C-sections are sometimes derided as “taking the easy way out.” This used to insult me, but now I kind of see the point.
When I was a new mom, trawling the Internet for the information that I was hungry for, I would often come across information that surprised me. Chief among those little tidbits? How easy C-sections are.
Debates would rage over how it compared to “real birth,” and how by comparison, getting your abdomen opened on the operating table was basically a relaxing beach vacay.
As a mother who had an emergency slice-and-dice, it was easy to take offense to these comments. But after a while, I began to see their point. In lots of ways, this major surgery is just like an exotic vacation. Hold on. Hear me out:
1. It was super expensive
A C-section starts at around $10,000. If you have insurance the cost goes down, but it still hits your bank account hard. Definitely more expensive than an all-inclusive jaunt to the Caribbean by a long shot.
2. Reaching my destination was stressful and painful
Just like the weary traveler faces obstacles like jet lag, adrenaline-induced sprints through the terminal and layovers, I couldn’t get to where I was going (the operating room) without first having 19 hours of excruciating labor, a heart-pounding brush with death and four different sets of hands up my junk.
3. The itinerary kept changing
Sure, everything always starts out on track, but then your baby starts going into fetal distress and suddenly your scuba-diving lessons are cancelled, and instead of doing dolphin tours you’re getting a massive needle shoved into your back and your bladder shoved aside so they can pop your uterus up through your tummy hole.
4. At some point, I was completely incoherent
When you’re letting loose on vacation, it’s easy to overindulge before you really know what you’re doing. When you’re vacationing on the maternity ward and someone pumps your IV full of heavy-duty systemic narcotics, you might also say some things you might regret later. Both situations increase the possibility that strangers will see your boobs.
5. I stayed up all night, and I couldn’t walk in the morning
By the time my kid vacated the womb, I’d been awake for over 48 hours, and standing up was a chore. Of course, an everyday hangover just means that walking too fast might end up in puke. A C-section hangover means that walking too fast might end up in puke and also accidental disembowelment. Poe-tay-toe, Poe-tah-toe.
6. Strangers kept offering me drugs
Jeez, you guys. Can’t a girl sob and vomit for two hours in peace before you start pushing the good stuff? At least wait until I can keep the opiates down so I don’t waste them. This is amateur stuff.
7. There was a nightmare involving poo
Why go on a poop cruise when all of your fecal worst-case scenarios can happen in the safety and comfort of an unbearably rock-hard hospital bed? First, there’s too much poop. Then, too little. All in all, I’d say I spent the same amount of time crying on the toilet as any newlywed couple on a Carnival cruise.
8. I had to go home long before I was ready
Ah, the reluctant goodbye. Time just flew by, and before you can say “massive 6-inch wound precariously closed with surgical staples,” I was on my way back to my boring old life.
9. I got a pretty cool souvenir at the end of it
It’s true that no one got any flattering pictures of me during my carefree jaunt across the maternity ward, but I did get a pretty neat reminder of the journey. Every time I looked at my baby, it was like I was right back there, and in time, it even started to feel like I actually gave birth.
10. When I got back, the haters came out in full force
Now, I’ve never actually been on an exotic vacation, but I have friends who have, and every time they get back, there’s always some salty jerk on their Facebook feed who has gorged themselves on bitter jelly and makes it their mission to make those friends feel bad. Underneath, those people are just insecure. Best to ignore them.