My Birth Story: The Truth Behind C-sections

Thomas Matthew Tidgwell Jr. Born March 6th, 2018


It was my 3rd time having a c-section.

But my nerves are no less than they were with my first. My anxiety starts to increase as the big day gets closer but I put on that brave face. I know I had 9 months to prepare, but regardless of the preparation, nothing can truly prepare me for getting cut open and having my organs taken out of my body and then ultimately meeting our newest member of the family. You see, c sections have such a false persona about them. I’ve heard women actually call a c section “the easy way out”. That is so far from the truth it makes my blood boil.

Right before my IVs went in. I was so swollen! My body always retains so much water in the last few weeks.

Getting to the hospital.

It was 6am. My husband and I walked hand in hand into the hospital. Excited but also somber, as we both knew what the next 48 hrs would entail.

We went straight up to labor and delivery. I checked in and was then taken to my pre op room. This is where I undress into my surgical gown, get hooked up to monitors, and then IVs put into my arm. I knew we had to wait in this room for 2 hrs as we have done this before. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t drink. I started to get nauseous because I had a full term baby inside of me that was hungry too but still remained calm yet quiet. I was absorbing it all in and still trying to mentally prepare.

My husband was trying to lighten the mood as he knew I was growing more and more anxious as that time approached. I had my brave face on and I was calm on the outside but let me tell you, I was scared as hell on the inside so held it in. I felt almost ashamed to admit I was scared.

You see, we have such an idealist perception about giving birth.

Yes, it’s a beautifully orchestrated miracle, but when people talk about it, it’s all sugar coated. No one really gets into the nitty gritty and at least for me, people don’t talk about being afraid of birth because it’s the way of life. When you are pregnant, giving birth is inevitable and many women today (and in generations before) have done it over and over, but that doesn’t mean it gets easier – maybe safer, but not easier or less feared.

I fully knew I was about to literally get cut open (again) and have my organs taken out of my body.

C-sections are MAJOR surgery. I knew I was in good hands but that still didn’t help ease my mind. I kept going to that place…  what if something happens? I have 2 little girl’s at home, and about to have a 3rd. I need to be ok. I need to be there. “Stop! Stop thinking that” I kept saying to myself.

Nurse snapped this right before he went into the surgical room

2 hrs went by.

My doctor came into my pre op room with a big smile on her face all dressed in her scrubs. She asked if I was ready and I nodded. They handed my husband his scrubs and rolled me away from my husband. I hate going into the surgical room alone. My husband isn’t allowed in until the anesthesiologist gives me my shot to numb me from the chest down. My heart pounds thinking about it.

The surgical room is bright and sterol. Everyone in there has on their scrubs and masks and preparing their tools and equipment. And I’m just laying there. I am right in the center under this bright bright light. I’m like the big attraction.

The anesthesiologist comes in and my heart starts to race.

The needle is huge and I’m suppose to basically go into this unnatural fetal position and stick my back out knowing fully that a huge needle is about to be injected into my spine. The nurse is squeezing my hands and trying to distract me from the pressure and pain of this needle that is being injected into my spine. I start to feel the numbingly painful pressure.

I say a quick prayer in my head.

My legs start to tingle as my whole body becomes dead weight, and everything goes numb. They put the curtain up, and my husband is brought in. My doctor appears over the curtain and says “here we go kid.” And it starts.

I know I’m being cut open…

and though I’m “numb” from the huge needle they had just put in my back, I still feel this intense pressure inside of my body that feels like the weight of a car is on top of me. My husband is right next to me holding my hand and rubbing my head. The admiration in his eyes is something I will always remember.

Tears start to trickle down my face.

We hear the doctors talking to each other and the pressure starts to be so very numbingly uncomfortable that it’s comparable to nails on a chalk board. This pressure is intense but it gets almost unbearable to the point I cannot breath. I look up at the anesthesiologist and say “I can’t breath”.  She looks over the curtain and assured me we are almost done…

I look at my husband and you can see worry in his eyes. This time, this c section, just feels much more intense. But just before I think I’m going to pass out I hear this beautiful cry and my baby boy is finally out and I can physically breath again.

I hear him crying as they are cleaning him and they bring him over. They rest him right by my head and I get to kiss him and whisper “Hi baby boy. It’s mommy. I love you so much. Thanks for coming out of me”, but it’s not over.

Thomas’ first cry

You see, while my new miracle is crying this beautiful cry, I am still lying there on the table, open, bleeding, and feeling almost sleepy. Remember, the doctors still need to put my organs back in and close me up.

This part of the surgery always gets fuzzy for me.

I remember my husband taking the baby and holding him while holding my hand. I remember turning to him and saying “this feels much more intense” and he agreed. I also remember hearing more tools being used. This being my 3rd, I had a lot of scar tissue. I don’t remember much else because I was put out for the rest of the surgery. My husband was apparently ushered out and was waiting anxiously for me in the recovery room while I was being put back together.

The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room to my husband holding our new baby boy and me coming out of the anesthesia.

People can sugar coat it as much as they want but c sections are no joke of a surgery and afterwards when you’re suppose to be healing, you wake up from major surgery with the responsibility of taking care of a newborn, and if it’s not your first, your other children as well. You can barely walk, you can’t go upstairs, you can’t lift things (including your baby) and if you stand up straight it feels like your incision will pop right open.

I heard someone once say that “giving birth naturally is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head.”

But if you ask me, it sure beats staples in your belly, a catheter in your bladder, intense gas pains, a longer hospital stay and recovery, and double the risk that you’ll land back in the hospital with an infection. C sections are no joke and I just wanted to share my experience so maybe some other mama can be better prepared.

I’m not an expert, I’m just a mom who has been through it.

All in all, I have my 3 beautiful babies and feel so blessed to have our family.

I’ve always wanted to have 5 kids, but because of the c sections, I just don’t know if I can mentally do it again. I’m giving myself a good 3-4 year break and then I’ll think about it. Until then, I’ll be over here enjoying my family and rocking my c-section warrior scar.

4 months postpartum in Nantucket with my crew


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