When a new mom is pregnant they have a certain image of how the birth will go. They dream about it for 9 months. The doctors feed into this dream by having mom fill out birth plans. And yet, more than half the time, those birth plans are promptly thrown out the window.

Rarely does a mom elect a voluntary c-section. And yet globally every 1 in 5 births is a c-section. Every year, this number increases, but data has consistently shown that c-sections are not better for mom or baby and should only be improved if a vaginal birth risks mom or baby’s life.

This isn’t to shame anyone who chose to have a c-section or who has had a c-section. In fact, I encourage women to embrace their c-section and their c-section scarno matter how or why they got it.

I have four children. All four were c-sections, and all four were different. 

C-section #1: All drugged up

mom just gave birth via c-section. mom is toward the bottom of the screen smiling faintly, baby is wrapped up in a blanket, moms hands are over his body, dad is toward the right of the photo smiling.
C-section #1 in Miami, FL

I started my journey as a birth mom young–18 going on 40. I was naive, I was uneducated, and I was plain dumb. I didn’t understand how sex worked and what happens if you don’t practice safe sex. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret it, but I don’t wish my experience on anyone.

My first c-section wasn’t planned; it was also not an emergency. My firstborn was late. She was nice and snug in my uterus, refusing to come out. She was also a big baby. They were estimating 9.5 lbs. At that point, I didn’t know enough that the weight guess was just that; a guess. I didn’t realize that the techs are always off my half a pound to a full pound more. I also didn’t know that many doctors prefer c-sections because it’s “safer” and requires less work–on their end. 

So when I went to the hospital for my 41-week appointment to discuss inducing, I went in blind and scared because I was only 19 (just turned) and had no idea what to expect. The doctor told me a c-section would be better, the nurses told me a c-section would be better, and my partner and I decided a c-section would be better. 

I told them I was allergic to morphine, “what happens to you?” they asked, “I get really itchy, and my skin feels like it’s on fire.” “Oh, that’s normal,” they said. “But OK. we won’t give it to you.”

And they didn’t. They gave me Percocet instead. That wasn’t much better. At this time, there was no such thing as a gentle c-section. They took her out, put her on my chest for 5 minutes, and wheeled her away. My husband went with our newly-born daughter, and I stayed behind, not understanding what was happening. They put me under all the way to finish sewing me up. 

I finally woke up in post-op, alone. I didn’t have anyone around me or a cell phone. After 45 minutes in post-op, they finally wheeled me to my room. Where I had to lift myself from the stretcher onto my room bed. I kept asking, “where’s my baby?” But, really, I was slurring those words. 

After a while, they finally brought her to me; I could barely hold her. I was so high on the Percocet, I couldn’t do anything. And it slowed down my milk coming in. 

I spent three days in the hospital, unable to do anything. I barely even got up to pee when they finally removed the catheter. I had lactation consultants coming in and manipulating my boob to try to encourage milk flow. Nothing. Finally, it felt like everyone just gave up and sent me home with a hungry baby. 

It was awful. 

C-section #2: No drugs, big problem

mom just having given birth via c-section to a baby boy. Mom is wearing a medical cap, with a black temperature sticker on her forehead, black glasses and holding baby. Dad is off to the left. Both are smiling.
C-section #2 in Miami, FL

The surgery was similar, except I insisted on NO NARCOTICS this time. So they listened and only gave me extra strength Motrin–it didn’t help. The after-birth pains when the uterus contracts hurt so severely that I couldn’t hold my baby again. But breastfeeding was much easier this time. 

After about a week (I’m already home), my mom looks at me and notices I’m green. She pulled the sheets back and noticed that my toes were turning black–I had sepsis. They rushed me to urgent care, and then I took an ambulance to the ER. They gave me medication that was so strong I couldn’t breastfeed. I pumped and dumped for 15 days while my newborn had to have a formula. 

This left me with the gnarliest scar you could imagine. 

C-section #3: Sign me up for a 100 more

Mom just gave birth to baby via section. The baby is to the left of the picture with eyes closed, mom is smiling at picture and dad is to the right also smiling.
C-section #3 in Managua, Nicaragua; Central America.

After 7 years, I had baby number 3. While the option for a VBAC wasn’t available to me for baby #2, it was for baby #3. 

