C-Section Stories: Michelle Merenda

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

My OBGYN wanted to induce me at 40 weeks but after doing my own research, I decided that given the circumstances, I wanted to elect having a c-section. I had not progressed with contractions, my son was in a right occiput anterior (ROA) position, and I was of advanced maternal age (41), which all put me at a higher risk. More than likely, I would have labored and ended up with an emergency c-section. After discussing all of this with my doctor, he agreed to schedule the c-section but wanted to wait until 41 weeks to see if I would progress naturally. I agreed to this compromise and the rest is history.

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

The whole process behind my c-section made me feel less connected with the birthing experience I thought I was going to have. I already felt like my body had failed me, due to going through IVF, so I think in my mind I felt I was faulty somehow.

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

I felt very alone even though I had friends who were supportive. My closest friends are in other states, different timezones even, so it made it harder to get physical support from those I love and trust. At home, my husband was grieving the loss of his father just several weeks before the birth of our son, so he wasn’t available to comprehend the support I needed because he needed support. My healthcare team was supportive through every step.

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

Take your time to heal physically as well as mentally and emotionally. DO NOT compare yourself to anyone, anywhere, about anything. Your journey is your own.

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

At first, I felt that it made me weaker because my postpartum journey was rough. My hormones threw my body into this 80 year old woman who had major joint and muscle pain for 8 months postpartum, an inability to breastfeed a nearly 10 pound newborn, all while the c-section wound was healing. Physically, I felt worn down. Mentally and emotionally, I was a wreck but you wouldn’t know it. Looking back I’m sure I went through undiagnosed prenatal anxiety and postpartum depression. As time has gone by, I’ve realized how strong I was, have been, and continue to be, despite what’s been put in front of me.

Name: Michelle Merenda

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