Believe it or not, I am really looking forward to my third and final C-section. I know massive abdominal surgery isn’t usually the kind of thing that someone anticipates like a weekend away, but I kind of am.
Before you think I’ve lost all sense of reason, hear me out.
I have had two other C-sections, so I am totally aware of the process. I know there is going to be anxiety, pain, and hard recovery days.
But my C-section is unavoidable. I had an emergency classical C-section to save my first son when he went into distress after 40 hours of labor. Classical C-sections involve a vertical incision high on the uterus. For women like me, vaginal delivery is not an option because of the high risk of uterine rupture during labor. Even the crunchiest, earthiest midwife wouldn’t attend a VBAC for someone with my history. (I know that because I called Ina May Gaskin herself to ask.)
My second C-section was scheduled, and it was a delight. I’m not even kidding. Not only did the experience help me heal from some of the birth trauma I experienced the first time around, but it was physically pleasant. Seriously! My nurses kept my pain under control. I wasn’t in any pain at all until the day after surgery, and only minimal pain after that. I never had to take a prescription pain pill once I got home because I was able to rest so well after surgery. My baby hit a little bump in the road because he wasn’t a great nurser, but if I hadn’t been worrying about feeding him, the entire hospital stay would have been truly enjoyable.
Here’s what I’m looking forward to as I gear up to do this one more time:
1. I can make a concrete plan for my older kids.
I am a planner by nature. Honestly, I’m not hyper-organized, and I can wing some things, but major life events aren’t in that category. After years of trial and error, I have learned I can mitigate the worst of my anxiety by having a plan. My boys can’t come to the hospital during the C-section, but I am excited to see them as quickly as possible once I’m back in my room. Knowing the exact date and time of my baby’s birth weeks in advance makes it way, way easier to make that happen. I am so lucky that my parents and my friends are eager to help. A planned C-section makes scheduling that help more convenient for everyone.
My second C-section was scheduled, and it was a delight. I’m not even kidding.
2. I will be well-rested when my baby is born.
The first time I had a C-section, I was so exhausted I fell asleep and the anesthesiologist had to wake me right in time for my son’s birth. I felt horrible. The second time, I rolled into the hospital at 6 a.m. with my hair curled and my makeup done. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to meet my baby. We took a supervised nap together in recovery, more out of sheer bliss than an actual need for sleep. I remember that morning vividly because I was so rested and ready for it. This time, I am even less nervous, and even more prepared. I am going to meet my baby after a full-night’s sleep with no fear.
3. I get to spend at least three glorious nights in the hospital with absolutely no responsibilities.
Okay, so I will be caring for a newborn, which is technically a responsibility, but I am talking about the annoying day-to-day stuff. When I’m in the hospital, I don’t have to cook, clean, or referee any little boy arguments. All I have to do is snuggle my baby, nurse, and recover. When my big kids come to visit, all I have to do for them is kiss them, read and color with them, and love on them. We can snuggle in my hospital bed and watch a movie, and someone else will fetch us lunch, find their missing shoes and facilitate potty breaks. I get the fun of my babies with none of the work for several glorious days.
4. I get to sleep well for the first few nights.
Most of the moms I know who delivered vaginally got just one night in the hospital. (Whose idea is that anyway?!) After my first C-section I got four nights, and after my second, I got three. I like the idea of rooming in with my baby, and I’m in awe of moms who make that work. Truth be told, I did it with my first baby, and I learned that it’s not for me. I never slept a wink!
So, I let my second baby go to the nursery for the 2-hour stretch between feedings once or twice a night. I truly think it helped me recover quicker. People need sleep to heal from major surgery. We all know that once I get home, sleep is not happening again for a few months at best. Knowing my baby is in capable hands, receiving proper care so I can get some rest is valuable. Getting that rest for several nights in a row is priceless.
Heading into my third C-section, I feel like an old pro. I know what to expect out of the procedure, and I know what comes afterward. Because I’ve done this before, I am well aware of all the possible risks. I could choose to focus on those. If I thought too long about all the ways it could go wrong, I could scare myself half to death.
A planned C-section makes scheduling that help more convenient for everyone.
But most of the time, things go just fine, and when they don’t, it isn’t because the patient was too optimistic. Focusing on the risks won’t decrease my chances of encountering a complication. Instead, I am choosing to focus on the perks of my scheduled c-section delivery.
Every birth is beautiful. Looking at mine through a grateful, happy lens makes me even more excited to meet my baby.