Friday, September 27, 2013

Emotional Recovery After a C-Section

I have wanted to experience natural childbirth for a long time. My mother delivered all eleven of her children naturally so that is what I grew up wanting. Once I got married and started thinking about having children I had to decide for myself if a natural birth was really the birth experience I wanted. So I began to research and still decided that this was the way I wanted to go. Race thought I was pretty crazy at first but after he researched he also decided that this was the experience we wanted to have. On a Sunday a few weeks before Holland was born my dad had all of the kids at home write 100+ life dreams down just for a fun family activity. Right after my number one dream {to be a good mother} I wrote that I wanted to experience natural childbirth. So we prepared. We read Hypnobirthing (by Marie Mongan, M.Ed., M.Hy), we wrote our birth plan together, and we prayed for everything to work out. I was so ready to have my baby. I wasn’t nervous to experience contractions and birth--I was excited! I was excited to come closer to Race through this experience. I was excited for my mother to be able to see a birth because although she has had eleven children she has only been at one birth before. I was so ready for all of it! I never expected that things wouldn’t go the way I desired. I knew that I would do anything necessary to get my baby here safe and sound but I was not emotionally prepared to have a c-section {not that I think women usually are prepared for that}.

I waited almost two full weeks after my due date for my body to kick into gear and things to start naturally. I could have been induced two days after my due date like my midwife had tried to get me to do but that is not how I wanted things to happen. So I waited. And it was hard. But after almost two weeks I was awarded with my water breaking on its own. And I was thrilled!  But then the contractions didn’t start. So I waited a little bit longer. And when the contractions started I was THRILLED {again}! Yes, they hurt but I was just so excited! I breathed through my contractions and was handling them fine. They were not unbearable. {I don’t want this to be a repeat of my birth story which you can read here so I’ll skip most of the details} I was excited for throughout the day but it was so hard to hear that I wasn’t progressing when the nurses checked me and after 24 hours I got an epidural. About 5 hours later I was 10 cm and started to push. Again, I was thrilled to be pushing! So far I had gotten an epidural which I had not wanted but I had not been put on Pitocin and I did not have a c-section so some of my birthing desires were being met! After two hours of pushing my midwife and doctor came in to talk to me. They explained that because of Holland’s position {posterior/sunnyside up} and because of the presence of meconium they thought it would be best to do a c-section. In that moment I felt peace with my decision and I know that was a gift from my Heavenly Father.

Over the next few days, weeks and months the grief of having a c-section hit me. As I heard about other people’s birthing experiences I was jealous and sad. Now I often cry when I read people’s beautiful, natural birth stories. I sometimes feel like a failure even though I know I did all that I could and I am so happy to have my baby here. I am sad that Race and I did not have the experience that we wanted and that Race looks back on our birthing experience as a bit scary. I am sad that my mother was not able to be there for the birth and I’m afraid {jealous already?} that she’ll get to witness someone else’s baby being born before she gets to witness her oldest daughter having a baby. I am scared to get pregnant again because I am not ready to deal with all the stress surrounding trying a V-BAC and then possibly ending up with another c-section. I cried when my parents told me that I was the inspiration for a family friend birthing naturally. I didn’t {still don’t exactly} understand how my “failure” at having a natural birth would be inspiring to someone. There have been so many different emotions that I did not know I would be dealing with.

There were many blessings surrounding Holland’s birth as well and I would like to take note of those here because I think it is important to recognize that although things didn't go the way I was expecting there were still so many good things I was able to experience. 
I was blessed to go into labor on my own and to be able to experience labor so I’m not quite so nervous for next time.  I was blessed with a very loving and supportive family and medical staff--I did not feel like I was pushed into having a c-section, it was my decision. I was blessed to have no problems bonding with and breastfeeding my baby. I was blessed with a pretty quick and easy physical recovery {or so I’ve been told--this is my first baby} after having major surgery. And ultimately I was blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby who I am absolutely in love with.

I have cried a lot about my c-section and that is okay. It is also something I didn’t realize would be so hard. So I started researching and found other people’s stories and realized that I’m not the only one {who knew?!} who had to recover emotionally as well as physically after their c-section. I wanted to add my story to theirs because I hope that it can help someone out there to know that they are normal in their feelings. It is okay to be sad, angry, jealous and scared. And it will get better over time.

Here are a couple of other articles that I found helpful:

And now I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of my adorable daughter! 


  1. She is so adorable. I love the one of her sitting up. What we go through... They totally make it worth it!

    You are not a failure! Quite the opposite really, toy brought a beautiful healthy girl into the world, and sacrificed your own body/sanity for her! You did what was best for the baby and it was selfless!

