postpartum feelings: a c-section to VBAC comparison

The differences postpartum between my first birth and my second are like night and day. Completely different experiences, mindsets, and feelings. I don’t even know where to start…

After Ryan was born, I was depressed. It was absolutely beyond the baby blues and although I was never diagnosed with PPD, I believe that is what I had. PPD manifests in different ways for different people. I wasn’t angry and I didn’t hate my child…. I was a zombie. There were just simply no emotions at all. Of course I spent lots of time crying, but otherwise I just… felt nothing.

Recovery from the c-section was hard. Steve went back to work right away, all of our parents were working, we didn’t have a lot of help. Steve was working nights and I remember sitting on the couch, staring at the wall (we had no cable TV), and sobbing. Steve would set me up with a tray of food and a drink before he left… and some nights, he’d sit with me on the phone while he was at work–we didn’t do much talking, he just silently stayed on the line… he was worried about me.

When I sat on that couch and sobbed, I thought…. I’m taking care of this baby because I have to, because it’s what I’m supposed to do. I rarely called Ryan by his name. I have very few photos from early on and the ones I do have were taken by iPhone, not with a camera. I didn’t feel a connection with him and reading about other new moms and how their hearts were “exploding with love” at their newborn made me think something was wrong with me. It made me feel alone.

And I successfully breastfed him through the pain only because I couldn’t handle to “fail” at something else.

after the c-section… it was hours before I got to see and hold Ryan

It lasted a long time. I look back on that entire first year and it was a blur. I went back to work part-time at 6 weeks and that probably saved my sanity a bit, actually. I remember the most excitement of my day was walking down the driveway to get the mail from the mailbox… I waited for 3pm and it was all I looked forward to. On the days when the mailman brought our mail to our door because he had a package for us, I was crushed. What was I going to do now?!

I cried a lot, but I talked to no one. I felt so alone, but also felt like my feelings must be normal for a new, tired mom. Or I thought no one would understand. The only thing I DID talk about was the c-section… I talked about it almost daily to Steve, as I cried about it. It was like every day I remembered something from the labor or the surgery. Or I learned some new fact from the internet about long-term side effects. I was devastated (we all know that).

I know women with vaginal births get PPD, too. However, I do blame a lot of my depression on the c-section. It was traumatic for me, it changed my life completely and it consumed me for a long time.

I’ve moved on. I’ve done a great deal of healing–however, I will never forget. If I let myself sit and really think back to that day… I will cry. I will get angry. But I am doing so much better. And I am helping other women.

So… the second birth. I had a vaginal birth. Yes, I had her at home. Yes, it was tough and it was not my ideal vision of what birth could be. But I’d do it all again in a second–all 58.5 hours of it.

It was the most work I’ve done in my life–it was the most pain I’ll ever feel–it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. And it was, hands down, the most incredible, empowering, and moving thing I will ever experience. I’d do it all again without hesitation.

I bonded with Rebecca immediately, there were no connection issues. Things were great, I was happy, I was feeling like myself in no time at all. The difference from the first time is just amazing… I didn’t feel like myself for probably a year after Ryan was born. ¬†Looking back and being able to compare how I felt, I’m simply amazed a human being can just go on as a zombie like that for so long.

I DID, however, experience some baby blues this time! It’s really crazy how definitive those feelings were. I mean, I could tell you exactly what day and time they started. It was a week after she was born and it lasted for just a few days, maybe a week. I was very nervous the feelings would continue and I’d have PPD again, but thankfully the blues ended as quickly as they came. And this time it wasn’t like being an emotionless zombie, it was a feeling of being completely overwhelmed. I’d randomly burst into tears and snap at people around me–mainly Steve. He was incredibly supportive and amazing through everything!

Will there be a third??? Good question ;)

Did you feel the same or completely different after your births? If you had PPD, did you have it with more than one child?

26 comments to postpartum feelings: a c-section to VBAC comparison

  • Heather I

    Thanks for sharing your story. I know it couldn’t have been easy to write up but I know there will be women out there that this will help.

