Monday, February 11, 2013

Having A Caesar and Being A Failure At Birth {my beautiful births}






I've been trying to write this post about my plans to have a scheduled c section for some time now but have really struggled to find the right words. In fact they still escape me but i've fumbled around and come up with the following ramble.

I feel like blog land is over flowing with empowered stories of vaginal births (and rightly so, they are absolutely worthy of being told). Births with drugs, without drugs, in homes, in hospitals, in baths, in beds - whatever. One thing always remains consistent though - the Vagina.

Empowered births are vaginal births.

I've never really written about my past two caesarean births here, for a couple of reasons really. Firstly because 'birth' isn't a topic of great interest to me (although I really do love hearing and reading stories of others) and secondly, because it seems as though the obvious lack of positive literature around the emergency c section suggests that maybe I shouldn't be singing-from-the-roof-tops proud about the way my babies have been born. So i've remained silent.

There's often an air of disappointment around the caesar, isn't there. Have you had one? Did you get sympathy faces?

I did.


When I went into labour with Zeph I didn't imagine that it would result in surgery. I had spent the previous 9 months naively believing that pregnancy was an opportunity for me to train my body for the upcoming experience.  If I practised my breathing long enough, squatted on the massive rolly ball thing frequently enough and visualised the baby coming down the birth canal vividly enough I would have a 'beautiful' birth. 

I was led to believe that 'beautiful' birth was vaginal birth. Beautiful birth was drug free birth. Beautiful birth was the result of trusting my body and surrendering to it's womanly power. 

After my first emergency c-section, I was surprised, even shocked by peoples willingness to make comment about the way our son entered this world. From the sympathetic pats on the shoulder to the outright 'if you had had laboured longer, you could have had him naturally' comments. Thirty Eight hours was plenty, thank you.

It seems as though I should have felt robbed by medical intervention of an experience that I, as a woman, was entitled to. The experience of a beautiful, natural birth.


In all honesty, some distant part of me was surprised and disappointed that my body didn't do as I assumed it would. But mostly, I struggled with the notion that having a fat, round headed, healthy baby boy shouldn't have been enough. I found myself politely biting my tongue when well meaning people offered sympathy. Instead I should have noted how pleased I was to have birthed my baby, fed him from my body and bought him home safely.

Yet some part of me entertained the thought that I should have been less proud of this delicious, perfect thing I'd spent the past 9 months growing. Maybe he was less perfect than he could have / would have been if he'd exited via my, you know, vagina.

In fact, it was the words of my father-in-law that impacted me most after the birth of Zeph. With all the attention and discussion surrounding the way our son was born rather than the fact that he was indeed born and healthy, it was Andrew's response that stuck with me.

He walked his tall frame into our hospital room, face absolutely beaming. He folded himself over, kissed me on the forehead, looked at his grand-baby and said to me ' Hello, How clever are you? Look at what you've made!' There wasn't a patronising tone in his voice, not even a hint of sympathy. Just wild, outright pride.

 Look at what I'd made!!  A real human. It didn't matter that I hadn't pushed him out or that moments later my brother in law walked in and gave the wee bag (caesars mean catheters, ladies) next to my bed a tap before inquiring what it's contents were. Dave subtlety informed him and we all did that awkward laugh that follows wee talk.

I was less inclined to allow myself to feel deflated after the  caesarean birth of my lady baby. After 26 hours of labour (and the sound advice of my ob) I decided that i'd take the c section option. No failure there, just a well informed, educated me making a well informed, educated decision. Not one that would (or should) please everyone, but it certainly pleased me.

It takes some effort to feel deeply proud of something that others consider to be 'less than'. But it is possible.

While I couldn't say that caesarean birth would be my first choice, it would appear it is my only choice, and i'm okay with that.

This time around I'm planning a conscious, empowered, beautiful birth, just like the others. One where I will be connected, present and in tune.

It will be a caesar.

I will have a naked baby placed on my chest, I'll feed it from by breast and utter secret love words into it's miniature ears before passing the treasure to Dave so that he can do the same and the doctors can stitch me up.

I'm really looking forward to the birth of this next baby beetleshack. I'm excited. I've never been able to say that about birth before but I can now, and yes, it is empowering.



These experience really help to solidify my opinion that every birth is beautiful. Full stop, full stop. It's not the vagina or the absence of drugs or the calm breathing that makes birth beautiful- it is the first meeting of a baby human that makes it so.



* I want to make it really clear that my intention here is to shed light on what it was like for me to have an emergency c section or two. Not to suggest that women who have had 'natural' birth experiences should feel guilty or awkward. I love diversity, I love acceptance, I love modern medicine and I love babies. Any way they come.

an attempt at context
birth and advice
case in point

113 comments:

  1. AMEN AMEN! "...every birth is beautiful. Full stop, full stop. It's not the vagina or the absence of drugs or the calm breathing that makes birth beautiful- it is the first meeting of a baby human that makes it so."

    Gosh. Brings tears to my eyes. I can't wait.

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  2. Beautiful post. I LOVE it! I've been made to feel guilty about having an epidural with my daughter. Like I had opted out of having a natural birth just because I couldn't take a bit of pain.

