Does having a C-section make you less of a mum?

Updated: Mar 29, 2021

I hear the phrase “you didn’t really give birth because you had a caesarean” and I feel sick. If only those people knew that it's classified as major surgery and the possible complications can be high with the recovery long, draining and painful, especially with a newborn to care for.

I hear the phrase “I’d rather have a c-section than push it out, it can’t be THAT bad” (usually from the same type of person) and I want to vomit in their purse. LOL.

October 2014, Benji meets Mama in theatre
Nice to meet you: October 2014, Benji meets Mama in theatre

I was 19 when I had my first son some 11+ years ago.

I had a super long labour, and from what I can remember it was very traumatic.

When I think about that day, I look at myself as a scared and somewhat naïve 19-year-old girl who thought she knew what having a baby meant yet didn’t prepare herself for one of the most important stages of that pregnancy – giving birth.

Baby Shayne! circa 2007

Of course, now 31 years of age and 2 additional children later, it’s clear that in fact it doesn’t matter how much you plan or prepare to have “the perfect birth”, things sometimes just don’t go to plan! - Kinda like raising a child really – oh the irony.

Anyway, where was I?

Ah yes, the labour ward. After multiple attempts to get an epidural working and a baby whose heartbeat kept jumping, I was rushed to theatre and had an emergency caesarean.

I definitely hadn’t prepared myself for a c-section and I certainly didn’t expect to be put to sleep.

Because the epidural hadn’t worked, there was no choice but to put me under general anaesthetic so to keep our little boy safe.

It was scary and I genuinely thought I was going to die but then I woke up and everyone was fine so all that had to be done was to get myself well enough to be discharged. Easier said than done though!

Tired Mum of 2 but happy holding Princess Panda Sienna at only a couple weeks old

I was 22 when I had my daughter, almost 9 years ago and wow was that an experience. I was so determined after the last time to at least be AWAKE for it and so I tried and tried to stay as calm as possible.

My daughter wasn’t a very happy bunny and I began to bleed so was rushed to theatre (ergh – my plan for a VBAC – a vaginal birth after a caesarean, seemed like it had gone out the window).

I laugh thinking back to her birth story though as I’m certain it could be something from a comedy sketch.

When I say gas and air were my best friends, gas and air were my best friends.

Apparently, I was too far gone to have an epidural and because of the urgent “we need to get you into theatre now!” the midwives told me I had to stop chuffing away until we got to the next room.

There was no way I was letting that thing go and so I remember biting down on the nozzle so hard they had no choice but to disconnect it and leave me with the mouthpiece – oops!

When we got to theatre, I remember feeling so tired and overwhelmed. And although I wanted to have a peaceful vaginal delivery, at that point I didn’t care and just wanted her safely out.

But then it happened...

“I think I need to use the toilet” – I said.

“Nope, that’s her head, she’s coming out!” – A voice said.

WTAF? – LOL. I giggle not only because I didn’t know what the urge to push would be like, of course I’d never gotten to that stage before but I cry of laughter because the FIRST thing I said after 3 strong pushes was “did I poo?” (the answer was no for those wondering), secondly to my midwife “I love you, I love you so much”. – priorities, right? Hahahahaha.

It seemed my daughter kept us all on our toes that day, the theatre staff expecting to operate but saving my tummy from a potential c-section, then she was kept in the neonatal ward for a few days for swallowing blood from my erupted placenta. Yum.

Didn’t stop there either, after multiple blood transfusions and being discharged, I’d have to go back a couple weeks later as I had retained placenta that needed to be removed - and that wasn’t fun either.

Thankful beyond words to have experienced a “natural birth” though.

And then there was my second son. Our surprise blessing.

It was a difficult few years for me previously – read my blog entry about Mama Panda's definition of Motherhood to fill in the gaps if you like.

Papa @theuncooldad and I got pregnant pretty fast and it was suggested early on in the pregnancy that we prepared ourselves to have a scheduled caesarean section.

We did. And I’m so happy we stuck to this decision as we’re pretty sure something bad could have happened.

I remember laying in theatre sh*tting myself thinking I can’t breathe. And then the beeps on the machine getting louder – I was starting to lose consciousness from losing far too much blood (two litres) as they had to slice through 3 surprise major arteries. Even when you’re prepared, things can still go down the pan.

October 2014

But anyway, I’m still here to tell the tale and am present to watch my babies grow into beautiful, clever, entertaining and sometimes moody, cheeky kids and that’s something to be thankful for.

But why am I telling you this story?

Well I found a link to an article on Facebook a couple months back on this topic and it struck a chord which spurred me to write this entry.

I feel like I’ve been both blessed and unfortunate with my 3 birth experiences, however each has instilled a level of respect for ALL mothers.

I’ve joked with my own mother (who doesn’t find it funny) that I’ve had a c-section whilst asleep, a vaginal delivery, a planned c-section where I’ve been conscious and now I think the next method in terms of having a baby is to adopt! (which I totally would consider by the way).

And I guess what I’m truly trying to say is I genuinely believe that IT DOESN’T MATTER how a baby is born into a family, you are no less a mother than the next.

And if you’re one of those people who have a similar mindset to the type of people mentioned in the first couple lines of this entry… FYI, c-section recovery sucks! (Although it can improve your pain threshold) and to those who think “natural” is easy, it’s OK if you don’t tear and there’s no complications after. Pros and cons to everything people, pros and cons.

What’s your story?

I’d love to hear it!

#MamaPanda #GivingBirth #Caesarean #VBAC #Motherhood #BirthingStories

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