Monday, March 19, 2012

Pint-Sized & Pregnant: Fun with C-Sections

The most incredible moment of my life thus far:

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Ignore how fat I look. Also, ignore how unhappy I look. It was almost 11pm, I'd been in labor since 4am, I was on drugs and could only bend my neck that far. Inside, I was more joyful than I ever could have imagined.

Many women dread the thought of having a cesarean birth. I did at first. I was determined to do all that I could to avoid a c-section. But who am I kidding? I'm 4'8" and Nicholas was wonderfully large so a natural birth was never going to happen. Yes, the recovery time isn't as fast as a natural birth, and you have to take pain medication. But at the end of the day, having this surgery meant that I got to hold my son. I recognize that not all women's c-sections go as smoothly as mine did, so I don't mean to make light of that. I am all for people birthing their babies however they want to; I'm just saying that no matter how you have a baby, the end result is the most important thing. You get a baby.

A few things I wish I had known before I had a c-section: your belly stays around a little (or a lot) longer. Oh that lovely, pudgy reminder of pregnancy. Also, don't be like one idiot I've heard of (ahem, me) who started their post-baby workout with jarring exercises that made their abs hurt like the dickens. Jumping jacks are a no-no. Finally, accept all the help you can get. Even a month after having Nicholas I would wonder to myself, "why am I so exhausted and feel like I can barely move?" And then I'd remember that I had major surgery and that can take quite some time to heal from. So let people cook for you, let them clean your house, and hold your baby while you shower. This is the only time in that child's life you are going to get that kind of help, so take it!

Many women have their birth plans. Mine before we found out that Nicholas was breech was to have him the, uh, normal way with a large dose of pain medication. When we found out he was breech, I decided that a c-section was the way to go. (Probably because that's the only option for a breech delivery in the U.S.) Then when our little ninja baby flipped into a head-down position at 38 weeks, I was back to a normal delivery. And then after 20 hours of labor, he arrived via c-section. So you can't plan it all or control much of anything. But having a baby in the end? That's worth it all.

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