Lifestyle/ Pregnancy & Birth

How to Make the Best of Cesarean Birth


The cesarean birth rate in our country is 32.8%. We as a country are ranked 47th in the world in maternal death rates and 34th in infant death rates. The cesarean birth rate has risen nearly 60% from the most recent low in 1996.

Of course I appreciate modern medicine when truly needed and I love that cesarean births do save some babies and mothers. But a true cesarean birth rate should be around 2-10%.  There are so many cons that come along with cesarean births, it is, after all, major abdominal surgery (and the most profitable surgery in hospitals around the country).

So until the day we can bring our cesarean birth rates down back to a healthy number, there are things you can do to make your cesarean birth more peaceful and enjoyable. As a Certified Doula, I have seen my share of vaginal and cesarean births and just a few things differently can make a major impact on your birth experience.

*Ask your doctor and nurses if it would be OK to play classical music (or some other calming music you love) during surgery.

*If you are spiritual, pray before surgery starts. Ask that guardian angels and archangels guide the hospital staff into doing a good job and keeping you all safe. Even if you aren’t, take a deep breath, focus on the present and let the moment sink in. You are about to give birth. Your baby will be born soon!

*Ask to not have your arms strapped down.

*Ask doctor and nurses to explain to you what drugs will be used. For example, they may give you morphine for pain relief as the epidural is wearing off, which can make you very, very loopy. I will never forget the day my husband had a colonoscopy and he was given morphine. It was mighty hilarious, but when you just had a baby, you don’t want loopy and drugged (one because that gets into your breast milk and two so you can actually remember things!) Ask your doctors and nurses to refrain from small talk and instead be silent. This way, they can focus on the job at hand, and also so they can help bring an energy of sacredness to the surgery room.

*Ask your doctors to let you know when they make each cut – they could tell you when they’ve made first cut, as they cut through each layer of fat, muscle and then uterus. Have them talk you through the whole process, I feel a head! I have the shoulders! Here comes baby! You can even bear down and grunt as baby is being lifted out, giving your body a chance to participate.

*Ask for the blue cover to be lowered so that you can see more of your baby being born. And so partner can see more too-if it is up, partner has to switch back and forth, often leaving your side to see the baby be born, or stand up to see. If partner can stay seated, holding your hand, that will make you feel more stable, secure and relaxed.

*Ask your doctors and nurses not to announce the sex of the baby to the room. Even if you know it is a girl. YOU should be the one to announce/exclaim to the room that “It’s a GIRL!!!”

*Once baby is born, ask that baby is given straight to partner, and that he brings baby immediately to you, have partner hold baby firmly and securely and have him pull down the top of your gown (which I know will feel uncomfortable for a lot of women to be exposed like that, but it will be so comforting to be baby to have even thirty seconds to feel your warm skim and smell you that it is worth it) and lay baby on your chest while keeping a supportive hand on baby’s back. If that’s not possible, have him press baby directly up to your cheek so that baby can immediately be skin to skin with some part of your body and he can smell you and that you can smell him. Ask for this moment to be as long as possible. They can wash baby off and do routine baby hospital stuff later.

*Ask for delayed cord clamping. They can deliver placenta and still not cut cord.

*Again, ask that doctors and nurses remain silent as they work. Take this time to have a peaceful moment with your new family, bring sacredness to the moment that your family is born, and again this forces the staff to be more focused on the task at hand and will be less likely to nick your colon with surgical tools or do a sloppy job stitching you back up.

*Ask for a doula or family friend to join you in the OR, when partner follows baby out of the OR. It’s like a changing of the guards, partner goes out, other support person comes in. Some hospitals will allow two support people in the OR, but it is very rare. It is much more comforting to have a support person with you when they are stitching you up.

*Use the term cesarean birth instead of c-section when tell your birth story. You still gave birth. No matter how baby came out of your body, you gave birth. You are now a mother. Validate your experience by giving it the correct terminology.

*And a note to all other women, please do not use the words “c-section”, or “ended up with c-section” or “at least your baby is healthy.” Most moms are hoping to avoid a cesarean birth and can be a very painful and traumatic experience and those words can be like a knife in an open wound.

Of course these are just ideas, from personal experience as Doula, of things that make a cesarean birth a little bit more sacred and peaceful, but just like with any kind of birth, there is no right or wrong way for everyone-so do what makes you feel best.

