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  • Marina Stepanova

The 'C' word

Both of my babies were delivered via caesarean section. I had a 'legitimate' reason for my son to be brought into the world that way, because he was breech all the way through my pregnancy and I was given the choice to have a C section. I did some research (Google) and figured out that the chances of me pushing him out legs first were very slim. I was, however, offered to go into labour naturally. ‘That way you would know that at least you have tried’, my midwife said at one of our appointments. She didn't know that I had no fetish about giving birth naturally. I would obviously have gone for it had everything been okay, but I never had any fixed ideas of how I would bring my child into the world. Perhaps the nature's way is best for the baby and the mother normally, but not when the baby`s foot is the first thing that has to come out from down there. It was a no brainer for me to be honest. I just wanted to leave the hospital in one piece with my son in my arms, alive and healthy and my pelvis intact. I did not think it was an unreasonable request. It went well and I had my baby on the date planned.

All the way through my second pregnancy, my daughter was perfectly positioned to be delivered naturally. However, I found out quite early on from some paperwork (not from my midwife) that because I had a caesarean, I could opt out for another one, because it was a higher risk delivery (because of the scar). I did a lot of research and read a few books on it. There is only 15 months difference between my children so I was worried that my scar was still fresh and would not be able to survive labour.

When I said to my midwife that I was seriously considering another operation, I could see her really trying to keep a neutral look on her face. She then went on to tell me how great it would be to deliver naturally, dismissing all of my worries about the scar. From that day I decided to not discuss it with her and just make my own mind up ('up yours' pregnancy hormones were doing their job).

When it comes to life-changing decisions like this, there will be a lot of people giving you advice on the course of action. However, I can bet any money that you will be facing the consequences alone should something go wrong. I had to be okay with my own decision. The worst case scenario for me was having to go through labour, not being able to deliver and then having to be cut open again. I also read a few horror stories about scars coming apart and that was just heart-breaking. I went through with the procedure. After the delivery, my surgeon said to me that I had made the right decision to have a caesarean, because the walls of my womb were too thin and would not be able to withstand contractions. Whatever that means I took it as good news. I now have a letter signed by her saying that if I had another baby she recommends the C section.

Why am I telling you this? I know so many mums who feel like failures for not being able to deliver naturally and it breaks my heart. You have suffered enough through the post-op recovery. It was not an easy way out.

I also know mums who avoid talking about their experience of having a baby, because they had a C section and don't feel a sense of accomplishment or have a fear of being judged.

I raised a few eyebrows when I told people that I voluntarily made a choice to have another caesarean section. Don't worry, I am not stupid. This time round I made sure I took all of the pain relief that was on offer and asked for extras, because after having my son, I refused to take the tablets out of fear of it going into my milk and affecting the baby. I was in absolute agony; physically and mentally. First time mums would understand I'm sure.

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