My Birth Stories: repeat emergency c-section

They always say when it comes to childbirth nothing goes as planned. There are the lucky few that create an entire vision in their head and a birth plan and are able to successfully fulfill their desired birth experience.

I had planned and prepared myself for both of my daughters’ birth. Both had unexpected outcomes and left me feeling defeated.

Both of my daughters were born via emergency c-section.


With my first pregnancy, I never in a million years even considered a cesarean. I remember reading so many books about child birth and prepared myself mentally and emotionally. Yet I always skipped the chapters and sections on c-section. Because I thought, that would never happen to me. I attended prenatal yoga classes, took breathing workshops, learned exercises that would help me during labor.

I was 37 weeks into my pregnancy when my water broke. I wasn’t scared, I was actually super excited and eager to get to the hospital. I felt ready for childbirth. I felt ready and strong to take on natural labor. I was an athlete. My body is capable. I believed I had a strong mind. I got this.

Once at the hospital, they said I was not dilated and there were no contractions. But since my water broke I had to stay and get a room in the hospital to be monitored. This was early in the morning, and by night time I still hadn’t gotten any contractions. So the doctor decided to medically induce me. Contractions started that night and into the next day. They were getting stronger and I was trying my best to stay calm and handle the pain. But, I kept getting checked and I was still not dilating. This kept going until the next night. That’s when my doctor decided that it’s best to go ahead with surgery and not put the baby and myself under more distress.

I was shocked, devastated, I didn’t know what to think. Before I know it, i was getting ready for surgery and getting prepped for full anesthesia.

I remember looking at my husband thinking, my athletic career is over. Dramatic? Yes. But I didn’t know anything about c-section, only that they cut through layers of your abdominal muscles and uterus to get to your baby. How will I recover after that?

They rolled me in to the surgery room and the anesthesia was still not in full effect. I started screaming saying “I’m still awake, why am I not sleeping!” Keep in mind that this is my first surgery ever. I didn’t know what to expect. I was scared.
Months after the surgery, I learned from my doctor that my c-section was actually not smooth. During surgery, once a baby and the placenta are removed from the uterus, the uterus is supposed to start contracting to stop the blood vessels from bleeding. My uterus didn’t do that. My body didn’t respond the way it’s supposed, just like how it didn’t respond to my water breaking. My uterus not contracting is called ‘uterus atony’, causing the blood vessels to bleed freely. So basically I lost a lot of blood during surgery, but thankfully didn’t need blood transfusion. This complication during surgery, will be the reason my second c-section was even more difficult.
I remember waking up with blurry vision and a nurse asked me if I wanted to see my baby. I said no and went back to sleep. I still can’t believe I said that. I was probably so emotional and still couldn’t believe I couldn’t have the birth I envisioned. A little while later, I was awake and wanted to see my baby. Thankfully we managed to breastfeed successfully and I continued to breastfeed my first daughter for over two years.

As soon as I got home from the hospital I started reading everything I could find on c-section surgeries, recovery, exercises, precautions, and everything I needed to know to get myself back on my feet and back to my CrossFit competitive lifestyle. I feel so blessed that by following my recovery plan and with the help of my coach/my husband, I managed to get back to my pre-pregnancy weights by 6 months, and even competed in a scaled competition at 5 months postpartum. {This timeline will be different for each pregnancy and for each woman, depending on her fitness level and recovery.}


I have to be honest, I never really recovered emotionally after my first birth experience. Whenever I would read about a natural birth, I would get emotional. The thought of my body “failing” kept haunting me.

Fast forward to my second pregnancy at 40 weeks plus 1 day. In my mind, the fact my pregnancy was progressing smoothly, I was healthy, baby was healthy, I reached 40 weeks and I felt great. I took this as a sign that my body will go into natural labor this time for sure! Again, I prepared myself mentally, emotionally and physically for a natural birth. I did exercises to allow my body to go into natural labor. I started getting contractions for a few days, they were painful to the point I had to stop talking or sit down. But they were irregular. I lost my mucus plug. I took that as another sign that things were progressing. My last appointment my doctor said I was 1cm dilated. Barely anything but better than nothing! I didn’t experience any of these steps with my first. My biggest fear was my water breaking and reliving my first birth experience.

