Dr. Andrea’s C-Section Birth Story
Written By: Dr. Andrea Corwin, PT, DPT, OCS

**Trigger warning**

This is not your “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” birth story.” This is the “Sh** Happens” birth story.

I got pregnant less than one month after starting to work at Reborn Pelvic Health & Wellness. Many of you may have even gone on my pregnancy journey with me! My pregnancy was fairly uneventful and healthy. Leading up to my baby’s birth I had done all the preparation I could for a healthy vaginal birth. I ate healthy and I exercised regularly. As a pelvic floor therapist myself, I know the best positions to labor and breathing techniques to push. I recruited my husband to be my “daddy doula,” teaching him how to use the rebozo, use the massage gun during contractions as pain management, and perform perineal massage on me for weeks before my due date.

While pregnant, I saw a pelvic floor therapist myself to aid in my preparations physically and psychologically. I took a professional birthing course and hypnobirthing course and did meditations everyday. I not only took prenatal yoga classes, I trained to teach prenatal yoga! In the weeks leading up to my delivery, I ate 5 dates a day and attended a handful of acupuncture appointments to help induce labor and ripen my cervix. I discussed all my fears and anxieties with a mental health therapist. I wrote up my birthing plan, it had colored pictures…

Then 39 weeks came and I canceled my elective induction, because I wanted this baby to come on his own. So, I stayed home and walked and bounced on my physioball waiting for the big event. Not much happened…..

In agreement with my OBGYN, we decided to induce at 40+1 weeks. I brought my hypnobirthing app, got the room across from the tub, and put my twinkle lights along with affirmations up around the room. My cervix dilated like a champ and presented as super stretchy! I felt very proud of all those dates paying off. After 12 hours of dilating and contractions it was time to push! I pushed and pushed and pushed- for two hours! My baby was “right there” and they could see his full head of hair! Hewasn’t quite crowning with my pushes, so my OBGYN suggested the vacuum technique. He attempted three times but the vacuum extractor kept popping off. (Probably because of all the hair my baby had.) After the third time, he stated it was best to perform the c-section because the baby wasn’t getting past the bones on the anterior part of my pelvis. I felt exhausted, not entirely surprised-it was a scenario I planned for, but I was scared nonetheless.

So, I was prepped for surgery. I was fairly out of it due to exhaustion and drugs. My c-section went very well. Baby Lucas was whisked away though due to a lack of oxygen. What followed was even more difficult than the delivery. My sweet baby had to be taken by helicopter to another hospital better equipped to manage the sublingual hematoma he had from the vacuum. We were separated for 2.5 days. He was in the NICU for 5 days. Staying in the NICU and sleeping on a plastic hospital couch right after a c-section felt like I was in some kind of horror film. I was completely incontinent and had to waddle down the hall every 30 minutes to the nearest restroom to empty my bladder before it emptied itself. Breastfeeding was nearly impossible due to the separation, stress, and his undiagnosed tongue tie.
After five days, we were finally able to go home. The next month was a blur of the normal newborn care layered with the c-section recovery. After a c-section it is advised to avoid stairs, extended walking, and lifting anything heavier than your baby. I could barely lift my baby and I couldn’t stand longer than a few minutes while holding him. The incontinence lasted a few weeks and turned into a UTI. It was rough! The worst part was probably still the pain with breastfeeding, my nipples felt like they were on fire, the air burned them and when my clothes or bra brushed up against them it was excruciating!

Slowly but surely,I felt better and better. At 4 weeks my scar looked better. At 6 weeks I was able to walk around the block. At 8 weeks breastfeeding was easier and my nipples stopped burning (addressing my baby’s tongue tie with surgical intervention, 5 lactation consultations, infant mouth physical therapy and prescription nipple cream from my doctor all helped.) I started postnatal yoga via Zoom. I did my own physical therapy at home beforehand starting with ice and early breathing and myofascial and lymphatic massage during weeks 1 and 2. My regime of tylenol and ibuprofen every 8 hours was a must! I added gentle yogi movement, slow and steady walking, and indirect scar massage during weeks 3-6. I added more direct scar massage and body weight strength training of my core and hips after week 12 under the direction of my physical therapist.

Today I am over 5 months postpartum and my core feels stronger and stronger. Even 5 months postpartum, I am still progressing my core program. I am so impressed at how far I have come and how my body has healed. I still have strength to build but I know it takes time, dedication and patience. My goal for the next six months is to train for a 5 K.

Everyone has their own birth story. Plans don’t always turn out the way you want them to. Sometimes it seems the worst that can happen does happen. But, we are resilient humans and there are so many people that are here to help you. Family or friends to help you cook, clean and run errands, people to bring you food and be shoulders to cry on, and providers like physical therapists, yoga teachers, mental health therapists, and lactation consultants, nurses, midwives, or doctors to be resources and help care for your needs. Find your helpers. I am so grateful for my helpers. If you are one of them, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART.

If you need help after your traumatic or non-traumatic birth, call and schedule an appointment with one of our providers here at Reborn. We would love to listen to your birth story and help you get the resources you need to begin your postpartum journey. Remember your body’s ability to heal is far greater than anyone has permitted you to believe…especially your own beliefs!