Tuesday, August 6, 2013

C-Section Worries and Postpartum Fears of Loneliness

I'm 14 weeks pregnant and already I'm contemplating my upcoming c-section in January. I found an e-book called Making the Most of Your C-section by Mindy Brouse. My first c-section was due to pre-eclampsia and we had done everything else I was allowed to do before I gave into a c-section. My second c-section was due to me not going into labor in time and an automatic c-section was scheduled. This will be my third and no VBA2C (vaginal birth after two cesareans) is permitted by my OB or hospital.

Both of my previous c-sections were traumatizing. The first because I had no idea what was going on and at one point I thought I was going to die (quite literally) and I passed out begging God to let me go to heaven or at least purgatory. After the birth, I was trying to recover in a room with a constant roommate (I had two roommates in a closet of a room not designed for more than one), and I was greeted with a parade of well wishers from my family and friends that I much needed. At night, I was terrorized by the nursing staff for my already small baby losing too much weight. I cried much those three nights I had to spend in the hospital. At home, I was able to finally regain some normalcy but I was very upset by the necessary c-section and did not come to terms with it until after my 2nd child was born and my new OB explained thoroughly why the first c-section was necessary. Then I felt stupid for not trusting the system. I wasn't prepared for a c-section so it had been a big shock to me physically, mentally, and spiritually.

With my 2nd c-section, again not by choice, I thought I knew what was to be expected. However, I had forgotten the narrow table you lay on. I was completely humiliated by the vulnerable posture I had to take, completely nude. Yes, they draped warm towels over me and put up sheets to block the view, but I was all too keenly aware that I lacked any sort of garment to protect myself from other's eyes. The c-section seemed to take so much longer the second time and I was able to glimpse my baby for a brief moment before he was removed from the O.R. with my mom trailing behind to keep an eye on him, just as I wanted.

Each time I become very ill from the surgery. Nausea and pain force me to keep my eyes shut for hours until I can finally throw up again and again til nothing is left. I got three visitors in the hospital with our second child. I was so lonely. My parents were wonderful in watching our oldest who seemed to have a fantastic time with them. I was so happy he was happy. My husband stayed by my side almost the whole time I had to be in the hospital and helped me pick up our newborn or take him from me when I needed to get up. Most of the nurses were great, but one was not very good, giving me lectures about not sleeping with the baby beside me in bed, or trying to give me food I had already said I was allergic to. Getting home was a little better but we were in a new house and this one had stairs. Going to the kitchen was no longer an easy task as I had a mountain of stairs to climb. My husband was busy with our toddler and in the space of 3 weeks we had three visitors. My parents were the only ones to bring us food which was greatly needed and devoured.

This c-section I want to go better, but as I read this little book I find myself reluctant to put requests to other people that the author suggests. The vulnerability of the situation, the dependency on others for everything, has me in tears again and I find myself (too proud?) unable to ask for help. My parents have graciously offered to help us with the boys again. My mom will be in the O.R. with me, holding my hand. My husband will take a month off work to help me and he'll stay with me while I recover in the hospital. How can I ask for more? How can I ask people to visit me when I get home or even in the hospital? How can I ask for help with food?

I am a very private person, even with my friends, but that doesn't mean I don't want their help. Yet, asking for that help seems like an intrusion into their lives.


  1. Thank you for being so candid about your feelings and what happened to you during and after each c-section. Regarding asking for help from your family and friends: people appreciate being asked for their help. They are not asked very often and really want to help others - so, don't be afraid to ask. If you are too shy, then ask a close friend to organize the request for you. I'm sure she wouldn't mind.

    1. That's a great idea. I should talk to my friends and see if they can help me during recovery. I guess I feel like they don't understand me because they've never had c-sections and they are judging me for not being stronger (though none have ever said anything like that to me or implied it, it's all my imagination).