I generally skipped all of the chapters about c-sections while reading my pregnancy books because I thought, well that’s not really necessary because it won’t happen to me. During my labor prep course I learned that 1 in 5 women actually deliver via c-section, I looked around the room wondering which Mama’s from my class would be that statistic, not me of course, it just wasn’t an option in my head. I would just leave it all to Mother Nature... and oh did she have a special experience planned for me.
It all began with a storm of contractions that lasted 13 HOURS. I was screeching in pain in the elevator leaving our flat, during the taxi ride to the hospital, and in the elevator full of strangers on our way to the labor and delivery ward where I almost crumbled into the wheelchair and wondering how much longer it would last. Finally I received an epidural and was almost laughing at those big waves showing up on the screen after I couldn’t feel the pain anymore.... but then things quickly turned for the worse when my son seemed to be in distress.
At some point an older (and more experienced doctor) entered the room and I thought to myself that he was surely coming to tell me something serious. "We’re going to need to do a c-section, and quickly", he told me. I heard myself questioning whether we couldn’t just keep trying the natural way... but there was no other option at that point. He hurried out the door to prepare for the operation and ran into my husband on the way out (who had missed the conversation during a bathroom break!) - when he re-entered the he found me in tears and asked - "Did I miss something?!"
We were both told that the situation had turned into an emergency and we needed to quickly get ready for the OR to perform the cesarean. Once we were there they quickly placed a screen in front of us and we could see nothing of the operation but about 15 minutes later our son was born. As he was lifted above the screen we only saw his tiny blue legs and bottom before he was rushed off for extra care and examination. I was told to briefly look to the left so I could see my son. I had imagined this moment to be so much different than it was... our first glimpse of one another was from across the room through the glass of the incubator with him attached to tubes and cables and monitors beeping. But despite how scared I was I also felt that everything would be okay now and a few hours later I was able to return to my son and my husband and eventually after lots of whining to my nurse I was able to hold him for the first time. It was such an amazing feeling - as if he was finally ‘home’!”
April 2017 my second Son was born. Again via c-section! And unfortunately again an emergency c-section. Initially I had selected to still try for a natural birth, the doctors told me I would have a chance of 75% that a VBAC would succeed. But after 17 hours of contractions I was only 7cm dilated and again the CTG showed that something was wrong with my son. The doctors were also afraid that the old c-section would tear so they strongly advised me to opt the c-section at that point.
I was very scared because of the experience with my first son. Would my second baby be okay? There was no time to think. Luckily the c-section was very relaxed and went smoothly. This time the screen between me and the baby was clear and I could see through it and see everything as it happened so as soon as I saw my pink baby I knew this time everything would be ok. My beautiful healthy boy named Vik could even lie on my chest while they ‘closed me’ back up. That meant the world to me!!” (3 of 3) Eveline - Mom of Seb and Vik, Amsterdam - The Netherlands
Eveline Stallaart works as a professional sexologist has has her own practice in Amsterdam and is a regular on a Dutch talk show (RTL Boulevard). You can follow her on Instagram or if you speak Dutch, read her lifestyle blog called oh-mama.nl.
After her c-section birth experiences she’s put together a list of tips for Moms who may need a c-section:
1. Give your husband a camera and ask a nurse to take some pictures during the operation. Even if it is all a bit scary, at least you have an idea of the birth of your child. Overall, most Moms are very happy to have such special photos of this moment (you can always delete anything you don't like but you'll never be able to go back again to capture the birth).
2. I recently heard the tip to bring a t-shirt you have worn, so that they can put it on your baby in the first hours after birth. This way your smell, which they know from the belly, is immediately with him / her.
3. If you would like to breastfeed, this clearly communicate this to the nursing staff. They will, of course, prioritise the examinations on your child first, but may in the meantime give you the opportunity and help with bonding via methods like skin on skin contact, so that breastfeeding can still get off to a good start.
4. And last but not least: don't bother with people who say or make you feel like you didn't have had a "real" delivery. You know better, right?!