7
Opinions Thu, 19 Sep 2019

Vaginal birth isn't badge of honour - Ghanaian C-section mother of 3 tells her story

I had all my three kids via C-Section. My first wasn’t planned; it was an Emergency C-Section but my last two was planned.

It all started later in the evening. I was downstairs when the period-type of annoying cramps began. I had visited my doctor earlier that week so I began timing my ‘cramps’. We just decided to go to the hospital just to be on the safe side.

I was hoping to give birth vaginally as I was at the hospital waiting because the contractions I was having were just too painful. I was asked to go back home because it was false labour but we insisted that we stay because I was in pain and far from home.

While I was sitting in the hallway at the hospital, I knew something wasn’t right but they were like, you’ll be fine, baby is ok but I wasn’t fine and baby was not ok. I was having a contraction but my cervix wasn’t dilating.

I requested to be monitored because I was having so much pain so they got me a room. The nurses put the doppler/electronic monitor on my tummy. They moved it around until they found the baby’s heartbeat. I was able to hear the sound of the baby's heart rate.

All of a sudden, there was a decreased fetal movement. I was 1 week early and had to have an emergency c-section because her heart rate kept dropping after they decided to monitor me...baby was in distress.

At this point, I was so scared but I was ready for anything. Anything to save me and my baby. I cried, I cried because I was scared that one of us will leave the hospital without the other. So just imagine if I had gone back home that night, I would have lost my baby. They had to cut me fast. It just happened so fast.

The anesthesiologist gave me the anaesthesia which put me to sleep so I didn’t see or feel anything. The baby was there with my husband when I opened my eyes. A beautiful baby she was.

With my last two, I was awake and numbed from the waist down during the surgery because I knew well in advance that I will be delivered via that route. I scheduled the C-sections one week prior to my actual due date.

It felt very uncomfortable but not painful. I enjoyed it though, because I was able to see, feel and hear the baby being born.

3 C-Sections and they are healthy, happy, blessed and beautiful. Remember that having a healthy baby is more important than how the baby is born.

Why do we make women feel like they're somehow less of a mother simply because they didn't give birth “naturally”?

Nobody wants to go under the knife but we do. C-section is a major surgery and harder to recover from. I heard and read other women discouraging c-section. Not because they are scared but because they think that shouldn’t be the right way. There is no right way or wrong way. It’s either a C-section or vaginal birth.

No matter what, don’t go against physician recommendations if C-section is the only option.

Someone said women are meant to deliver vaginally and that's a badge of honour as though carrying my baby and keeping him safe by having a c-section doesn't earn me that same badge of honour. They go as far as calling you lazy for not pushing harder. Oh My God.

I’m only here to encourage you.

I know you wanted something different. I know you wanted a vaginal birth, but you ended up with C-section. You wanted to know what it was like to feel life enter the world. That was taken away from you. And it sucks.

You spent months dreaming about your baby and their birth. You ate all the right foods. You exercised. You planned and you prayed. You did everything…right. Yet this still happened. It sucks, I know!

A loss of the experience you wanted to have for that baby’s birth. That’s a fine feeling to have. But know that, you are strong, you are capable, and you are going to be an amazing mother to your child. The birth experience that you lost does not define you and does not make you less of a mother.

So cheer up...Not for your loss, but for your gain.

I don't think it's anyone's intention to go for c-section...Obviously most women would rather labour and deliver naturally. It's about time we stop belittling women who have no choice but to have a C-section. I know a lot of moms who had their babies via C-section, as that was their only option. So, why judge them for something out of their control? We all have to deliver these babies one way or the other.

C-section mothers, like all mothers, are fierce and their stories, good and bad, are disappointing and important to share. We have to learn how to live in our bodies again after those bodies have been transformed not only by pregnancy and motherhood but by major surgery.

If you have to make a choice between vaginal birth and a C-section because of some problem that comes up, don’t be afraid of the C-section. As long as you trust the doctors and the hospital, you should be all good. C-section doesn't make anyone less of a "mother”.

No matter how your pregnancy plays out, your body is sure to change. I’m wearing that scar, stretch marks, the shapeless body, the flabby belly. Some of us use corset, push up bra to feel sexy but when we get into the bathroom, naked and see the real body, we remind ourselves that we produced a human being. Let’s learn to love ourselves. Love your body. Motherhood is a beautiful thing. A blessing from God.

I pray that those trying to get a child will get pregnant. And when it happens and they give birth, love that body no matter what it looks like. No matter what people think about your body. Your body is your home so treat it right.

Try to eat well. Get enough rest. Drink lots of water. Sugar intake should be less. Eat lots of veggies. My favourite is spinach smoothie/salad. Exercise and never let yourself go. Stay healthy always and stay happy.

Count your blessings every day. I count my blessings because I’m blessed. I count my blessings every day, all three of them, because they made me a mother. They gave me a role that is so tiring and yet so wonderful at the same time. I could not imagine my life any other way than as a parent to my two sons and my daughter.

Motherhood is hard work, but it is great work. I feel privileged to experience it.

I hope to inspire you to recognize that C-section isn’t a bad thing.

Thanks for reading.

Xoxo, Maame Tiwaa Dadson ( Debbie)

Columnist: Maame Tiwaa Dadson