As I was browsing through social media, I came across several discussions surrounding childbirth and what is accepted as the hardest or easiest way to give birth. I saw one TikTok by a midwife who explained how many times men (funny that) urged their wives to opt for a c section because they were tired of waiting around. I wanted to throw my phone across the room. Why are people assuming that c sections are easy? Oh, I know the answer. It’s always the ones who have never experienced it (and also men) who say it. I broke my collarbone many years ago and I still think postpartum was the most painful experience of my life.

During my pregnancy, I was focused on one thing: pushing out the baby. Whether I wanted to run away from it or not, this baby had to come out eventually. Did I think of a possible c section at the time? No. Having surgery wasn’t even on my mind. All I could think about whilst my belly grew was: “How am I going to push this out?

 

Why did I only see giving birth as “pushing out the baby”? To be honest, even I saw vaginal birth as the default way. It’s just the natural way. But what we need to realise is that even natural birth has its own set of risks and may not be the best option at times. For example, tearing, hemorrhaging and incontinence for the mother and injuries to the baby. Or in my case, high blood pressure. I imagined my labour to go in a certain order: the water breaking, the rushing to the hospital, contractions for hours, and then boom – start pushing. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to go? Nope! Mine went a completely different way.

 

Life is unpredictable, along with pregnancy and childbirth. The fact that I had to have an emergency c section wasn’t something I saw coming. But it was the best option for me. And let me tell you, it is not a walk in the park. I couldn’t even walk in the park. It was a whole struggle. And so are vaginal births, water births, labour with pain meds, scheduled c sections, emergency c sections, and more. Please, let me know if you can direct me to an easy way of having a baby. It really is a life or death situation, which I am still traumatised by.

 

According to the latest UN global estimates, 303,000 women a year die in childbirth, or as a result of complications arising from pregnancy. This equates to about 830 women dying each day – roughly one every two minutes.

I reached out to a few amazing mamas who also went through the long and painful recovery of c sections. I knew I wasn’t the only one who went through hell and back.


Annelies described her 4-month long battle:

 

I know that nothing could have prepared me for the recovery and getting postpartum depression. Alhamdulillah Alaa Kulli Haal! Physically, I was in pain 24/7, relying heavily on medication to ease the pain but never taking it all away. I couldn’t pick up my daughter or even hold her for too long. I couldn’t breastfeed, put her down, get up, sit down, bath/shower without assistance. I couldn’t sneeze, cough, laugh, bend down, lean back without feeling like my stitches were going to rip open. Just the scare of that happening or getting an infection was so stressful!

 

Don’t get me started on going to the toilet or trying to get in a car! Oh and having to inject myself with a needle that seemed like it was longer than my hand (I could never do it myself). Sleeping was the worst, the smallest movement and you could feel the pain throughout your whole body.
The road to recovery was a long one and it took me nearly 4 months. It was such a traumatic time, I went through a battle, came out stronger, and have a scar to prove it. The recovery period after birth is when the mother is at her most vulnerable, please be kind. I wish I did ask for more help when I needed it. I wish I did more research into c sections but I thought: “Nah it won’t happen to me.” Oh, how wrong I was. We plan and plan but Allah is the best of planners. This was written for me so Alhamdulillah.”

Source: pexels.com


Fatima explained her experience scheduling a c section for her twin pregnancy:
“When I first heard of c sections, it truly blew my mind how insane the concept of cutting open a woman to pull a baby out was. I thought “no way” for myself if I ever had kids. My first successful pregnancy was a twin pregnancy so I was learning all while being in shock. Everything went pretty smooth until about week 34. One of my twins wasn’t growing at the same speed as the other, so we talked to our high-risk OB and were given 2 weeks to see any positive changes. Nothing changed and my baby b had stopped growing so it was time to get him out. A couple of girls I knew had delivered their babies before me and their delivery stories straight up scared me.

