about it. And the baby's heart rate was fluctuating. And she came out with an apgar of three, which I'm sure was due to the stress of hours of medicated contractions.
I remember watching from the table, as the doctor and nurses were resuscitating her, and I just couldn't believe this was where we ended up. I couldn't do anything but wait, and smile confidently, because my husband was also there, waiting. I guess it was not anything like I expected it to be.
I knew it was going to be painful and challenging, but as it ended, I found myself just feeling so, so sad.
We had the pictures by a photographer a day or two after the birth. We haven't shared these with many people, because they are not the typical, happy pictures I was envisioning with a natural birth. We both look worn out, I look swollen from surgery and from 24 hours of IV fluids. But I wanted them taken anyway, so that one day, when I had come to peace with the whole thing, I could enjoy them.
We are still processing, but reading the C-Section article is helping immensely. Thank you.
Photo credits: Alex Pletcher.