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Upset about my c-sections

(117 Posts)
Crossleggedmoose Mon 14-Feb-11 14:42:22

Hi everyone,

For the past couple of months I've been feeling more and more upset about my elective c-sections and I really don't know why.

I had an elective C section with DD1 who is now 3. At the time, I was told she was going to be well over 4kg when she was born. This really made me scared about having a natural delivery. We also struggled to conceive for 2 years and had IVF so I was desperate to have a healthy baby and felt that it was safer for me to have a c-section than a complicated labour. For some reason, I wasn't terrified of surgery, but was really scared something could go wrong during labour.

With my 2nd pregnancy, I really wanted to try for a VBAC and my OB supported it. My pregnancy was great, baby doing well. Size average and head engaged early on. Howerver, by 41 weeks with no sign of labour starting, my OB said I could go for another c-section or be induced. He was really reluctant to induce though as the risk of the previous scar rupturing was high and he said that would result in an emergency c-section under general. I was really scared to put my baby and me in danger and the idea of being unconscious terrified me, so went for another c-section.

I know at the time of my decisions, I was thinking about the health of my babies and no one forced me to have a c-section, but for some reason I am now struggling to come to terms with it and feel sad and disappointed to have never experienced labour (not even an contraction!)

I can tell myself that it is important to have my healthy babies and how they were delivered is not so important, but I just can't shake off this feeling of regret.

I guess I just wanted to hear from anyone who has felt this and to get some support from other mums.

Thank you all.

ShowOfHands Mon 14-Feb-11 14:48:39

I've had an emcs so no choice at all over what happened. And while I accept that I couldn't control it, that it was necessary for dd to be born alive, there will always be a part of me that wishes I knew what it felt like to give birth normally. I think it's alright to have regrets and sadness about events in our life that weren't as we'd hoped as long as they don't overshadow the enjoyment you have of everything else.

It is okay to feel sad. You have my permission. As long as it doesn't take away from the enjoyment you have in your children. If it is affecting you, please talk to somebody about it.

It's normal and common to feel this way about a cs.

TuttiFrutti Mon 14-Feb-11 17:10:00

Crossleggedmoose, how long ago was your last birth? Was it quite recent?

It is very normal to have regrets about a birth which didn't go the way you'd planned. I was gutted about my first birth and it took me a long time to get over it, but I have got over it (nearly 6 years later!).

Not many women give birth completely naturally, ie vaginal birth with no pain relief or interventions. Don't feel that you are alone here.

diyqueen Mon 14-Feb-11 17:50:31

I don't think you're at all alone and I can completely understand how you feel. I'm expecting my first child - due in a few weeks - and look likely to have an elective c-section as my baby's breech. Common sense tells me that the outcome, a healthy child, is the most important thing but I have to admit that I feel very sad at the prospect of missing out on all of labour too, and expect I will feel similar to you afterwards. People telling me how lucky I am to avoid the pain of contractions just don't understand and make me feel worse.

twirlymum Mon 14-Feb-11 18:05:06

I have had two EMCS, after going through labour and being fully dilated both times.
I feel incredibly sad that I could not deliver vaginally, and still feel like a failure.
Sill really, when I have two healthy children.

maresedotes Mon 14-Feb-11 18:13:42

I was upset after having an EMCS 9 years ago because I felt a failure for not having the baby vaginally. A 'friend' made comments about Victoria Beckham not having "given birth" because she had had a CS and I felt (over) sensitive to it.

I had to have an elective CS 3 years ago for DC2 and never worried about it afterwards and I don't know why. Think what I am saying is it took me almost 6 years to get over having a CS. I talked (bored) people with it - I felt like I had to talk about it a lot to get it out of my system.

I don't know whether this helps or not but I wanted you to know you are not alone!

ThePosieParker Mon 14-Feb-11 18:24:19

I've had two emcs and two elective...I can honestly say I have no regrets. I have four children. In your case OP the risk of rupture would have lead to emcs which is the riskiest delivery for mother and baby and so you made the right decision and who wouldn't decided to have a elective following IVF? Don't beat yourself up, perhaps talking it through may help.

flamingtoaster Mon 14-Feb-11 18:34:51

I was in labour with DS when we had to go for an EMCS as DS was in distress (it turned out the cord was twice round neck). With DD two years later I had an elective CS. I have never felt that I didn't give birth to them "properly", or regret the way they were born. I had been told I was unlikely to get pregnant, or carry a baby to term so my whole focus was on producing a healthy baby each time. You made the best decision you could to ensure you produced two healthy children - and you succeeded! I hope the feeling you have will pass in time - as ThePosieParker says it might help to talk it through with somebody.

theborrower Mon 14-Feb-11 19:35:55

I had an EMCS in the summer because baby was breech but they didn't realise this until I went to hospital in labour with contractions 3 minutes apart. When they examined me and told me that I needed a CS I just said "typical" as there is quite a history of breech babies in our family (including me). I questioned the need for a CS, however, as my mother had given birth to me vaginally but I was told that No, a CS was much safer and I wasn't given a choice really. Things were fine - no complications with the op and I didn't feel a thing - but I did feel disappointed.

