C-Section Stories: Stephanie Barrus

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

My first son was born vaginally after 39 hours of labor. My water broke at 39 weeks and I had to be induced. He was 7 pounds 1 ounce. I narrowly escaped a c-section.

My second son was born via emergency c-section due to him being too large to fit through my pelvis. I labored for 12 hours and stopped progressing at 8 cm. He was 8 pounds 15 ounces.

With my first daughter, I elected to have another c-section. She was 40 weeks and weighed 8 pounds 6 ounces.

My second daughter was born at 39 weeks with a c-section being my only option for birth due to hospital VBAC policy. She was 7 pounds 4 ounces.

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

I was surprised how much I preferred the recovery with my first c-section to a vaginal delivery. I was surprised at how long it takes to stitch you back up versus the baby being born. I was surprised they took the baby away very quickly for a bath, although this policy has changed now. It left me feeling lonely and robbed of my fresh newborn time. I was surprised how much strength I gained from facing my deepest fear of being awake while being cut open.

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

I received excellent support from my husband, family, friends, doctor, and medical staff.

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

Give yourself time - not just physically but mentally to heal. Own your experience and don’t let anyone belittle your births or compare them. Each is heroic, beautiful, and requires sacrifice.

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

It’s made me realize that there is not one way for everything. Facing a c-section is mentally hard and requires all of my strength to sit there and let someone else do the work. When I’m having a tough day with my 4 month old, I remember how resilient my body and mind are and that I can do hard things because I’ve lived my greatest birth fear.

Name: Stephanie Barrus

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