In the wake of an emergency c-section delivery for her twins, Darcy and Tom, Bec Judd is urging mums considering elective caesareans to think carefully about their choice.
The mum-of-four, who is married to AFL legend Chris Judd, said she was distressed during her own c-section procedure and encouraged mums who were having a normal pregnancy with no complications or tricky presentations to avoid the surgical route, if they can.
“If you’re thinking of an elective caesar but your baby is in a normal, natural position for a natural delivery, I’d go natural all the way,” Bec said on the radio show she co-hosts with Yumi Stynes and Monty Diamond, The 3pm Pick-up.
Bec had previously delivered her children 6-year-old Oscar and 3-year-old Billie vaginally. Darcy and Tom’s birth was her first experience of c-section – and a rude awakening, from all accounts.
Panic and pain
Bec said the trauma of being lucid during her emergency procedure, coupled with the pain during recovery had left her feeling scarred.
“Mate, it’s horrific compared to having a natural delivery. It kills, it absolutely kills. The fact that you are awake in major abdominal surgery is mind boggling and freaky. Then when all your meds wear off later, the pain is excruciating,” Bec said.
She explained she was unprepared for this unscheduled surgical intervention and suffered a panic attack as her delivery unfolded.
“I remember the [anaesthetist] saying: ‘Whoa! You’re skipping some heart beats here’. I don’t want to hear that because then you think, ‘Far out, am I going to die? What’s going on?’, which is completely normal. I just had a massive panic attack, because it’s all happening, there’s people everywhere, there’s these bright lights, I’m about to meet my twins,” Bec recalled.
Scarred for life?
Emotional scars were not the only ones making their mark, it would seem. Bec said her surgical scar was a constant reminder of an experience she’d found pretty harrowing.
“I’ve measured my scar, it’s 12 centimetres long,” she told The 3pm Pickup panel.
“Every time you look in the mirror, as I do every day… you’ve got this big gnarly scar across your body. I don’t want to see that!’
She also noted that there were other changes in her body that she’d perhaps not anticipated.
“This ledge, this ‘sausage shelf’ stays with you your entire life. Compression [tights] and tight clothes make it flatter,” Judd advised.
It goes without saying that Bec is super-grateful to have healthy babies, despite the way they were rushed into the world. Her comments about c-section choice are motivated by her hopes for other mums and her desire to save them from the trauma she’s obviously struggling to shake off.
Obviously many mums who have their babies via c-section don’t have a choice, and those that do choose to have elective c-sections have put careful thought into it.
Bec’s experience certainly won’t mirror every c-section birth, but it’s her (important) story to share. It’s also sparked an important discussion about how confronting c-section deliveries can be for some mums, especially if they are unplanned.