Coupled with a horrendous time trying to establish BFing, I started to feel like a complete failure of a mother - I had 'failed' to give birth properly and had 'failed' to feed her, I felt like I just been handed a baby that I hadn't been made to work for. I felt like I had missed out on something special, a rite of passage, and even that I wasn't a real mum at all because I hadn't given birth. I developed mild pnd before realising that I needed to talk to someone about it all and I'm now using the services of the local pnd service, which is definitely helping.

I also did a bit of googling and found out a bit more about potential complications with breech babies and then realised that the CS was the best for both of us (for example, I wasn't very far dilated, despite the frequent contractions, and apparently this may have been because her position wasn't putting the pressure on my cervix to dilate it properly). I realised that it wasn't 'my fault' (or hers) - it was just one of those things, and thankfully she was delivered safely.

I think it's incredibly normal and even quite common to feel a real mix of emotions after a CS, including disappointment. It doesn't help, I guess, that we call vaginal births 'natural births', as it implies that anything else is 'unnatural' and therefore wrong. I also hate those stupid 'too posh to push' stories in the press - what a load of crap.

If you are finding it hard to deal with your birth stories I think it may be worth talking to someone about it. Perhaps your doctor can put you in touch with someone appropriate, or is there a CS support line?

wishing you all the best x

hazeyjane Mon 14-Feb-11 19:48:21

I had an elective c-section 7 months ago, because I had a lot of damage from my 2 previous births.

Ds was born with respiratory distress syndrome and was in scbu for days. He has had several health problems since (severe reflux, bronchiolitis) and we have just been referred to a paed because he seems to have several developmental delays. His consultant thinks that maybe my dates were wrong and he was just not ready to be born when he was.

I took ages to recover physically from the birth and found the whole thing very traumatic. Recently I realised I wasn't coping and my gp prescribed antidepressants. I have asked about the possibility of counselling as I just can't shake off the anxiety that I have had since ds was born.

CatHerder Mon 14-Feb-11 20:05:45

I've had 3 cs, all for perfectly good medical reasons, and yes, I know where you're coming from. If I had to make the choice again I'd have a cs again, too, for the same reasons, so it's not like I regret the choice. I regret the circumstances that led to the choice. I wish my body could have done it differently.

I don't have any advice, other that to say that you aren't barmy to feel this way!

My youngest is 3 now, and we're not having any more. I find that childbirth, and small babies, and all that, has fallen off my radar now, and I no longer mind that I had caesareans.

callow Mon 14-Feb-11 20:20:03

I felt like you did with my 2 emergency sections, especially the first. With me it was like a traumatic event, coming up to my DD's birthdays all I could think about was reliving the events. It was however not a traumatic event. It was calm no pain. I worked in the theatre the section took place in so it was a familiar area. I just couldn't and still can't think why I reacted the way I did. I tried for a VBAC for my next but was again unsuccessful. The feelings of inadequecy stayed with me for a long time. Most people didn't understand how I felt, but some did and that helped.

All through my life I have had big hips and was always told "great childbearing hips" but it wasn't to be so, my babies just never engaged.

It is now 13 years later and I don't think about it all. When children are very young the pregnancy and childbirth time are still a big part of our lives. As they grow older the percentage of time spent in pregancy and childbirth decreases and your memories will be filled with other things. It will become a very small part of their lives. Time is a great healer.

NorthernGobshite Mon 14-Feb-11 20:23:41

Surely the point is that your children are healthy?

Women do not win prizes for vaginal births and c-sections are responsible for vastly reducing maternal and baby deaths during childbirth.

twirlymum Mon 14-Feb-11 20:31:37

Of course, Northern but I REALLY wanted to experience a natural birth.
If we did have another child (unlikely) I would still be unable to deliver vaginally. I know that years ago, I would have died, along with the baby, but I just feel cheated.

No-one has made me feel this way, as one midwife said, I am very good at growing babies, just not so good at getting them out smile, as I said before, it's silly feeling like this.

NorthernGobshite Mon 14-Feb-11 20:33:09

Why did you want a vaginal birth? What do you worry you have missed out on? I am genuinely interested.

twirlymum Mon 14-Feb-11 20:43:13

I don't know really. I think I grew up seeing a romanticised version of childbirth, with the baby put straight onto the mother, the whole sense of achievement.
Being able to get up soon after, instead of being numb from the chest down, with a catheter and IV stuck in me, then getting an awful infection in my scar, and awful problems breastfeeding. Not being able to pick up my baby, having to press a buzzer when he cried so a midwife could pick him up and give him to me (DH was fantastic, but couldn't be there 24/7).
Just not the experience I always thought I would have.
Again, all of that is selfish on my part. Insignificant when I have healthy children.

NorthernGobshite Mon 14-Feb-11 20:46:46

Fair enough twirly, but I think you do need to focus on the healthy baby bit, the fact you are lucky enough to have children and that your view of vaginal birth is romanticised. Yes, many women have lovely vaginal births and the type of birth you want, but many many women have hideous experiences.

