Against Vagina Odds: A First-Time-Mom's C-Section Experience
The C-section isn't glorified in Nigeria, and many moms have lost their lives holding on stubbornly to having a vaginal birth.
Bimbola Segun-Amao wanted a vaginal birth against all odds. But she realized that birthing choices should be made based on what is best for the mother and child, and not necessarily personal preference. She shares her elective C-section story below.
As my pregnancy wound down in the third trimester, the prayers kept going up from different channels. “You will birth like the Hebrew women,” “You will not end up on the surgical table.” While I knew I was going to birth like the ‘Hebrew women’ as my little cutie and I will be fine, I also knew I would be ending up under the surgeon’s knife as she was going to be delivered by caesarean section.
Trying to conceive
Like most moms, I was initially hoping for a vaginal birth, but caesarean section chose me. I had tried to conceive for 7 years. Our issues ranged from hormonal imbalance to blocked tube(s), and then uterine fibroids came along the way. It became apparent that our reproduction would have to be assisted by technology, but first I had to get rid of the fibroids. So, I underwent a myomectomy.
The gynaecologist had advised that fertility treatment could commence three months after the operation. Five months after we had our first cycle of IVF treatment, which happened to be the only one, we got pregnant! It was an almost incredible success.
No option but an elective C-section
When I presented at my first antenatal appointment, my gynaecologist, after calculating my EDD asked if I would like to pick a date of birth right then. As we would be heading back to his theatre a second time. He explained that it was better for me to have an elective c-section, as I had just had a myomectomy a year ago. A C-section would reduce the risk of complications, such as a ruptured uterus during labour. Also, considering that labour cannot be predicted until it is over, it would be safer to have a C-section for the little one due to maternal age and other issues.
I was not going to consent. And I threatened to change hospitals, to find another oby/gyn that would be willing to try a vaginal birth. My doctor wasn't moved. He looked me in the eye and said, “You know better than taking unnecessary risks. You have come a long way, don’t jinx it.” Though I did not argue with him, I did not agree with him until he asked for a 31-week scan. And baby was in a transverse lie. That was it - I started preparing mentally and psychologically for the C-section.
We picked a date. And the next thing was to sort out finances and health insurance, then shopping. Asides the hospital list, I got nightdresses for the first few nights in hospital as I knew I won’t be able to wear pyjama bottoms for at least 24 hours after the c-section. I also chose some comfortable clothes that wouldn't put pressure on the wound. But would be easy for breastfeeding.
Was I panicky on the D-day? You bet! My heart was beating hard in my chest, but I wore calm like a cloak. No one could read my anxiety. I climbed the surgical table with my heart in my mouth. But I knew I was doing the best for my baby and myself. I got a spinal anaesthesia, and in a few minutes as the doctors and I conversed, our tiny human was brought out and given to me for her first kiss. In another hour I was in the recovery room, alive and well with the joyful addition to our home.
What a C-section Is and Is Not
The C-section is not a death sentence, it is not because some forces are trying to harm the mother, it is a practical life-saving intervention that should be embraced. The doctor is not a foe or an enemy of God. Your care-giver wants your prayers answered and that is why she is offering you a life line. There is no point gained when a woman labours for 48hours because she wants a vaginal birth by all means. She gains two lives (hers and her baby's) when she heeds the call for a C-section.
Will I be hoping for a vaginal birth if we try for another baby? Considering my medical history, it is almost impossible. Do I feel bad about it? Not at all, I only feel like a goddess. A life-giving one.