Childbirth: Vag vs C-Section

Now that I've had my two boys, and have had completely different birthing experiences, everyone asks me, "So, which one was better?".  In my mind, at the present time, while I'm still on heavy pain meds and incapable of doing much for myself, there is NO competition... my first experience, a vaginal delivery, was WAY better.  Here's a little side-by-side comparison:

Labor:
Vag- When I went into labor with Marco, my water broke initially, followed by some contractions.  My pain level went up to about a 6 or 7 with the contractions, and I was having to breathe/grunt through them. I had contractions for about 3 hours before they gave me the Epidural.  The most annoying part was that I was dripping fluid for hours.  YUCK!
CS- There was no need to labor when having a section.  I did have some small and light contractions, pain level at a 3.  I was bleeding (due to my abruption), but other than that, no dripping of fluids.

Anestesia:
Vag- I was given the Epidural.  I didn't focus too much on the pain of the actual shot because I was having contractions simultaneously.  They laid me on my side and I could feel the sting of the numbing medicine.  With the epidural, they thread a catheter into the spine to continue distributing medicine as needed throughout the delivery.  I could feel a widening or spacing in my spine... it didn't hurt, it was just weird.  It lasted throughout my delivery and they took out the catheter when it was all over.  I couldn't feel any pain, only pressure.  Like, if someone touched me, I could tell... I could lift my legs and wiggle my toes.  It was nice.
CS- I was given a Spinal Tap.  This is different than the epi, in that you receive ONE dose... not a constant flow.  This is done because natural labor can last for hours, while a section takes an hour, tops.  They had me hunched over, and put in the numbing medicine, which was just a little prick.  Then they injected the spinal medicine, but I did not feel a single thing.  The drugs took affect very quickly.  It climbed over my belly and up to my chest.  When laying down, it was difficult to breathe because the drugs had put my abdomen to sleep and I couldn't feel myself breathing.  I could not feel anything... which is a good thing when they're slicing you up.  The only thing I could feel during delivery was any pressure they applied to my stomach.  The effects of the Spinal faded, but lasted throughout the evening.

Delivery:
Vag- Marco's delivery, the actual pushing, lasted 55 minutes.  It was not difficult for me to push him out.  It was not at all theatrical... no screaming, sweating or swearing.  We talked and joked between contractions, then I'd push 3 times, then we'd resume our conversation.  It was exciting once he started crowning, and so awesome when he finally came out.  They immediately put him on my chest and I was able to feel his weight on my heart and give him a few gross kisses.  I was able to see them cleaning him up and working on him from across the room.  I had such an amazing sense of pride for being able to push him out.  I felt like WOMAN!  I was IN the moment... it was in MY control.  I was the one that brought him into the world... all by myself... and that connected me to him in a way that nothing else would.
CS-  From the time they laid me on the table, to when Jonas was born, only 10 minutes had passed.  Because they set up a sheet in front of me, I could not see him being brought into the world.  I couldn't feel anything or see anything, so I was relying on my hearing.  When he came out and started crying, they brought him to my side so I could see his face.  Then the pulled him to the bed to clean and check him... this was out of my line of sight.  I had to remain on the table for an additional 20 minutes as they finished their job and closed me up.  Before they took Jonas to the NICU, they brought him by my face again so that I could see him.  I did not get to touch him for about 2 hours.  For me, the c-section made me feel detached from the birth.  Yes, he was born, but not by any effort of mine.  I didn't do a single thing, just lay on the table.  Nothing was in my control... I was completely in the hands of the doctors.  As a mother, you'll always feel happy at the birth of your child, but I did not feel the same sense of accomplishment or pride that I felt after Marco's birth.

Recovery:
Vag-  Luckily, I did not need any stitches after my delivery.  I tore a little, but the doctor did not see the need to stitch it up.  As the epidural wore off, I began to feel a throbbing soreness.  I could walk, but it felt like I had just ridden a horse for 3 months.  I sat down very carefully, and preferred soft cushy seats.  I was terrified to pee and poop.  The urine stung the first few times after delivery, but it got better.  The bleeding was relatively strong, lasting for 5 weeks.  By the time I left the hospital, I felt like myself.  The only medication I took after delivery was Tylenol, and was told not to have sex for 6 weeks.
CS- This has been a hard and slow recovery so far.  I can't imagine how people have multiple c-sections... they must REALLY want children.  Or how people CHOOSE to have a c-section... that's crazy!  My bleeding is less than it was with my vaginal delivery, but still pretty steady.  I have no pain down below, and have not been afraid to pee or poop.  But the pain in the incision is pretty strong.  Every time I sit, or stand, or reach, or bend, or cough, or laugh, or walk, I see the stars!  The first time I walked to the bathroom (12 hours after delivery), I thought I would scream!  It feels like I'm tearing myself, but thankfully I'm not.  Today is 6 days post-op and I am still in a good amount of pain.  I'm taking heavy pain medication every 6-8 hours that makes me drowsy.  I have been told not to drive for 2 weeks, not to have sex for 4 weeks and not to lift anything (including Marco) for 6 weeks.

The two experiences are so vastly different!  Even though I'm going through all this pain, I am grateful to have had both experiences.  I'm a more well rounded mother because of it... (not really, but it makes me feel better to think it).  I love both of my babies and would not take back one ounce of pain that I have gone and am going through for them.  Their beautiful faces are all I need to heal me completely.

2 comments:

Noah's Mommy said...

This is the first time I have seen it breaken down like this. Thank you for postibg this!

Bee said...

This is very interesting, I've never seen a comparison like this! Thanks.