I was dissapointed after my c-section until I put into perspective that I was lucky to have dd and without EMCS she would have died.

lucy101 Mon 14-Feb-11 20:51:06

I think that you are grieving, in a way, the birth you didn't have... and all sorts of us do this in all sorts of different ways.

It doesn't help to beat yourself up about it or other people saying all that matters was a healthy baby.

You obviously made the best choices you could at the time and it is good that you recognise this.

I think the previous posters who say that the feelings will fade with time are right.. but if you get stuck in these thoughts then you might want to have some counselling to get to the bottom of why you feel like this (and now), what your expectations of yourself really were, what beliefs are at the bottom of everything. It could be that you are suffering from depression and this is one way it is manifesting.

theborrower Mon 14-Feb-11 20:53:55

Twirly - no, you are not selfish!! I completely understand where you are coming from. CSs are traumatic, even if they're not the screaming-down-the-corridor type. They're a shock. Things are taken out of your control. You need to recover from a massive op while at the same time trying to care for a newborn which can be incredibly difficult, both physically and emotionally. You are not being selfish or silly. Comments like 'your baby is healthy, shouldn't that be all that matters' don't help because the emotional and physical wellbeing of the mother matter too.

bluesatinsash Mon 14-Feb-11 20:56:13

Crosslegged

I had two EMCS although second wasn't emergency but 'urgent'

DS1 - 36 hours, only dilated to 6cm gas and air and epidural

DS2 25 hours dilated to 8cm refused intervention but requested a section after 25 hours as I just felt even if I did get to the magical 10cm I would be a failed instrumental and would be cut, failed foreceps and EMCS.

I often chastise myself if I had just waited would I have indeed got to 10cm BUT I never felt any bearing down, neither of my boys fully engaged, just the way it was.

I also have romanticised thoughts on the perfect vaginal birth but had stayed on a gynae ward (recovering from mc) and have seen women our age in agony having to have reconstructive surgery due to bad births.

Have 2mcs between boys put it all into perspective for me to. Felt utterly blessed just to have ahealthy 'take home' baby at the end of the day.

Its only natural to go down the 'what if' road but try and put it into perspective. Your DDs are here, healthy, you carried them safetly for 9 months. Some woman would give their eye teeth and pretty much everything they own to have similar. Just reading the conception post mc threads will comfirm this.

Enjoy your girls and well done for bringing them into the world.

Figgyrolls Mon 14-Feb-11 20:59:07

I think you have to stop listening to other people, those who haven't had to have a cs just really don't understand that it can be very traumatic for the person having it. My mil compared constantly the birth of both her gc and tried to tell me that it was so much harder giving birth vaginally and what would I know as I had done the easy route hmm, Yeah so bloody easy, so I didn't have any tears in my foo foo, well sil hasn't had any problems............ I was lucky ds was born by vbac and yes you know what it was far far easier, the recovery time and everything else but I found it much harder to really bond with him initially whereas my emcs I had immediate bonding and love (perhaps because of more danger involved who knows?). Don't let other people get you down, don't let you get yourself down either. too posh to push - pah, that only works if you go in and have a tummy tuck at the same time grin be proud of yourself you grew fantastic babies and it really really really doesn't matter how they got here smile

NorthernGobshite Mon 14-Feb-11 21:00:37

theborrower, the health of ones baby is important for mother emotional well being surely?

I do understand OP's 'grief' but I think she should put it into perspective. Please do not pooh pooh my comments.

PussinJimmyChoos Mon 14-Feb-11 21:06:32

I can totally identify with the feelings expressed by the OP

I had an emcs with DS as he was back to back and I wasn't dilating properly. In retrospect, I don't think the hospital were very good as I was in so much pain so early on and rather than explain what had happened, they just medicated me up and I think the cascade of intervention along with the back to back is what played a major part in the emcs

DC2 is due in March and I really really want a VBAC...last midwife appt at 32 weeks, the baby was breech so am praying it turns so I at least am in with a chance

Logically, I know the end result of a healthy baby and mum is the goal and obviously the health must come first but I do feel like I've missed out on a big secret and that I am not a really a 'real' woman as haven't given birth vaginally...people who have had vaginally births find this a bit weird but I think people who have had c sections will see where I am coming from

Added to that, there is the recovery period - my scar was infected, couldn't drive, trouble picking DS up and breastfeeding...really don't want to go through it again

PaisleyLeaf Mon 14-Feb-11 21:07:45

I had to have an elective c-section and I don't feel I missed out in any way.
I wish I could think of something to help you feel better about yours, but I can't. I just haven't felt sad about it myself.
Do you think you're having these feelings because of things that other mothers say, or how birth is portrayed in media etc. Or is it a deep feeling in yourself?

NorthernGobshite Mon 14-Feb-11 21:30:13

I find it so sad that fertile mothers with healthy babys are left feeling they have failed because they have had csections. Who has done this to us? I think its a combination of the media "too posh to push" nonsense but also this competitive parenting thing that seems to have gained prominence.

You carried your child in your womb for 9 months and yet are made to feel somehow less of a woman because you didn't push a baby out of your vagina? What a strange world we live in.

I am fairly sure my friend who has has 7 mc and numerous failed IVF attempts would not care how her baby was delivered.

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