This is a great example of a cesarean birth plan.  But remember birth plans are a slippery slope and don’t actually guarantee or protect you. They are great tools for getting partners and practitioners on the same page as much as possible during pregnancy but then when birth day comes you gotta be open to the birth going down a different way.

Also, International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) is a great resource for information on cesareans.

And if you do have a cesarean birth, know that physically postpartum healing will take you longer and you need to be even more cognizant of allowing your self time to heal and making your healing process a priority. Your uterus is going to need some major healing too, check out all my posts about uterus trauma and displacement. The mayan abdominal massage therapy techinque I teach is amazing for physical healing as well. It breaks down scar tissues and helps to heal and restore the uterus after a surgical birth.

Here are some more Mama and Baby Love postpartum healing archives that would be helpful:

Homeopathy for Post Partum

Postpartum is 3 years not 6 weeks. 

The most important post partum skill: nursing laying down.

And know that mentally, emotionally and spiritually is can be a long road to healing too. Having a cesarean birth can be devastating, so grieve it just like you would a death. If you are heartbroken, know that is perfectly normal. Talking to someone is one of the best things you can do to help you come out of the trauma, depression and heartbreak. Find a therapist in your area that specializes in pregnancy and post partum, or you can join the next group of Healing For Mothers and I can support you as you work through your experience. If that is of interest to you, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter to find out when enrollement begins.

photo credit: Kevin Cate, June 2013.

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  • Prairie
    August 15, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    I had a caesarean delivery. A planned caesarean delivery. As I prepared for it I found it almost impossible to find articles or books which were about preparation, not recovery. I found it almost impossible to find articles or books about the positives, not the trauma. I wish the surgery could be discussed without the assumption of mourning or trauma or grief. These words did not help me as I prepared for the birth of my son.

    I had a fantastic birth experience. I am so thankful for my delivery experience. The caesarean was medically necessary as I had previous uterine surgery. That previous surgery was necessary for me to get & stay pregnant with my son. So it was medically necessary too. My son would not be here without the uterine surgery. My son would not be here without the caesarean surgery. Period.

    It doesn’t have to be traumatic or presumed to be traumatic. Educating myself & being prepared meant that I had no trauma & needed no healing (other than the physical recovery).

    • Stephanie
      August 15, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      So interesting you bring this up! I almost included a sentence after I mention not using the word c-section, about not immediatly assuming the woman is traumatized by having a cesarean birth, and that some women are so excited that their baby is here and that they are a mother, that it is hurtful to them when people say so sorry that happened, etc. But I pulled it for some reason. I guess because that could be a whole other post topic and I was trying to stay on topic of just getting information about how to make cesearans more sacred and mindful experience. Thanks for sharing!

      • Sabrina
        August 16, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        Hi just wanted to say thank you for this post.
        I actually needed a cesarean due to a previous uterian surgery and this fact has always weighed heavily on my heart. During my cesarean birth (love this terminology vs. c-section), there was a complication and my bladder was nicked due to the previous surgery. I am expecting my second miracle this November and have found a new Dr. who practices what is been termed the “Gentle Cesarean”. Baby and mother are united immediately, breastfeeding is encouraged in the OR, cord clamping is delayed and music of your choice is played. My Dr. said he would even place mirrors on the ceiling if we desired. I am so looking forward to how this day will flow and your words simply echoed this excited and sacredness of the moment.
        Thank you again,

        • Stephanie
          August 17, 2013 at 1:32 AM

          What a blessing to have access to a Dr. like that!!! And congrats on your new baby! I just found an amazing family practice down here where we just moved and I am so impressed by what a conscious and natural doctor she is. I hope more and more MD’s run their practices like that. And I love the mirror on the ceiling idea! Genius!!

      • Prairie
        August 16, 2013 at 9:11 PM

        Thanks for your reply.I completly understand your desire to stay on topic. I appreciate that the non-traumatic was on your mind as you wrote. I do often find myself not divulging that my son was born by cesarean because I want to avoid the questions & concerns about ‘why’. I really found it hard to find anything that didn’t focus on the trauma and am often seeking the opportunity to share my positive experience. That said, most of the suggestions in your post were actually integrated into my standard (Canadian) health care, so I really do think your advice would improve the experience for your readers.

