Birth plans are a hot topic in every website and every parenting book. Generally, there is a lot that goes into a birthing plan, starting from who will be there to what will be done during and after the birth. In short, it seems that there are two options; natural delivery and C-sections. Although each option includes countless details, like the type of anesthesia or the reaction to anticipated problems, many people still act like there is a simple dichotomy to choose from. Whether or not the details are tackled early on, the doctor and the mother usually have expectations for what the birth in general will be like. Usually, C-section options come up when something abnormal is going on, or when the pregnancy is classified as “high-risk” due to physical aspects regarding the baby, such as the breech position, or due to a mother’s illness.
Many women end up in surgery with an unplanned C-section if something goes wrong during labor. However, some women opt for elective C-sections. It is sometimes a delicate situation when one option is only slightly better than the other. It's sometimes up to the mother to decide when both options are medically sound. Some women tell stories about how their decisions to go for C-sections were not wise. Several outcomes can be the reason why women are not happy with their C-section births. In this article, we tell 15 stories about women who had a C-section and regretted it.
14 Risks With VBAC
Lisa Ling is an award-winning journalist. She is a mother of two who gave birth to both of her babies by C-section. She reports that her first C-section was scheduled. Ling was not disappointed by having to opt for a C-section since the doctor told her that the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. She also preferred the predictability of the timing, especially with a surprise baby. The baby was delivered safely and she was fine. However, the same cannot be said about her second time. It was an elective C-section, possibly planned to avoid the risks associated with having a vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC).
She was admitted to the hospital on time and had the C-section. She then found that the incision was not healing as well as it did the first time. Later, she developed an extreme infection and had to be prescribed antibiotics. Of course, it was a very painful experience. It took a whole month for the incision to close properly. She and her husband suspect that she picked up the infection at the hospital, which is one of the major risks of C-sections that no one talks about. All in all, she regrets not trying for a vaginal delivery with her second pregnancy.
13 When Things Don't Go According To Plan
While Ling has issues with her incision long after the operation was finished, another mother’s story began falling apart right in the operating room. Emily had a close-to-perfect pregnancy. She also designed her specific birth plan. C-sections were not a part of this plan at all, but upon entering the 41st week of pregnancy, she realized that her plan would not work out. The doctor waited for labor, but nothing happened. Her dilatation was zero. She was unhappy that her amazing pregnancy would not have an amazing ending.
By this time during a pregnancy, the belly and the baby are huge. An ultrasound examination confirmed the baby’s size. Of course, this translated into the impossibility of labor induction. Therefore, everything pointed to a C-section being the safest option. During the operation, she got sick from the anesthesia. She then suffered substantial amounts of blood loss and thus, needed several blood transfusions. She describes the delivery as a “nightmare.”
12 Horrific Incision
April Cary gave birth by C-section and everything was fine right afterwards. It was an emergency C-section that was required because her baby had irregular heartbeats. Two days later, April went back home with her baby. Her trouble unexpectedly started in the bathroom. She sat down on the toilet seat and then stood up to find herself amid a gush of blood and fluids.
Needless to say, it was a terrifying moment. The unthinkable happened to her – the C-section scar reopened itself! She needed urgent medical care. In the hospital, she was patched up with surgical tape, and nurses had to come visit her daily at home to check on her wound. This ordeal lasted for six whole weeks until she finally began to feel normal again. This could have been the result to inadequate surgical procedures. Although she had no choice but to get a C-section to save her baby, she must have had her fair share of regret after such a souring experience.
11 Muscle Trouble
For another mother, things got a lot more complex inside the operating room. Some women receive spinal or epidural anesthesia during C-sections, which means they are fully aware of what is going on in there. They hear every detail, and if something goes wrong, they are not spared the stress. Carrie Hornbeck's C-section included such a horrible episode of stress.
During the operation, the muscles in the abdomen are extended to leave a space big enough to let the baby through. After the baby is born, everything goes back into place and is sewn. For Carrie, the abdominal muscles clamped down and so the uterus could not be placed back where it was. She says that two doctors and two nurses were pulling her muscle layer, but they were not able to get the job done. She was given four different drugs to help her get through the operation before it was successful. If given the choice, she would definitely have saved herself the risk and gone for a vaginal delivery.
10 Panic Attack
Of course, the effects of having a C-section are never just purely physical. Traumatic birth stories often come from psychological roots. This is what happened to Terra Atrill who was pregnant with twins. She attempted vaginal delivery but it failed. She had a fear of things covering her face, and therefore the general anesthesia mask acted as a major trigger for her.
She started suffering a panic attack, hitting the hospital staff, and trying to detach the IV from her arms. Her birth was preterm, so there were a lot of staff members in the room, which aggravated her condition. She became very hard to control, because she had thoughts like “they want to kill me” in the back of her head. Two hours later, in the recovery room, she managed to calm down and apologized to everyone. It seemed to work out for her, but she is definitely upset by how her birth went.
9 Apparently High Risk
Another mommy blogger tells her story about how a C-section was devastating for her. Rohini is a stay-at-home mum who spent 11 years in the corporate world. Her first child was born via C-section against her expectations. Her baby was in a normal position and she followed every rule in the book. She listened to her prenatal classes and did everything to guarantee a smooth normal delivery. However, when the time came, things didn’t go as planned.
The contractions were mild and not so close together. In the hospital, she received a Pitocin drip to get things going. The pain increased, but dilatation did not exceed two fingers. Later, upon examining the baby’s heartbeat, it was revealed that the baby was at risk. Increase in contractions without the baby moving forward meant that the baby was being exhausted. It came as surprise for her, but a C-section was a must. She later wondered if the doctor rushed things instead of waiting to opt for a natural delivery. She felt cheated out of her chance at delivering vaginally. Years later, she says it still matters to her because she never knew whether the risk was that high, considering the stories she read about other women in similar situations.
