**Disclaimer: please bare in mind when reading this post that I am talking about my own, personal experiences and no one else’s. These views are solely my own, as we all know, all births are different**
I’m going to be really honest here and say I had it pretty easy giving birth to my first 3 children.
Again, like with everything else involving motherhood, the baby books were thrown out of the window with my first born. I was just 17 years old so I read everything I could get my hands on but it was as useless as my dad saying “breathe Hayley-Jayne, just breathe!”
Eloise, Jordan and Charlie were all born within 2-3 hours. The only pain relief I had was gas and air (not by choice, I wanted everything but was always too far gone) they were quick and simple births, nothing like the 48 hour nightmares I had read about. The only complication I had was I haemorrhaged with Charlie.
Then there was Edward. I’ve written before about how he’s the hardest baby in the world and it all started when I was carrying him.
He was back-to-back and breech. And the stubborn little shit refused to turn. Because of his position, my risk of haemorrhage and my history of rapidly quick labour and birth, I had no choice but to have a planned (elective) c-section. They simply couldn’t risk me going in to labour naturally because the chances of us being complication free were minimal.
It was the very last thing I wanted. I had never wanted a c-section with the others because I was convinced it was 10x harder. I was right.
We had to arrive at the hospital for 8am where we had a 5 hour wait, literally just sat on a bed before we could go to theatre.
Then there was the ridiculously long needle they stick in your back.
But that’s not the worst, there’s the feeling of complete numbness. Not just physically but emotionally. Not only can you not feel your legs but you also can’t see your baby being born. That was hard. I honestly felt like this wasn’t right, I would have done anything for a vaginal birth when I felt them slugging around in my tummy.
Then you have just mere seconds where they bring your baby to your face but you can’t hold him. They take them away to get cleaned and weighed while you’re being stitched up and placed in a cot to be wheeled back into the room with you.
Those precious first moments that you would normally get with a vaginal birth were gone.
But the worst isn’t over. Now comes the pain. The pain unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. You get morphine but then you’re so spaced out you can’t even hold your baby right.
You have to call someone to hand the baby to you. To change his clothes and nappies and place him back in his cot. Again, those first moments are taken from you.
I remember lying in bed on that first night wondering why people call ceasereans the “easy way out” this was the hardest birth I’ve ever experienced, so much so that I never ever wanted to go through it ever again.
I cryed for two days straight in that hospital. I’d never had to stay more than a day before so this was torture. Not being able to look after my baby right, not being able to see my other children. Sick from the meds, unable to walk or even move much at all. This is not easy. This is blooming hard work.
Being at home those first few days was hell. I was in that much pain I couldn’t even get into bed, instead I slept on the couch with Edward in his crib beside me. Tom had to go back to work 3 days after I got home and as I had no one else on hand to help me, I was back doing the school run within a week of giving birth. The pain was excruciating. I didn’t manage to have a bath until over a week later, when it finally wasn’t so painful to lift my leg to get in. I had to enlist the help of my daughter for most household tasks and those daily bloody injections were horrendous to administer.
My body has still not recovered almost two years later. My scar is still very visible, my stomach muscles still clearly weakened and I’ve gone from a size 6 to a 10.
Having a caesarean was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. It was 100% harder than all three of my vaginal deliveries put together. Caesareans are debilitating, emotionally and physically draining. There is so much more you have to adjust to, so much pain and limited movement. Unable to even change your babies first nappy.
I must point out that I doubt all caesarean experiences are the same; some might breeze through it, some may have it worse than I did, but when you’ve experienced a vaginal birth and then gone on to have a c-section, the differences in procedure and recovery are on different ends of the spectrum entirely.
Caesareans are NOT the easy way out. There’s nothing easy about giving birth whichever way you deliver, but for me? I’d hands down chose vaginal over c-section any day of the week.