C-Section Stories: Nicole Bryant

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

I was a very informed pregnant lady. I read all the books and techniques and felt fully prepared for the most natural labor and delivery I could possibly have. I prepared my mind and body. I was lucky to go into labor spontaneously the day before my due date. My 3 year old and I spent the summer day relaxing in between my spaced out contractions. My husband came home from work in the evening and we tried to get some rest. By 4 am I was exhausted and contractions were more frequent. It had been about 24 hours of early labor. We decided to head in to the hospital.

I was 4 centimeters dilated on arrival. After a few hours they broke my water. I was dilating very slowly and beyond exhausted. After much debating, I decided to get an epidural to try to rest a little. I hadn’t eaten or slept in over 30 hours. They also started Pitocin to try to increase contraction strength. We tried changing positions to help my baby straighten out. He was on an angle which probably contributed to the lack of dilation. My baby started to move and become a bit more active, likely trying to get out! The doctor suggested a cesarean before it became an emergency situation. We hesitated but ultimately decided that was best. There had been no change for hours, I had been stuck at 7 centimeters. We felt fully supported and never pressured. Although my delivery did not go as expected, the c-section was a rewarding and positive experience after a long and frustrating labor.

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

I was most surprised at how quickly the entire process was. From the moment we decided to have a c-section to the moment my son was in my arms felt like a blink. But I remember every detail fondly. I was also surprised at how long it took to fully heal. The first weeks after were easy, but the pain does increase as activity picks up and uncomfortable feelings lasted for months, especially when sneezing or laughing!

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

I had prepared for all aspects of delivery and being a new mom, but not for having a c-section. It is a major surgery and we were learning as we went. I was lucky to have support from my husband and other family in terms of day to day. We had meals sent to our home and my mom drove us to follow-up appointments after my husband returned to work. I had two follow-up appointments with midwives in the weeks immediately following and was very lucky to have a smooth healing journey.

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

Be prepared to ask for and accept help. As a pretty independent person, I did not enjoy the struggle of needing help walking and lifting. It was helpful to have a crib or bassinet right at my side and bed height. It’s not easy to recover from major surgery while caring around the clock for a newborn. Gather supplies, snacks, water, and other essentials to make it easier to slow down. Remember, it will not be that way forever. Getting help and taking it easy really will speed up the healing and return to independence.

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

I think physically it was a much harder recovery than my unmedicated vbac (with stitches!). However, I feel that the most strength I gained came mentally and emotionally in that I was able to embrace the unexpected. My plans were not met and I was not prepared mentally for a c-section, but I was strong enough emotionally to accept it and embrace it. I made the choice that I felt was best for my son and me and although it was scary, I honored the process and was able to fully experience joy in the intimidating operating room. That showed me how strong I can be.

Name: Nicole Bryant

Business/Occupation: Online Teacher

How to Connect With You: https://www.instagram.com/nicbre52/