    I understand a little of how you must have felt. I always knew i would get the epidural but was really hoping not to get a c section, the doc at one point thought i might have to, and i remember feeling willing to do it, because i wanted to do what was best for the baby, but i felt sad at the same time.

    You are amazing and i am sure some of the crying is the baby blues! I cry sometimes still too! But trulu truly you are such a beautiful family and Holland is perfect!

  2. I am so thankful that you posted this! I can relate to a lot of your story. Ever since you announced your pregnancyI have been following in your footsteps and really look up to you, even though we've never met in real life I feel close to to and your family! I hope that's not weird.

    Anyway, I'd also like to say that you did an amazing job bringing Holland into the world... and no matter how it could have happened, I'm sure that your parents, siblings, husband and most importantly Heavenly Father is very proud of you :)

    You are very loved :) !

  3. She really is an adorable little girl. I love how smiley she is.

    I am sorry to hear about how hard recovery has been for you. I know it's not the same... but I am also so scared to get pregnant again. Not because of the birth, but because of the 9 months of pregnancy. That really kicked my butt! I hope we both end of feeling better about it someday soon(ish) :)

  4. Oh girl! You are so not a failure at all! You are so brave and look at how much you did on your own! You're one of the strongest people I know and I'm sorry you've had struggles with your C-Section, but having a V-BAC IS possible!

    My friend has 6 kids (including a set of twins) and she had the first 5 births C-sectioned but she didn't want to for the 6th and she had her naturally ;) It was the best decision she said she'd made.

    I hope you're feeling better about it and know how strong you are to go through 24 hours of labor on your own and to feel enough peace with your decision and that it was the right one this time around, there's always hope for the next time ;) And you inspire me all the time to be a better person/mother/daughter and everything else! You're amazing Emma ;)

  5. Aw, you inspire me. That must have been rough for you, but you really are still an inspiration and someone I look up to. The picture of you with your gorgeous little Holland is adorable! She will be just like her wonderful mommy :)

  6. You're amazing Emma! Thanks for sharing your journey :) I've enjoyed reading your posts the last few days...missed you in blogging!

  7. I love your honesty - I'm pregnant and have decided to have a natural childbirth in a birth center that is not in a hospital. But I do have the fear that I'll have to be transferred to the hospital because something going wrong or my going too late into my pregnancy without going into labor (a common thing for women in my family).
    BTW: Deciding to do what is best for your baby despite your own wants is very brave and in the end it's all about the well being of your dear little one.
    Thank you for posting this, I needed to read it!

  8. Thank you for sharing, Emma! You're an incredible person, and a cute mama:) Holland is such a doll, I love that last picture.

  9. Don't be scared to birth again, every baby is different- and even if you do have the same experience you will know how to handle the outcome. I love you Emma, your such an amazing person! PS- Your tree skirt is to die for!!

  10. hey girl! your baby girl Holland is the cutest! I'm happy to see you're both healthy and happy (: my instagram is mysoulisthesky

  11. This post was facinating to me. I never thought of a c-section like that. You are definitely one tough cookie to go through all you did.

    I think I might be in love with your baby. Like, I'm worried mine won't be as cute. Like, is it even possible? Haha.

    You are so amazing, Emma!

  12. Oh how I love reading birth stories. I know that sounds weird, seeing I don't have any children, but I do a lot of research on birth. My mother had all of us naturally, and and I want that too someday, so I totally know where that comes from, BUT with that said, any way a baby comes into this earth is a miracle. You are NOT a failure. While I am sure we share a lot of reasons why we want a natural child birth, the fact that you had a c-section doesn't take away from your birth at all. Now I haven't gone through child birth, but I think the best perspective is to try your best to have it go the way you want, but if for whatever reason it doesn't work out (because lets face it, a lot of times it doesn't work out the way we want it to) mother's need to be prepared to have their baby in any scenario so they can be mentally prepared for anything and hopefully lessen the chance of walking away with bad experiences. I think your baby is beautiful and adorable and I hope you feel better about how your birthing experience happened :) MUCH LOVE!

  13. You are really an inspiring mother, because you got Holland here safe and sound. You sacrificed so very much for her and I love your bravery in that. :)

  14. Luckily your #1 dream of being a good mother is coming true because you truly are an amazing mother! I also was set on giving birth naturally but after having the epidural I wondered what I was thinking! haha Heavenly Father knows us so well and I'm sure your relationship with him grew through this experience. It's also such a good thing that you documented this!