Yip, you read the heading right! I chose to have a Caesarean birth delivery! I bet you have formed quite strong opinions just by glancing at the heading alone!

“How could she?”

“Oh, she took the easy out option”

“How selfish of her to choose to do that to herself and to her baby!”

“Natural birth is best!”

“You should only do a c-section if it’s an emergency!”.

The opinionated moms

As women, and especially as moms we can’t help but have an opinion on something that is personal to us. Like motherhood. We feel like we are the experts, the know it alls! We say things without even realizing what the impact or hurt it may cause. We think we are doing good by what we are saying without truly knowing or hearing first what that persons circumstance is behind making those kinds of decisions. Now this post isn’t aimed at promoting a specific birth, and it is most certainly not aimed at attacking those who choose or chose natural birth!

I want women to know that if they choose to do a c-section birth, or if they had to do an emergency c-section birth, that they are NOT bad mothers and they did not fall short in the whole birthing process! I know that here in South Africa we have quite a high c-section birth rate, and often people have generalised opinions that “Doctors are lazy” and “want more money” and therefore “push moms” into doing c-section deliveries! Now, if that is the case, then sorry to say you are with the wrong doctor! No doctor should force you into something unless they are advising for health reasons. You should always trust your doctor, especially the doctor that is delivering your baby!

When it comes to topics such as Breast feeding vs formula , to birthing delivery options, it becomes quite a sensitive subject because it’s a personal experience for women.

  • Some women thrived off Breast feeding, whilst others struggled, some expressed milk whilst others were encouraged to do formula top up feeds to help with their baby’s weight gain.
  • Some women sneezed their babies out, whilst others were in agony for hours , some women healed quickly and enjoyed every minute of giving birth, whilst for others it was hard, painful, overwhelming emotionally and mentally.
  • Some women connected instantly with their babies whilst others did not. Some babies were such a delight and so easy, whilst some struggled with colic or with reflux or both.
  • Some women adjusted so easily into motherhood whilst others struggled. Some women had to have emergency c-sections and felt disappointed by it .
  • Some mothers became stay at home moms, whilst others had to go back to work, or wanted to go back to work.
  • Whilst others like myself chose to go for a c-section!

Regardless of what we chose to do, we chose accordingly to what felt right for our families, and that does not make us a bad mothers! What works for some, won’t necessarily work for all and that’s okay!

Here is my c-section story and why I chose it, without being prompted by anyone but myself:

Before falling pregnant

Way before ever considering being a mom, I always leaned towards going the c-section route! I couldn’t imagine squeezing a baby out of my downstairs and live to tell the tale! I have always respected my friends , and the many women who have done natural birth, they make it sound like it’s thee most empowering thing that their bodies have experienced and it probably is! Before falling pregnant I did not realise that birth delivery conversations are a VERY opinionated subject for some moms!

I always thought, (silly me) that all the moms had each others backs, and encouraged each other to experience birth in a way that felt comfortable to them, because all moms know about mom guilt right? (Apparently not). So I thought, we were all on the same page about who chooses to do what when it comes to giving birth!

Being pregnant

Then I fell pregnant! Baby factory was full systems go! Which meant no going back now- this baby had to eventually come out! As a mom in training, I wanted to everything the right way for my baby! I wanted to eat right, and I was determined that I would be a devoted breast feeding mom, and I would squeeze my baby out ALL NATURALLY!

Yip, as soon as I fell pregnant I changed from thinking c-section was the way to go, to being open to the idea of giving natural birth! I felt that those things were the right things to do, the best things to do, and something that should be ingrained into my system to do. All the other moms, and pregnant moms were only ever talking about the right of passage into motherhood via Natural birth.

Then as my pregnancy went on, we had a few scares here and there. I felt a very strong protective maternal instinct kick in, where I wanted to protect my unborn child, by being open minded and flexible in my approach to all things baby. I started doing research, read articles, chatted to girls who had done various births, and even attended antenatal classes!

I was open to ideas and options!

I wanted my internal motherly instincts to guide my decisions! It was liberating and freeing, I felt like I was in control of how I wanted to step into motherhood.

