Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Feelings about My C-Section & Trusting the Lord

Sometimes I have no idea how to start writing a blog post. This is one of them. Anyway... almost 2 years ago I had an emergency C-section with Ellie, and let me tell you, I was SO not prepared for that. We went to prenatal classes to learn all about labour techniques and all the basics about birth, and when the part came to learn about C-sections, I totally tuned out. I NEVER thought I would have a C-section. The possibility didn't even cross my mind. Of course, I should have realized that it was a possibility, but for some reason I was absolutely convinced that I would not have to have one. I suppose then it shouldn't come as a shock to me when I feel a very strange sense of disappointment and even a tiny bit of anger when it comes to thinking about having a C-section. I know, I know... I should just be thankful everything turned out okay, and I am. Believe me, I am very thankful mama and baby ended up being all right. And I completely understand that had I not had a C-section, things could have possibly turned out much worse. I also understand that my C-section may have been unnecessary. Then again, it may have been completely necessary, and had I been living in a time when medicine was not as advanced, perhaps mama and/or baby would not have been all right. In hindsight I wish I would have asked a few more questions before agreeing to the C-section. I wish I would have stuck it out a bit more rather than getting an epidural when things weren't progressing during active labour. Yes, all the could have's, should have's, wish-I-would-have's, and might-have-been's. I will never know what would have happened otherwise, and I probably do not want to know. What I'm trying to say is when things don't turn out according to our expectations, we shouldn't be surprised to feel some disappointment. Part of me feels guilty and selfish for feeling disappointed when everything turned out okay in the end (other than the implications a c-section has on future pregnancies and births), but the other part of me feels like it's really quite normal given my unmet expectations. I should have not been so caught up in my expectations while pregnant because it set me up for feelings of disappointment. Of course having a c-section is not the end of the world, but this does not negate my feelings about the experience and the implications for future pregnancies and births. I hope I don't sound bitter or ungrateful. I truly am grateful for the miracle our little Ellie is. And in the end...whether a person has C-sections, natural labours, homebirths, etc. don't really matter if we are seeking the Lord in our decisions. I mean...look at our precious baby!

Do you want to know the biggest reason I am disappointed in having a c-section? It's because the number of biological children we can have might now be limited. The general consensus among most doctors is a maximum of 3 c-sections, although you might come across a doctor here or there who will say it totally depends on the person. As I was going through my discharge papers with the nurse before we left the hospital with our newborn, I asked, "Does this mean I have to always have c-sections from now on?" The answer I got was a sympathetic "yes, probably" from a nurse who had to have c-sections herself.

Before my husband and I got married, we discussed the common question, "How many children would you like to have?" Neither of us really had a concrete answer. We still don't have a concrete answer. We don't know. Maybe we would only have 3 even without having to have c-sections. Then again, maybe we'd have 4 or 5 or even more. We're trying to seek God as to how many children He would like us to have. The fact that having another c-section pretty much guarantees a maximum of 3 is what is disappointing for me.

Now here is where a lot of you might really think I've got issues...and I do (have issues, I mean. But really, who doesn't?) These days most people choose to have only 2 or 3 kids even though they could easily have more. As long as they are seeking the Lord's will, following Him, and do not have selfish motives, this is fine in my opinion. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we have to have a certain number of children. I realize that many fellow believers disagree with all forms of natural family planning and instead choose to trust the Lord's sovereignty over the womb, meaning taking no action to prevent pregnancy. I respect their convictions but do not necessarily believe it is sinful or showing a lack of faith to practice some forms of natural family planning. My husband and I personally believe we should seek the Lord's direction as to how many children He would like us to have, but we do not believe this means all forms of child planning are banned. I disagree with most forms of birth control, but I'm not going to get into that right now. The key is to ask ourselves if we are deciding this based on our own selfish desires or because we believe it's the Lord's will. Nowadays, many people view children as an inconvenience instead of a blessing. Now I'm going off on a tangent. Anyway, what I mean to say is that I find it difficult that here I am wanting the option of having more than 3 children when most people with the option to have more never choose to have more than 2 or 3. I know that sounds and is ridiculous, but it's kind of how I feel at times.

The irony is that in trusting the Lord to lead us in the number of children He wants to give us, I ought to realize that perhaps having to have c-sections IS the Lord's way of showing us His will. As in, it is possible that His will for us would be to have only 3 biological children should I end up needing all c-sections.
I should add that even if I do end up having all c-sections, it does not necessarily mean 3 is all God would like us to have. I heard of one lady who safely 9 safe C-sections! Besides, there is always adoption.