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    <3 thank you

    [Reply]

  • Chrystal

    So proud of you for writing this. I had some serious PPD after my csection and while I’ve had some blue days post-HBAC, it has been a much easier healing process. I don’t know how much is the different birth or the placenta encapsulation but I haven’t hit the wall that I hit 2.5 years ago. <33

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    So glad you’re better this time around; it is so hard. I should write a post too about placenta encapsulation… I had an interesting time with that and am no longer taking the pills. Who knows the reasons for the feelings – luck (or BAD luck lol), the birth experience, the encapsulation…. hugs, mama! <3

    [Reply]

  • Jessica

    Thank you for sharing your story. I too had problems after the birth of my daughter connecting with her. I’m positive I had PPD although I was never diagnosed. My husband also worked nights so I didn’t have him around at night when I probably needed him the most. I delivered vaginally, but the whole experience was so far from what I wanted that it was traumatic for me as well, although probably not as much as a c-section would have been. I had a lot of issues healing physically, which just made it worse. I feel better every time I hear/read a story like this because it reminds me I’m not alone in how I felt. I really hope the next time around is easier for me mentally and physically.

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    I’m so sorry you had a rough experience and went through that, hugs mama! You are certainly not alone <3 Best wishes for next time!

    [Reply]

  • Oh, that last picture made me burst out in tears. So beautiful. Emily, you are so amazing to go through both these births, and it is so wonderful that you have been able to help so many others. I can’t even begin to express how happy I am that you were able to have a vaginal birth, and to feel so much more complete after doing so. Your children are both beautiful, and they are so lucky to have you for a mom! <3

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    Thank you so much <3

    [Reply]

  • sara m

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! It is so incredibly similar to my own. I too went from a c section with undiagnosed severe ppd to a long, hard, but totally empowering vbac! Thank you, you are not alone!

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    Thank you! And congrats on your awesome VBAC! :)

    [Reply]

  • Amanda

    Kudos to you for being able to write this! I am very fortunate to have had a wonderful birth experience with a c section. There was no physical way my body would have given birth vaginally. Believe me, my wonderful doctors tried everything! Being pregnant with #2, with another impending c section, I am almost relieved. Please just try to remember that all don’t have chances for vbac, and no one should be made to feel guilty if they have to have one. Best wishes to all you wonderful ladies out there!!

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    I agree! I wasn’t trying to make anyone feel guilty, sorry if it came out that way. I have no idea if the birth experiences are the reasons for the different emotions.. I can’t imagine that’s the sole reason, but probably a contributing factor — for ME. We’re all different! I’m so glad you had a great experience! Congrats on #2!! :)

    [Reply]

  • lindsay

    oh em, sweetheart! you are definately not alone. i too was devastated by my c-section and PPD (also never diagnosed). I went thru hell for years! you are lucky to have a husband who is able to offer you support. mine unfortunately could not. he just did not understand what i was experiencing. however i do believe that time is healing. i finally feel normal again and my son just turned 5. God bless, you emily for sharing your heart felt story! i love you, cousin!

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    Thanks, Lindsay :) Sounds like we could have a lot to talk about together! I’m glad you’re feeling normal again – that’s such a long time to be a different person, it breaks my heart, knowing what it feels like. I’m here if you ever want to chat!

    [Reply]

  • Ri

    I have obsessed over my c-section almost daily and it has been over a year now. I didn’t have connection issues, but I do remember the zombie feeling and it lasted until my son was 6 months old. I also remember feeling at some point that I never actually saw my son come out of my body–weird, I know and that affected me deeply. Thank you so much for sharing! I am still planning a vbac for my next baby, whenever that is and it sure has helped to read your blog.

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    Hugs, mama! I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through that. Best wishes to you and an upcoming pregnancy/VBAC!

    [Reply]

  • My first experience was exactly like yours! Unexpected c-section, miserable breastfeeding but I just HAD to do it, just moved so we had nothing…no TV, hubby back to work. It was hard! I was so depressed. But then I realized that I wasn’t terribly upset about the section; it was the expectations and having to do a natural birth, having to breastfeed. I had put all of these things in my head. I know everyone is different. Maybe there is a reason that I came to different conclusions than others. I am thankful that I did because I have no regrets anymore and I really do think that my pelvis is so small that I would have trouble having a vaginal birth. Could it be done? Maybe! But it’s just not worth it to me. Not worth tearing badly and risking the baby. To others though I know that it may not be worth it to go through surgery. Again, we are all different. It’s interesting how we come to different conclusions.

