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Am I Disappointed That I Didn't Have A Natural Labour?

on Saturday, 03 March 2012.

A group of friends and I were talking the other day about childbirth (as all Mums seem to do at some point or another- a lot!) and the debate over caesarian sections versus natural labour came up.  To the three of us who had c-sections the question was asked...

'Is there a part of you that feels sad you didn't experience natural labour?'

I have been asked this question a few times since I had my lovely little girl in December 2010.  I have blogged a few times before about my birth story and what a wonderful experience it was.  I had an elective c-section and knew exactly what date our baby was due to be entering the world.  Christmas Eve 2010- the day our lives changed forever.  

That day we walked into the hospital with my overnight bag, Mr E holding my hand, I had no visible signs of labour.  I wasn't getting contractions, my waters hadn't broken and in fact I felt as fit as a fiddle bar looking like I had swallowed a JCB.  

I didn't have the nervous anticipation of thinking about what would happen when I went into labour.  Would Mr E be at work?  Would he have to rush home?  Would we get a space on the delivery ward?  I had none of that, I knew the time and date and I knew Mr E would be home- he had booked his paternity leave to start that very day.

I didn't have the pain of contractions, each one getting progressively worse until I knew it was time to go the hospital.  I didn't have Mr E whispering in my ear, or gripping my hand, telling me to push through each one.  All the things we learnt at our NCT classes, about breathing and relaxation, didn't matter in the slightest.

I didn't know what it felt like to experience a contraction or feel an overwhelming sense that I needed to push.  I don't know whether I would have pushed on with no pain relief, or whether I would have jumped for an epidural at the first opportunity.  I don't know because I honestly have no idea what natural labour feels like.

Mine and Mads fate was not in my hands that day.  It wasn't me who had to do the hard work to deliver her and get her here safe.  My fate was fully in the hands of the amazing doctors who delivered us the best christmas present we could ever hope of receiving.  I lay on that bed with Mr E holding my hand, while they cut me open and pulled my little girl from me.  I felt nothing except a strange tugging sensation.  I went into theatre at 9am and by 9.35am she was born.  Easy. Quick. A Miracle.

Yes the recovery was hard.  For a couple of days I was helpless and getting up was agony.  A c-section is major surgery and it certainly wasn't easy.  It took weeks for my body to recover fully and even now 14 months on the area still stings sometimes and is numb.  But by and large Mads birth was an incredible and surreal experience that was completely out of my hands.

Yet if someone asks me that question, I always say no I don't feel sad I didn't experience natural labour.  Myself and Mr E created her out of the love we have for each other, I carried her for nine months, kept her safe and well, and wished for her to be here safely every single day.  I lay there in that hospital theatre room, scared and terrified about what was going on.  No I didn't feel the sensations of labour, but I sure as hell felt every single emotion in the world. Fear.  Anticipation.  Nerves.  Anxiety.  And as soon as I heard her first little wet scream as she entered the world at 9.35am on Christmas Eve 2010, I felt the strongest emotion of all.  

Overwhelming love.  And what it felt like to be a Mummy.

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So no, I don't feel cheated, or sad, or even slightly disappointed about not experiencing natural labour.  I  just feel incredibly grateful that thanks to those wonderful medical staff who were missing out on Christmas Eve with their families, I got the greatest gift of all.

And now I look down at my scar, still numb, and I absolutely love it.

 I love what it represents.  

It's not ugly to me at all.  Long after Mads is grown up I will still carry that scar.

 It is my ever so beautiful reminder of the day I gave birth to my wonderful baby girl.

Comments (10)

  • Notmyyearoff

    Notmyyearoff

    03 March 2012 at 08:35 |
    I had a section too and afterwards one of the midwives asked me if I felt like I'd been "robbed" of a natural birth. I looked at her a but in surprise and my instant reaction was that I was very glad baby z was here safely. I do sometimes wonder about what it would have been like and would have loved a full natural birth but at the end of the day i'm just glad he arrived safely, whatever way it had to be!
  • Multiple Mummy

    Multiple Mummy

    03 March 2012 at 09:46 |
    Scars are the war wounds to represent what we have achieved and you should be proud of that. It is interesting because with Noah i experienced labour but no pushing as it got complicated and we ended up in theatre - luckily they got him out by forceps but I had an epidural. I was just pleased he was here safely as he had a knot in his cord and it could have been nasty! But the twins came out naturally and on their own. The feeling was amazing. I am kind of pleased I have had the chance to experience both but would not be sad to not know what I was missing as the important part is the getting them into the world safely and no one can change change the feelings of becoming a Mother- it is overpowering whichever method of delivery! xx
  • Lucy at Dear Beautiful Boy

