My Empowered C-section

Four years ago, I gave birth to my daughter via c-section after hours of painful labor and then hearing the dreaded phrase, “Failure to progress,” come out of my OB’s mouth.  After the dust had settled and I had a chance to think about what transpired during my labor and delivery, I was left feeling like I had no control over the birth process and that my body somehow had “failed” me. I thought that I gave in too easily by taking drugs so soon in the process and that somehow I was a passive participant in the birth of my own child.  So when I became pregnant again, I was determined to have the power to make my own decisions as to how I would give birth.  I did a little more reading and research this time around and I even drafted another birth plan.  But most of all, I had convinced myself that I wouldn’t be disappointed in myself or my body no matter the outcome.

So again, like last time, I painfully labored for 26 hours without progressing.  Except this time, everything in my being told me to proceed with my doctor recommended repeat c-section.  At that point, what mattered most was that baby and I were healthy and safe. All I wanted most was to see and hold my son.  I realized that I was not getting a medal for how I gave birth to my children. I feel proud of having survived all those intense contractions and that even though I did not undergo a natural birth, my body did not fail me.  To the contrary, my body gave me healthy, strong pregnancies and two beautiful children.

The day my son was delivered via a repeat c-section, I remember feeling sheer joy, not regret, in the operating room.  What made it even better was that the hospital had a new policy that allowed my husband and son to remain in the operating room with me while they checked all the baby’s vitals. I was able to hear them rate him high on the Apgar scale, that he was 20 ½ inches long, and that he was a normal, healthy boy.  The staff seemed more supportive this time, too. And when I first laid eyes on my boy I laughed and cried at how he looked (and yelled) JUST like his sister.  Though I was unable to hold him or nurse him immediately, I was able to console him while my husband held him close beside me.


Even though my son came into this world like his sister, I am still totally at peace with the way things turned out.  I labored for as long as I could and my husband and I asked more questions of the staff along the way which enabled us to make more informed decisions.  I felt like I had regained control of the birth process.  I realized how lucky we are in this day and age to have choices in how we give birth.  It does not matter if you give birth naturally, or via c-section; if you choose drugs or not; and with or without an epidural.  What is most important is that we support and empower moms through the birth process and that we bring healthy babies safely into this world.

Happy baby who doesn't care how he came into this world.
Happy baby who doesn’t care how he came into this world.

13 thoughts on “My Empowered C-section

  1. I really enjoyed your article, but I must admit that I’m feeling a bit sad to see a C-section considered a birth “failure” and/or “disappointment”. I have a lumbar spine condition that ruled out vaginal birth for me and was so grateful that a C-section allowed my son to be born safe and healthy. I celebrate that everyone has a different perspective, but there are thousands of women who cannot give birth vaginally and I’m guessing most of us don’t consider ourselves any less of a mother because we didn’t labor or push for 25 hours. No one should ever feel guilty for allowing their baby to be delivered via the safest possible method.


  2. I love this post MG. Favorite line: “I realized that I was not getting a medal for how I gave birth to my children.” You are amazing and I love your new perspective. I hope that it helped you heal a little of whatever was leftover from your daughter’s birth experience. Great post.


  3. This was powerful, Mary Grace, and shows how much we can learn from a not-so-positive experience. Attitude is everything and your priorities (safety and health!) were what really mattered. Congratulations!


    1. Thank you! I had to think positively and remove any feelings of guilt associated with a c-section. I had an open mind to let my body do what it needed to do, but by day two of no progression, I instinctively knew this was the safest option for me and baby.


  4. Amen, Sister! I love this post and your story!! So many women need to read this and know that empowered C-sections are absolutely possible! Love you. 🙂


  5. Wonderful post, Mary Grace! I think so many of us can relate to the feeling of failure or at least disappointment in our birth experiences. I’m glad your second experience was so much more positive!


    1. It truly was much better the second time around because I was way more prepared and I realized there is no such thing as a perfect birth. I had the same outcome with both my kids, yet I felt more in control with the second. And that’s all I really wanted 🙂


  6. Oh snap, this made me cry. As someone who also felt a lack of control over my birth situation, this post is very healing. Thank you.


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