C-Section Stories: Katie Burns

1. Briefly, please share the circumstances that led to your c-section birth(s):

I had been in labour for sixty hours and my baby was in a posterior position. I was given synthetic oxytocin to help with progress and my son did not respond well to the more intense contractions and his heart rate dropped. Ultimately, after a more serious heart rate dip, my OB suggested that he be delivered via c-section.

2. What surprised you the most about having a c-section?:

I was surprised at how calm the operating room was. The nurses and doctors spoke to my husband and me like we were people, not patients. I was praised for my hard work and perseverance and reminded that my body did not fail. My baby was brought to me almost immediately (there was meconium in the waters so he needed a quick assessment first). We did skin-to-skin within fifteen minutes of his birth. It could have been sooner at my request. I could have had him placed on my chest while I was being stitched up but chose to allow him to rest with my husband, skin-to-skin, in the recovery room which was dimly lit and calm. He started breastfeeding within 30 minutes of his birth.

3. What kind of support do you feel you received (from friends, family, healthcare team) after your c-section(s)?:

I had midwives and they were incredibly supportive of my recovery. The first four visits in Ontario are home visits so they examined my incision and assessed my pain levels. They also asked me about how I was feeling emotionally about my labour and c-section experience. It is so much more common now for babies to be born via c-section so family and friends were very supportive. Most were also very respectful of the fact that I wasn't looking for pity or to hash out all the details of my labour either.

4. What’s your #1 piece of advice/encouragement for a new c-section mom?:

Don’t feel like your body failed because you had a c-section. This was just the course your birth journey took. Your baby was always meant to be born from your belly. You are a warrior to have endured a high intensity labour with many twists and turns. You are allowed to feel anger or resentment that you had to relinquish control but please also feel strength and gratitude. You are allowed to be grateful for your healthy baby while also grieving for the fact that your birth didn't go according to plan. You are allowed to feel anything you want to feel about your birth but I hope you feel pride above all!

5. How do you believe having a c-section birth(s) made you stronger?:

I practiced HypnoBirthing®️ and planned to have an unmedicated birth. I avoided pharmaceutical pain relief for the first forty-five hours of labour because of a fear I had that it would lead to a c-section. Eventually, I realized that I had to let go of my fears and was able to peacefully accept my c-section as part of my birth process. Overcoming this fear and letting go of my control has made me a stronger woman. I've entered into motherhood with a newfound calmness and respect for myself and my body.

Name: Katie Burns

Your Profession: Teacher

How to Connect With You on Social Media: @katiebtb on Instagram