A Gentle Cesarean, birth story part 1

*This is part 1 of a 4 part series on ‘Gentle Cesarean Sections’ and the birth of our daughter, Matilda Piper.  It is my goal that by sharing this I will be able to encourage the many moms who end up needing medically necessary C-sections to take control and have the best possible birth for both them and their babies.
Originally, I wasn’t going to share any of this.  C-sections are talked about with an air of disgust or failure on most ‘natural living’ blogs and I felt like I would be shunned for having had one.  After reading THIS POST from Shaye at The Elliot Homestead I decided this was my story and I needed to own it.

Baby bump at 37 weeks

Part 1: Before she arrived

All things considered I had a relatively easy pregnancy.  Hardly any morning sickness, swelling or other ‘fun’ side effects.  I was able to maintain my energy and make it through the busy camp season with only some muscle soreness as my complaint.  That being said, there was more going on ‘beneath the surface’ that would ultimately effect the natural birth that we were planning.

During our 14 week ultrasound I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids.  My midwife (who is an amazing lady!) wasn’t too concerned but we decided that we would schedule several ultrasounds through out my pregnancy so that we could monitor the size and location of the fibroids versus the growth and location of the baby.  At this point we continued to plan our natural birth but knew that if complications came up we’d need to rethink things. I wasn’t too happy with the idea of extra ultrasounds but I understood the reasoning behind them, the most important thing was a healthy baby.

At an ultrasound farther along in the pregnancy (I had enough ultrasounds to lose track of what happened when) it was determined that one of the fibroids was large (approximately 10 centimeters) and appeared to be blocking the baby’s “exit”.  Our midwife told us as gently as she could that we should start wrapping our heads around the idea of a c-section.  We agreed to keep monitoring the situation and to hope for a natural birth while planning for a c-section.

At around 37 weeks I went in for yet another ultrasound, this time to get a better idea if the baby would be able to navigate around the fibroid to make her appearance.  It was at that ultrasound that we found out the baby was small and not growing as well as she should be (most likely because she was competing for space with the monster fibroid) I was scheduled for non-stress tests / ultrasounds every 3-4 days and an appointment with one of our midwifes backing OBs.

I felt like I was constantly at the doctors office, it was beyond frustrating.  Thankfully, at every test the baby was healthy and happy and at every ultrasound she was wiggling around and sucking her thumb.

On November 9th I went in for my scheduled tests and for the appointment with our midwife and OB.  After reviewing the latest ultrasound and not 1 but 2 exams they gave us the news we had been dreading.  They were both pretty well convinced that the baby was not going to fit past the monster fibroid and they were recommending a C-section.

Along with this piece of bad news came two pieces of good news.  The OB that we had already met and felt very comfortable with would perform the surgery and that the hospital had approved “gentle cesareans” a type of c-section that is designed to more closely mimic a natural birth, our doctor also happened to be trained in them.

Stay tuned for Part 2: The Arrival of Matilda Piper

Linking up with: The Modest MomThe Homestead Barn HopThe Better Mom, and Helathy 2day


6 thoughts on “A Gentle Cesarean, birth story part 1

  1. Thanks for sharing! I know exactly what you mean about enduring the “shame of failure” at having a medically-necessary c-section when one is part of the homesteader/do-it-at-home community.

    My oldest was supposed to be born at the birth center. Things were all on track during labor, right up until they gave me the antibiotic cefazolin (I'd tested positive for group-B strep). Turns out I'm allergic; who knew? One anaphylactic reaction, ambulance ride, and hours of monitoring later, we had an emergency c-section when baby's heartrate started dropping.

    Lo and behold – I have a uterine defect impossible to detect on ultrasound that makes me uber-super-holy-cow-high-risk for rupture. The verdict? No labor – ever – for me. Babies #2 & 3 were scheduled c-sections at 36 weeks.

    Now I'm pregnant with #4, and my OB says this is the last baby my body can handle. When he sewed me back together after #3, he said that my uterine tissue at the defect and the scar has the “structural integrity of wet tissue paper” (he wasn't real thrilled with the idea of a #4). So now, not only am I the multiple failure at FOUR c-sections, I'm also a villian because I'm having my tubes tied (if my uterus doesn't have to be removed completely) because of medical necessity.

    And you know what? I don't mind. This whole pregnancy, I've been so glad that this is the Last Time I'll have to do morning sickness… or feel like a blimp… or have massive pregnancy reflux… or endure a baby kicking my bladder at 2 AM. At some point, we may pursue adoption if we want more children.

    In my mind, the goal of pregnancy is a healthy outcome for both mom and baby. How that happens varies from woman to woman. One of my friends is my hero for having her baby at home with a midwife – she wanted a hospital birth with meds, but her husband's company dropped all medical insurance right after she got pregnant. In her words, “We could afford a hospital birth or a new minivan, but not both.” She did it, and survived, and they're both doing great. Me, I love being a mom, but this pregnancy gig is for the birds. If I had my way, my babies would all be delivered FedEx.

    Lest I sound too 'liberal', let me reveal that we homeschool, homestead on five acres with four goats, butcher our own poultry, see a naturopath for most of our medical needs, can and freeze most of our veggies and fruits, and are raising our children steeped in God's Word. I'm thankful for medical technology. Without it, I'd have died bearing my eldest child.

    Hooray for midwives and docs who have the ability to work with us outside-the-box types, and do it well!



  2. I'm so glad I found these posts! I think you are so right in it not being accepted at all in the natural living community. Unfortunately, sometimes a C-section is a necessity!

    I had the entire natural delivery planned out – right down to the hypno-birthing. What I hadn't accounted for was how a car accident from high school would prevent me from having a natural delivery – I had only ever been concerned with not being able to get pregnant/carry a baby full term. Come to find out, because I broke my hips/pelvis/tail bone in this car accident, my bones healed fused together – ie not opening to let the baby down. We figured it out after about 44 hours of labor that it wasn't going to work. But, when I tell my story in natural parenting groups, I seem to get the eye roll, no matter how many gory details I put out there 🙂 So thank you! I am your newest follower 🙂


  3. There is no way around a placenta previa so I had a c-section with baby #5. It is crazy how unwilling some moms are to admit that there is a reason and time for medical intervention. My MIL said I was just “luxuriating” while on bed rest. Another friend mourned for me about the section. What?! I have precious little boy who is happy, healthy and alive! Praise God for placing me in this time in history where ultra sounds pick up many complications that can be resolved through a c-section.


  4. Pingback: A Gentle Cesarean, birth story part 2 | Our New (England) Life

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