A group of friends and I were talking the other day about childbirth (as all mums seem to do at some point or another- a lot!) and the debate over caesarean sections versus natural labour came up. To the three of us who had c-sections the question was asked...
"Is there a part of you that feels sad you didn't experience natural labour?"
I have been asked this question a few times since I had my lovely little girl in December 2010. I have blogged a few times before about my birth story and what a wonderful experience it was. I had an elective c-section and knew exactly what date our baby was due to be entering the world. Christmas Eve 2010 - the day our lives changed forever.
That day we walked into the hospital with my overnight bag, Mr E holding my hand, I had no visible signs of labour. I wasn't getting contractions, my waters hadn't broken and in fact I felt as fit as a fiddle bar looking like I had swallowed a JCB.
I didn't have the nervous anticipation of thinking about what would happen when I went into labour. Would Mr E be at work? Would he have to rush home? Would we get a space on the delivery ward? I had none of that, I knew the time and date and I knew Mr E would be home - he had booked his paternity leave to start that very day.
I didn't have the pain of contractions, each one getting progressively worse until I knew it was time to go the hospital. I didn't have Mr E whispering in my ear, or gripping my hand, telling me to push through each one. All the things we learnt at our NCT classes, about breathing and relaxation, didn't matter in the slightest.
I didn't know what it felt like to experience a contraction or feel an overwhelming sense that I needed to push. I don't know whether I would have pushed on with no pain relief, or whether I would have jumped for an epidural at the first opportunity. I don't know because I honestly have no idea what natural labour feels like.
Mine and my baby's fate was not in my hands that day. It wasn't me who had to do the hard work to deliver her and get her here safe. My fate was fully in the hands of the amazing doctors who delivered us the best Christmas present we could ever hope of receiving.
I lay on that bed with Mr E holding my hand, while they cut me open and pulled my little girl from me. I felt nothing except a strange tugging sensation. I went into theatre at 9am and by 9.35am she was born. Easy. Quick. A Miracle.
Yes, the recovery was hard. For a couple of days I was helpless and getting up was agony. A C-section is major surgery and it certainly wasn't easy. It took weeks for my body to recover fully and even now 14 months on the area still stings sometimes and is numb. But by and large my baby's birth was an incredible and surreal experience that was completely out of my hands.
Yet if someone asks me that question, I always say no I don't feel sad I didn't experience natural labour. Myself and Mr E created her out of the love we have for each other, I carried her for nine months, kept her safe and well, and wished for her to be here safely every single day. I lay there in that hospital theatre room, scared and terrified about what was going on.
No, I didn't feel the sensations of labour, but I sure as hell felt every single emotion in the world. Fear. Anticipation. Nerves. Anxiety.
And as soon as I heard her first little wet scream as she entered the world at 9.35am on Christmas Eve 2010, I felt the strongest emotion of all.
Overwhelming love. And what it felt like to be a Mummy.
So no, I don't feel cheated, or sad, or even slightly disappointed about not experiencing natural labour. I just feel incredibly grateful that thanks to those wonderful medical staff who were missing out on Christmas Eve with their families, I got the greatest gift of all.
And now I look down at my scar, still numb, and I absolutely love it.
I love what it represents.
It's not ugly to me at all. Long after Mads is grown up I will still carry that scar.
It is my ever so beautiful reminder of the day I gave birth to my wonderful baby girl.
Katie is a photography obsessed mama to two gorgeous girls.
Blogs at: Mummy Daddy Me