It took me some time to come to terms with it. In my mind, my body had failed me, and it made me feel like less of a mom.
Instead of the more natural way, my baby was cut out of me in a cold and sterile-smelling room. I shook uncontrollably as I asked the anesthesiologist if that was a normal response.
I lay there helplessly and totally exposed, not even sure exactly what point of the process we were in from moment to moment.
Instead of an active participant, I felt like a vulnerable victim to whatever was about to happen. Things were completely out of my control.
I had to trust the doctors to know exactly what to do to keep my baby and me alive.
My husband, seated above my head, nervously held my hand as we listened intently, waiting for the baby‘s first cry.
I didn’t get to see either of my girls for several minutes after they were born. The drape blinded my view and my completely dead lower body was useless in helping me sit up to see.
“Is she OK!?” I finally blurted out, when they still hadn’t brought her to me. Rude comments slipped into my mind as I got more and more frustrated that I wasn’t holding my baby yet, skin to skin.
They brought her to us, all wrapped up. In my awkward position, I couldn’t even hold her. My husband held her close to my face so I could see her as good as possible.
I didn’t even feel like her mom. What mom can’t even physically hold her own baby?
Shortly later they took her to the nursery. I desperately wanted to follow, but the doctors needed to complete my surgery. j
Minutes felt like hours as I anticipated when I would get to see her again. I need to get in there to feed her! I thought to myself.
When we were reunited in the recovery room, I was finally able to take in her features.
Holding and nursing her felt uncomfortable over the top of my new incision. Trying to adjust myself in bed was difficult as the spinal block wore off.
Every 10 minutes or so, the nurse kneaded my scarred uterus to encourage the bleeding to stop and the muscle to shrink. I hated that blessedly sweet nurse. That’s all I can say about that.
Oh, and the vomiting with a new abdominal incision, that doesn’t feel good either.
That first time I had to get up and walk just a few short hours after surgery, I didn’t know if I was going to be strong enough to take the first step.
Back at home, not only was I taking care of a new baby (and the second time around, a toddler AND new baby), but I was doing it while recovering from major surgery with only Tylenol to dull the pain.
House chores don’t just magically stop when your body has been cut in two. No matter how much the doctor tells you to let your husband do it, I don’t think there is a mom out there who actually takes that advice 100%. We have all probably been busted washing dishes or running the vacuum across the floor while trying our darndest to not sneeze—certain we might bust open.
That 5-pound weight limit is a joke when you have a 7-pound baby in a car seat on your arm.
As hopeful as I was for a VBAC the second time, things didn’t go that way, and there I was on the table again.
But it was a lot easier to accept the second time. And I imagine the third time will practically feel like a breeze. Kind of.
We Cesarean moms, we aren’t less. We simply did what had to be done in order to get our babies here safely. And that is nothing to be ashamed of . . . that is strength.
P.S. My abs will never be the same. But it was all worth it.