Real Life Stories: Unexpected C-Section
No matter how much you plan for a natural childbirth, some things are out of your control. Here, three women share their stories about surprise C-sections.
“Even though my birth didn’t go as expected, I was still involved in the decision-making.” Sara D’Amico, Williamson, N.Y.
I was planning on a natural, unmedicated birth. On my daughter’s due date, I went to a scheduled doctor’s appointment. My blood pressure was high, I was getting headaches and my ankles were swollen. The doctor felt that I was on the verge of preeclampsia, so I was admitted to the hospital to be induced. After three long days in the hospital, I was released for a “failed induction.” I did everything I could to prepare for this birth—12 weeks of Bradley classes, prenatal exercises, reading numerous books and articles about interventions and natural childbirth—but it was all failing me. I felt broken and out of control.
My contractions started again the night I returned home. The next day, I saw my OB-GYN and discovered that I was 4 centimeters dilated and my water had broken, so I checked back into the hospital. I was determined to regain some part of what I had hoped my birth would be like, so I labored for eight hours on Pitocin without pain medication. By then it was the following morning, and my OB-GYN said I needed a Cesarean section. I was wheeled into the OR with a mix of relief and disappointment.
Having a C-section is an extremely courageous decision. My advice would be to stay vocal: Ask questions, make jokes and be excited that your baby is about to be born.
Photo above: Kristin Engle, fiancé Adan Martins and Liliana, 14 months.
Sara D’Amico and Mikayla, 19 months
“It’s important to remember that you might not have the birth you want.” Kristin Engle, South Burlington, Vt.
Right from the start, I knew I wanted my birth to be as natural as possible. I talked to my doctors about having a water birth, and I wanted minimal interventions.
My labor started with a day of inconsistent cramping and contractions, but my contractions were regular and getting very painful by that same evening. Early the next morning, we went to the hospital, where I alternated between walking, getting into a tub and sitting and bouncing on a birthing ball. At this point my back labor was intense; it was painful even between contractions. I was desperate to get some relief, so I gave in and asked for an epidural. After the epidural, they gave me Pitocin and broke my water, which had meconium in it. Then, I spiked a fever and had stopped progressing. My doctor came in and told me it was time for a C-section. I cried. I was scared, sad, frustrated and unprepared, but I had no choice but to have surgery.