Okay, I need to wrap this up. Here's the thing. I am planning and praying for a VBAC this time around. I desperately tried to get on with the only midwife here and called the same day I found out I was pregnant, but she was already booked for that month. I have found a doctor here who is willing to let me try but is a bit apprehensive about VBACs. (When Ellie was born there was no one who was willing to do VBACs here.). Update: Our region hired a new midwife recently, so I was able to get on with the midwifery program when I was around 20 weeks pregnant, praise the Lord!

Notice I said "I" am planning a VBAC. The Lord may have other plans. And you know what? I am okay with that. After all, His plans are ALWAYS better than our own.

This is where I just need to trust Him.

Growing Home


RaisingCropsAndBabies said...

I understand where you are coming from. I am on my 3rd c-section (it'll be my 4th child)in 9 weeks. We are done, biologically, after this one. They get more rough to recover from and the risks go up and our family seems to have a knack for being part of the "small" statistics... While I always wanted more children, I realize that our wants aren't always what is best for us or our family or God's plan. Sometimes it takes a "slap in the face" (ie: birth injury, c-section, not being able to breastfeed, you name it) to understand this. I'm not saying that it's in God's plan to have had my first child severely injured at birth, but for whatever reason He chose not to intervene in that (but He did intervene in saving his life). The funny thing is, is that you can still find the blessings in the twists and turns of life and have peace in them. I never expected my life to turn out how it has. Some people feel sorry for me, but over the years I've found the joys in my life now (ones I would have NEVER known if what I had mapped out would have happened... homebirths, breastfeeding, perfectly healthy children). While it all can still be hard and I may have "twinges" of pain from not being about to have an unlimited number of children or being able to nurse, etc; the sharpness fades in time.
Plus, we are now researching adoption in a heart of openess for the future... something we NEVER would have looked into had things gone "our" way...

Good luck with your vbac and just know, no matter what, you'll be able to find blessings in either situation (though at first it can be very hard to see).

Valencia said...

I am praying for you, ultimately Christ knows what is best for each family!! My last child was a C-section and I had to get a tubal for health reason, but the Lord has opened our hearts to adoption. I knew the Lord would provide a way to keep my home and heart filled with children. So, no matter what TRUST HIM!!!!

Anonymous said...

Jenna, I just read this and I had to comment. After my c-section the exact same thoughts went through my head- one night I was crying and told Kevin that I am so worried about having to have another c-section as it may limit the amount of kids we could have. I had always thought that we would probably have 3 kids but somehow the loss of control of really being able to decide made me angry and feeling as though I really want more kids. I'll be praying that everything goes well with the VBAC, and that you are able to trust that God has a plan. Keep trusting in His perfect ways.

A Little R&R said...

Wow - I feel like you just totally wrote about me! 19 months ago I also had an unplanned C-section. It wasn't an emergency 40 weeks 3 days I still wasn't anymore near labor than I was at 4 weeks...but the doc said my son's head was too large to pass through the birth canal. I was horribly disappointed. Like you, I had totally tuned out or ignored any information about a c-section, because it wasn't even on my radar.

I am now 30 weeks along with #2 and doc said that if all goes well I can have a VBAC. Like you, I am really hoping for one, because in my country they simply will not deliver any more children after a 3rd c-section - naturally or otherwise. We're not necessarily planning on anymore children...but like you - I just sort of wonder if maybe later we'll want more.

I can't wait to see what God does for you this time around. I am hoping you get your VBAC!!!

Popping over - and now following you - from WLW.

Angela said...

I have had five c-sections so far. We are open to however many blessings the Lord decides to give us (regardless of the dr's as they only feel comfortable with two or three). Good thing for us that it's not in the dr's hand but rather in the Lord's. He knows exactly what it looks like in "there"....

My husband and I didn't get here in our strong conviction over night...we went through a vasectomy and reversal as well as finding out I had a tumor that I would have died from if I had not been open to children (I know, odd...the name of it was a "pheochromocytoma")

You know who I think of when it comes to being open to children is Rachel...she gave birth to Joseph and died giving birth to Benjamin. They were the two tribes of Israel. WOW!
The question I have asked myself is, "What if that was the sole purpose of Rachel's life...would that be o.k.?

bottom line....c-sections, infant formula, etc. are not the enemy.
His plan is SO good and SO perfect.

Praying that you will have His eternal wisdom.

btw...a really good read on this subject is, "Be Fruitful and Multiply" by Nancy Campbell. You can also visit her website which is titled, "Above Rubies."

Love in Christ,

Mama Chocolate said...

