My Beautiful Scar
Oh, My beautiful scar. Proud of this mark that is with me forever. Perfectly placed in my lower abdominal to make it intimately mine and only for those lucky enough to see.
In the United States, about 32 percent of babies are delivered by C-section. Cesarean surgery has increased throughout the years. Some are planned to prevent complications if the mother has an existing chronic medical condition, infections (such as HIV or have a active genital herpes), an illness, or a congenital condition, a large baby, breech baby, and other complications like pre-eclampsia. C-Section is also the results of emergencies that come up during labor. These complications include exhaustion or fetal distress, uterine rupture, or if labor doesn't start. For example, in my case, my cervix didn’t dilate despite having really painful contractions.
Despite the complications that many women go through in order to opt out for a c- section there are many social stigmas that these women face. Many believe that undergoing a c-section means that someone doesn’t know what it is to give birth. Regardless of the method how someone brings life to this world and accepts the role as a mother I truly believe you shouldn’t take the credit for giving birth from a mother. As a person who had a c-section, I would like to shed some light on why I believe this is not accurate and very much insulting. This is how I got my beautiful scar.
I was 22 years old when I was pregnant with my first child. The pregnancy was a great experience. I loved being pregnant. Throughout your pregnancy, you are surrounded by so many people telling you how, when, and what they think is going to happen. Everyone likes to share their experiences and opinions. I already had created in my mind what I believe was my perfect labor/birth story for myself. I was set on a natural push birth plan, but one major lesson of adulthood is that not everything goes as plan. In retrospect, when I listen to so many pregnant friends complain about their experiences, I am grateful how much I enjoyed being pregnant since my labor wasn’t that pleasant.
After what was a nearly smooth 8 months of pregnancy, aside from the time morning sickness got the best of me on the Express train and I ended up throwing up on myself, oh and the red bull addictions, yes I know horrible, but I finally made it to 9 months and I was in a great mental space for my labor. During one of my now weekly routine appointments my doctor checks me and tells me, ¨you're 4 centimeters open, I might not see you next appointment¨. In excitement and anticipation of the day fast approaching I decided to watch a video of how women give vaginal birth and as much as I thought I was ready, watching the video was the worst thing to watch. I was in shock but nothing I can do now, right? The following week, like my doctor predicted, I started to feel pressure and a weird feeling. I called everyone telling them I think it's time. Later that night the contractions became really strong and I was taken to the hospital.
At the hospital, I was admitted with urgency and asked to remove all clothing. As I did just that, I notice I was bleeding. I was under extensive monitoring. The nurses kept having me move from side to side and every time I was asked to move my baby’s heartbeat would stop and start back up again. In one instance I was left alone and all of sudden the baby’s heartbeat started to slow down. The nurses immediately rushed back in and I was moved into another room as it was time to deliver the baby. At this point, I was only 4 centimeters open and yet contractions became stronger and more frequently at 1 minute apart. The baby’s irregular heartbeat, the fact that I wasn’t dilating, and my contractions were much more severe it was evident that a natural birth plan was out the window. The doctor came in and explained that they will have to do a c-section in order to act fast and save the baby. I was shocked and confused because so many questions came up in mind as this was never an option I considered.
In true Dominican mother fashion, my mother was not happy. My mother was so close minded and was giving the doctors a hard time. She didn’t understand why they had to do a c-section as her heart was set on “tu vas a saber que es a dar luz,” In other words, she wanted me to push the baby out like she did with all her three kids. I right away signed the consent form for a cesarean surgery. As I was getting prep for my c-section all I was thinking was get this baby out of me. They rushed and cut me open about 4 inches horizontal or bikini incision in the lower abdomen, less than 20 minutes later my baby was born.
The afterbirth was another experience on its own. It took me a long time to be able to walk standing straight. When using the bathroom it was painful at times as well as showering. I was hunch over from the pain and the healing scar. I had to be cautious not to open the scar with any wrong movement. Another thing that was difficult for me was breastfeeding. As I had learned to breastfeed by holding the baby like a football under my arms. Due to the scar, the pressure with the baby on top was difficult for me.
Since having my child I have learned to live with my scar and the experience. I also learned to understand why I needed an emergency c-section. I became much more educated on labor complications. The past 10 years, I became more compassionate about my scar because it reminded me of what I brought into this world and not to be a shame of a scar that will always be there. Also, knowing other women went through a similar situation as I did. It's good to also educate others about different situations as topics. Most of the time all you hear or know is about women who gave natural birth by pushing but not many speak about c-section and the beautiful scar it leaves.