I wasn’t aware of many things when I became pregnant with my first child two years ago. I knew about common things like gender reveals and the normal birthing procedure. My pregnancy was going so well that I didn’t think about a Cesarean or C-sections as much as I should have. I knew that I did not want to have a C-section. The thought of it terrified me.

Three days before my due date, my water broke while I was buying chips at a vending machine in our apartment complex. Did I freak out? Definitely. I wasn’t in any pain, nor did I have any contractions at the moment. I immediately rushed to the hospital, thinking I was ready to give birth, but I was wrong. Despite not having any contractions, I ended up getting induced. Induction of labor is the process of “stimulating labor to start,” and reasons for it vary. According to UCLA Health, some common reasons for induction are a past due date, preeclampsia, or the fetus having poor growth. In my case, it was due to not having any contractions. 

The procedure

After 48 hrs of pushing, my cervix had not opened beyond 3 centimeters. As much as I had intended to have a vaginal birth with my first pregnancy, a point came during delivery when it became clear that the baby was having trouble coming through the pelvis. Not only was I in pain, but I also had a fever. The contractions felt like a giant period cramp that was persistent, followed by fever shakes that were horrible. I remember just feeling cold and tired throughout the whole process.

The nurses would constantly come in and check if my cervix was opening, but there was no change. It was frustrating. On my second night at the hospital, at about midnight., the doctor informed me that my baby’s heart rate was dropping and was not tolerating labor. I was immediately in a state of shock because I knew what was going to happen next. My partner and I were informed by the doctor that I would need to have an emergency C-section. Upon hearing the news, I agreed immediately because I was scared for my baby’s life. I knew what I needed to do for him, despite being terrified. 

Right away, they had the person in charge of my anesthesia come in to give me the epidural. This anesthesia involves infusing numbing medicines through a thin catheter that has been put into the space that surrounds the spinal cord in the lower back. It causes loss of feeling in the lower body,” according to UCLA Health. This type of anesthesia is used during labor for vaginal and Cesarean (C-section) births. 

I remember laying in bed in the operating room waiting for all of it to happen. My partner was right there with me, and we were both very scared. My birthing experience was traumatizing because I was awake for the entire process. “C-section, or Cesarean birth is the surgical delivery of a baby through a cut (incision) made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus,” according to UCLA Health

Providers may use it when they believe it is safe for both the mother and the baby. During the C-section procedure, the incision made in the skin may be vertical, in which the incision extends from the belly button to the pubic hairline, or horizontal, in which the incision extends across the pubic hairline. The horizontal incision is more commonly used because it heals well and there is less bleeding. 

Potential complications

Some possible complications of a C-section may include bleeding, abnormal separation of the placenta, injury to the bladder or bowel, infection in the uterus, wound infection, trouble urinating or urinary tract infection, delayed bowel function and blood clots.

I remember saying to myself during the surgery, ‘I hope my baby is OK, I just need to hear him cry.’ It was exhausting and overwhelming to think about everything that had happened, especially since I knew that in just a few minutes I would be responsible for a tiny human. 

I’m so happy that my baby was safely delivered even though it wasn’t the way that I expected it to happen.

The surgery lasted about an hour and Levi, my son, eventually cried when they took him out of my belly. It was the best feeling to hear him cry because it was a moment of relief for me. They immediately took Levi for me to see him, and they carried him next to me. I was surprisingly shocked at how much he looked like me. I was honestly expecting Levi to look like his dad, but he looked like a mini-version of myself, which was astonishing to me at that moment.

This moment was special because I was able to see my baby after being restricted for 24 hours due to a fever.

Looking back, I should have researched more before my first birthing experience so that I could have been mentally prepared. Truthfully, no one is ever prepared to give birth for the first time, and I understand that now because it’s not an easy task. Because it ultimately saved my baby’s life, I don’t regret getting a C-section.

If there is anything I can help young mothers and fathers with, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at amairani@latinomedia.org.

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Amairani Hernandez is a native of Los Angeles and a graduate of the California State University of Los Angeles with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She is a staff multimedia journalist, who focuses on...