My OB said I could try a V delivery or just do a C section and schedule the birthday. I said “go ahead and schedule the birthday” because I thought it would be easier and of course, quicker. I was about to be humbled really fast. I go in and my anxiety suddenly skyrockets. Once I’m in prepping for the surgery, my spinal doesn’t take. I felt my catheter. I felt the first slice. I had to get an epidural and I was so close to throwing up the shot of anti-acid or whatever that gunk was. Thankfully I had a great medical team and everything that happened was out of their control. The epidural eventually did take and everything seemed to be smooth sailing. Nope. My baby b did not want to come out at first and the tugging sensation was awful. Didn’t hurt but knowing what they were doing was so unsettling.

 

Both babies were out but suddenly I was seeing stars. I was bleeding out quickly. I was so sick. Definitely not the walk in the park I assumed this would be. Things settled and we eventually made it home. Recovery was hell for me. I couldn’t laugh! I love to laugh. I couldn’t move as I wanted. My incision tried reopening. Such a scare. One night as I was breastfeeding my twins I started to cry. What did I do to my body?! This, without a doubt, was NOT an easy way out like many told me. It hit me along with all the quick complications that had happened in the OR and how I might have not made it out. They sliced me open but of course, you don’t think twice when it comes to your babies. C sections are just as respectable as a V delivery. Recovery is probably the toughest part of all. I hated it but I’m proud of my incision and proud I powered through!”

For Huda, it was a quick labour but a rollercoaster of events.

 

During my first pregnancy, I became so ill with prenatal and postnatal depression, I was put off having more kids as it really traumatised and scarred me. But I felt so guilty seeing my child grow up without a sibling and the whole world lets you know too.

Fast forward to being 7 and a half months pregnant with prenatal depression, the doctors wanted to do a scan as my belly didn’t look right. I anxiously went in for a scan and was told that my baby was breech and that I needed an elective C section at 38 weeks. As soon as my mum heard that, she wasn’t having it and suggested they weren’t God and to not agree to it. So I complied and listened to my mum.

I tried everything to turn my daughter but there was no luck. I knew that the C section would happen by force. Before I knew it, I was 40 weeks, the baby was still breech AND my waters broke during an afternoon nap. I knew the contractions would be faster as this was my second pregnancy, however I was angry that I let it get this far and didn’t go for the planned C section.

The contractions came hard and fast and the gap was closing. I was frantically rushing to the hospital barely walking as contractions were very close together. We made it to the hospital and as I started explaining my situation about the baby being breech, the midwives’ faces dropped. Straight away, one came with a portable scanner to check my belly. To their surprise, the baby was still bum first! One midwife was undressing me fast saying “theatre now”, the other went to grab a wheelchair. It was a lot.

Shortly after, the anaesthetist came by to do my spinal block as it’s now an emergency c section in the middle of an active labour. They laid me down and I couldn’t feel a thing, however I heard my surgeon shout ‘Don’t Push!’

“I’m not,” I said calmly. He then told me the bum was already out and I was in shock. I tried to get up but remembered I couldn’t, so I  was lying there, frozen with multiple emotions running through my head. He pushed the baby’s bum back in, put my legs together and started the incision.

My water broke at 3pm and my baby was out by 6pm. All of this madness happened in 3 short hours. Alhamdulilah, it was quick but I went through unnecessary pain and trauma. We now move onto recovery and relearning everything you did as a toddler (which no one talks about) after a C section. I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t walk, couldn’t hold my baby, couldn’t go to the toilet. I had so much gas and farting felt like someone was stabbing me in my gut. Whenever I sneezed, I wanted the ground to swallow me up. Forget coughing and laughing, it was easier to punch the wall.

The postnatal bleeding, breastfeeding, milk supply, the swelling of the legs, the blood thinners you inject yourself with… I mean, the list is just endless. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. I’m trying to be as transparent as possible, as we go through life’s trials and tribulations and learn to be humble. Recovery was long and hard but taking each day as it comes and not stressing about housework and cooking will do you good.

Alhamdulilah our health is wealth and we learn to never take it for granted. Blessed to have my daughter after all the trauma and pain. Would I do it again? Now that would be telling…