8 When Reality Hits
Country singer Jessie James Decker was 26 when she had her baby. She went in for a normal routine checkup and ended up delivering the baby! The doctor told her that she wasn't going to remain pregnant any longer and needed to have the baby that day. She reports being devastated when the doctor asked for a C-section. After 14 hours of stalled labor, it was the only option.
Decker said she went crazy and yelled and screamed at everyone when the emergency C-section was brought up. Naturally, she was disappointed when the special labor and happy family moments were stolen from her. She even had her own birth plan, but it was thrown out the window when reality kicked in. She admits feeling regret over her surgery.
7 Seeing The Baby
Another mother explains her C-section regret story. This time, the mother does not have anything to worry about regarding her physical condition. There were no infections, inflammation, or incision issues. There is, however, the issue of sleeping through the entire birth. Most mothers who go for C-sections are given general anesthesia, but in her case it didn’t work out.
As a result, the baby was born, bathed, and dressed with the mother still unconscious. This mother explains that her induction failed and she couldn’t get numb enough from epidurals for the surgery to begin. The doctors had no choice but to put her under. She feels guilt over not seeing her baby immediately. While her husband and mother saw the baby soon after birth, she did not meet her baby until 3 hours after the birth! Even though it was out of her hands and there was nothing she could do about it, the feelings of guilt persisted.
6 Foley Bulb Letdown
Many mothers who are keen on their birth plans try literally everything before resorting to C-sections. One mother with gestational diabetes explains how she tried for so long to have a vaginal birth and failed. With her condition, the earlier the birth, the less the risk for the mother and the baby. She tried hard, but the baby wouldn’t come out. She was given Cervital, Pitocin and tried the Foley bulb, which is an instrument used to manually dilate the cervix.
At this point, she was only 3 cm dilated. The baby wouldn’t drop yet and the doctors could not break the water. All doctors agreed on having a C-section, so she felt that she had no choice. She reports that she regrets that decision every single day, even though she knows it was best for her and her baby. She is happy to have a healthy baby, but upset that the birth didn’t work out the way she wanted it to.
5 Feeling Like A Failure
Some women get so close to vaginal delivery before their whole plan crumbles. For one mother, things were going normally, but a little scary. She felt something pop out and ran to the bathroom to discover a 3-inch clot! She got so scared so she ran to the hospital, expecting the worst. It turns out it was just her water breaking and nothing to worry about. Being in early labor for a long time, she was given Pitocin. Her contractions got stronger and more painful that she requested an epidural. For two hours, the epidural worked like magic.
After that, the pain returned horribly and radiated to her back. Twenty-eight hours later, she was still at 8 cm dilatation, which was insufficient for natural birth. Given the choice under such pressure, she chose the relief of getting a C-section and getting the whole thing over with. After the birth, she reported feeling like a failure for not delivering vaginally. She wondered whether she was supposed to hang in there and wait for her baby to be delivered naturally.
4 Big Baby
On a different note, one mom, Bekah, posted her story in 2009 saying that she felt down after her C-section. Bekah was in labor for 12 hours. She took two shots for the pain to be able to hold on, but nothing changed. The doctor examined her baby using an ultrasound scan and estimated the fetal weight at 10 pounds. Being such a big baby, the doctor feared the baby would get stuck during a vaginal delivery.
As expected, the doctor recommended a C-section and Bekah obliged. She later shared her feelings online with her group, saying that she feels like she didn’t work enough to get the baby out. She feels she didn’t really give birth, but the baby was “taken out” of her body. She sought advice from other moms, some of which confirmed that they had similar thoughts and feelings at some point after C-sections.
3 Not Putting Her Foot Down
Many women seem to have problems with their doctors. When opinions clash regarding how the baby should be born, mothers-to-be think that they are being pulled towards a choice they do not want to make. This is what happened to one anonymous mother, who went through 14 hours of labor. After that, her doctor insisted that she needed a C-section.
She claimed that if they had let her continue labor on her own, her baby would have been born vaginally and would have been just fine. She states that she should have stood up to the doctor more and insisted on her opinion. She feels that she missed out on the birth experience, which is why she regrets the C-section. This is especially true because there was no medical reason for her to undergo this surgery, so she feels like it was her opinion that could have been the determinant of what happened during delivery.
2 Young Mommy
Speaking of pressuring mothers into C-sections, some mothers are more prone than others to give in. One of the factors that determine how a mother reacts to a doctor’s pressure is her age. Young mothers, especially teenage mothers, are inexperienced and unlikely to oppose a doctor’s opinion. This is what happened to another mother who was 17 at the time of delivery.
During her checkup, everything was normal. The doctor asked her to head to the hospital for a C-section for absolutely no medical reason. She regrets that she caved in and hates that she did not speak up at the time. The doctor did not wait for her to be induced or to go into labor naturally. She feels like he was the one who called the shots for his own reasons and that he did it because it was easier for him, regardless of what her wishes were.
1 The Longest Labor
Another mother with hypertension shared her C-section regret online. She had hypertension and therefore was induced. She went through 76 hours of labor. That’s right, more than 3 days of trying to get the baby out! She attempted to push the baby for four hours with no success. The baby was positioned posterior, which makes labor difficult and risky. The doctors wanted to go for rotating and vacuuming, but she refused in favor of a C-section.
She feared she would hurt the baby during a difficult labor and thought a C-section would be much easier and safer. Eight months after the birth, she feels unhappy with her baby’s birth story and wishes she would have tried harder with natural delivery. She also admits feeling guilty over it. She asked for support from other mothers who had been through the same situation and whether they felt the same about their stories.