        Interesting side-note, I read that the terms c-section or caesarean section are redundant. The word caesarean means ‘to cut’. So does the word section. When combined you’re saying ‘cut cut’. I think it’s funny. Since reading that I have noticed that I avoid the combination of the words.

        • Stephanie
          August 17, 2013 at 1:29 AM

          Interesting! I never thought about it being redundant when saying c-section.

  • Abby
    August 17, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    I have had 3 beautiful babies via cesarean birth, and I really don’t regret it at all. Most of my other mom friends are very much into natural birthing so they automatically assume that I must be mad/angry/traumatized because of the way my children were born. Telling friends/strangers that I really don’t mind one bit that I never had a “normal delivery” (what does THAT mean anyway?) never seems to pacify them so I started snarkishly telling people that I just wanted to keep my vagina and the shape of my kids’ heads beautiful. That stops all the questions right in their tracks 🙂

  • Jennifer
    August 19, 2013 at 4:00 AM

    This post has been ratting around in my brain since it was published and I have to say I appreciate the sentiment and conversation starter. I had my first (and only) Baby Girl May 2012 via caesarean. I am proud that I labored 28 hours before we decided to go the surgery route. Baby Girl was stuck and I was exhausted. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. But the funny thing is, everyone feels so badly for me that I had to have a caesarean, that I began to feel guilt over not feeling guilt (ha!) and wondering what was wrong with me. I guess I was always of the mindset that no matter how Baby Girl arrived, it’s the exact baby I was meant to have in the exact manner she was to arrive into my world. It seems there is such a stigma around having a caesarean that somehow it is perceived as a negative birth experience and I, personally, don’t feel that way at all. It seems that only the “beautiful experience of childbirth” is reserved for the all natural delivery and I will tell anyone and everyone that simply isn’t true. Thank you for the post of ideas and suggestions, I am sure those will help calm some fears of someone planning a caesarean but as someone who was terrified of actually giving birth from the moment that pee hit the stick – and a caesarean never crossed my mind (!) …my caesarean was pretty awesome and I rocked it.

    • Stephanie
      August 20, 2013 at 12:49 AM


    • kristen
      September 2, 2013 at 4:05 AM


  • Megan
    August 21, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    Wanted to add my own two cents as well. I was totally unprepared for a Caesarean birth, but it has since been a topic that I’m very passionate about and want to help any woman who goes through it – planned or unplanned. Its a very serious surgery that requires lots of recovery – all amidst having a new little being to take care of, so in some ways, its just the way you would treat any major surgery, with the added aspect of a new baby in the picture!

    From my own experience – for my first birth, I had a detailed birth plan that contemplated an all natural birth, with a doula assisting us. Things progressed in such a manner that we slowly went down the path of needing more medical intervention and ultimately the section. I had a third party doctor review my scenario afterwards (who is very pro-natural birth with doula/mid-wife-assistance) and he said that the doctors (while main-line and probably geared towards a quick decision at a section) proceeded the way they should have given the circumstances. So for my second birth, I prepped for a second Caesarean birth, but hoped for a VBAC. I got the VBAC I wanted, but was happy the second time around to have done a little prep-work, realizing that my chances of a second Caesarean were higher. The ICAN group helped me tremendously! That is where I found the resources relative to prepping for a Caesarean birth. Additionally, I was in touch with a local doula (not the one we used in my first birth, who in my opinion was not helpful at all) who provided some information on homeopathic remedies to use during and after the section.

    I will admit to feelings of disappointment of not achieving the natural birth the first time around. I did truly feel that I wasn’t “tough enough” to have gotten through a natural delivery. And given that is the way most of my friends have gone, I felt I didn’t fit in the club. Now having the VBAC, I feel very blessed that I was able to have both methods of birth.

    Tangent – I didn’t initially buy into all of the hype around less success with breastfeeding after a Caesarean birth, but there was a noticeable difference between my first (Caesarean) and second (VBAC) child. I never seemed to be able to pump enough (while at work part-time) to keep up with my first one’s needs and we had to give up progressively from about 6 to 9 months. For the second, I’m still going strong with nursing at 16 months! Perhaps its just a second-time mom chalk-it-up to experience, but I’m not sure…

    [I think this is the first time I’ve commented on your blog – I generally read from my phone, but appreciate all of your topics; thanks!]

