My second c-section was undoubtedly the most traumatizing event of my life. I coped with losing everything in Hurricane Katrina better than the trauma of that c-section. I’m still dealing with my feelings nearly three years later. I feel hurt, violated, invaded, abused, frightened, distrusting, and vulnerable. As I prepare for baby # 3’s arrival my thoughts inevitably come around to “what if something happens that I need to have another section?” I mean, obviously, at this point, I would never consent to another elective section but there are true medical emergencies which would cause me to need another. What would I do? I had such a huge panic attack at my second section that I couldn’t stop crying hysterically and hyperventilating for them to get the spinal done. Oh, and shaking like a leaf. This was all BEFORE I even had an anesthesia. Once I was strapped down to that table I was convinced I was going to DIE. That was it. It was going to be over right then and there. My arms were pinned out to the side. Tied down and they were shaking so violently. I was terrified that because my whole body was shaking so bad that the doctor was going to slip and cut something important. I felt like someone was sitting on my chest. It was so hard to breathe. I felt panicked and out of control. I just wanted to get up and run. I still have nightmares about it now. I still wake up from these dreams where I am being wheeled into the operating room so they can cut my baby out and I’m fighting and I’m trying to run away but I keep getting pulled back in and everyone is screaming “YOU’RE GOING TO KILL YOUR BABY!!”
Let’s not forget the helplessness that comes AFTER the birth of the child. Lying on the table while your organs are outside of your body being inspected. Smelling the burning flesh. Feeling the tugging while they’re sewing you back together. It’s taking forever and all you want to do is see your baby and hold your baby. But she’s gone. Nowhere around. They’ve whisked her away.I was wheeled into recovery and I was all alone. My friend Lanette came in. I begged her to help me sit up. I couldn’t feel my legs and I was so scared and I felt so vulnerable. They brought me my baby but it was a struggle to hold her. I couldn’t move to a comfortable position and there were so many wires. I had no use of my left hand because my IV was in such an awkward place. Then, trying to breastfeed with limited mobility. It was so overwhelming.
Finally, I’m in my room and the humming in my ears won’t stop. People talk. It hurts. More people come in. It gets louder and louder. I can’t take the sensation anymore. I make everyone go home.
I couldn’t wait to get out of bed the next day but that pain was excruciating. That initial walk of four steps to the bathroom takes more than five minutes. Trying to lower myself to the toilet. Trying to stand back up. Forget bending. I know I need to move. I need to force myself to walk. It didn’t matter though because lying in bed was just as excruciating.
I never want to feel so helpless again.
It is still very hard to face these feelings. Every so often I read a book about birth and I have to stop. I have to put it down and walk away. I’m still not coping with these feelings and it’s forcing me to face them and I’m scared to really face them. This is the first time I’ve put the words on paper. I need to face these feelings so I can overcome them.