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When we were planning the birth of our son, I gave lip service to a c-section, but I was determined not to have one. That determination was part of the reason my emergency c-section was so frustrating when things didn’t go my way. If I wouldn’t have been so angry that I had to have a c-section and instead been more open-minded, then I could have had a more positive experience. I was not present during the surgery and let my mind spiral into a profoundly negative place. What if my baby doesn’t make it, what if I don’t make it, etc. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but I truly felt traumatized by the experience, and for the first couple of months I cried every time I told someone my birth story.
My second c-section birth was the opposite experience. I was disappointed that the baby was breech, but I also knew that since I’d already had a c-section, there was a 50% chance that I’d have another one anyway. For my second birth, I was open to a c-section and accepted that it could happen, and if it did, I was going to stay positive. The 5 tips below made my second birth, as beautiful and blissful as any other birth.
Summary (details below list):
- Mind over matter
Let your provider know if you want more or less information about what’s happening behind the blue screen. (I wanted to know it all because I was fully present in the experience. My provider did a fantastic job of walking me through each step. She even dropped the screen when she pulled our daughter out so that I got to watch; it was incredible!) Keep in mind this decision is never final and you can always change it
2. Ask questions
Speak up and ask your anesthesiologist about any questions or concerns you have, particularly if you feel nauseous. (During my second c-section the anesthesiologist kept asking if I felt nauseous and I replied with “no”, but in my mind I was thinking, “is it weird that I’m STARVING! Excited to meet my baby yes… but also starving” LOL)
3. Mind over matter
Have a plan of what you want to listen to or what you want your support person to say to you. Surgery is scary, and it’s best not to let your mind wander to negative places, or anxiously wait while wondering what’s going on. (I let my mind go to negative places with my first c-section and if you can plan ahead to prevent this it will help tremendously!)
It may be helpful to have some calming breathing exercises that you have practiced so that they have become second nature. Try breathing in, to the count of four, holding for four seconds, breathing out to the count of four, and then holding for the count of four. Repeat this box breathing exercise. Another one of my favorites is a simple mantra to think “peace” as you inhale and “tension” as you exhale and repeat.
Anxiety and excitement feel the same in the body, so keep telling yourself that the butterflies in your tummy and rapid heart rate are because you’re excited to meet your baby! Remember that all this is MORE than worth it for the beautiful, precious miracle you will soon be holding in your arms!
I hope that you get the birth that you want, but the only way to ensure that happens is not to have any expectations 😉 All is well that ends well. A healthy baby is all that matters, try not to focus on the process if it’s not going the way that you would like it to. Even if you’re planning to have a natural birth, to let your provider and partners know what you need from them in the case of a c-section is important. Having some basic breathing tools to remain calm and stay positive will serve you well, especially if you end up in an emergency situation. (Check out these myths about c-sections to calm some worries you may have.) Happy birthing!
Have you had a c-section? Are there any tips that you would add for during the surgery?
**Disclaimer, I’m not a doctor, this is all information that worked well for me in my experience.