    • Stephanie
      August 22, 2013 at 12:21 AM

      Thanks for sharing Megan!!

    • molly
      August 27, 2013 at 11:52 PM

      After a long labor followed by an un-planned C-section or surgical birth (whateveryouwanttocallit), I successfully nursed my son without supplementing, without hormone therapy or needing to pump for 3 1/2 years. My second son, born via planned surgical birth, was also successfully nursed until he self weaned at 15 months. Now I am about to have my third and final child, another son, again a planned surgical birth. I don’t anticipate any problems with nursing him. I am taking probiotics now, something I never did before – however – both my boys were healthy – not colicy and have no eczema. BTW – I was also born via c-section and so was my mom. I have no digestion issues – but my mother does and eczema and asthma. Maybe I am lucky, maybe I just liked to play in the dirt as a kid (still do).

      • Stephanie
        August 28, 2013 at 4:01 PM

        Awesome! Sounds like you got great DNA and a good digestion lineage despite the cesarean births. Palying with the dirt is great! I love to garden and still play in the dirt too. 🙂

  • Ducky
    August 22, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    I think your heart is in the right place but the tone of this article turns me off – it’s reiterating the hierarchy of vaginal birth over Cesarean and disrespectful of the experience of women who have emergency c-sections. Yes, I personally agree it’s preferable to have a vaginal birth when possible, but ultimately It’s a trade-off in values – medically, we are trading off a reduction in risk to babies for an increase in risk for mothers – philosophically, trading off the power and sacredness of a “natural” birth for the convenience of a c-section.

    Some times it is absolutely medically necessary to have a c-section, and women should not be made to feel that is something they *should* grieve over or even question. (You see some mothers online grieving over a c-section they worry was unnecessary when in reality it’s clear their baby could have been disabled or even passed away without intervention.) I think part of the reason women find Cesarean birth to be so devastating is that people go into birth with the attitude that it should be something they can anticipate and control, and this article just feeds into that.

    The majority of these things seem unrealistic to me, especially during an emergency c-section. Birth plans make moms feel more in control and I don’t begrudge them that, but why encourage women to care who gets to announce the gender or listen to classical music ? Yes, that initial skin-to-skin contact is wonderful but there’s negligible benefit medically and all this talk about it just disappoints women who don’t get it if their baby is born in a medical emergency. Birth is just the first day of your baby’s life and women have enough to feel guilty over without being made to feel they did not perfect their child’s entry into the world.

    Don’t get me wrong; birth is an enormous milestone and I think we need to do all we can to provide comfortable, supportive, respectful environments for birthing, safe for mom and baby in all ways – emotionally as well as physically. That said, the birth community needs to stop giving women so many false expectations that birth is safe and it’s the fault of OBs that so many women have interventions. Yes, in an ideal world we could reduce the c-section rate in this country without increasing neonatal death rate at all, but in a realistic world that is probably not going to happen – if you tolerate more risk and give fewer c-sections, you will increase the neonatal death rate. I hope we can reduce the margin of unnecessary c-sections, but in the meanwhile we need a shift in attitudes about c-sections.

    This post should be very simple: “How to Make the Best of a Cesarean Birth” = Recognize that your birth experience was just as meaningful as anyone else’s. Give thanks for the new life you have brought into the world!

    • Stephanie
      August 27, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      My heart is always in the right place. This article does not reiterate the hierachy of vaginal birth, it simply gives ideas of how to make cesarean birth more sacred and peaceful. And yes, come cesareans are need, in the beginning of the article I quote what the actual percentage of cesareans are true emergencies and truly needed, the rest are not and are simple by products of our hospital/litigious culture.
      A child’s birthday is not just another day, the way in which a child enter’s the world, affects many things and will stay with their unconscious-and play out in different ways the rest of their life. All births are meaningful, this article does not suggest otherwise. I have a feeling this article triggered many emotions in you and you are reacting and reading into things, you may wish to self reflect and notice what was triggered and why, that is always the first step to healing.

