One-in-three American women will have a c-section. Which makes this topic worth mentioning at Lamaze classes. The picture you see above is my scar two months post-op. It is not flattering by American Photoshop standards. In fact, I did not even crop this photo. There is a stigma that women who choose to have c-sections are taking the “short-cut” or that it can be avoided. If this is your birth route create your own path and do not limit yourself to what you read on the internet. Here are a top five list of truths that many women who have a c-section live with.
1) Too Posh Too Push
This phrase refers to women who have chosen to have elective c-sections. It is far more common in South America where having health insurance is a mark of wealth. I am here to report, there is nothing “posh” about a c-section; not unless wearing a catheter came into style this season. Most women in Western society do not have elective c-sections; they choose this mode of delivery to avoid health complications.
My Truth: Part of me felt relief when a c-section was offered thirty-six weeks into my pregnancy. It felt like I was making a quick escape through the emergency exit door of the birth canal. I was lured into a false sense of security. Yes, I felt no pain while giving birth. Twelve hours after, is when the labor pains kicked in and lasted forty-eight hours through pain killers. Plus, a full week in the hospital for another ace high kicker. Giving birth sucks!
2) Your a great mom.
After surgery, I worried about being a competent mother. In my fragile state of mind, recovering from major surgery made me feel less equip to take care of a newborn. Women who just had their babies were leaving the delivery room in wheel-chairs, walking faster and being discharged before I could carry my baby while standing up. Do I sound jealous? You bet! When I made that walk to the bathroom to put on some red lipstick every morning; victory was mine.
3) Delivery Staff Are Similar to Flight Attendance
If they are not freaking out then the plane is not going down. Looking back on it, the c-section itself was the easiest part of the whole experience. I was completely numb from the waist down in a matter of minutes. I wore a catheter and it was a relief to know if I pissed myself in fear their would be something to catch it. Yes, I am aware this is my second time mentioning the catheter; it was one of the highlights of the experience.
4) Removing the Bandages Can Be a Traumatic Experience
It felt like something out of a Steven King novel, the first time I looked at my stomach after surgery. My body morphed into a science fictional character who must have had the same doctor as Frankenstein. Reading horror stories on the internet validated my gross sense of misjudgment. My go-to line as a massage therapist is “The body needs time to heal” now sounded like crap after two weeks post-op. It is a shame that I did not take pictures of the healing process to prove time heals all wounds. Instead, I rushed to the doctors office demanding an examination of my scar that reminded me of a roadmap.
5) Post Treatment Matters
“It will be a solid three months at least before you are back into a yoga class.” the doctor said. My eyes bulged out of my head upon hearing this. It is very important to listen to your team of professional healers. If you are looking for written advice pick-up a book. I listed a great one below and it is the book I reference to for this article. AVOID BLOGGERS! You will want advice from someone who is speaking from their scope of practice. This also includes me.
The only advice on c-section scars, I will give within my scoop of practice as a License Massage Therapist is a technique called “friction massage”. Ask about this technique from one of your health care providers and only when your body is ready. It is a way to break up the scar tissue and can be self-adminstered.
My doctor and partner lead me to believe this would be “less stressful” than a vaginal birth. Truth, there is no easy way to have a baby. C-section patients have a higher rate postpartum depression. There are various reason for this. Maybe because it often happens during problems in labor or because women do not typically know they are going to have one until late in pregnancy. Most women do not prepare themselves for a c-section. Many women feel a sense of failure, wondering if they could have handled a vaginal birth or may feel like less of a mother. Some feel saved. A c-section feels more like the scenic route than the short-cut; but everyone ends up leaving the hospital at some point.
Connolly, Maureen, and Dana Sullivan. The Essential C-section Guide: Pain Control, Healing at Home, Getting Your Body Back– and Everything Else You Need to Know about a Cesarean Birth. New York: Broadway, 2004. Print.