Taking the Fear out of a C-Section

Twenty percent of all deliveries end in a c-section. Here's the not-so-bad news about what to expect.

"Not What I Planned For"

Two weeks before my son, Austin, was born, I sat propped up against a sofa in my doctor's office listening to the Lamaze instructor discuss cesarean sections. As she explained to our class of seven moms-to-be that, according to statistics, at least one of us would require a c-section, I was smugly certain it would be someone else. After all, I was only 30, in excellent health, and my pregnancy had been a breeze. It couldn't possibly be me. But then it was.

My labor started as many do. I woke around 2 a.m. to use the bathroom and my water broke. My husband, Paul, and I resisted the urge to dash to the hospital, and I spent the first hours of labor at home. At around noon, with contractions driving me to my knees every two minutes, we headed out. But when I arrived at the hospital, my doctor determined that I wasn't dilating quickly enough (after laboring for nine hours I was only 5 centimeters along) and gave me Pitocin to rev up my labor and an epidural to manage the pain. I dozed for about an hour, only to be awakened by a roomful of people who were all in a big rush.

My doctor sat by my bedside and calmly explained the situation: My son's heart rate was dropping -- his heart wasn't handling the Pitocin as well as it should -- and his head also seemed to be stuck. My baby was in distress and my doctor wanted to perform an emergency cesarean section.

Labor & Delivery: Unplanned C-Section
Labor & Delivery: Unplanned C-Section

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