In honour of Cesarean Awareness Month, I wanted to share a story of Gina, client who chose to have a cesarean last December due to discovering her baby was breech at almost 41 weeks of pregnancy. While woman do have the option of choosing to birth breech babies vaginally (read another client’s vaginal breech birth story here), Gina decided a cesarean birth felt like the best choice for her after considering her options. Her story discusses why she’s glad she planned to have a home water birth even though she ended up birthing by cesarean, reflects on her positive cesarean experience and mixed emotions about her birth, and talks about looking forward to having a home VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) in the future.
The Homebirth-Turned-Planned-Cesarean of Salome
Although I was faced with a surprise complete breech baby at 40 weeks + 5 days and ended up choosing to have a non-emergency c-section, I am so glad that we planned for a natural home/water birth. All of my pre-pregnancy research and time spent speaking with my doula, Jessica was incredibly empowering. I can truly say that I did not make my decision from a place of fear, but from a place of informed, if tearful, calm.
Throughout my pregnancy, I thought that having a c-section would be just terrible. I no longer hold that to be true. I faced disappointment with humour and cracked jokes throughout the procedure. I maintained my sense of self and tried to enjoy and soak in the experience as much as possible. It was rather surreal to wait hours for surgery and then quite suddenly meet my baby. However, the process was not traumatic or scary or cold. It was filled with bright eyes, warm smiles, reassurance, and the feeling that this wasn’t just another surgery for the staff.
I am extremely thankful that I did not experience any pain or complications during or following the surgery. From all that I’ve been told, I had an unusually easy time of it. Being offered discharge from the hospital the very next day was wonderful as we were all eager to come home for Christmas dinner
Despite my relatively positive experience, I do grieve the loss of all that I had hoped for. I often feel as though I am a fraud for not having experienced even one moment of labour. I also feel guilty for robbing my daughter of her own experience of being born vaginally and all of the benefits of natural labour and birth. I feel awkward using the words “born” and “birth” when speaking about her arrival. These feelings come and go and I struggle to remind myself that I made the best decision for us both at the time. There will always be what-ifs and self-doubt and, again, grief. I will be forever thankful to my midwife for assuring me that I wasn’t, in fact, “giving up” by choosing a c-section.
We have been blessed with a beautiful, healthy, vibrant, funny, strong, bright, and loud daughter. Her name is Salome Mary Allen. She weighed 5lbs 9oz at birth, looking just like her father. She loves to eat, has grown a great deal, and always makes her presence known. Her smiles light up the room and she can certainly hold a conversation 😉 She brings us tremendous joy, she challenges us, and she loves us just as we love her.
I do hope that I am fortunate enough to become pregnant again in the future and to have my home/water birth (take two!) with Jessica by my side. Thank you for everything. Your work is beyond important. It is vital.
To Gina (and all other women who have birthed by cesarean): Cesarean birth IS birth! I am so glad you shared your feelings about this as part of your story; it’s so open and honest, and definitely something many women can relate to. When you talk about your birth, I assure you that when you say “I gave birth” or “she was born” you are using the absolute correct words, and are likely accidentally giving other women you may cross paths with who birthed by cesarean permission and confidence to do the same. Thank you for sharing your story.
Recommended Reading and Resources: