C-Section or Vaginal Delivery

C-Section vs Vaginal Delivery
"Move with the flow. Don't fight the current. Resist nothing.
Let life carry you. Don't try to carry it."     ~ Oprah

ONE WAY OR ANOTHER

A mom friend of mine recently had baby number two. I asked her when baby was due, and she said she had a scheduled C-Section. I know my face betrayed me. I know my face said, "HOW COULD YOU?! I know I made my friend feel awful and I myself felt pretty horrible. I can't take it back. I don't know why she had a C. I don't know if it's by choice or a health reason. I had no right to make any face other than say something, like, "YAY! Light at the end of the tunnel!"

Stupid Face.

Why did my face do this? Because Mom Shaming is a real thing. Anyone who isn't having an all natural birth by midwife then breastfeeding 100% is a a terrible mom apparently. Babies should be in cloth diapers and once on solid food, it should be homemade.

I'm exhausted just writing that.

Any mom who doesn't think the same way, we judge. We're so judgy.

Let's stop.
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VAGINAL BIRTH PROS AND CONS

I'm not talking about a full natural birth. I'll cover that another day - epidural or no epidural essentially.

This is a basic understanding of is a vaginal birth best for you.

Pros
  • Shorter recovery and hospital stay
  • Avoid having major surgery and its associated risks, such as severe bleeding, scarring, infections, reactions to anesthesia and more longer-lasting pain
  • Less woozy from surgery
  • You'll have earlier contact with baby than a woman who undergone surgery
  • You can breastfeed sooner
  • Vaginal delivery is more likely to squeeze out fluid found in a newborn's lung
  • Hold baby skin to skin as soon as baby is born which creates an immediate bond, regulates you and baby's heartbeats, and helps regulate baby's body temperature.
  • Delayed cord clamping is more normal for a vaginal birth allowing baby to absorb those final stem cells to protect them from disease.
Cons
  • A mom's skin and tissues around the vagina can stretch and tear while the fetus moves through the birth canal. You'll need stitches. It's normal. A total thing. There's a few things to help with pain and discomfort and I'll talk about that in sections to come.
  • Could cause weakness or injury to pelvic muscles that control urine and bowel function. Basically laughing and coughing could cause you to pee.
  • Experience lingering pain in the perineum, the area between vagina and anus. You're going to be soar and sex is going to be delayed until you've healed. Depending on the tear will depend on the recovery.
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C-Section PROS AND CONS

There are many reasons for a C-Section that makes it unavoidable to save the life of momma and baby. It could prevent mother from passing diseases along like HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. If momma has high blood pressure or diabetes then to ensure her safety a doctor will recommend a schedule C-Section. There's emergency C-Sections when baby is stuck in the birth canal and under distress. Usually means baby is late, very big, and/or momma is very small.

Pros
  • Life saving - obviously
  • If it's scheduled, then it's very quick and you get to avoid those super unfun labor contractions
  • No tearing for you!
Cons
  • Longer recovery time. You could be in the hospital longer - which actually could be a pro as having the nursing staff to help with nursing and changing diapers is an added bonus!
  • You don't hold baby right away. When you vaginally deliver the doctor will sometimes put baby right on your chest.
  • Doctors won't normally let the cord blood drain. Delaying cord clamping and letting the blood drain into baby helps give babies those final rays of momma protection. Cord blood has been babies lifeline for 9 months. It's what helped them grow this far so and by giving them a little extra boost it can help baby fight disease, even cancer! Even for cesarian, ask your doctor about delayed cord clamping.
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THINGS TO EASE THE PAIN

Whether by vaginal or operation we're all hurting after having a baby. Things they don't tell firs time moms. 

Your whole belly and everything in it will be loose. Your stomach will move freely after baby, water, and placenta held it in place. It feels weird and for me there was some PTSD that went with this just because I didn't recognize my body anymore and knew I never would again - which isn't entirely true. With some exercise and diet things are mostly where they were. Still have a little kangaroo pouch and stretch marks, but it reminds me of the lives I created and the beautiful experience I had giving birth. 

There's bathroom procedure after giving birth. Just like you pack a bag to go to the hospital you'll want to have your bathroom stocked with the following:
  • Pads - a lot of them. Honestly, I used newborn diapers. They had more coverage and held more "output".
  • Water spray bottle to keep the area clean if you have stitches.
  • Wish I knew about these, pads with icepacks build in, - I basically make shifted these by using little tiny icepacks that I stuck in the lining of the diaper.
  • For those with high degree tare you may want to consider a donut pillow. I know plenty of moms who kept it real and swore by these. Your comfort should be a priority no matter what.
  • Yoga pants - high ones. I wasn't kidding about the belly jiggle. It made me feel sea sick. High, over the belly yoga pants that held things in place really helped with this.
Whether vaginal or C-Section you'll want to have most of these things. I didn't know and when I got home I had nothing. My mom had to do a run to Bed, Bath and Beyond for everything, including more pillows because I was propped up on all sides at the hospital and at home. Note, I had twins so my experience my sound more strenuous then a single. I don't know any different though... so... maybe not.

I've never been in a car accident, but I imagine it feels very similar. You're whole body hurts for a few days. You use muscles you didn't know you had to push baby out. Counter intuitive, but the best medicine for me (other than pain killers) was walking. Getting babies in a stroller, using the handle for support, and I did a lot of walking. 

A C-Section is a bit different. You'll want to baby your body by avoid stairs and keeping everything you need close. Rest will be your recovery friend.
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HISTORY, DOCTOR RECOMMENDATION, RESEARCH, YOU DECIDE

The happy medium here is to be prepared for anything. Unless your doctor says you have to have a C-Section for medical reasons, you need to decide which path is right for you.

Give your doctor all the information you can about your medical history, discuss what they recommend based on what's happening throughout your pregnancy, do a little online research to decide which is right for you, then make a final decision of where you're going to start - vaginal or C-Section - if you even have a choice given your medical history.

If you decide to have a vaginal birth, I have two very big pieces of advice. If you're giving birth at a hospital with an OBGYN, I HIGHLY recommend a Doula. They are there to take care of you while everyone else is running around taking care of baby. Mine made sure I was fed, drank plenty of water, she massaged my feet and hips during contractions. She used the contractions to help move baby down the birth canal and she coached me through pushing which was only 90 minutes. DOULA! DO IT! Oh, she also took pictures of the whole delivery.

My second piece of advice is to have a very lose birth plan. This is not carved in stone. This is your ideal. Be ready for anything including an emergency C-Section. That way you're more in tune with making decisions as they happen rather then trying to stick your ground - pushing for another 4 - 5 hours to only have it anyway. I didn't want an epidural as part of my plan, but at 2AM after 12 hours of contractions being 1 minute apart and the addition of Pitocin to spread out my contractions, I was ready to get some rest. With a clear head I requested the epidural and so glad I did. I don't think it changed my giving birth experience. It allowed me, my husband, and doula to rest up for the big delivery day.

No one gets to tell you how to have your baby and no one gets to judge you for your decision. Whatever your choice, you made a human from scratch and that is something truly profound to be proud of.

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