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Autumn’s Mother-Centered Caesarean

on | in Motherhood | by | with 29 Comments

Hey mamas! Welcome to the Birth Story Bash! If you have a story you’d like to share, please pop over to the main page and share your link! For those that don’t have a blog you can submit your story here – I’ll be choosing a few to publish the next time around! In the meantime, enjoy this story from Autumn Greavy, who didn’t get the birth she wanted but found peace with the help of a caring physician. [Disclaimer: Publication of these stories is not an endorsement of any particular medical procedure or birth perspective. ♥

I had Cesarean sections. . .

With both of my boys, ages 5 and 2. With my first son, I was induced at 42 weeks, and after laboring for 45 hours, only dilated to 4cm. Because my water had been broken for the time limit, I was forced to have the Cesarean. With my second son, I chose to homebirth, and unfortunately didn’t trust myself or my body and started pushing too soon (because the midwife said I was ready, despite never checking my cervix at all). I pushed for 9 hours at home, and ultimately transferred to the hospital for another Cesarean. I was devastated, fell into a very dark place, and it took almost 18 months to even talk about the experience.

For my third pregnancy, I was desperate to have a vaginal birth (VBA2C). I searched and found the only provider in my area that would allow me to even attempt a trial of labor without just automatically scheduling a repeat c-section. That provider was Dr. P., and he is a hero in my eyes.

My whole pregnancy was so easy and uncomplicated. Then, at 36 weeks, I developed pre-eclampsia. I was put on medication for my blood pressure and was told to go on “modified bed rest.” That was the absolute worst for me, because I am very active. But it managed the pre-e, and we were hopeful that I would be able to get to 39 weeks before delivering the baby. The day before I was 38 weeks, we had an appointment. My protein levels had tripled in a week, my blood pressure was very high, and they decided I couldn’t wait any longer. Baby was high and not engaged at all, and I wasn’t dilated. Dr. P said that induction was likely going to be a futile effort, but he would do it if I pushed him to. I was induced under those circumstances with my first child, and I knew in my heart that I could not go through that again. So I had a long heart-to-heart with Dr. P about the reasons I didn’t want a Cesarean again.

I Told Him . . .

That I just wanted to be treated as a mother giving birth to her baby; not as a belly behind a blue screen that was “just another surgery.” I never saw my boys right after they were born. I only knew their gender because the doctor at the other end announced it. The first time I saw the boys, they were swaddled, hatted, and I was allowed to see their tiny face looking at me for approximately 30 seconds before they were whisked away to the nursery and I was carted to the recovery room, alone.

Alone.

So while everyone and their uncle got to stare at my baby through the nursery window – the baby I had worked so hard to carry for 9 months – I was lying in a room alone, for at least an hour, just waiting to hold my baby for the first time. That, folks, is the pits.

Dr. P assured me that I wouldn’t have that experience in his OR. And he was right. After our discussion about my fears and wishes, I made the transformation from thinking that I desperately needed a vaginal birth to feel whole, to realizing that what I really needed was an empowered birth; one where I made the decisions and listened only to myself and my body and trusted my instincts.

So on Tuesday, June 26th . . .

I went in for an elective Cesarean. I was scheduled at 10am, but due to unforeseen circumstances, didn’t get back to the OR until around 1pm. My spirits were diminishing and I was getting grumpy. I was tired, hot, hungry, and so very thirsty. Dr. P was nowhere to be found, and I was getting angry with him. In fact, when he finally came in to see me before the procedure, I told him I was bitchy for having to wait so long, and he said, “Bitchy, huh? Well, I like that. I’m glad you’re a real person and not just one that pretends everything is OK.”

After the spinal was administered (this process took forever. It also took them 3 stabs before they got it right, because my back is crazy), it was time to begin. My dear friend and doula Ashley waited through the whole process with us, but wasn’t allowed in the OR. Imagine my surprise when I saw her walk in, dressed in scrubs and mask, right next to my husband Cullen. (Dr. P got her in – this guy is awesome).

