So, I had a C-Section. My labour and birth story turned out much differently than I expected, as I hear it often does. Initially, I wrote up a birth plan, but scrapped it later when I realized that I was just creating a list of expectations that would probably stray from my actual reality. I went into labour hoping for the best but kept an open mind about what could happen. The doctors and nurses were great and respected my wishes to have a natural birth in a hospital setting. In fact, they tried everything they could to deliver my baby the way I had wanted. This brings me to one of the many positive experiences I had during my labour and birth. Or course there were many negative aspects as well, but I'd like to focus on the good stuff first.
-My health care team respected my wishes for a natural birth and tried through every means possible to allow this to happen. Even when things became complicated, the doctors still attempted to deliver Miko as naturally as possible and I was very impressed with their dedication to my wishes.
-I was able to decline an epidural for almost 10 hours of labour (until it was decided that I would most likely have a C-section). I had such wonderful support from my husband and somehow found a way to cope with the pain. I am, and always will be proud of myself for this physical feat of endurance. I screamed and made noises I did not know I was capable of making, and for the first time in my life I was loud with no apologies.
-My actual surgery went well and both Miko and I came out of the operating room healthy and quite happy. My obstetrician was amazing, he was so gentle and funny and was extremely calm. He also quickly identified what the problem was during my labour and was quick to react and kept me informed.
-Having my husband go through this ordeal with me was incredibly intimate and made our relationship even stronger. Luke was so impressed with me and how I handled everything that he kept telling me that he would never look at me the same way again :) He says my demeanor has changed slightly as a result of what we went through and he loves this. (apparently I am more outgoing, happier, self-confident, un-apologetic and assertive)
-My husband had a very special opportunity to bond with Miko immediately after he was born. I had a slight complication with the anesthetic and was unable to be united with my family for 3 long hours after Miko was born - I will go into this in more detail below. As a result, Luke had a full 3 hours to hold, engage, admire and bond with our sweet new baby. I know this is a rare opportunity for a father and we were both so happy that he got to experience this.
-Somehow my lack of vaginal delivery and long delay to engage in skin-to-skin with Miko did not hinder my ability to breast-feed in any way. I know this is very lucky and I am so very grateful for this!
-A few people were unable to identify the fact that Miko was in the wrong position and unnecessarily endangered Miko and myself because of it. I'm just very glad everything worked out in the end and I harbour no ill-feelings - everyone is human and therefore capable of making mistakes.
-For whatever reason, I had an abnormal reaction to the anesthetic and it took forever for the effects to wear off. I was taken to post-op recovery immediately after the surgery while Luke and Miko were taken up to the maternity ward to wait for me. Patients can't be released until certain criteria are met. Most people are released in about an hour and not-so-lucky me had to wait 3 hours! I think this was the absolute hardest part of my birth experience, these felt like the longest hours of my life. And to make matters worse, at first, no one communicated to Luke what was going on and why I was taking so long. He said this was the worst part for him as well.... He had no idea if something went wrong and was not allowed to come and see me. As I lay in bed waiting for the anesthetic to wear off, all I could think about was that I had missed my chance to bond with and establish breast-feeding with my new baby. I was also a little worried about the anesthetic and tried not to think that I was paralyzed or anything. This was the first time I cried, I was so frustrated and felt so completely alone, I just wanted to see my amazing husband and our beautiful new baby. (I can't help but tear up while writing this part...). Of course, there was a little spark of positivity within this situation. We had a wonderful student who was observing the whole birth and she came down to investigate what was going on. My wonderful nurse who told her what was going on and invited Luke to come down and see me :) Seeing Luke was like coming up for air. He told me the baby was doing awesome and that he was so glad to know that I was actually okay. He also said that they were waiting for me to feed him because they knew I wanted to breastfeed. I felt much better after this and was able to wait the final hour with a brighter outlook.
-I like to be productive and have a hard-time asking for help.... This is not a good characteristic for enduring c-section recovery. I had a very hard time coming to grips with the fact that I couldn't do anything other than lie and in bed and breastfeed for the first couple of days. I wanted to change diapers and learn how to dress and swaddle the baby right away, but I was physically incapable of doing so. Lucky for me, my amazing husband jumped in and took care of everything I couldn't, and he did so with a smile. I was so excited and and pumped full of adrenaline - I just wanted to 'do' everything and kept being told that I needed to rest and take it easy. Now that I am 3 weeks into recovery, there is not a lot I can't do, so this hasn't been bothering me as much any more.
As of right now, I generally have a positive attitude about my birth story/ C-section and I am very thankful for this. The pain hasn't been too hard to deal with, and I still can't see my scar unless I am looking in a mirror so I'm doing quite alright. Perhaps this will change or perhaps it won't, but I wanted to take the opportunity to express my thoughts while I am feeling relatively good about everything. I'm sure I will be glad to look back on this if I ever do feel down about my situation.