      • Toni
        September 22, 2013 at 2:56 AM

        I agree a bit with what Ducky said. The article did seem have some suggestions that sounded as though you should do this or something will go wrong. But for me being a first time mom and being required to have a cesarean, it was nice to see the aspects that I can ask for. There are different things in the suggestions, that I know would probably make me uncomfortable during the cesarean if I asked for them, but other aspects, like being able to have the baby place on me and touching the skin is very important to me. It’s the part that I feel as though I will miss out on because of the cesarean: That first moment when the baby is lied on you right after birth. Also, many women are electing to have a cesarean even when it is not required (suggested), which is what is increasing the rate as well. I take this article as something that gives me more insight and will take from it what is beneficial for me, as I’m sure many others will do as well.

        • Stephanie
          September 23, 2013 at 12:45 AM

          Perfect. That was exactly the intentions, just ideas that moms may have not thought about that could make the experience a little bit more enjoyable. Take what feels good to you, leave the rest. 🙂

    • A
      July 3, 2014 at 11:41 PM

      Your reply is SO spot on. Thank you for being the voice of reason

  • Rachel
    August 22, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Thanks for directing me to your uterus posts. I had a very tramatic c-section experience/postpartum with my son who is 2.5 now. I’ll spare the details because I don’t want to scare anyone. But we are all happy and healthy. And I would love to have another (and I would go through it all again if we we blessed with another). One of the major things my RE is looking into is my reproductive organs (hsg and possibly a LAP) with my previous delivery in mind. I will read up and look into any advice!

  • meredith
    August 23, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    I have now had 4 cesarean births. All healthy and all unfortunately prescheduled due to my first being breach and then the doctor sewing me up single layer instead of double layer. My hospital in FL would not allow me to do a VBAC with only a single layer closure (which I was not informed I had from the first doctor!) Anyways, the reason I am posting here is because even after moving around and having 4 different doctors and being in 3 different practices I was not informed about the amazing benefits of massaging your scar tissue until I recently came across the info online. I had a little scar tissue with my 3rd and was starting to get some more with my 4th. Not terribly bad but just kind of like I had a sharpie marker in my abdomen along the scar line. I have been massaging my scar for only about 5 days and already the little puffy line is going down. I feel so much better and I am so passionate about proper healing and so frustrated that even after 4 different doctors no one has informed me of the importance of this.
    I was devastated when my last doctor told me I should not have any more babies because my uterine wall was thinning. While I am still working through this with sadness I do realize that I want to be properly healed and healthy.
    Oh and I do recommend having your arms strapped in. I had terribly shaking with my last 2 cesarean births and it would have been dangerous to not have them strapped in. The shaking didn’t start until the procedure was underway and I think I would have been more freaked out if I started shaking and they had to contain me midway through. Just my experience though.
    Thank you for this post.


    • Stephanie
      August 25, 2013 at 11:37 PM

      Thanks for sharing Meredith. I have been an LMT for 12 years and I have been meaning to do a post about scar tissue massage for Cesarean scars forever now! Thank you for reminder!

      • Rachel
        August 27, 2013 at 9:54 PM

        I would definitely be interested in scar tissue massage especially because my scar is so thick. Nobody told me about that either. Is it only beneficial for new scars or old scars as well?

        • Stephanie
          August 28, 2013 at 4:01 PM

          Both old and new. Stay tuned!

  • Betsy
    August 24, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    I have heard babies born via cesarean could/should be cultured with their mama’s vaginal secretions. I think there was a European study. Have you heard of this, Stephanie? Thoughts?

  • Amanda
    August 24, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    TOTALLY second the advice to learn to nurse lying down!

    I also tell even very natural-minded mothers to READ the cesarean chapters in the birth books. I was convinced I was going to have a natural birth, so I just skipped the c-section chapters! Then I had an abruption (and a life-saving cesarean), but was totally unprepared for the cesarean.

  • Jenn
    August 28, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    My first son came via a vaginal delivery; my second, a cesarean due to complications with the first. I labored for roughly 24 hours with the first and when he finally came, he caused a fourth-degree tear. When it came time for #2 and the doctor mentioned a cesarean as an option, I went with that option immediately and there was really never a debate in my head. Neither of our lives were in danger and I would not call it an “emergency”, but the odds of me having another severe tear (or worse) were high and the possibility of losing control of my bowel movements (a common side effect with tears of this nature) outweighed the risks of a cesarean. I can only speak for me personally, but the recovery from #1 was far worse than #2, with far more pain meds and inactivity required. But both births, although very different, were wonderful in their own unique ways and I wouldn’t change a thing. The cesarean was not “devastating” nor was I “heartbroken”. We need to accept that people make different decisions all the time, and just because those decisions are different than the ones you might make, does not necessarily make them wrong.

