I had to go through an emergency C-section back in 2016 to save my baby’s life. She had a decreasing heartbeat, and at the same time, I was also diagnosed as Polyhydramnios (excessive amniotic fluid), causing fetal malposition. This wasn’t what I wanted for my birth plan, but it was what I needed. I was blessed with a healthy and beautiful baby girl.
Unfortunately, I was faced with not-so-nice comments from friends and relatives. Someone told me, “Mabuti nga CS ka, hindi ka nahirapan manganak, hindi ka nag-labor at umire.” And just recently, when I was asked about plans for a second baby, this person said I should go for more kids. I experienced CS, she said, which was a lot easier compared to what she had to go through with three kids who were all normal delivery.
I’m sure they mean no harm, but comments like these don’t help to the well-being of a mother. It makes us feel that we got a lucky pass and did it the easy way.
Anyone who went through C-section will tell you it is an intense experience. It is a major surgery where our stomachs were ripped open. We endure pain for months and long recovery time with post-surgery risks.
What I’m saying is people need to stop thinking that CS is no big deal. There is no superior form of giving birth, and there is no competition because our baby’s first cry is all that matters.
We should not feel pressured or shamed because of the choices that we had to make.
We celebrate the Cesarean awareness this April by asking three moms to share their CS journey.
Melissa "Iza" Paula Javier, 31, was prepared physically, mentally, and financially to deliver via natural spontaneous delivery (NSD). She even planned for a water birth. However, after 48 hours of labor, her cervix dilated for only 5cm. They ruptured her water bag, but three hours later, her labor did not progress. Her OB decided to do a C-section.
Iza said she felt less of a mother at first, even worthless because she couldn't help with household chores. She would cry to her husband because of the pain due to incision. But having a great support system that included her husband, her parents, and her sister helped her heal physically and emotionally.
She believes that whether moms deliver via NSD or CS, “Isa lang naman ang main goal natin bilang nanay, it is to deliver our baby safe and healthy. At kahit mahirap, masakit, unexpected, pero priceless pag narinig mo yung unang iyak ni baby.”
Samantha Ocampo, 33, did everything she could to have a normal delivery. Weeks before her due date, she walked for two hours straight every day, went up and down the stairs, and did squats. But it didn’t work — her cervix wouldn't open, so they had to induce her labor.
Samantha was in pain and had contractions with 5-minute intervals for seven hours straight. The nurses were already having a hard time checking for her baby’s heartbeat, so she said she called for her doctor to do a C-section.
It turned out to be the best decision. When the doctors opened Samantha, the amniotic fluid was green, and her baby pooped and accidentally swallowed some of it. She had to be confined for seven days at the NICU to take antibiotics.
Samantha experienced mom guilt and postpartum depression, blaming herself for not deciding to do C-section much earlier. She said she cried almost every day. With the help of her husband, family, and friends, she was able to overcome it.
She concludes, “Having a C-section is not easy, but it has always reminded me that it happened because it was meant to happen and that I am not alone in this journey.”
Karmella Charmaine Agustin, 32, says she would have loved to deliver her baby via NSD, but unfortunately, her cervix was not dilating and stayed for 4cm only after 19 hours of labor. Her OB had no choice but to deliver her baby via C-section.
Aside from dealing with the pain after the anesthesia worn off, Karmella had to go deal with newborn baby's condition: She was diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries. She felt numb after learning that at just 9 days old, her baby needed open-heart surgery. Thankfully, her daughter was a warrior and survived it.
Karmella said she didn't experience any mom guilt because what was important was to deliver her baby safely. She added that despite the pain, it was made everything so worth it just by looking at her baby’s face.
She also has a message to all the mothers who went through CS. “Do not be ashamed. We are all fighters, and what matters is, we all made it possible for our babies to see the world.”
Yce Tucker-Tiburcio, a member of the Smart Parenting Mom Network, is a first-time mom trying to juggle a full-time job with family life. She loves sharing her motherhood stories and their adventures as a family. Together with her daughter Cassie, she hopes to spread kindness and good vibes.