I love your attitude about it all! I am a pretty avid home-birth advocate...but, of course, first and foremost I am an advocate for the Lord's will and the safety of the baby! :-)

I would encourage you to do some more research into VBAC's. There are some major misconceptions about them, and especially if you have only had one c-section so far, (barring other complications,) there is NO reason you shouldn't be able to try for VBAC!
After two or more it starts to get a little riskier, so you'd really want to make sure you make an informed decision before this next birth, as it could affect the rest of your births afterward as you mentioned!

Keep looking for a VBAC-friendly midwife that will take you, or a doctor that is more outspokenly willing to do VBAC's. Many doctors will tell you that you can "try for a VBAC," but then during labor will often switch on you and rush you into a c-section at the slightest hitch or delay in the labor.

Please at least read "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth!" There's some weird hippie-kind of stuff in there, but much wisdom and helpful information also! She has a whole section on VBAC's with some great research on their safety.

However it turns out, I love that you are staying open to God's will for the birth...however it happens!

God bless! :-)

Johanna at Mama Chocolate

Tara said...

I had a c-section with my first, and was fine with it. I did VBAC with my second and all went well. (I think the type of incision you have may be a factor. (vertical vs. horizontal)) My dr. just assumed I'd try a vaginal birth the second time since there was no real reason not to. I think Johanna had some really good advice. Just just wanted to encourage you. Good luck to you in your VBAC attempt.:)

Jen said...

Funny, I was reading through this and the whole time saying, VBAC!! Midwife!! but I guess you thought of that. What a blessing that you found a doctor willing to even try a VBAC, that it so rare these days.
I get the disappointment thing with things not going your way, I had a midwife with Aubrey and I'm not going to be able to get that here in the states with my next one, based on our insurance. I'm so scared they won't let me go long enough to wait for the baby to come on it's own(Aubrey was 11 days over due) and I'm giving you the same advice that I'm giving myself when I'm a little freaked out of a pushy doctor: Pray that God gives you courage to stand up for what YOU know is right for you and your baby. I don't want to be a push over and go with a doctor's decision based on what the majority of mothers need, not this specific situation.
Oh and yes, I am pregnant again(and feeling sick like you are) :) I'll be due some time in March! I hope you are feeling better Jenna...

Cheryl said...

I can so relate to the feelings and emotions you share in this post. My first 4 babies were born c-section. I was told "Once a cesarean..." Then a miracle happened and after surrendering our fertility to the Lord in 1997, a crusty old OB suggested we try a VBAC (personally, I thought the dude was one fry short of a Happy Meal!). Long story short our 5th child was my first VBAC! Since then, I've had FIVE more VBACs, all weighing OVER TEN POUNDS each (the last two weighed over 11 pounds and were born at home). I want to encourage you sweetie, to give it ALL to the Lord and then be amazed at what He will do! P.S You can read the full version on my blog here: (it's my most popular post!)
God bless you as you bring Kingdom Warriors into this world!

Angela said...

WOW Cheryl! I LOVE when God shows Himself this way. What an amazing testimony!!! This is of great encouragement. I've had five c-sections (so far) and the thought of a VBAC seems scary....with God ALL things are possible! And then you had a bunch more....AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

Wow! It was like I reading my own thoughts from 2 years ago! I too had a c-section after having a terrible experience with an epidural and 40 hour labor and being woefully uneducated about all childbirthing possibilities. I hated the thought of being limited in the number of children I could have (even though I didn't know how many I wanted). The docs said my son was probably too big to be born vaginally. He was 9 lbs. 9 oz. When I got pregnant 6 months later, I started doing some research and decided to try a VBAC. I was very lucky to have a doctor and hospital right down the street that were very supportive. (I did get some resistance from family, some nurses, etc., but my husband and I prayed every day for a safe and natural delivery of our second) My daughter was born naturally, after a short 7 hour labor and she weighed 10 lbs. 7 oz!! The biggest help to me was hiring a doula, and every night spending time praying for God's will and imagining a safe and healthy delivery.

And the Lord has blessed us again! Two weeks ago I had another beautiful daughter via VBAC (no doula this time), weighing 9 lbs, 5 oz. We were even trying not to get pregnant this time because my so-close pregnancies had my body feeling all run-down. But, like you said, it is the Lord's plan that is most important.

All that said, I really hope you are able to have a VBAC. Please know that it is possible! I just wanted to encourage you because so many people thought that I couldn't do it because of my big babies. But to God be the glory. My second VBAC I only had 3 hours of labor (I had to have pitocin since my water broke the day before, which sped things up) and it was the hardest 3 hours of my life...but God was so gracious to me. I know that no matter what happens with your birth (VBAC or C-section), the Lord will pour His Grace out on you too because you are desiring His will. Congrats on your upcoming addition and safe delivery!

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