top of page
  • Writer's pictureJen Curtis

Why I CHOSE an Emergency C-section: (part of) My Birth Story

I used to think that a C-section was a worst-case scenario.

I was totally enamored by the idea of a natural, unmedicated birth, and coming away from mine, I felt totally robbed of that experience. I almost felt a sense of grief and loss over "the birth I didn't have".

Late in my pregnancy I was very keen to surround myself by positive birth stories and I got SO angry when women dumped their traumatic birth story on me. I'm so glad I blocked the scary stories out, set boundaries and protected myself in the last couple of months. It allowed me to go into my birth free of fear and open to whatever came up. So if this is you, this is an official warning: DO NOT READ THIS... my birth did not go well! In fact, it was a bit of a train wreck...

At one point, though, I remember reading a birth story from a woman who was planning a home birth and ended up with an emergency c-section. I found it strangely reassuring - like even if it all goes wrong, it will still be ok.

I am still planning to write out my full birth story at some point, but this part is usually what most people want to know.

What made it become a c-section? With all the high hopes I had for my birth, what went wrong?

In the end it was me who asked for a c-section, before it was offered to me. It became blatantly obvious that I was not going to birth this baby.

The background in a nutshell:

I went very far past my due date. My waters broke at 41 + 5 and I wasn't sure I was feeling movements. I rushed straight to the hospital, and while the baby was fine, they weren't happy with the monitor - there wasn't enough variability. I was (reluctantly) given pitocin, and 30 hours later it was clear that the induction had failed: I was only 2cm dilated.

I insisted on doing most of this without pain medication (which some clever buggers have pointed out was probably a waste - everyone's an expert in hindsight). I got an epidural about 25 hours into the pitocin party, when I was well and truly done.

The aim of the epidural was to let me sleep and rest and see if my body would respond and I would dilate (apparently this happens about a third of the time)... but it didn't. Contractions stopped and I was a big, floppy mess. Totally and utterly exhausted I could hardly speak. My husband fed me Sprite through a straw (I couldn't hold it myself) and trying to swallow the damn stuff I felt like the epidural had been injected straight into my lips.

A whole team of doctors and midwives came into my room at that point and had a debrief. The senior doctor told me that contractions had stopped and I was pretty much the same as I was before the epidural - less than 2cm dilated.

(Side note: getting your cervix checked when you are on an epidural is knarly...)

She informed me that they would check back in in a couple of hours to see if I had progressed at all, and if not, we would discuss other options.

But I knew it was over now. Again, some clever people might point out that it was probably over well before that, but I had my reasons for continuing to try for a natural birth as long as I did, but I won't go into that now.

I knew that if I took this route, if I continued to try to have a vaginal delivery now, it would be a vacuum delivery. If I can't even drink Sprite through a straw, I would not have the strength to push this baby out. That meant one thing: feet up in stirrups, cutting my pelvic floor open, attaching a vacu