Per our discussion, Dr. P didn’t put the blue screen up. He put a mirror at the foot of the bed so I could watch the whole procedure, and most importantly, so I could see my baby come out. He explained what he was cutting, what he was doing, and what I was seeing. When he got to my uterus, he showed me the scar from the previous sections. He showed me a “window” where the scar attached to my uterus and said, “Wow, this is really thin. I’m afraid you would have ruptured.” (if I would have induced or labored). Then he just touched it, and it popped right open. It was frightening to think of the situation that might have occurred if I would have chosen induction rather than opting for the Cesarean. My uterus would have likely ruptured and it could have been an emergency in the blink of an eye. Thank God for trusting my instincts and my own body!!!

I watched him birth Baby E’s head . . .

I was under the impression that once the body was out, he would hand the baby to the nurses to get suctioned/swaddled/cleaned up, then Cullen would bring baby to me and unwrap him/her and we’d be skin-to-skin. But Dr. P. surprised me once again, and as soon as Baby E was born, he put her right on my chest. I got to hold my baby immediately after she was born! The nurses did their checks while she was on my chest. She never left my arms. Then she was flipped over so we could see gender. We were surprised to find out she was a girl!!! I held my baby and sobbed with joy while I was being sutured back together. Baby Eila went with me to recovery, where we nursed and bonded, and she was never taken from me.

I got the birth of my dreams. It was everything I needed, and so much more. Dr. P went out on a limb for me that day, and as he was leaving the OR he said to me, “I hope this is what you were hoping for. You really educated a lot of people in here today, and you should be proud of yourself.” That man deserves a million hugs for helping me have the birth experience I’ve always wanted.

Photo credit: Courtney Paris Photography

 

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29 Responses to Autumn’s Mother-Centered Caesarean

  1. Marci Purtell via FB says:

    This maybe one of my favorites.

  2. Kari says:

    Amazing! I cried through this! The pictures are so emotional! Mama, I’m so glad you had the birth you wanted!

  3. Bethany Roth via FB says:

    <3<3<3

  4. Kari Lowrie via FB says:

    Oh my goodness, yes! As a woman that attempted home birth, was transported for a c-section after 30 hours and then had her second child by scheduled c-section, I can totally relate! This is so sweet!

  5. That one got me all bleary-eyed!

  6. Britten Mills Doonan via FB says:

    I love this!! After being the oldest of five kids all born via c-section (my Mom never dilated past 2 cm) I had heard all the horrors of of caesarean birth. The meds didn’t work, her bp dropped and she passed out, she shook violently after coming off the meds…not to mention some serious difficulty recovering from the surgeries. I’m petrified of ever having to have a c-section! They threatened to take my second that way cause his heart rate was too low, but once they broke my water his hr shot back up and he was just fine. Even though I had them both vaginally, Ethan’s birth was far more traumatizing than my first birth with Garrett. My doctor wasn’t even in town and his colleague was a short tempered, flat out rude man who had no business birthing babies…had I had the strength I would have hit him and never felt sorry for it. Make sure no matter which doctor, midwife, etc. you see visit with all of them and keep in mind if your choice can’t make it for some reason, you’re still going through the process with this person. Do you trust them? Do they listen to what you say or blow you off? Are they kind and have a good bedside manner? You want to make sure you’re truly comfortable with the person delivering your baby. It makes all the difference in the world!

  7. Tandy Batt via FB says:

    I really love this story- reminds me so much of my own.. I had a great dr. Who let me do all the things I wanted.. I held my babies immediately after birth while sutured me up (& even waited a little bit, as long as he safely could for their cords to stop pulsing) they went with me to recovery, began nursing immediately and never left my arms/side the 2 days were there.. & So much more, breaking all the “rules” of a c-section :) I loved reading that someone else was a blessed as I was! Love hearing women decide what they want and make it happen..Kuddos to this mama, for making what she wanted for her birth, happen! It *can be done ;)

  8. Amber Rose Hoiska via FB says:

    Making notes if my VBAC (in approx 7 weeks) doesn’t happen. Great read!!

  9. Katie Lacer via FB says:

    Love Autumn, and her story!!!

  10. Autumn Harvey Grasty via FB says:

    Thank you for all the lovely comments, and thank you Heather for sharing my story. I had literally no postpartum depression (not even the baby blues) after the birth of my sweet babe. I was SO thrilled to be able to have this amazing experience; and while a vaginal birth would’ve been great, I’m happy to have found a provider that listened and respected my wishes. It was truly a healing experience for me.

