A C-Section Birth is Still a Birth

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{Image by Bellies and Babies}

Why C-Section Mamas are Bravest of the Brave.

As true advocates for mamas during labor and birth, we are passionate about making birth better. This means we want to improve birth options. We strive through our work to reduce unnecessary birth interventions, enhance the birth experience, and improve access to evidence-based care. Today, far too many women in the United States give birth via C-Section. We are constantly researching techniques, practices, and protocols to help answer the question, how can we decrease the C-Section rate?

But just because a vaginal birth is best for the majority of women doesn’t mean that C-Section births aren’t necessary. Regardless of how much we improve birth practices, some women will require surgery to give birth. A C-Section birth is still a birth — it is a powerful, transformative experience that impacts a family’s life forever.

When I started as a doula and new nurse, I always felt disappointed when my client or patient had a C-Section. I felt as though I had failed her – what if I had tried something different? What if she just needed more time? Was there some unresolved emotional issue we should have explored? What if, what if, what if?

The more time passes, the more I accept – THE BABY KNOWS HOW TO BE BORN. As my friend and teacher Melissa says, “We must TRUST birth — even when birth is telling us that a vaginal birth isn’t the best outcome.” Babies are wise, and sometimes they tell us that they need to be born through the window instead of the door.

We live in a dynamic and powerful time in history. As childbearing women we are finding our voices, we are fighting for our options, and we are reclaiming our births. Just because the C-Section rate is too high doesn’t mean we can’t be grateful that C-Sections exist. We can be grateful for safe C-Sections performed by wonderful surgeons without compromising the integrity of the mother-baby connection. We can be grateful that C-Sections are safer and more family-centered than ever before; that C-Section births can still be BIRTHS.

I promise you — a day will come in the very near future when a very tired mother will help make the decision that it’s time for her baby to be born. Though she labored through the sunrise and set of many days, and her baby is still very far away from vaginal birth. Though she tried every position known to man including some positions she would never do not pregnant. Though she had a wonderful doula and a patient doctor or midwife and a supportive nurse. Though she lunged and stair-climbed and curb-walked and nipple-stimmed.Though she labored for hours without an epidural. Though she took evening primrose oil and ate dates and received acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments. Though she exercised and ate well and did her squats and her affirmations. Though she has pictured giving birth so many times in her life, imagined pushing out a baby and holding him or her in her arms. Even if she’s had this image in her mind for many years, maybe since before she met her husband, or maybe ever since she was a little girl.

Even so — the hour may come when it’s time for her to throw all her dreams out the window, and to make a new plan. Her monitors will be disconnected and new monitors put on. They will shave her lower belly and her husband will put on a cap and mask. They will give her anesthesia that makes her numb to her breasts, and they will wheel her into the OR.

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{Image by Emily Robinson Photography}

And I promise you — it may not have been her dream, and it wasn’t what she wanted, and it might have been her greatest fear. Despite all those truths, time will stop. Voices will quiet. The air will feel heavy, like the few minutes before a heavy rain. In this brief moment, the most unlikely of places — the operating room — will become holy. Holy as a labor room, quiet as a bedroom, sacred as a church. A baby will emerge from a woman’s body — be BORN — and it will be a miracle.

Her baby will be placed on her chest. She will feel the sweetest softness of his skin as his cheek is next to hers. She will cry because she recognizes him. Because he’s hers. And all of a sudden she will have a new dream.

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