My Emergency C-Section Was My Worst Nightmare — But I Survived

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When I got pregnant, I didn't know anything about what pregnancy was actually like. I went to my doctor’s appointments, but I didn’t ask him too many questions (to be honest, I didn’t know exactly what to ask him), and I read nearly nothing on the subject. I did go to a short series of classes with my partner, but mostly because I thought we should. I didn’t pay much attention to them.

At one point, however, I remember watching a video of a c-section. I had to look away. I stared down at my packet of paper and put my hands over my ears. I was terrified of being cut open. Furthermore, I was terrified I would die during childbirth. I had images flash before me constantly of my fully exposed, bloodied body on the birthing bed, my eyes rolling back in my head.

When people told me how joyous my delivery would be, I always lowered my brow, pursed my lips, and said some variation of "You know nothing," or "We shall see." I felt little to no joy about my pregnancy, because I knew that it would culminate in labor, and I couldn't even think about that.

Courtesy of Kelly Green

Part of the issue was that I didn’t have many people in my social circle with kids, so I didn’t really talk to anyone about my pregnancy. I kept most of my questions and concerns to myself. My horrified husband, however, had to listen to me bitch and complain and entertain insane scenarios everyday.

"I'm pretty sure I'm having a blood clot," I'd constantly tell him. "It will kill either just me, or me and the baby. I need a high-rated hospital because they will be better equipped when the baby crashes." His response was always the same: "You’ll be fine. He’ll be fine. You’ll both be just fine." But that only fueled my fear. Part of me wished he had just entertained my paranoia, so I wouldn't have freaked out all alone.

Hey, Kel, she wrote. I wasn’t scared of childbirth. But as it turns out, I should have been, because that sh*t hurts like hell.

After the childbirth classes were over and my due date loomed closer and closer, I started freaking out even more. So I texted a friend who had just given birth. “Was it really bad?” I asked. Her response did little to alleviate my fear. “Oh, the part where I ripped all the way to my anus and was essentially pooping out of my vagina?," she said. "Was that bad?" I got the point.

I thought I would find some consolation in talking to someone who was just as scared as I was. So I called my friend, who was due shortly after I was. I left her voicemail after voicemail, but she didn't call back. At first, I thought nothing of it, because we lived on opposite sides of the country and often struggled to coordinate our schedules. But by the time she messaged me back, I realized why it had taken her so long to respond: she had had her baby.

Hey, Kel, she wrote. I wasn’t scared of childbirth. But as it turns out, I should have been, because that sh*t hurts like hell.

Courtesy of Kelly Green

It’s been two years since I went through childbirth, and oddly enough, I hardly even remember it. It feels more like a dream than something that actually happened to me — and thank god, because what I can remember was a nightmare. The second after I was admitted, my doctor attempted multiple induction methods, all of which failed. My baby almost crashed twice, because the cord was wrapped around his neck. And worst of all, my fear of being cut open came true: I had an emergency C-section, which one of the doctors deemed one of the fastest on record. Then they sent me home, hunched over in abdominal pain.

There’s a part of me that would like to say the discomfort and fear that come with childbirth are worth doing all over again. But I’m not entirely sure that’s true for me.

Sometimes, I toy with the idea of having a second child, because I dream of mothering a little girl and because now that I have a toddler, I miss the simplicity of baby love. But pregnancy wasn’t a particularly good time for me, and childbirth was worse. I made it out alive – which I know is not a given – but I made it out with a huge scar and too cognizant of the physical pain that my body is capable of.

There’s a part of me that would like to say the discomfort and fear that come with childbirth are worth doing all over again. But I’m not entirely sure that’s true for me. I would once again be living a state of fear for 10 whole months, and besides, my friend was right — that sh*t hurts like hell.