    • Stephanie
      August 28, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      I am really baffled by the response this post has stirred, including yours. I don’t understand why an article written to help women who are devasted, and who are trying to avoid a cesarean implies that your decision is wrong. Just because you were not devasted doesn’t mean other women were not. I have worked with women for almost 13 years now as a Doula and as healer, and there a lot of women out there that are highly traumatized by their birth experience, cesarean or not. This article was for them. I do not understand how writing an article targeted to those women is offensive to your choice. It is not about you or your choice at all.

      • Jenn
        September 3, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        I am so sorry about my comment. I did not intend to undermine you or to offend you. All I wanted to do was to share with those reading the post that a cesarean does not have to be devastating. But I totally get that it is for some women – it was for my sister-in-law. I just thought my experience of going through both birth processes might be helpful. But obviously my intentions and the way I communicated them were not the same and, again, I am sorry.

  • Carly
    August 30, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Hi there! I just want to say thank you for this post. Since I have read this, I have been thinking about my take on it all. I had to have an emergency cesarean for my 1st child due to a variety of issues going on. That was the fastest 15 minutes of my life. With that in thought, my son was taken at 3 days old to the local women’s and children’s hospital for complilcations from that. Needless to say, the facade of the “way child birth should be” was since gone from my life. I didn’t get to hold him right away, I wasn’t able to spend my first time with him until about 7 hours later and the biggest challenge for me was that I wasn’t able to leave the hospital with him and take him home. He left before I was discharged and that was the hardest part of my journey. I am utterly grateful for my baby boy (who will be 7 btw in October), but it has taken me an extremely long time and some therapy to understand that all these things happened for the better of him. It was very hard to go on with the fact that it shouldn’t have been that way/what more could I have done to prevent, etc, etc, etc. But I can finally say, that I am at peace with how things came about. That was the hardest battle that I have ever endured. I can say that with my daughter, I had a scheduled ceasarean and it all was much better. As some of the others have posted, I was well prepared, and much more relaxed with this whole birth. And at this point, regardless of the birthing strategy that has commenced, I am a mother of 2 beautiful little angels that are my whole world, and that was just 1 day of absolute craziness!

    • Stephanie
      August 30, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      Thanks so much for sharing Carly. I am so glad to hear that you have processed and worked through everything and feel peace now. Lots of love to you!

  • Lynn
    September 5, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Stephanie, I absolutely love your site and I agree with so many of your articles! This one especially, which is why I am commenting! When I was pregnant with my first daughter I was set on a natural vaginal delivery without any drugs and practiced breathing and relaxation every day! My husband and doctor were both very supportive and I made sure everyone knew my “plan”. I have a very close family and had planned on both my parents and my one sister to be in the delivery room with us. This was our first child and the first grandchild and niece on my side, so there was a lot of excitement! Overall I had a pretty healthy pregnancy with only a few minor bumps until I got to 36 weeks and the doctor told me that the baby was not head down and that we were going to need to try to “flip” her naturally before having a medical assist. She gave me 3 weeks to try yoga poses and such to “flip” her on my own then said they would try a procedure to “flip” her before ultimately needing to a cesarean. I was terrified! I was not ready to give up on my plan I would talk to my baby everyday as I would stretch and pose to try and get her to move. Finally at 39 weeks an ultrasound showed that she was head down! I was so relieved and excited! I was now almost to my due date and was barely dilated. I was also very dead set against being induced! I wanted our daughter to come on her own when she was ready. After being 10 days late and looking at the risks we sadly decided to induce. I went into the hospital on July 28th and they started the process. I was in labor for 18 hours and dilated to 9 when my contractions were right on top of each other without anytime in between to push. My doctor came in and explained that we needed to slow the contractions down so that I could push in between and deliver our baby girl. This was when she suggested the epidural. I felt like I had failed and that I wasn’t strong enough, but after talking to my amazing Husband and Mother I realized that it was ok and it was the best new plan! After I was given the epidural and rested for an hour we began to push. I pushed for over 6 hours and nothing happened, apparently my baby’s head was stuck at my pelvic bone and there wasn’t enough room for her to come out. I was devastated. My doctor was amazing and knew that I wanted a vaginal birth so badly, she told me that if I wanted to try for another 45 minutes I could but she truly felt we were ending up in the OR. At this point my epidural was wearing off and I was sobbing. I truly felt defeated. They came in and prepped us for surgery, my family was not aloud to come in and all my so called plans went out the window. At 9:30pm on July 29th our daughter Lyla was born at 8lbs 10 oz and all of sudden my plans didn’t mean a thing! She was beautiful and perfect and laying on my chest! I was as happy as I could have ever been! Of course my recovery was long and hard and there were several bumps but in the end I had Lyla! Lyla is now 2 and we have been trying to get pregnant for about a year. We just found out I am pregnant and due in May!!! We are so excited but I am already trying to figure out what my delivery will be like! My doctor and I have talked several times about my options with a second pregnancy and she thinks that if the baby doesn’t go late and we monitor the size I may be able to have a vaginal birth, but that might involve inducing early. I am so torn about what to do! Should I induce early to give birth naturally or should I let the baby grow to term when he or she is ready and have a cesarean? Any input would be greatly appreciated!

