Just over three years ago, I had an emergency c-section. My baby was breech and would not turn. I had planned a natural home birth, just as I'd had with my previous three children, and when you are preparing for a natural birth, you aren't necessarily thinking about having a c-section. I was mentally unprepared, and physically as well -- the bag I took to the hospital was filled with strange odds and ends grabbed by my mother in the heat of the moment, containing my hairbrush (which was important) but no change of clothes (which would have been important, too.)
Benjamin was born safely (but mad) although his Apgar scores weren't all that great. It was upon his delivery that the doctor told me I had a heart-shaped uterus, which I didn't know before, and that's why the baby couldn't turn. I was told that any future pregnancy would be accompanied by a lot of ultra-sounds to make sure everything was in the right place.
I spent some time feeling sorry for myself during my recovery, which was awful. I couldn't stand up straight for three weeks. I reminded myself daily that I was blessed--the baby was alive and healthy, I was fine, and it could have been so much worse. I felt additionally blessed when Medicaid picked up the unexpected $10,000 bill. But I still resented the fact that I'd had to have surgery.
The other day, I happened upon this article at Families.com: "Let's Talk about Having a Bicornuate Uterus." That's the medical term for my condition, and as I read not only the article, but the comments afterward, I realized just how very blessed I am.
Many women who have this condition have difficulty conceiving or carrying to term. There is a 55-63% survival rate for the infants of women who have this condition. There is a 15-20% rate of preterm birth and can cause fetal growth retardation.
Commenters in the trail mention uncontrolled bleeding and kidney problems.
Reading this article made me realize just how very blessed I am. Many women in my position can't have children at all, and I have four gorgeous, smart, healthy children, three of whom were born with no complications at all. I have never had a miscarriage. I have never had kidney problems. I have never had problems conceiving. As I go down the list of all the things that could go wrong because of the bicornuate uterus, I am amazed at how smoothly motherhood has been for me this far. I may have to have another c-section, as we are planning to have one more child, but if that's the case, I'll go into it so much more aware of how truly blessed I am. I'm a woman who, the statistics say, shouldn't be able to carry to term. If a c-section is the worst I have to endure to be a mother, surely I can appreciate the process and feel so very blessed that it's not worse.