And I almost did it, but then I started going into pre-labor, and since my new doctor didn’t know how badly I was scarred on the inside, we decided to do another c-section.

This c-section was in another country, Nicaragua, and it was the best one: I was in charge the whole time. I got to speak directly to the anesthesiologist. We discussed what happened to me before and reviewed several pain med options. I had three doctors (the main ob, an assist, and the anesthesiologist) plus the pediatrician for this surgery, and I got to speak to all of them about what I wanted. We had lengthy conversations, and they provided me with

options while educating me on different matters. It was amazing!

And the birth was the best birth! I cried, my partner cried, and baby #3 latched on perfectly. I got to hold him and feed him the entire time the doctors finished the surgery. After that, I only had to let him go while they checked his measurements. 

I could have 100 babies if all c-sections were like this. 

C-section #4: The worst one yet

Mom just gave birth via c-section, baby is behind clear plastic as mom reaches out to hold baby's hand. She is looking at him.
C-section #4 in Orlando, FL

And then baby #4 happened. As a 4th pregnancy back in the US, there was no room for discussion for a VBAC. I continued to insist on it, and all the doctors (because it was in a multi-doctor office) continued to tell me no. 

I should’ve left the practice. I should’ve fought harder. But I didn’t. 

On the day of the c-section, I only got 5 minutes with the anesthesiologist, and then last minute, I had someone else. So I only talked to her for about a minute. 

And the anesthesia for the c-section failed. 

I felt everything. My skin was on fire. I was screaming and crying, begging for it to be over. I was in so much pain I didn’t get the gentle c-section I wanted; I didn’t get to hold my baby. I begged my partner to stay with me. I squeezed his hand until there was probably no life in it. I even gripped the anesthesiologist’s hand. I was in agony. Finally, she started injecting lidocaine all over my skin, and that helped. They also gave me a small-dose sedative. 

I’m in tears as I write about my experience with this last one. The pain was so horrible, and I couldn’t hold my baby as I heard him cry for me broke my heart. I can’t even go into detail with this one because I try to block it out. 

I’ve learned a lot over the years and now I’m a huge advocate for fighting for yourself and your baby assertively. I always tell new moms to talk to people, to talk to everyone, and to not only listen to the doctor. I also try to convince new moms to get a doula or midwife, someone who will speak up for them when they can’t. I don’t regret anything, but I do wish I knew more about c-sections and my options as a first-time mom (and then 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time mom). No matter how many times you’ve had babies it always feels new and scary because there are a lot of risks. At the end of the end, all my babies and I are healthy. And really, that’s all that matters. 

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Kattie Muniz
A college professor, mother of 4, self-proclaimed foodie, writer, reader, teacher, yogi, Kattie likes to keep busy. According to Kattie, she has two rounds of children: first round are 15 and 11, and second round are 4 and 1.5. She was a teacher for 10 years and once she had baby #4 she decided it was time to find something that fit her crazy life as a snack [babe] and a chauffeur. During this time she decided to start a brand called SnackB*tchPodcast, which led to her owning a marketing business. During that time she helped clients tell their story through short-form and long-form writing, and she learned a lot about what it takes to truly connect with people. Kattie was born in Miami, grew up in Nicaragua, lived in Miami and Virginia for a bit, and now lives in the storybook city of Winter Garden. Her life has been adventurous and she welcomes change and everything that life has to offer. The one thing that stays constant is her love for coffee, reading, and drinking beer and wine. What she loves about Orlando is the outdoor seating at many breweries, the family-friendly vibes of many restaurants, and of course the nature. Growing up in Nicaragua she basically lived outside and enjoys that Orlando offers the same opportunities with its many hiking trails, lakes, and rivers. However, her favorite place with always be the beach. She currently loves visiting Sarasota but aspires to visit every Florida beach before her daughter goes off to college. One thing that life has taught Kattie is that you can only control what you can control and to let go of what you can’t. She’s excited for what’s to come and can’t wait to share that with Orlando Mom Collective and City Mom Collective. For along with her on SnackB*tchPodcast on Instagram and Spotify and listen to her raw and vulnerable observations, funny family moments, and most of all easy-to-follow cooking tips.


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