Women who give birth via vaginal delivery are sometimes revered as the mamas who have the truly ~special~ births and birth stories. They did, after all, give birth the "natural" way. But for those of us who either opt to or are left in a situation where having a c-section is the safest way to give birth for us, despite being broadly left out of the Awesome Birth Story Club, have no shortage of equally amazing moments before, during, and after giving birth. Yes, even if a c-section entails being sliced open instead of pushing with contractions, we are just as much giving birth when we undergo a c-sections. And the moment you get to see your new baby — held up over that blue paper shield between you and the doctors — is only second to the feeling of having that baby held up close for you to check out all of that matted down hair and inexplicably smooth wrinkles in his or her skin. There are so many beautiful moments that come in the course of having a c-section, but still, giving birth this way is still generally regarded as, in short, a giant bummer for everyone.
My c-section came as a last resort after three days of labor and then four hours of pushing (I guess he was just comfortable in there?), so I didn't have the luxury of a perfectly scheduled c-section, but I have heard lots about how convenient it is to go that route. Considering my own weeks of nervous anticipation and prolonged labor, I can easily imagine now nice it would be to have a certain relaxing freedom up until it's time to go to the hospital and meet your new kid. And while I can appreciate the decrease in recovery time that vaginal births allow, but after having a c-section, there was insanely accomplished feeling when I was finally able to walk down the hallway or walk to the bathroom, and to do so while standing up straight instead of hunched over like a formerly pregnant Quasimodo. It's moments like that, though, that make you feel like you're in a special little club of exceptional moments that only women who have c-sections are a part of.
1. The Atmosphere In The Delivery Room
I was lucky enough to have a stellar team of all women in the room for my very much unplanned c-section. And because of their smiling faces and just the positive, excited atmosphere, it was a little easier to stomach that my, well, actual body was about to be cut open.
2. The Moments Directly After Your Baby Is Pulled Out
I know that a lot of women who have c-sections get to hold their babies or at the very least see them directly after birth, making for the most personal of experiences. For my son's birth, I actually had to be knocked out at the last minute so I was not the first person to hold my son. But it makes me feel so ridiculously good to think of my husband holding and cuddling our son for the two hours I was asleep in recovery. I would have loved to hold him first, but for some reason, the thought of my husband getting to experience that feels right.
3. The Peace That Follows The First Time You See Your Baby After Recovery
For me, the first time I saw my son was when they brought him into my room after recovery. I was finally awake and feeling normal and in my actual hospital room. And I'll never forget how normal it felt to reach out for my son, lay him on my chest, enjoy the feeling of his skin on mine, and just sleep together, like it was the most natural thing in the world for us to do. And keep in mind that before this, I was freaking terrified to be in charge of a fragile newborn.
4. Walking Down The Hallway Without Being Hunched Over
Other moms like to say that you'll soon forget any of the negative aspects of birth and after birth and that you'll want to do it all over again soon enough. Yeah, the feelings of not being able to walk upright and literally shuffling to and from the bathroom are both as clear as ever in my memory. The moment I was able to walk like a normal person again, instead of a caveman, was more liberating than I had imagined.
5. The Freedom That Comes Before A Scheduled C-section
Like I said, I had a c-section after three days of trying to have my son vaginally. But the other women in my family have had plenty of scheduled c-sections and for them, birth was a lot easier. Sure, they also had the recovery period to deal with after, but they also got to have some peaceful moments in the comfort of their homes before it was time to go to the hospital, check in, and wait the little bit of time until their scheduled c-sections.