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  3. Amen!! You are and will be a mother lion in bringing your cherubs into this world. Full stop! It makes the experience no less beautiful Em.
    Ellen xx

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  4. Oh my goodness I couldn't agree more! I actually get quite annoyed that so many women are putting pressure on fellow women to have a natural, drug-free birth - like we don't get enough of a hard-time from a generally-a-bit-sexist society without women judging each other's birth stories. Every baby and birth is beautiful; no-one remembers their birth and my goodness 38 hours is plenty enough for anyone. By chance I had a 'natural' birth (though I'd hoped for one, in the end I only didn't have drugs as I got there too late - hats off to everyone who doesn't demand them/beg for them/offer to swap the baby for them as I did), but I am pregnant again now and totally aware this baby might have different ideas about how it comes out. Anyone offering you sympathy over the way your lovely boy was born is missing the point that you had the perfect outcome - a wondrous healthy baby. Wow, rant over. I think I'm definitely hormonal. Yay for bump Bettleshack! xo ps I also think if men had the babies there wouldn't be this stigma. I did say rant over didn't I. Ok I'm done. x

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  5. 20 hours of labour then an emergence caesarean, I then had someone come into council me the next morning. I said I just wanted the end result.

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  6. I'm jealous that your vag hasn't been train wrecked by birth. After two painful vag births, one where I was induced against my will (totally not natural), and a lot of stitches later (in a place no needle should be wielded) it still works fine, but I do miss the old pre-birth me. (yes I know I should do pelvic floor exercises more often). I agree, however you get the little one, if they and you are healthy, so be it. The holding and the touching straight after they arrive is wonderful and important.

    Keep up the good work.

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  7. Em you are a remarkable, beautiful woman! You have voiced all those sticky thoughts clinging to my subconscious. You and I share almost identical birth stories and I simply adore your words about feeling deeply proud of something that others feel "less than" This feeling is slowly beginning to burn within. If I had (and most likely you) of "soldiered on" for any longer it is highly probable that my poppets would not be here..or me either. I am beginning to feel proud of giving in to it all and making the safest decision for all of us. ANd your father in law is a beautiful man! And so right...we can MAKE people for goodness sakes. Who cares if they have to come out my ear!! Wishing you such a magnificent time welcoming your third angel into this world. You are a star! Much love x x

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  8. I had an emergency c-s with my daughter 6 years ago and I struggled (secretly) with the idea that I had somehow failed. I struggled again with the decision of how to give birth to my second child (largely due to the fact that people felt the need to ask me if I was planning a VBAC) . After much deliberation, I opted for an planned c-s and it was the best thing I could have done.

    Having a c-section isn't any easier than giving birth 'naturally'. Its not any harder either. In fact, Its not any less natural. Its just different. I love my scar, I call it my baby smile.

    I realised that you cant define a relationship by how you met the person.

    Its about who you are, and the relationship.


    8 weeks after my daughter was born and I was very much in the secret struggle of having somehow failed, someone asked me if I was "too posh to push". I nearly punched him. But I just answered 'no'.

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    1. I couldn't agree more with your response, I call my scar my belly smile too :)

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  9. I loved the births of my children, both elective c-sections (not sure if I need to justify it but they were for various valid reasons). They were both a calm and joyous experience and if we have another I will also have a c section. There is no magic bullet or get out of jail free card there is no 'easy' way to have a baby but this was my way and I loved it. Sad though that we all constantly have to justify ourselves to other mothers a bit more solidarity is needed as this is a hard job as it is.

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  10. This was from the heart and it's why I love it. I'm pregnant with our first bambino and it's interesting how some people when they are talking with you about pregnancy they ask what sort of birth do you want...I hadn't thought a lot about it before...my mum birthed 3 children "naturally/vaginally" and my twin sisters were emergency c section...if they hadn't have been born c section it's a good chance mum and the twinnies would have been in trouble...Praise God for the medical advancements of c sections so maternal deaths are decreased when things aren't progressing in the order they should...but I guess my thoughts are I want one where bambino and I are there to tell the tale :)
    I love what your father in law said to you...what a love filled man!
    And I love that you put it out there...I was intrigued by the title though...you aren't a failure at birth you have 2 beautiful healthy kidlets and what is better then that? The fact they came out 10 cm higher (give or take) from your belly instead of vagina well who gives a tooda loo :) I hope you can be at peace with this 3rd birth and enjoy that new babe smell :) xx

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  11. You are so right....there are no positive c/s stories out there!
    I've had 2 'elective' (i use that term very loosely!) caesars and they have both been wonderful experience.
    I was so devestated when at my last OB appt before my eldest was born when he told me I would need to be scheduled in for a cs. I don't think I read anything positve about having a caesar, so know when I get the opportunity to talk about it....I should it from the roof top how wonderful it was!

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  12. Beautiful Em.

    I love Andrew's words, so so true.

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  13. I have 3 kids, all delivered by csec. First one "emergency", second and third planned. So, of course this post resonates with me quite a bit. And I nodded my head a lot while reading. Birth is complicated and stirs up lots of emotions. Did I ever feel like a failure? Yeah a little, after my eldest was born, despite no one actually saying anything along those lines. I'm a high achiever (!) The realty is i had no control over the circumstances that led to my caesars, so i just had to roll with it with as much grace as possible. I love the photos here of your little ones' earliest days. Made me feel very nostalgic. (my youngest is only 2, but we are officially not having any more. And suddenly babies are everywhere!)

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  14. Great post Emily! I went in to my labour thinking whatever works, works... We are just so lucky to be living in the era that we do when it comes to birth...you just have to walk around an old cemetery and see the countless headstones of young women. I would have died back in the day during my labour from haemorrhaging. Just as long as you get a healthy baby and mum at the end of it all - that's all that matters...and you certainly know how to make a beautiful baby!

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  15. So well said!
    And congratulations on choosing the path that is right for you.
    Having a baby should be exciting!
    Making the baby is the fun part...getting it out is just a technicality!

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  16. Wonderful read, it reminds me why I started reading here.
    I've had each kind of birth, c-section, VBAC with epidural and forceps and natural waterbirth and the thing is they are all beautiful in their own way, because the end result was me being lucky enough to have a healthy baby at the end of it.
    The sad thing is that you've felt judged, even if you didn't need a c-section you should be able to have one without anyone else thinking (incorrectly) that they have the right to judge.
    I do think the natural caesarian movement is an interesting reaction to being made to feel powerless and feeling empowerment regardless of the type of birth. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2005/dec/03/health.medicineandhealth

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  17. I also felt cheated when I had an emergency C section first time around, but then secretly was glad when I became pregnant with twins the second time around as I was welcomed into booking a csec and I felt happy, comfortable and ready for the birth with a clear mindset of what would happen.
    Having babies should be an exciting time, without pressure or judgement.
    Beautiful post. x

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  18. Three amazing, beautiful, incredible births and I never felt cheated. I've had 'one of each' - they come the way they are meant to come.

    First = 40 hour labour, emergency c-section.
    Second = long fought for VBAC 17 months after first.
    Third = planned c-section, breech baby, breech.

    They come they way they are meant to come. It's their story, not mine.

    x

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  19. Preach it sister! Was just talking to a friend the other day (after discussing how we have both had traumatic vaginal births) and agreeing that sometimes c-sections are a way better option! I remember feeling like a failure for not having a drug & complication free birth, even though it was vaginal. It's all about the baby - love this post. All the best with your beautiful baby on the way.

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  20. Thank you for this. Really. You know when you read something that is exactly what you've been feeling but couldn't pull together the words? It's not about having a 'perfect' birth experience, it's about having a perfect baby x

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  21. GREAT POST! and beautiful photos to accompany it :)

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  22. Not a hint of a fumble.....just beautiful words from a beautiful, proud mama heart. x

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  23. Like your father in law said - it doesn't matter how the baby is born, it's the fact it's healthy, happy and loved are what's important.
    My first labour was hard, long and resulted in an emergency c-section. Second time around, I was advised by doctors to have an elective caesar which I was quite happy with. And let me tell you, it is just as beautiful an experience. It's calm, full of laughter and I think the recovery wasn't as bad as my body hadn't been through all that labour and then had to recover.
    It really was a lovely experience!
    Forget what other people say. You do what you have to do for your family, your body and your baby. :)
    Sending nothing but love. xxx

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  24. There's too much emphasis on the birth in my opinion, especially with your first - it's a very small part of having children, and quite frankly after 3 'natural' births (with 2 epesiotomy's ouch!) my lady bits have never been the same and that's nothing to be proud of!!!

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  25. I smiled reading this: your words are so beautiful, honest, and true. x

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  26. LOVE this post.
    I loved my elective c-section!!! My first emergency c-section resulted in a long recovery & unsettled baby. My second with no labour, great recovery and happy baby.

    After reading this post, I will longer justify that I had baby #2 and #3 via elective c-section due to #1 being a (scary) emergency c-section. I will just say c-section, I do NOT need to justify how I birthed my babes!!!

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  27. Oh Em! well said! now that my babes are much bigger (6 and 4) I no longer have the birth stories around me, and i just love hearing them...any way they come...and to tell you the truth, when I tell mine, I often say..."I birthed a 10 pound baby with forceps and a wish to the heaven and I had a c section" - so there you go. A vaginal birth is fraught with complications too and feelings of failure (my body didn't go into labour naturally with either child) - so regardless of our stories, there is no right, perfect or planned birth. The birth you babies have is what they have...and then the real fun begins!

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  28. Well said Em. And as Bron said above, it is their story (the baby's) not ours. Xxx

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  29. Love this post. I had an emergency c-sec with my child and after so many hours of agonizing labour and no progress it was such a relief! It was beautiful in it's own way - my husband and I looking at each other excitedly, he cuddling the baby while I was in recovery, our reunion when they wheeled me back to join them... After what I went through I'm relieved that I have the choice to book in for a C-sec next time. I didn't have any negative reactions really when people found out - as he was such a big baby most people nodded and said I was lucky, and were just glad that we were both safe and well, but one friend of my husbands commented that I had cheated, such a stupid thing to say (especially to a new mum brimming with emotions and hormones).

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  30. My Aunty died during childbirth. If she'd had a c-section her chances would have been much, much better.

    A baby is a gift from God and God gave the gift of medical advancement so more mothers would be there for their children the way they should be.

    Beautifully written.

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  31. Such a lovely post. All that should matter is that you and baby are well and how well you've done to bring them into this world after growing them for 9 months. The whole journey is beautiful and how they arrive shouldn't matter, yours and your babies health does and you should do what's right for both of you, no one else.
    I love following your pregnancy journey and look forward to the arrival of your bump.
    xx

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  32. This is the first post I have read from the perspective of a c-section birth that truly resonates with me. My first was an emergency c-section, and the births of my next 3 children were also c-sections. I was not too posh to push, the births were purely because I trusted my obstetrician and I made an informed decision given my previous history. I have long thought that my births have never been worthy of publicly writing about, preferring to tuck them away in my own little memory books. But thank you for reminding me that the births of my children were no less miraculous or beautiful than those who gave birth 'naturally'. Children are a blessing and they way they enter the world bears no judgement on our ability as a mother to love them or raise them. Awesome post.

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  33. Great post Em and so well said. I had 3 drug free vaginal births and that was never my plan.. My plan was to have three healthy babies and I would take them whatever way they came. The health of my baby was way more important than anything else and I was happy to do whatever it took to just have my baby out. I made the baby, grew the baby and will continue to feed and guide this baby and that's all that mattered to me. All the best with the upcoming birth... So exciting. Sam xx

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  34. As long as mum and baby are both fine - it shouldn't matter how bub came out. Yes, i had three vaginal births, but it was the breastfeeding that i struggled with, only number three was successfully breastfed. I have beaten myself up so much for "artficially" feeding my first two and it sucks.

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  35. I love this post as although I have had two pretty straightforward births, my girlfriend did not and suffered post natal depression after her first caesar as it had never entered her mind that she could have one. Any baby born healthy is unbelievable and amazing. Good luck in the last few weeks.

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  36. From a fellow 2 caesar sister, I get this Em. I thoroughly get this. I was devastated when I was told that my first bub would need to be a caesar, due to him turning breech... and then he was born at a beautifully healthy 4.6kg... and things started to make sense. Second time around, another big one on board, my obstetrician made the decision much easier for me... another beautifully healthy 4.4kg... and it ALL makes sense. My little ones were 'meant' to enter the world the way they did, their arrivals were 'meant' to be. I was ready, like yourself, to birth the way women have done since the dawning of time, but sometimes a greater power has other ideas. Safer ideas. You've just got to go with what's best for Mama and child. And your incredibly perceptive father-in-law is right, you ARE clever, gorgeous girl xoxo

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  37. Em, I too had an emergency c-section with my first child are being in protracted labour for 4 days and then having him get stuck. At the time I was too exhausted and sore to think about what had happened and was just grateful that he was okay, even if he did have a bit of a cone head for a few days. :) It was after we came home that those feelings of grief took root. I felt like my body had failed me and that some how I was less of a mother for not having pushed him into the world.
    By the time number 2 began growing inside of me, I knew that I would never want to go through that again and risk having to have emergency surgery once again. My OB had also advised that seeing as No1 was over 4kg, that no2 being another boy was likely to be same if not bigger. We opted for the elective c-section but it took us ages to decide on a date. It just didn't feel right having to decide on the day that our son would be born.
    Needless to say, we did and have never regretted the decision. My recovery was so much quicker from not having laboured.

    When Miss M happened, it really was a no brainer - just open up the zipper and bring her into the world. Again my recovery was quicker even though I did suffer a post op infection.

    Do I still feel pangs when others talk of giving birth - absolutely but I only have to look at my 3 beautiful kids and know that we made the right decision.

    k

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  38. Are you kidding me Em! You have lived and breathed the remarkable miracle of conceiving and bringing two beautiful and healthy babies into this world! Nothing at all shameful with how they came to be here... The fact is that those beautiful Angels are here and that you have another blessing on the way! I had a natural birth and would never have thought that this is the way that some women would feel about having a C-Section. I'm quite astounded that other people could make you feel inadequate to begin with!

    Here's to the birth of your next miracle!

    Sophie xo

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  39. Thank you for this. My c-section was beautiful. I had prem twins, so the room was very full of people, but it was still the most beautiful, intimate, amazing, and positive experience of my life. x

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  40. Your father in laws wise words and this last line "it is the first meeting of a baby human that makes it so" - got the guts of it right there!

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  41. oh bless that beautiful father in law of yours! this is so beautifully written em. just beautiful. I have no experience to see this from your perspective, but strangely felt that I could through your words, because my sister recently had to have an emergency c-section and felt failure in birthing her baby through her tummy. I am so happy you are feeling so great for #3's arrival. clever you indeed! x

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  42. Birth is beautiful and even more so when our skill as human beings allows us to save the lives of Mothers and babies who may not have made it otherwise. I have given birth through the sunroof three times all necessary in different ways and each one was a joy (I wrote about it here right before my third was due: http://housewifeconfidential.co.uk/joyful-caesarean/).

    The people who hold up the Vadge of Honour as the only gold standard are trying to compete in some way. Birth isn't about right and wrong or competition it's about safely bringing a child into the world in the best way possible given the circumstances. It's one day out of a whole life and the people who try to tell you that your children will be worse off for the experience need to get ahold of themselves.

    I hope your third c-section is as wonderful as mine was.

    Kat x x x

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  43. YES. I had a caesarian birth with my girl. Two years later, guilt is gone, thankfulness is still there for a beautiful, healthy baby and a knowledge that a vaginal birth should not always be the goal, a healthy baby is. I wrote about mine here if you want to have a look....funny to look back and see how my thinking was. http://hatchling-yummystuff.blogspot.com.au/2011/05/my-babys-birth.html (please excuse me if it is bad blog manners to post a link, just wanted to make it easy for you if you wanted to have a peep).

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  44. Beautiful words Em. Your births so far, and this little ones arrival, are as special and wondrous as any other. You're such an awesome mama. Xx

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  45. Bravo! Be proud, mama! Every birthing story is different and beautiful and unique. It's not how you arrive, it's that you are here. :)

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  46. So beautifully written! Thank you for sharing. Love what your father in law said!

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  47. Emily, I totally agree with you. I've had 4 babies and the last three have been unplanned c-sections. I have been disappointed but I have resolved to plan my next c-section if we have more children instead of "try again" despite my super strong uterus (according to my doctor I could try again). Anyway, in the US you don't get the baby on your chest, you're strapped down and can hardly touch them for an hour or two. I think that's the worst part to me. I love these thoughts, though.

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  48. Good for you! It doesn't matter how the baby arrives... you have the rest of his/her life to celebrate them! (Not how they arrived.) I had a c-section with my first, and I have a feeling future babies will arrive the same way. And that's ok with me:)

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  49. I agree, every birth is beautiful!

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  50. YOU are a clever lady. These words are so well done. It's so silly that there is a shadow of awkwardness around feeling proud of birthing beautiful, healthy, miraculous bebes. The competition to see who can endure the most natural-drug-free-no-medical-intervention birth needs to stop right now! Let's just get them to arrive safely, and be grateful for the amazing priveledge of modern medicine that we have. And get on with the reeally hard stuff- raising real humans. Enjoy :)

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  51. Good for you sweets. Loved all 3 natural births in some sick way and i'm sure i would have loved the experience whether they would of come through the cat flap or the front door! he he. It is after all one of the best days of your life whatever the journey.

    P.S surely no vag = less bucket crutch?! Better sex?! Pray tell...!

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  52. Geez. I don't think that could have been said better. All power to you, lovely lady - I wish you and the bub a smooth ride now and after.

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  53. This is the first time I have replied to one of your posts. This one was so beautifully put , and so akin to my experiences that I had to.
    First birth emergency c section due to HELLP syndrome.followed by a year of grieving my loss of a "natural birth".
    Second birth I was "allowed" to go into natural labour but ended up with an emergency c section due to "failure to progress"(How awful is that term!)
    Third birth, a beautiful, joyous, CALM scheduled c section only 5 weeks ago.
    Like Maxabella said, they come as they are meant to come! Every birth is amazing and beautiful, but what counts the most is all of the years that coem after the birth!

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  54. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL POST! simply perfect births, so excited for you for the next xxxx

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  55. Well said Em. So very true. It's the end product that we should be so proud of, no matter how they enter the world. :)

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  56. What everyone said.

    P.S. Some vaginal births = wee bag too.

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  57. IN I have just had my fourth baby via c-section and was told by a friend no less that it was a pity I had never experienced a real birth. My reply - look at my four beautiful children. Look at my baby girl. They are perfect, I (and my husband) made them, my body birthed them in its own way. I have experienced four amazing births and feel so grateful. In fact with my fourth baby, her umbilical cord had a true knot so it was extremely lucky she was a c-section and that she was not stillborn a very likely result from a true knot. Thank goodness for modern medicine and that babies can be born this way when there is a need for it. All power to any beautiful baby and the mummas that birth them. Thank you for your beautiful words. Rebecca

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  58. Oh Em, you grew two amazing little babies, it doesn't matter how they entered this world except that they entered safe and sound. Thank you for writing this, it is perfectly said. Both my caesar and my vaginal birth were both as wonderful as each other...I became a mother each time xx

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  59. This is fabulous. I had two vaginal births and nothing about them felt natural or beautiful until it was all over. The first birth traumatized me and I seriously considered a c-section for the second. A calm birth and a healthy baby with no vagina brutality? Gimme!

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  60. I had an emergency csection with our first child but fortunately never felt I'd failed in any way, nor did anyone make me feel that way. HOWEVER, I didn't have a positive experience for a number of reasons that don't really matter now. Ella was delivered alive and healthy and that was enough for me at that moment. When we had our second child, I did want it to be different as I personally felt I'd missed out on something. I selected a new OB, someone who encouraged VBAC, and two weeks early delivered our second daughter naturally. For me, it was the best thing I've ever done, physically, but that was me. I think what everyone forgets in mothering, particularly in making and delivering babies, is that it's never the same for two people, so how can we judge somone according to what we feel and think for ourselves. You will do what is right and good for you and that is all any of us can do.

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  61. PS I think your husband looks even cuter clean shaven!

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  62. What a gorgeously beautifully moving post. Both my baby and I may not be here today without the option of a caesar. Certainly not in the same state we're in today anyway.

    You've inspired me to post too. x

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  63. Three caesareans in this house too, 2 emergency, last just booked in. Good on you for being proud. Totally relate to your post. And of course they do beat the ye oldie world of death, darn near came close with my second after the scar tore, thank god for modern medicine. Still a serious amount of courage and strength required for any birth, wishing you well with the next one.

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  64. Wonderful brave words... thank you for sharing them with us. I had two fierce, scary attempts and failed and then the last one I was told not to bother because it was never a possibility in the first place. Really would have liked that information up front. Funnily enough the last experience was the best because the guilt and pressure I had put on myself was gone. It is wonderful to have a great birth experience but a safe, healthy outcome is the ultimate. All the very best beetleshack lady it is such a precious time.

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  65. Beautifully written & acknowledged. My mother is an amazing woman. She had seven healthy babies & all via c-section. Her first was an emergency Caesarean, and the rest well, it was her choice but it was necessary. If that isn't worth celebrating then I dont know what is!! The human body is remarkable - the healing process of a c-section is just as amazing as a 'normal' birth. I salute you!! :) x

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  66. So wonderfully written and what an honest, brave and heartfelt post. A true reminder of why I love this little blog of yours. We women, we're our toughest judges ... your father-in-law with a heart made of gold ... said words so true and really hit the nail on the head about what matters most!

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  67. Thank you for sharing Em, and yes it doesn't matter how our children are born. I had c-sections both times and they were vertical cuts the old fashioned way, too. There were moments where I wished it wasn't the case and that I'd like to have experienced things differently.. but if I think that 50 years ago, myself and my boys would have died if it weren't for modern medicine, I'm eternally grateful (and had the best Ob in the universe). What matters is life with them. Alison x

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  68. Hear hear!!
    And looking forward to meeting your littlest one.

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  69. My first was an emergency Csection and the next two were scheduled surgeries. I really can't remember "less than" feelings at the time of the first birth, just thanksgiving that the wee one survived, and me too. My babies all had lovely, round pates--no cone-heads from protracted labour. The fact that it took me a month to get back to normal each time was just how it was. I liked this post very much. It reminded me of my joy in giving birth, even though not "normally". The baby as the end result made it all PERFECT no matter how that all came to be, every single time. I pray your new arrival will be as well received as the first two were.
    Blessings, Rosemary

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  70. Yo go-go a ma-ma!
    Knowing bubs that haven't made it into this world...

    I say, just place that wriggly slimey nudey rudey body on mine,

    I baked it and it is done!
    Let me smell and feel its butterfly breath.

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  71. It has occurred to me that it's pretty irrelevant how our babies arrive. I can say that now my kids are a bit older and I'm out of that stage, I mean, I don't ask the mums at school how they delivered - they just did and we all have a beautiful array of wonderfully diverse children who are here and, for the most part, happy and healthy.

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  72. ...and what beautiful humans they are. Your last line brought a tear to my eye. Birth is just the beginning, it's the adventure of motherhood that is truly amazing. Good luck with round three.

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  73. so RIGHT you are. seriously.

    Simon tells me crazy stories all the time of these ladies that just WON'T budge with their natural birth wishes and they really put the babies life at risk. babies come in their own special way!!!!

    thanks for your brutal honesty. and those pictures? gorgeous!!

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  74. My second was an elective Ceasarean because she was breech. My first, was vaginal/forceps, all sorts of problems, catheter in for days afterwards, infections, tears, episiotomy, split stitches etc etc. I have 2 healthy children, they are growing up way too fast, how they came out on their day of birth is kind of irrelevant now!

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  75. Every birth is beautiful! Loved your post!
    Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
    Kristina x

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  76. Thanks for writing this post, babies are fabulous no matter how they come, and there aren't many c section stories out there. My friend wrote beautifully about her emergency c section here http://www.bionicbriana.com/2012/03/birth-story-meeting-alice.html

    And seriously, I can't believe the stupid things people say about something so precious as birth and breastfeeding. Labouring for 38 hours is tough enough without having people belittle your efforts. I had a vaginal birth but one midwife told me I'd never bond properly with my baby because she wasn't being breastfed, nevermind that she was so underweight she would have had to be fed through a tube if we hadn't started bottle feeding. It's so hard to block the stupid comments out. That one sticks with me, as I'm sure the ones you've mentioned stick with you. We just have to remember, like your father-in-law said, how clever we are that we made a tiny human. Wishing you all the best for the coming new little one x

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  77. Oh i need to summon some of that calmness you've got for my next birthing experience (April). You've got the BEST attitude right now. Beautiful words.

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  78. Great post. People say the stupidest things don't they?! Suggest you read Naomi Wolf's tome 'Misconceptions' (if you ever have the time with all your wee ones and your blogging and stuff!).

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  79. I love your blog and this post and I had a c-section with my first and a natural delivery with my second so I feel like I want to comment. But what is there to say, every birth is different and obviously you don't even need to hear that for me the only advantage to the natural birth was I got to leave the hospital earlier and ya it was "cool" to find out what giving birth felt like but I wouldn't describe either birth as magical ...or even empowering personally.

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  80. I have had one of each types of births. An easy two hour labour, no drugs not stitches or tearing. Then I had a 36 hour labour that resulted in an emergency C-section. Neither is better or worse. Both resulted in the same thing. An amazing child. If I am ever lucky enough to have another child I will not care how it comes out of my body, as long as it is a healthy child. Oh, and we call my scar my baby zipper.

    http://iliska-dreams.blogspot.com.au/

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  81. Loved this post of yours, Em.

    Having lost Cameron at 41 weeks, I can safely say that it's not about the means of birth, but simply being able to bring home your baby...

    Lots of love,
    Ronnie xo

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  82. Thanks for this post Em, It really made me look at C Sections in a different light. I'm afraid I am guilty of the 'sad face' but only because I've only been used to people talking about them/theirs with disappointment which is such a shame. My friend had a C Section and feels she was 'robbed' of the birth of her child, she talks about it a lot and says she needs to have a vaginal birth as closure. However my neighbour recently after a three day labour was offered one (although her and her baby were not in distress) and she said 'yer thanks I'd love one' she says she thinks actually they just needed the maternity room but she was more than happy with her C Section so It's great to have different perspectives. Thanks for sharing xxx

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  83. I've never thought you more awesome than I do right now. Enjoy your beautiful birth.

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  84. You're right, having c-sections isn't really something people blog about. I appreciate that you shared your experience and you spoke positivity of it.

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  85. There aren't enough mommy-bloggers talking about c-sections or "less-than-ideal" births. I appreciate your story. It took me almost two years to "own up" to my birth story because I felt so ashamed. I just posted it a couple weeks ago as an empowering act, as I prepare for the arrival of babygirl #2 (any week now!).

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  86. really just the best post. bloody ace. i love the comment someone made 'its not my story - it theirs.' brilliant.

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  87. I have had all three types of births. Firstly, a traumatic highly medicalised birth which resulted in me with PTSD and an permanently injured child (due to the treatment received by the attending OB). Second, an elective c section based on the false notion that my body was not good at birthing. The third, a VBAC at home. Which one do I wish for again for me personally? The homebirth. Why, because *I* had chosen this path. Not coerced into it and with full knowledge of what the outcomes could be.

    If you choose the way you want to birth and you are respected and ultimately, you "get the birth you want" then what is so wrong with that? Sure, I am a strong and vocal advocate for homebirth (not everyone's cup of tea and I get that) but also importantly I am a strong and vocal advocate for women's birthing rights. Women should have the right to birth how they choose to. If you have weighed up the pros and cons, and after careful consideration choose to have a c section, then so be it. It is your choice and you are entitled to have it (and should have the right to choose.)

    I believe everyone should be given *all* the information. Be it whatever way she chooses to birth her child. What upsets me is when mothers leave the hospital traumatised because they felt they were not listened to/were lied to/coerced and became passive members as they get pulled along to a birth that suits the doctor and not the woman. This does happen. And you can see it in their eyes when they talk about it. That is when I give the sad face because I feel her pain.

    Well, I rambled; which I do when it comes to things birth related. But I wanted you to know from someone who maybe what you think is anti caeser because I have homebirthed that I wish you well. You sound very confident and happy because you have chosen for yourself how you want to birth. I look forward to seeing the gorgeous pictures of your wee one when he/she arrives. ♥



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  88. Well written post, Em! I had a c-section with my first baby, due to a previous surgery, and I am pregnant now with baby #2, and I am headed for a scheduled c-section. I would have loved to experience a vaginal birth, but it just wasn't in the cards for me. I have no problem with that, and I sometimes find really weird that women tend to question other women's choices....to each her own!
    I could not breastfeed my baby boy (only one month!) due to a severe case of inverted nipples and I have had to put up with all sorts of comments from other women... believe me, I tried!! And sometimes I felt so sad not to be able to breastfeed... Anyway, I think we need to be more tolerant and respectful of other peoples choices/ possibilities.
    xoxo
    Tina

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  89. Thank you for telling this story. I birthed my 4 & a half month old daughter via c-section. I am almost embarassed to tell people & feel like i need to explain why i didn't birth naturally & i feel like i'm being judged. I have dreamed about having a natural, drug free, active birth for as long as i can remember. My baby was breech, the doctors were going to try to turn her when it was discovered i had high blood pressure & rapidly dropping platelet levels. The doctors decided she needed to come out 15 days early. I had people telling me i should have fought for the birth i wanted but when i was faced with the possibility of something happening to me or my baby, how she was going to come out just didn't matter to me anymore. I wanted her safe in my arms. I know i made the right choice & am finding it easier to come to terms with than i thought i would but i'm also sad that i'll never have a natural birth & i don't even know what a contraction feels like.

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  90. YAY! Good for you. So glad you wrote this, and it's obvious from the huge response here how many women it has resonated with. My first baby was a forceps delivery and my second a c-section. I never "pushed" my babies out and it took me ages to be ok with that. Now, I look at my scar with pride and awe - I actually kind of like it? Is that weird? It's like a battle scar. If we have any more kids I would definitely bypass the agony and go straight for a c-section. Best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy and the birth, lovely Emily.

    Gillian x

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  91. Good one, Emily. We are so blessed that we can choose a way of birthing that feels safe and positive for us- I know several women who have been able to look forward to their babe's birth with only joy and eager anticipation because they knew they could have a Caesar and wouldn't have to repeat a previous trauma. A Caesarian birth can be a wonderfully healing thing. BTW I've heard a few really beautiful C-Section stories, and been at one too. All the best for you and your brand new little one x

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  92. During my doula training course, our instructor shared a story of a woman who needed a c-section after wanting a vaginal birth. When it came time for the baby to be born, the dr. told her to "push", and while obviously she wasn't really physically pushing, she was able to connect with that birthing moment and realize that she was indeed still bringing her baby into the world. Intervention & c-section rates are rightfully controversial, but I don't think anyone can deny how wonderful it is that they exist when a woman and baby need them. Creating, growing, and doing what you need to do to have your baby is absolutely something worth celebrating and feeling proud about.

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  93. Such an interesting post Em - especially as I'm about to start teaching active-birth antenatal classes in a few short weeks. I bought a little franchise of a company that really believes that a beautiful birth is about empowering women to birth confidently, whatever way that may be. There is no right or wrong way to birth a baby and women shouldn't be made to feel bad if it doesn't happen in a particular way. Good on you for making the choice that is right for you and your baby. x

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  94. Such a refreshing read. If only I could have read this 2 years ago! I can absolutely relate to this and you have made me feel SOOOO good and proud of myself. Thanking you and your clever,inspiring, encouraging words (; xx

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  95. i get it completely! Your words are so refreshing and honest! I have three natural births but was made to feel so guilty about so many other aspects of my pregnancies, post-natal practices and in particular breastfeeding. My first child, our son's birth was so horrendous that I have completely blocked it from my memory, but my husband ended up with PTSD! He was an impossible child to breastfeed - at 4 he was diagnosed autistic, so with breastfeeding he couldn't co-ordinate his little body to suck, swallow, breath and stay attached at all the same time (not uncommon with autistic kids apparently!). But for 10 weeks I was lectured repeatedly by midwives, doctors, child health nurses, lactation consultans and every other professional that I was obviously doing it wrong. Meanwhile at 2 weeks post delivery I developed mastitis so severely that I was hospitalised on antibiotics, had two surgeries to remove infected abscesses - all while still being told it was all my fault. By my 7th course of antibiotics to treat the mastitis, my GP told me that I had caused liver damage from being on AB's for too long. But even still being told by the paediatrician that I was going to make my son very, very ill if I put him on formula.

    Do we focus so much on how our kids are conceived? Surely the way they enter the world is just as relevant to the beautiful little people that they become. Vaginal, C-section, breastfed, bottle-fed, co-slept or not, what does it really matter? If we raise bright, compassionate, kind and interesting little people that's what our contribution as parents should be.

    OK, have climbed off the high horse now! I think that mother's have enough demands and responsibilities on them without adding the criticism and judgement of others that really don't have all the information or any right to judge!

    All you need to know is that you bought 2 gorgeous kiddies into the world and about to being another one in - good luck and I wish you the best of a peaceful and loving experience in meeting your new little treasure. XXX

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  96. Failure shmailure... I had an emergency c section with my first and an elective with my second and when the time comes will most likely have another elective with my third. Don't forget that you carried and nurtured those beautiful babies for 9 robyns. xo

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    1. Lol 9 Robyns? Clearly I meant months.

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  97. gosh lady, you write very very well. that was moving and i'm proud to know you.

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  98. Well said Em. You are a classy lady.
    All the best for your babes arrival.

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  99. Gosh - I had a *vaginal* birth and it certainly didn't empower me - it was awful. I never had any idea that people who have C sections ever felt this way. Any way you can hold your new born baby in your arms is a blessing - regardless of the birth story. Good for you beautiful lady and I wish you all the best for a lovely birthing experience xoxoxoxoxo

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  100. AMEN! I wanted to slap every person who gave me an, "Awe it's ok. Maybe next time you can have a v-back". I was so hurt that people were talking to me like I had let them down. For pete's sake I had just thrown up for 9 months straight EVERY day, been to the ER several times due to my high risk pregnancies, and now I had to feel bad because my baby didn't fly out my WhoHa! In the end I chalked it up to we women are just conditioned since we discover where babies come from and their mode of getting here, to want them to come out vaginally and if they don't well... THANK YOU for writing this!!! Seriously THANK YOU! That is a blessed loving hubby who had the right words to seal into your heart for an eternity. What a gift! Hugs from California!!!

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  101. I haven't commented in a long time either. Such beautiful words and so important for today because the reality is so many children come into the world via c-section and their stories need to be heard, shared and revered too. Thank you for sharing yours. xx m.

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  102. A beautiful and incredibly well written post... I've followed your blog for a while and I've only just read this now. Our first was an emergency c-section and I can relate to everything you describe, thank you for expressing it all so eloquently.

    And your father in law sounds like a gem :)

    ¤´¨)
    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•`¤... Jennifer
    Jenn's Random Scraps

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  103. Beautiful! I too had a c-section.............we all make the choices that are right for us, embrace your choices or what mother nature blesses us with, there is not right or wrong there just is ! Welcome to the world beautiful baby !

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  104. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! I am due to have my third child in February and bub will be delivered by caesar. After two emergency caesarian births I would be hard pressed to find a doctor willing to let me attempt another VBA2C. Honestly I'm terrified. After every appointment at the hospital I come home down, depressed, tearful and thinking "What happens if I die?" It really sucks that it has to all be so clinical, and that midwives (tend) to look down at mothers who have had or need to have c-sections. Everytime I tell someone that this will be a c-sect I get that sympathy look too. They then go on to say how much easier it will be having it all planned with 2 other kids. Yes, that will be a perk, but no it will not be easier. Unless you have had one, you really have NO IDEA. It isn't the easy option, we aren't "lazy" mothers, we just don't have the ability to push a baby out of our vagina! You don't hold it against someone because they are in a wheelchair. They aren't "lazy" because they don't walk. Everyone has different abilities, strengths and weaknesses. That's what makes this world so amazing. So HOORAY for mothers and babies no matter how they get here! (sorry that was a bit long!! P.S. love your blog xx)

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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em