Have I really ‘given birth’? Caesarean Awareness Month

April 28, 2017

The other day I saw a conversation starter on Facebook. It went something like this: What was the first thing you did after giving birth? My immediate thought surprised me: I don’t know, I haven’t given birth. You see, Little M was born by caesarean.

I honestly feel that way. Little M was a breech baby, and so was delivered via caesarean section. And that’s how I think of it. She was delivered to me. I haven’t written Little M’s birth story yet. I think this might be what’s holding me back. At first I felt like less, somehow. Less of a mother. But then I had a stern word with myself and told myself that I still love Little M just as much as if I’d ‘given birth’ to her. I’m just the same parent as I would have been if she’d come out the natural route.

I still feel like I’ve missed out, somehow. No excitement of waters breaking, no story of how the labour unfolded, or swearing at my husband (I feel it’s quite likely that this would have occurred, not because of my husband’s nature, but rather my sharp tongue!). But worst of all, no memory of my baby rushing out of me and being placed, warm, wet and screaming, onto my chest.

Instead she was held up over the curtain for me to see, blue and writing, like some form of alien being, and handed to a nurse, who took her to be checked over and weighed. At my c-section pre-op, I had asked for her to be placed on my chest immediately, but this request was denied. I still don’t really understand why. Something about the baby needing to be checked over.

This was done just over my right shoulder, where I could only see by straining my neck, so I reluctantly turned back to hear the surgeons who’d carried out my caesarean debating whether or not they could ‘squeeze another one in before lunchtime’. Hardly the magical birth moment that I was hoping for.

I’d dreamed of one of those perfect photographs of mummy, daddy and baby, our perfect Little Family together. I imagined Little M on my chest, sleeping and peaceful, hubby with his arm around me, both of us displayed broad smiles of contentment. Instead, I have a photograph taken by the anaesthetist in an operating theatre, my husband awkwardly holding the swaddled baby while I smile an empty smile of someone who wishes she wasn’t lying helpless on a large metal tray at possibly the most life-changing moment of her entire existence. Oh yes, and I look like I’ve been morphed by one of those hilarious* apps that make you look like a morbidly obese person.  Let me tell you, that anaesthetist won’t be winning photographer of the year anytime soon…

Was this the birth story I’d hoped for? Definitely not. Did I give birth to Little M? No, I still don’t think I did. But I did give her life. And that’s fine by me.

Little M, caesarean awareness, caesarean birth story, caesarean, c-section

*Not hilarious at all.

caesarean, cesarean, c-section,

14 responses to “Have I really ‘given birth’? Caesarean Awareness Month”

  1. Mrs H says:

    Oh lovely, it breaks my heart that you feel like this. And I am angry that you weren’t given the chance to hold Little M as soon as she was born. That is awful. They should have at least explained why this was the case. I am not overly sure what happened after Little Miss H was born. I was quite high on gas and air. Then I started hemorrhaging and I wasn’t able to deliver the placenta. I began getting hideous contractions and was in so much pain that I was being held down by the midwives. I had to be taken into surgery and I was there for over two hours and then in recovery for quite a while. I didn’t really get proper cuddles with Little Miss H until she was about 3/ 4 hours old. And it breaks my heart. I just want you to know that so many of us have different experiences. But Little M was born from you and that is the most precious thing ever. The rest is just physics. Hugs Lucy xxxx

  2. Al says:

    Beautiful photograph. I’m sorry to read that you feel like this. The dream is often very different from the reality isn’t it.

  3. Jaime oliver says:

    oh love this is how I spent my first 2 sections. I felt I hadn’t given birth but for some reason Jacobs birth made me feel I had.

    I think the team I was lucky to have were amazing and listened to all my requests and i held him within seconds of the cord being clamped and cut and he only had a minimal wipe over and was sat on my chest under the drapes for the rest.

    • Jules says:

      I’m so pleased to hear that your third section was more positive than your first two. I think if I have to have another I’ll push for skin to skin sooner.

  4. Love this post. I know exactly what you mean about all of those feelings as I had Zach but csection and felt all of them. I had instant love, instant amazement at my baby but there was no proudness of what my body had done. Thankfully I got my wish of a vbac with Oscar and even though it was one of the most horrendous things I have ever been through, I am so glad I got to experience it, and feel that rush of “I bloody did it” (cause in all honesty I didn’t think I could when it was happening). I still however believe that I birthed both of my babies. Although I’ll always feel guilty that Zach didn’t get the instant skin to skin that Oscar did!!

    • Jules says:

      Mummy guilt is the worst, isn’t it? So often we feel guilty about things we have no control over. I’m pleased to hear that you feel your VBAC was a positive experience, despite it being horrendous! I’ll hope for a VBAC if I’m fortunate enough to have another pregnancy.

  5. Abbie says:

    I know a lot of people who have had C sections who also feel this way but your body is still going through a hell of a lot to bring your baby into the worlds even if its not vaginally. Those photos of your daughter are gorgeous! x

  6. I am so sorry you feel this way. As someone who hasn’t had a cesarean I cannot imagine why you feel the way you do. To me, the birth was just a small part of having a child and everything after birth is so much more important. hugs

  7. Oh sweetie I’m so sorry you feel that way, but you’re so right that you gave her life. Those surgeons need a kick up the rear end too, how bloody insensitive and unprofessional! Stuff like that makes me so mad, where’s the compassion?xx

  8. Amy says:

    I am so sorry you feel like this. But believe me you have given birth. You gave M life and delivered her safely and that should be what matters 🙂 oh and those surgeons are so unprofessional. I get that its everyday life for them but that was your special moment x

  9. Oh goodness, I spend my life feeling guilty about something or other mummy-related but I didn’t ever think that anyone would feel guilty about a C-section birth although I’ve been hearing a lot about it this month. Of course you gave birth lovely, reading through I totally get why you feel this way but the birth is never really what you expect. I wanted a photo of Lily as soon as she was born but everybody told me not yet, to just enjoy her but I so wanted to capture that moment to look back on and I don’t have it. Infact there’s only one photo of us together that day and it’s blurry and awful. I think it’s so easy to dwell on these things and I think it’s great that you’ve spoken about it but you can’t change it and it has no bearing on you as a Mum or anything like that. It was just necessary, it’s what you do now that counts xx

  10. Marian says:

    This article just broke my heart. </3 I've given birth to both of my children in birthing centers and am having my third at home in a few weeks. C-section births are just as "legitimate" as some woman giving birth in a glowing pond at sunset. I hate the word "natural" in reference to childbirth because it automatically implies that there is somehow an "unnatural" way to deliver a baby. You grew that person. You're a mother. You made a decision for yourself and your baby, even though it was difficult. You made a sacrifice for your baby. It's what moms do. My heart breaks for you because it doesn't seem like the decision was entirely yours. You didn't get the experience that you wanted, which you are completely entitled to feel at a loss for. Your baby is absolutely gorgeous. M just came out a different route; kinda like taking the train instead of walking somewhere. For what it's worth from an internet stranger; you gave birth. You brought someone into the world.

    • Jules says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m pregnant again now and waiting to see what happens and whether or not I can have a VBAC. I know it was the right decision to have M by caesarean, though. I wouldn’t have wanted to risk a ‘natural’ birth in those circumstances. Good luck with your third birth!

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