As a doula I always work to help my moms avoid having an unnecessary cesarean birth. That still leaves necessary cesarean births though. If you have had a cesarean birth, at some point you need to incorporate this into your life. It doesn’t happen all at once. Here are some pointers to help you:
1. Call it a cesarean birth. You gave birth with obstetrical assistance. Believe me, they couldn’t have done it without you!
2. Try to evaluate the medical necessity of your birth. Give it a scale of 1-10. Ask your caregiver for assistance. Then look at was it a medical necessity for your baby, for you or a combination of the two (such as CPD cephalo-pelvic distocia = baby didn’t fit).
3. Evaluate the cultural necessity of your birth. Most women give birth where they live. Most do not fly off somewhere to a more congenial place to give birth. Therefore, the birth culture of where you are living will make a difference. Ina May Gaskin has claimed a cesarean rate of 2% in her community on the farm. Pittsburgh’s is closer to 30%, but most Pittsburgh mothers can’t go to Ina May’s farm to give birth. After you evaluate the cultural necessity, give it a scale of 1-10.
4. Define the moment you realized you needed to have a cesarean. Call it your cesarean moment. Then learn to accept it. Use can use artwork. Nursing your baby also helps.
5. Try thinking of your cesarean birth as part of your gift of mothering. We all give things to our children we never expect them to repay. Cesarean birth is one gift.
6. Define what issues made it a C-birth and then explore your VBAC possibilities. The Bishop Score can help as well as this VBAC score.
7. Write your birth story with you as the heroine. Give yourself credit!
You Need to Plan a Cesarean Birth
In our book: “Doulas Guide to Birthing Your Way” we have a chapter on how to avoid an unnecessary cesarean and how to have a family centered cesarean birth if one is necessary. What if, for valid medical reasons, your doctor tells you that you are going to need to plan a cesarean birth. Why would you want a doula with you?
Your doula can help you have a family centered cesarean birth. That means helping you choose options available to you to make your birth more comfortable and enjoyable. She is there to help you create a good memory.
You are still giving birth and you still need support. Your doula can help you prepare a cesarean birth vision and help you achieve as much of that vision as possible. When your doula attends you during your birth she can help keep you calm, help your husband stay calm and make sure that photos of your birth and baby are taken as soon as possible. She has a wealth of suggestions and likely has a good working relationship with doctors and nurses at the hospital so that you can have the best support possible.
Immediately postpartum she can help you get your baby to your breast as soon as possible. She can help you in recovery and later as you need help. She can even help you as a postpartum doula. Healing from a cesarean takes approximately 4-6 weeks. You will need more support at home than a mom who gives birth vaginally does. She can provide care before, during and after your birth.