My son wailed in the heated bassinet a few steps away, and the nurses were running around trying to find a heated blanket so they could lay him on my chest. I felt like an incubator that was no longer useful. I did not feel like a mother. This was not how motherhood should have begun. Not with a C-Section.
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A rush of “feel-good” hormones should have replaced my exhaustion. Endorphins were supposed to make me forget any pain as I caught my newly birthed child. I was planning on instantly bringing him up to my chest to begin breastfeeding. The moment was supposed to be filled with indescribable joy as I met eyes with my husband, in exhausted triumph. I was supposed to feel satisfaction because I had performed my part in the circle of life and single-handedly brought my baby into the world.
But there I lay. Crushed.
I tried to muster some happiness while I finally held my son and tried to go on with being a mother, but I was drained. The thought of going home was terrifying. How would I take care of an infant while simultaneously recovering from a massive surgery? I did not know the first thing about C-Section recovery. I felt like I was in a fog.
How would I survive without the hospital bed that sat me up? Who would wake me up in the middle of the night to give me my medication? I had doubted the effectiveness of pain meds until a nurse forgot to give me a dose, and I became incapable of getting out of bed. Home had no nursery I could send my baby to while my husband helped me shower. Simple things like bending down or washing my knees were tasks I no longer had the privilege of performing. Did I even want to get out of bed? I would only be a stooped over, shuffling, pain filled mess.
After my first was born, months passed before I made it a week without crying into my husband’s shoulder. I analyzed every single thing that happened and contemplated every little thing I could have done differently. (I should not have done yoga, but should have let my body rest. Maybe I should have tried different yoga flows. Should I have caved and chosen the epidural? Maybe more analgesics would have helped. What if that triage nurse hadn’t been so absolutely rude? I would have been in a better mindset. Maybe I should have drunken castor oil at 40 weeks so he would not have grown so big… the list went on and on.)
You are not alone
Recovering from an unplanned C-Section (or any C-Section) takes a lot of time. Crunchy mamas sometimes have blinders that make them ignore the possibility of complications during birth. We only allow ourselves to see the beautiful, perfect end-goal of an orgasmic vaginal delivery before holding Baby to the breast with the umbilical cord still attached. I know I did, and the feeling of failure that comes afterwards is a big reason why I started my blog. I want crunchy mothers who had similar birth experiences to know they are not alone. And they are absolutely not failures.
Moving Past the Heartbreak
While preparing for my second, I realized that I did not want to feel sadness surrounding the birth of my children. I realized that I did not need to have the comparably blissful vaginal birth everyone else was seemingly having. A perfect birth was possible, even if it was a surgical one. I could look back on my son’s birth without sadness. It took a lot of work, healing, and time, but it is very possible to have a positive view of what was once a dark day.
That’s all for now. I will post all about my journey finding joy beyond the pain during my C-Section recovery, next week. It had a lot to do with this breathtaking photo taken by the talented Belle Verdiglione from Western Australia: (Yes, I have emailed her, and received permission to use her image! *joyful squeal*)
See, Cesareans CAN be beautiful.
Do you have any questions? What do you want to know about C-Sections and C-Section recovery? Leave me a comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter!