People close to me and those who read my post about my first son’s birth story know how I fear CS, how I panicked just before the doctors were going to do me and how I was traumatized by the experience and vowed to do my best by all means to prevent another CS and go on with normal vaginal delivery.
When I learned that I was pregnant the second time, I had the determination to go on with normal birthing as I know some women who were successful in doing VBAC or the vaginal birth after a Cesarean section. Many women fear the pain of birthing, but I don’t. It’s set on my mind. Every pain I feel I will welcome, for I know it would take me closer to my baby. What I fear is having an incision on my belly. I dread it actually.
During my prenatal visits, my OB in Kabankalan City presented to me the reality of my situation. She said I can go on with normal birthing as long as labor occurs normally on my own — that is without the need for labor induction medications. She would regularly check the amount of my amniotic fluid and the baby’s weight. If the amniotic fluid drops below normal from 37 weeks until my guess date, it would require an induction of labor, and since it is no longer advisable for me to be induced, I would be a candidate for CS again.
On my 39th week, I went to and stayed in Bacolod City together with my sister. I had myself checked by another OB in Bacolod because I would be giving birth there. The first OB gave me Eveprim to soften my cervix as I was only 1 cm dilated and still not effaced. She conducted an ultrasound as well, and it turned out my amniotic fluid was normal, but I had a big baby of 3,500 grams, and she was more inclined to me having a repeat CS although she gave me more time to have labor on my own until the 41th week.
I asked for a second opinion from my mom’s OB, who later ended to be my attending physician when I gave birth. She explained very well the possibility of having another CS because of the big baby who was not still descending or engaged in my pelvis. She had me undergo a non-stress test, where my uterine contractions were monitored as well as the baby’s heart rate. It turned out I was already in labor. I was having strong contractions without pain but am not progressing.
There. We decided to have another CS. No matter how I wanted the normal and natural way, life has other ways for me. We can’t always have our way, can we?
When the OB and I talked about it at the labor room of the Bacolod Adventist Medical Center at noon of February 14 (a day before the 40th week), I suddenly shivered. I knew I shivered not because the air con was too cold — because it wasn’t. I shivered because there I was again, feeling hopeless and was totally out of control of my life. I know for some a CS is no big deal. But for me it is. I never had been hospitalized except for my first son’s birth and this one. I never have had any minor — much more major — surgery done on me except for my first CS and this. I fear to lose my life and everything I have. That’s true.
But this is a very big test of faith. Weeks prior to this fateful day, I tried memorizing Psalms 23 especially the part that says “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me.” thinking that this will come in handy during delivery — to handle my fear.
My brother-in-law came inside the labor room, and I handed him my bag with my phone inside. It was symbolic. Not having my phone with me means losing communication with my mom, who was at the time eating a quick lunch outside and didn’t know that the operation will be started in a matter of a few minutes. She and my brother-in-law were the only ones present with me at the hospital. Again, it’s one of my fear, not having to say anything to my mom before anything else happens.
I touched my brother-in-law on his arm and said, “I’m afraid.” and released a few tears. To console me, he assured me that I won’t be feeling any pain. But pain was not really what I am afraid of. I was more afraid of the unexpected things that could happen while the operation is going on. I fear the unknown, and this called for my total surrender to God, recalling Psalms 23 and Proverbs 3:5-6 — Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.
I composed myself and aired my concern to my OB who encouragingly said that I should drive off those negative thoughts. So I did. And I told myself that I’ll be back from the OR to see my mom after her lunch. That thought of “going back after everything’s done” was my hope.
So I did.
The whole experience in the operating room while I was being operated gave me a new perspective about CS. The whole surgical team was great, especially my anesthesiologist. She’s heaven sent. I talked to her the whole time I was able to during the operation. She listened to me, and attended to my needs, and I believe I had faster recovery because of her and the whole team.
My OB said my placenta was already turning a bit yellowish, meaning sooner my baby would have already his first poop or meconium inside imposing danger to both of us. There’s also a great possibility that I had cephalopelvic disproportion or CPD, in which the baby’s head does not fit to pass the mother’s pelvis, that’s why he’s not descending at all even though I did have contractions (just like my first birthing).
I now view CS as a saving procedure, not something that makes me less than a mother because I was not able to birth normally. Without it, I or my baby or both of us won’t be here.
CS also shouldn’t be viewed with fear. Yes, I fear. It brought out the fear that I never actually knew existed. But strengthening oneself spiritually and surrounding yourself with people who can listen to you patiently and give wise words to handle fear can help overcome it.
I thank God (super) for this opportunity to be braver than I was before, to conquer fear, all for the sake of motherhood — this time, not only to one, but to two kids.
Baby Liam Johann will now turn a month old this coming Saturday, and God has been faithful to Him.