    Lucy at Dear Beautiful Boy

    03 March 2012 at 10:50 |
    We were talking about labour the other day at one of our groups, and I think that however it goes, as long as you have a healthy baby at the end, that most people view their experience positively. As you know, I had a really long labour and one of the girls at the group looked horrified as she was only in labour for 2 hours. But I would quite happily go through all 32 hours of it again exactly as it was for the exact same end result.
    I guess that's the wonder of the love your feel for your child (and those hormones you get after birth) that it allows you view whatever you've experienced as totally worth it. X
  • jenny paulin

    jenny paulin

    03 March 2012 at 11:24 |
    my labout with Burton was 46 hours and Jenson was about 24 so both of mine were quite long. I am glad my births went the way they did and my body did what it had to do -i had to have help (ventouse) with Burton near the end as i had trouble pushing him out because i was so tired. I don't wish i had experienced a C section in the same way that i wouldn't expect you to now say i wish i had experienced a natural birth. at the end of the day you got your baby, safe and healthy and like me you held her for the first time and experience that tug of love and emotion we still feel now.
    Some mums bodies are born to have natural births and some are not. It doesn't matter as we are all aiming for the same end result and that is what counts.
    beautiful photo - and i am off to read your birth story now x
  • Rhea

    Rhea

    03 March 2012 at 14:44 |
    I think it is right that everyone's experiences are different and that everyone feels differently - I really wish I had had a natural birth and not a c-section.
    I did get to experience my waters breaking at home, all of my contractions, my husband holding my hand, an epidural, everyone telling me to push...but I also experienced forceps, followed by an emergency c-section which resulted in a beautiful little boy who was unfortunately poorly and had to be rushed straight to special care. I finally met him 12 hours after he was born and I was able to hold him and feed him two days later. Our bond didn't come for a long time but I was always thankful he was here.
    I'm always so jealous of people who experience natural births but after reading your post I think it was not holding my baby after he was born that affected me so much and not actually the way he was born.
    It is great to read such a lovely blog about a c-section x
  • Richmond Mummy

    Richmond Mummy

    04 March 2012 at 10:08 |
    I had hoped to have a natural birth, in a birthing pool, with minimum drugs and to get through it with a positive mind and deep breathing. But, Allegra was 2 weeks overdue so I had to be induced - therefore no birthing pool but a very medicalised and monitored birth, which I wasn't over the moon about but I just got on with because at the end of the day it was just a journey towards having her here with us in the world finally and that was all that mattered. My induction didn't work and after 34 hours and ALL the drugs going, I had to have a c-section. I do sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have had a natural birth, but I don't feel I missed out, I'm just glad to have a healthy happy beautiful baby girl in my life and I don't really care ultimately how she got here! I do ponder whether or not I'd opt for c-section or try for VBAC if I was to have a second... still not resolved that yet.... but no rush, am not thinking about baby number two just yet! xx
  • Joanne Blunt

    Joanne Blunt

    04 March 2012 at 10:36 |
    That's a lovely post. I had an emergency c-section with my first. I only got to 3 cms dilated before I was rushed to theatre. I was fine for the first few days but the day my gorgeous little baby and I were discharged I heard a woman in labour, and it broke my heart that I hadn't been able to do it. For months I would have to fight back tears every time I thought about it, and I never told anyone how I felt.

    When I was pregnant with my second I knew immediately that I wanted to try for a VBAC. I knew it may go wrong again, but I had to try. And I did it! It was agony but I got my natural birth :) I also had 3 months of physio after because I traumatised my body in labour. The recovery after my c-section had been easier!

    With my third, I had a fantastic 40 minute labour - he was out within 10 minutes of pushing! Now that is MY perfect labour. It just took me 3 goes to get there!
  • Mummy and the Beastie

    Mummy and the Beastie

    04 March 2012 at 13:15 |
    Lovely post Katie and it just proves that it's not about how you give birth, it's the actual process of getting your precious child here safely, that's the most important thing of all :-) xx
  • amummysview

    amummysview

    04 March 2012 at 13:19 |
    Fantastic post. I too had an elective csection because of hip and back problems and my little girl being breech. I don not feel in the slightest that I lost out, I had an amazing experience, fantastic doctors and nurses who welcomed me, calmed me and made it all a very easy experience. As I sat holding my little girl less than 45 mins later eating a slice of toast and having a cuppa I listened to the screams from down the corridoor and thought... aaaahhh! :-) x
  • Mel (MilkChic)

    Mel (MilkChic)

    05 March 2012 at 13:52 |
    Thanks for a great post and for puttina few things into perspective for me. I had an emergency c-section after 16 ish hours. I desperately wanted a waterbirth with minimal intervention. After a difficult pregnancy, I was angry that my body didn't even manage that one right. But I have a beautiful daughter who in another time might have been lost to me. It's a minor kind of grief in comparison and, like you, I love my scar.

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