Now this second time, I had to be realistic and prepared for anything. So I sat with my doctor and we created my birth plan for a natural birth. And then we created another plan if I had to do another c-section. Every appointment with my doctor when the words c-section came up I would start crying uncontrollably and had to be comforted by the nurse! So we planned for the unexpected. This time, to avoid risks of bleeding like my first surgery, there were a few things we could do. First, I will not be medically induced, so no Pitocin. Which means if my labor does not progress naturally, then we will automatically go for surgery. A second precaution was going for epidural instead of full anesthesia. I agreed to an epidural, one to prevent bleeding, two so that I could maybe have a better experience being awake during surgery. In my mind, if I wasn’t going to experience a vaginal birth, I at least wanted to be awake and hear my baby’s first cry in the surgery room.

At 40 weeks plus one day, I went in for a routine check up, when my doctor discovered a few alarming things. First, the cord was wrapped around my baby’s neck, second, she moved out of position and is now basically horizontal, AND she had her first bowel movement. My doctor really wanted me to go into labor naturally, in her words “it’s safer” considering my last surgery. She told me we can wait but it’s a risk.

I couldn’t be selfish at this stage. A risk on my baby’s health and safety just so that I could experience a vaginal birth? I cried. Accepted whatever Allah has planned for me. We agreed to prepare for a c-section. I didn’t leave the hospital and went straight to the labor and delivery section. It was a few hours of waiting and preparing, and I went into surgery that evening.

I was prepped for surgery and taken inside. I wanted my husband with me but he wasn’t allowed to be there during the epidural procedure. I was so nervous for the epidural. I was told to sit in a specific way and to not move during the whole procedure. It was all very uncomfortable and not what I expected. Especially the sudden shooting of electricity down one of my legs. Once that was done, I was on my back and my husband was sitting next me. They started the epidural and kept testing to see if I felt anything. I did and made sure they knew and to not start until I was numb. I was getting even more nervous and scared with each passing minute.

And then they started surgery.

I had assumed with an epidural that your lower body goes numb and you basically chill on the bed until they finish. I’ve seen photos of women with relaxed faces, excited faces, talking to their husbands, all during surgery. So I did not expect to actually feel them cutting through me. There was no pain. But you can feel everything. I felt them cutting through me, one layer at a time. I looked at my husband and said, “I’m scared, this is weird, I can feel everything.” And then the tugging and pulling started. It was aggressive, not sure what stage that was but I felt my insides being ripped out of me. Again, no pain. But a strong sensation of what is happening. Then, I think I experienced my first panic attack. I started screaming and shouting.

I remember opening my eyes, realizing they must have given me something to calm me down or put me to sleep. I turned to see that my husband wasn’t sitting next to me anymore and I was still in the surgery room. I asked where he was they said he’s waiting for me outside. I asked where’s my baby, they said we delivered your baby safe and sound and she’s with her father. I broke down and started crying. My doctor while stitching me back up asks why I’m crying. I said I wanted to hear her cry, I wanted her to be put on my chest once she was out. I kept crying until they finished and rolled me out of surgery. Even preparing for the possibility of a c-section, I wasn’t able to get the experience I wanted.

In the recovery room with my husband, I was just glad to be out of there. A few moments later, I finally met my second daughter.

During my stay at the hospital there were a few differences from my first surgery. First I had a catheter. And I also had a pipe coming out of my stomach that was draining blood and fluids. Both were extremely uncomfortable. My doctor came to visit me and I asked her for all the details about surgery. I wanted to know right away, not like last time not know about my excessive bleeding until months later.

According to her, it wasn’t easy. I took longer in surgery than the usual time it would take to perform a regular c-section. She said because of the bleeding from my first, and that some women experience this as a result of c-sections, I had ‘abdominal adhesions’. That means that when my abdominal organs were healing from my first surgery, they became stuck to each other, a form of scarring. Adhesions make c-section surgery more complicated.

I felt traumatized after this second surgery.

My recovery at the hospital was tough. My recovery at home was even harder. I’m almost two weeks postpartum but I remember my first recovery being much easier and faster.

C-sections are major surgical procedures and not to be taken lightly. Everyone’s experience will be different, everyone’s recovery will be different. I know my body best and want to rebuild it slowly and safely. That will ensure me a full recovery and to avoid injuries or complications in the future for not letting my body heal.

I’ll be taking it easy for a few weeks. Caring for my first daughter, my home, and our new baby will be enough physical activity. Once I start my recovery process to get back to training I’ll be sharing with you what I do.

If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read my experience. I think it’s important to share so that we can all be aware of things that could go wrong. And to also know that we are not alone. Every mother will have her own struggles. Sometimes writing things out is a form of healing.


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