Towards the end of my second trimester, my husband and I were discussing how we wanted the labor experience to be for both of us. My husband, just wanted me to feel comfortable, and wanted to support whatever I decided. I also wanted him to feel comfortable, and discuss what would be his expectations for the day, what did / didn’t he want to see on the day (Because let’s be honest, labor looks similar to a sci-fi meets horror film, let’s be honest)

Malakai kept growing into a rather solid boy, and I kept thinking “at this rate I am giving birth to man child!” No, but really, it didn’t sit well with me knowing that this big boy would be pushed right on out of me! I gave it some thought, and sifted back and forth about where I wanted to go with this delivery. I knew that I didn’t want to make a decision out of fear, but rather what I felt right to me in my spirit.

Then after some time, I just felt a peace in my heart and in my gut about going for a c-section birth! I spoke with my Doctor, and we chose a date, 13 September 2013. A week before my 30th Birthday! It felt strange choosing my sons day of birth, I felt a bit guilty like “Who was I to choose when this little boy arrives?”. But then I let those thoughts go, and focused on being in tune with my son.

Birth of Malakai

On the 13th of September, my husband and I left at 5:30 am to go sign in at the Hospital. We were both so nervously calm. We both knew something big was about to go down, something so big, so out of this world , something or should I say someone would be entering this world and change it for the better! Plus, we had no clue what we were doing, we were wide eyed, or possibly just sleep deprived!

Because it was a planned c-section, the doctor and the nurses seemed so calm. They put the drip and catheter in. Checked my vitals. Everything seemed fine. Then things started running late, because they had to prep another lady in for an emergency c-section. While we were patiently waiting, I started feeling these strange cramps, and it felt like my catheter was leaking, as strange as that sounds. I tried telling one of the nurses, but she dismissed it as it’s my nerves acting up. So I left it!

Then as I was wheeled onto the bed in the theatre with Rasheed at my side. I literally felt like my brain had vanished to who knows where. I couldn’t focus , and I felt so very overwhelmed! My Doctor felt my stomach and said with urgency in her eyes : “You are having contractions, did you not feel that?” Me: ” I wasn’t sure what that was? I thought it was nervous-hungry-cramps!” (Wait.What) Then my Doctor helped me up onto the theatre table, and looked at the sheets and said “Cas, your water broke, you’re in labor, let’s get started!”.

The anethatist was amazing, she was so lovely, warm and friendly and felt very familiar! She explained everything that was happening around me, to the things that I couldn’t see or feel during the c-section. Her calmness and confidence, made me feel at ease. Live surgery at that level is no joke, it’s quite overwhelming especially if like me the only hectic thing you’ve had done “is the removal of your wisdom teeth!”.

Having my husband there, holding my hand with such love and care made me feel like I could do it!

All of a sudden we heard these loud cries coming from Malakai, filling up the whole room! The moment I heard him cry for the very first time, it felt as if my heart leapt out of body and moved towards him! I just wanted to be with him!

I remember seeing Rasheed move swiftly towards the Paediatrician and then brought Malakai to me! His eyes were filled with such love, and with a deep sense of pride towards his son, our son! I have never seen that look in Rasheed’s eyes before! There he was, in my arms, my 3.85 kg , 51 cm baby boy! He was healthy! He was breathing, he was perfect!

The doctor then said to me “Cas, its a good thing that you had chosen c-section, as Malakai’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice. We would’ve had to have gone through with an emergency c-section had you gone natural!”

When she said that, I felt a sense of confirmation and encouragement in my heart, because I followed an “internal maternal nudging” about doing the c-section and it worked out for the best!

The misconception

There is this misconception that c-section women don’t experience the same birthing emotions to that of a natural birthing mom. Although birth timing may be worlds apart, and the cutting and scaring are in different places. All moms experience that out of body experience. The rushing and overwhelming presence of emotions and hormones surging through her! To her wanting to love, hold, and protect her child!

So when women say “c-section seems like an easier option!”. No, it is not, you are awake whilst you are being sliced open! The healing various from woman to woman, and yes, it’s quite painful!

Choosing a c-section birth didn’t make me a coward , it didn’t mean I loved my son any less! It made me realise that for me, choosing a c-section delivery was the best thing for my son and for myself. I followed a gut instinct , or should a say a maternal instinct.

Every mom, should be encouraged to do what is right for her, and what is right for her unique situation. She should feel at peace and confident in her decisions, especially when it comes to the well-being of her child.

Before giving your opinion to that newly pregnant mom about what she should / shouldn’t do. Maybe ask her first what she is wanting to do. She already has an overload of overwhelming information to process, to an influx of thoughts and hormonal feelings on having a baby, to being a mom.

New moms, and moms to be need all the encouragement , love and support they can get!

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