    • Stephanie
      September 6, 2013 at 6:02 PM

      Thanks so much for sharing! That is a tough call and really not a quick answer. I do Skype consultations if you want to talk this out with me in an depth way. Lots of love to you!

  • Cherie
    September 9, 2013 at 1:06 AM

    I have had two csections, the first was an emergency after 24 hours of labor, and the second was planned, I am now due in November with my third and it will be planned as well. Both my children are healthy, my first breast fed til 25 months and my second til 18 months. I shook horribly with my first comin out of my epidural but not during. I have been fortunate to have my General practitioner assist and have gotten to pick my anesthesiologist each time. My experiences have always been awesome. I may have a dont care what others think of me attitude but I found nothing wrong or insulting with your article. Some things I wouldn’t have thought about to ask and it’s nice to hear some suggestions. I think some self healing and reflection is needed for those who jumped the gun into being bothered by it.

  • Sally
    September 11, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    Thank you for this post. I believe that only women who have had cesarean births really understand what it feels like and it is hard to explain. My son was a planned cesarean because he was breach and my cousin actually cried for me when I told her I was having a c section. I did not understand where she was coming from until I actually experienced my son’s birth. Although it was uncomplicated and clinical, it was just that, clinical. There was no adrenaline, no big “climax” so to speak at the end. They pulled my baby out, cleaned him up for what seemed like forever, let me give him a quick kiss, and then he was whisked away with my husband while I lie there on the table alone and crying for 20 minutes while I got stitched up. That 20 minutes did a lot to me emotionally and it was difficult to bond with my son right away. Now we are pregnant with our second and my husband wants to do a cesarean again (he is afraid of the complications of a VBAC, although minimal, because I resulted in complications from our first). I greatly appreciate the tips that you give above and will definitely be incorporating them into our second planned cesarean birth.

    • Stephanie
      September 11, 2013 at 12:46 AM

      Thanks so much for sharing Sally and helping others to understand better.

  • Michele
    October 20, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    I cannot speak for everyone’s situation, but I had two c-sections one in 1998 and one in 2001. I had a choice with the second one and without hesitation I chose c-section. I have honestly had dental work that was more traumatic and painful. The surgeries were fast. Both of my girls were huge and healthy. I think c-sections get a bad rap. The objective is to deliver your baby as safely as possible. It shouldn’t matter how it comes into this world. Women need to lower their expectations about the whole birthing thing and not be so focused on the euphoric high from delivery and holding the baby immediately and concentrate on having a healthy child. As soon as that little booger comes out it’s no longer about you! The added bonus…2 extra weeks paid off work with the baby!

    • Stephanie
      October 21, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Thanks for sharing your story. However, I respectfully disagree that women should lower their expectations of birth. That is not what is needed at all. What is needed is more kind and understanding medical professionals in hospitals, birth centers and home births, working with women to help them achieve the birth they want. And more professionals educated and adept in helping women process and heal when the birth does not go as planned. All women, have the right to birth in a way that does not disrespect, violate or cause them any emotional pain at all.