My Cesarean Birth Experience and What it Taught Me
Since April is Cesarean Awareness Month, I wanted to share a little about my experience having a cesarean birth.
My daughter was frank breech, which is one of the few instances in which a c-section is deemed medically necessary. Her head was in my left rib cage, butt down in my pelvis, and feet in my right rib cage in front of her face, like a "V."
I had done everything to prevent this from happening, I mean... part of what I teach in prenatal yoga is alignment for optimal positioning. But there are some things that just can't be controlled. (like birth!)
We talked about trying to turn her through acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, handstands in the pool, ice, music, and all of the other natural remedies. We also discussed an External Cephalic Version, in which my OB would manually try to turn her.
Yet, my intuition kept telling me to listen to my baby and trust that this is the birth that was meant for her. Even though it was not the birth I had hoped for, I knew it was the safest option for both of us.
After she was born, we found out she had a very short umbilical cord, which is why she couldn't position into cephalic presentation. It would have been dangerous to try to turn her, and most likely unsuccessful, resulting in an emergency c-section anyway. I was SO thankful I listened to my intuition and my baby by not trying to turn her. I knew in my heart that this was meant to be her birth story.
That being said, I was COMPLETELY TERRIFIED. I had scheduled my c-section one month before her birth and it was all I could think about. Initially, I felt some feelings of shame and disappointment, but the strongest feeling I was experiencing was fear. I talked about it with a therapist, looked everywhere on the internet for advice and people sharing their experiences, went on mindfulness walks, did breathwork and meditation, and prayed endlessly to try to calm my mind and my heart.
One day, I was looking at an Instagram post in honor of C-Section Awareness Month and going through the comments reading about other cesarean experiences. I saw such a range of responses... feelings of gratitude, shame, pride, anger, neutrality, and more. As I continued to read, I came across a comment that said "You should be so proud of your C-Section! You are cutting open your body for your baby. That is so metal!"
For some reason, this comment is the one that stood out to me and transformed my fear into fierceness, inspiring one of the mantras I used going into my daughter's birth which was:
"I am a warrior for my baby."
I will forever have deep gratitude for this life-saving delivery that provided a safe birth for us both, and for the fortitude it awoke within me.
No matter how you give birth, women are freaking warriors and so powerful! I have found that mothers are often seen as soft and nurturing, which is so true, but we are also strong and brave. And the same power that we harness during childbirth is always within us and accessible for us to tap into. Whether we are fighting for ourselves, our babies, a cause, or anything else, may we always remember that we are a force.
With love and gratitude,