  11. What a beautiful birth story! Autumn you are an AMAZING woman!!! And yay for an amazing MD!

  12. Rachel Stanton Jimenez via FB says:

    What a wonderful story! I love hearing about positive cesareans, they’re much needed. Anyone else needing a cesarean who wants a similar birth but whose doctor isn’t 100% onboard, share this research article with them. It’s time to make the birthing experience more about the mother and baby and less about procedure and routine. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2613254/

  13. What an awesome story! I LOVED the line about realizing you needed an empowered birth, not just a vaginal birth! I am still disappointed about my third c-section, but it felt very empowering to fight for the right to VBAC and letting my baby choose her birthday! I did everything I could to try to turn her from her breech position to no avail! What a great great birth story and I hope more gals read it!

    • Autumn says:

      Thank you, Bonnie! Sometimes I think that the babies just know what’s best for us, even though we may have different ideas.

  14. Jenn says:

    GREAT STORY!!!! Yay fot that Dr!!!

  15. Wow, that’s awesome… a great way to turn a c-section into a more positive & joyful experience!

  16. Anna says:

    Wonderful story! I cried all the way through it. Good for you for recognizing what was the real issue and finding such a great solution. This story might just change how many women will go through cesarean if they have to have one. I guess this is one of the best birth stories I’ve read!

    • Autumn says:

      Thank you, Anna! I want as many women as possible to read my story and know that a Cesarean *can* be a positive, empowering, healing experience. Such a difference from my previous two Cesareans…

  17. thank you Autumn, the c-section issue hits home. I didn’t even know that such a natural-esqe c-section exists, good to know as I consider #2.

  18. Chelsea says:

    …and I’m crying. This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

  19. Amy says:

    Incredibly touching story. Thank you for sharing your words of strength and wisdom. You mentioned many of the fears I have, whenever we decide to have kids, about having to have a C-section and missing out on all of the v-birth events. You are so inspirational! Thanks for this!

  20. Amanda says:

    ” I made the transformation from thinking that I desperately needed a vaginal birth to feel whole, to realizing that what I really needed was an empowered birth; one where I made the decisions and listened only to myself and my body and trusted my instincts.”
    Loved this thought :)
    Thanks for sharing your story

  21. Leah says:

    wonderful! I cried through the whole thing!!

  22. Sember says:

    I am crying my eyes out. What a beautiful and important story. Thank you so much for sharing.

  23. Melissa says:

    Thankyou so much. I feel as if I could have written this, it’s exactly how things went for my emergency c-section with my daughter. I bawled my eyes out reading this and took a good hour to compose myself, it put into words my exact feelings. I have been destraught knowing that my second, due in 6weeks, would be the same. I cant have a vaginal birth, but now I will settle for nothing less than an ‘empowered birth’. I will be putting my foot down! thankyou for sharing this story!

  24. heidi says:

    Thank you for sharing. This touches such a raw spot in my heart. I have had 3 C-sections and one successful VBAC (which was my 2nd baby). Unless you’ve been there, it is hard to understand the loss of those first moments with baby. It took hours before I could even hold my babies, and I cried in frustration and anger over that. I keep looking back, asking, why was I so weak? Why couldn’t I have just gone through the pain a little longer, maybe then I could have avoided the C-section ordeal……..and I grieve it all over again. But I am going to read this post over and over. And each time, I think it will bring a little more healing to this ache I have for the way my babies were born. And then I’m going to remember how serious scar tissue can be, and be thankful I have 4 beautiful, healthy babies. Thank you for sharing.

  25. keri says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! I read this 1.5 years ago and never left a comment. Your story helped heal me after my own first, scarring c-section and brought into a more mama-led second. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that. THANK YOU!

  26. Robin says:

    Thank you for this beautiful story. As a medical student and resident I saw so many c-sections that just left me feeling awful. I always tried to stay with the mom if I could so she wasn’t all alone recovering and then get her baby to her as soon as I could, but it was heartwrenching for me. I haven’t been involved with any births since residency but the feelings have stuck with me. This was very healing to read. Thank you.

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