Expect the Unexpected
Though the ability to plan your baby's birthday is a bonus, remember that there's always room for a surprise. Jules Olson was shocked when she felt labor pains two days before her scheduled Cesarean. "My husband and I had planned for our daughter Rebecca to be delivered on February 7," she laughs, "but she had other plans." Jules delivered her daughter in an emergency operation, and although she knew what to expect, there were some glitches in their birth plan. Jules' regular OB-GYN was out of town, and her husband wasn't allowed to accompany her through the procedure as planned. Still, she says that she felt prepared for the operation and was able to enjoy her daughter's birth.
It's not uncommon for women who deliver via Cesarean to feel guilty about the procedure, even those with planned operations. Lisa Gables remembers the overwhelming sadness that she felt when people asked if she had delivered naturally. "I don't know if it was postpartum depression, or if it was the operation, but I had such a hard time with the Cesarean," she admits. "The funny thing is, I was initially looking forward to the procedure, because I knew I wouldn't have to go through a long ordeal like friends of mine did with their labors. But afterward, I felt like a total failure for not being able to have my baby 'the normal way.'"
There's no cure or magical advice for these feelings; with time, they tend to abate, and most women lose those pangs of guilt. "The thing I'm most proud of now is that my baby is healthy," says Lisa. "That takes precedence over the way she was born!"
Though planned Cesareans aren't foolproof, it can be reassuring to know that, for the most part, you have the ability to prepare for one of the most exciting events in your life. Armed with knowledge, many mothers find that delivering via C-section is less stressful than they expected. With a good birth plan and open communication between your doctor and your birthing team, you'll be able to fully enjoy the birth of your child.