Why my sixth c-section was BRUTAL!!
Giving birth is not easy, no matter how you swing it. I often hear women comparing birthing stories and trying to prove that their way of giving birth was that of Mary giving birth to Jesus, (more so for women that have given birth naturally and/or vaginally; like their way of delivering was so much more beautiful, bold or courageous). Women that have c-sections tend to get very little love. It’s almost as if we took the “easy” way out. My attitude toward the matter is no matter what your birthing choice is, it is all a MIRACLE! We carry those precious lives inside of us, not to receive accolades for how hard we pushed, how many epidurals we received or how many c-section scars we have or haven’t obtained. We have one common goal when making the decision to bring a human into the world: deliver a healthy and happy baby.
Now, let’s talk about birthing experience and recovery. More specifically, MINE! I have had SIX c-sections. YES, SIX! My first was an emergency c-section which ultimately ended in the loss of my son’s life after three weeks, (you can read about all of that on my blog, “There’s a Blessing in the Storm”). The next five were all by CHOICE! In hindsight, I really wish I would have tried to deliver vaginally at least once. Not because I was longing to experience the “ring of fire,” the stretching of my vagina, or possibly ripping from front to back, but because of three reasons:
- You can only have so many c-sections; most doctors do not like performing more than a few.
- The dreaded c-section stomach-pouch is a real thing, (a little too real and it never goes away).
- THE AFTER-PAIN!
C-section recoveries are not a cake-walk. Wait, to be honest, my first few were not that bad. I know I sound crazy to some of my fellow c-section mamas, but I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. Within a few days of my first few deliveries, I was walking up and down stairs, shuffling the kids to school, going to the store, and pretty much off all of my pain meds. But this last one, I tell ya, it was a DOOZIE! I was not prepared for such a brutal recovery. I guess I should have figured my last recovery was going to be tough from the moment I laid down on the delivery gurney.
The start to my last c-section was not a pleasant one. I thought for sure I was going to blow chunks the entire delivery. I laid there on the table while the anesthesiologist and his understudy. Yes, I refer to him as an understudy, because I swear he thought he was acting in a comedy film. He told the corniest jokes; I swear it made me want to vomit even more. On top of his tacky jokes, I have never quite forgotten the smell of my flesh burning as my doctor cut, burned and removed my previous scar for the sixth time. The first red flag: it took my doctors forever to cut their way through all of my scar tissue from the previous surgeries. A normal c-section takes about 30 to 45 minutes. Mine took an hour and a half. As some may or may not know, they cut your abs and start tossing sh*t around to get to your baby. I was laying there numb and pain-free, but my poor husband saw it all. He told me that there was a doctor on each side of my body pulling on my stomach like they were in an intense game of tug-of-war! They were pulling on my skin with all of their might! Marcus said he couldn’t believe all the muscle they had to use to stretch my stomach to get to my son! Then, the miracle of life happened. They pulled my precious baby out and I was a new momma!
As I snuggled my boy, the doctors were still hard at work shoving my organs back into place, trying to place abs back into position by draining as much blood as they can, then sewing me back together like Humpty Dumpty. I also had a tubal ligation during my delivery; this was very important because there would be such a high risk if I had another. Once all was complete, I was wheeled, pain-free, back to my hospital room. I was living the life until the spinal block wore off. I immediately realized something was different with this c-section. I did not want to move and I had no desire to get up like I had in the past. The burning and the pain was so intense that I was in a bit of shock. But don’t get me wrong, I ain’t no punk, so I did not complain.
Once evening rolled around, the pain was so great that I was scared to inhale deeply. What had I done to myself? Why did I choose to have another baby?! I seriously thought I was being punished. Imagine the inside and outside of a stomach being lit on fire while being repeatedly sliced, over and over. I know it sounds a wee bit melodramatic, but that is what it felt like. I tried to stay on top of my meds as much as I could. I continued to press that pain med button until it probably broke. After a few hours, they took my catheter out and switched me to oral meds, (oxycodone). Once the catheter was out, you must get up and go to the bathroom on your own. At 4:00 am, I awoke and had to potty. I realized the nurse never came in and gave me my meds… I had gone 5 hours without medication. I PANICKED!
I immediately called the nurse and calmly told them I was dying and in need of medication. Sadly, by the time I would’ve taken my meds and waited for them to kick in, I would have wet the bed. My son was asleep and my husband was sleeping on an air mattress, I didn’t want to wake him with my bathroom troubles, (and remember, I ain’t no punk, so I made the worst decision ever and decided to take myself to the bathroom. Moving even an inch sent pain through my body. I started to sweat and feel light headed from the anxiety and pain. I scoot one inch at a time until I had my feet dangling off the bed. I had to potty so bad at this point, I almost gave up, but I ain’t no quitter. As soon as I slid off the hospital bed, standing up straight was not an option. I needed a walker or the assistance of someone else, but naw, I got this. I limped my way to the bathroom. It took me about five minutes to get to a bathroom that was 10 feet away. I cannot put into words the pain I was feeling. As I walked past my sleeping husband I figured he would hear my whimpering, but he just remained dead to the world. I got to the bathroom and I tried to sit on the toilet. I felt as if my stomach was going to open back up. I whimpered even louder as I lowered myself down, and guess what?
I started crying my eyes out.
The pain was almost more than I could bear. At that point, the nurse showed up and helped me back to my bed. I was still crying and she felt awful. The nurse that failed to give me my medications had gone home for the evening and boy was she lucky because I had a few choice words for her!
For the next two weeks, I was unable to walk freely up and down my stairs, I could not stand up straight and when I did stand, I could only stand for a short period of time. Getting in and out of the bed or even sitting up to breastfeed was BRUTAL! My mom stayed with us for one week and I think she took more care of me than she did my kids, (she had to HELP ME WIPE, for heaven’s sake! I took my meds until they were almost gone. I had never done that before, but without them, I don’t think I would have been able to take care of my baby at all. Oh, and the crying did not stop for me. I felt like such a punk, I cried once again shortly after I got home because I couldn’t take the pain. When I laughed, I died a little inside. I never realized how much you really do use your abs to laugh. Don’t get me started on sneezing… I almost needed to be sedated in order to sneeze, it was so painful!
All of the pain and tears were worth it and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Who am I kidding? I could not IMAGINE going through that again. It’s so funny, till this day when I know something I am about to do is going to be painful, I think back to my last c-section and tell myself NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, could be that bad!
Here is to all my c-section mama’s, to all my mommas- childbirth is nothing short of a miracle. God gave us a gift by allowing us to give birth and become mothers. No matter how you deliver your baby, one thing is for sure, you are going to be in pain either way!