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    Yes, definitely! I also agree that part of it was the expectations I had set up for myself in my head… the way I thought things would (and should!) go… and when they didn’t, I was devastated. It was like setting myself up for failure. With the second baby, I practiced and played out all possible situations in my head. I was trying to be mentally prepared for a hospital transfer, for another c-section, and for PPD. Even if I got the birth I wanted, I told myself that doesn’t mean it will all be magical afterwards… the PPD can still come. Thankfully, it hasn’t. Hugs, mama!

    [Reply]

  • Thank you for sharing your story! For me, I only had PPD after my third child, and only boy. It was very similar to your feelings post Ryan. I have truly heard more PPD instances after having sons. I wonder if the male hormones have anything to do with it…

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    Hmm… interesting!! Something to look into!

    [Reply]

  • I found your story very interesting, and sad, but I know it’s very common. I’m sorry that you did not seek help or outside support. My experiences were a bit different. With my first baby, she was breech. They tried to turn her, but were unsuccessful, so they c-sectioned. I felt overwhelmed, blue, teary, guilty, but I knew I loved my baby and wanted to do things for her, it was just so hard. I do not think it ppd, but it wasn’t fun. Next baby I had Placenta Previa and some spotting, so I ended up on “couch rest” for 6 weeks. After many ultrasounds looking for the placenta growing into the scar area, I ended up with a messy situation. When they opened me up, they found my bladder was stuck to my Uterus, then they delivered the baby but couldn’t separate placenta from uterine tissue. The placenta had grown through the back side of my uterus, not seen on ultrasound. After several attempts they could not stop the bleeding and ultimately needed to do a hysterectomy. I rec’d lots of blood products as well. After all of that, recovery, hysterectomy and all, I was grateful to be alive, have a healthy , if small, baby and actually felt better emotionally than after my first birth. I never could even think about having a baby at home! Too scary after all the stories I’ve heard. Glad it all worked out for you.

    [Reply]

  • Hannah

    Well, I had a wonderful home birth, but I did have some issues with connecting to my son. It was like for some reason, after going through the pushing, I didn’t want to see him for a little bit. I didn’t feel any overwhelming feelings of love either. I also had a lot of trouble getting him to nurse, and a lot of people trying to help, and that made it stressful for me. I felt like a failure with the nursing, but after using formula, pumping, using a nipple shield, after a couple months, he got to exclusively nursing without the nipple shield ( thank God for those things). That made things SO much better, and I fell in love with him gradually. I defintely had some baby blues. I did have other women around, but the baby definitely took up most of my time. I learned to read while I nurse, and since I was nursing all the time, it gave me something fun to do.

    [Reply]

  • The feelings you described of PPD are exactly how I felt Nellie’s first year and a half. The zombie. The not caring. Sometimes I’d look at her and feel nothing. Absolutely nothing. I did have a vaginal birth and everything went fine – but I was still afflicted with PPD. It wasn’t until last summer that I finally sought help and started feeling like myself again! Hugs mama.

    [Reply]

  • I had postpartum anxiety/panic attacks after my first. It was bad enough that when my husband finally went back to work (he traveled at the time) that I went with him for a few weeks because I was so afraid of having a panic attack, thinking I was dying (and what would happen to my baby if I died and I was all by myself while he was gone for days?!). It took a while to figure it out what was really going on, and talking with friends is what really exposed it for what it was. I after #2, I was concerned that it would happen again, but it was a non-issue. By the time I had #3, I wasn’t so concerned, because I had learned how to manage potential triggers.

    [Reply]

  • You are incredible. I’m so honoured to call you my friend!

    [Reply]

  • Jessica Franks

    I had PPD after my cesarean too. I cried a lot. But I can’t say I felt a quicker connection with my VBAC, except that I was in a better place. I also tore badly with my VBAC, so physically it was still a long recovery. But I would take it any day vs a cesarean!

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

About Me

emilyatbabydickey190

Discovery Toys

Jamberry Sale

Button

Baby Dickey

Archives

Hot Topics

Baby Love

Safe as mamas arms

Shutterfly 50 Free Prints

zulily