As the mother to a 16-month-old little girl who was born through my belly, how could an article titled, "C-section scars banished with welding torch" not grab my attention? I clicked on it and learned about a new medical device that utilizes plasma instead of stitches and staples to “weld” incisions together, minimizing C-section scarring. Technically, the BioWeld tool would leave mothers with the faintest line possible, but it won’t “banish” the mark, which typically stretches about eight inches wide, just over the bikini line.
Sensationalist headlines aside, this got me thinking about my C-section scar and what it means to me. And I came to the following conclusion: Even if there were a procedure that could erase my scar, I wouldn’t do it.
My C-section was a premeditated event: Baby decided to flip upside-down at 37 weeks and I opted not to attempt to turn her. And so I reaped the many benefits that come with a planned C: The night before, I worked out, leisurely got my nails painted and had a romantic, full-of-anticipation Italian dinner out with my husband. The morning of the procedure, we both woke up together, showered (also together - those were the days), picked up bagels and muffins for the nurses and met our families at the hospital. Our daughter was born at 2:48pm on a Tuesday and the first thing I saw as she miraculously appeared from behind the blue drape were these teeny tiny little feet. I remember laying there, slack-jawed and supine, amazed that a pint-sized human being had fit through an opening the length of my iPhone and was all of the sudden in the room with us.
My staples were removed a few days later and although my scar was numb for months, it didn’t give me too much trouble. At first, I disliked the way my abdominal skin hung over the top of the scar, and actually started to avert my eyes when disrobing. I massaged it for 10 minutes every night — just like my OB told me — even though I had a million things to do and started to resent it a little bit.
Gradually, though, the angry red line faded, the bulge dissipated and the numbness lessened. It no longer caught my eye when I saw myself in the mirror post-shower; it started to fade into the landscape of my body and just became a part of me, like my eyelashes or my belly button.
At the gym, whenever I was changing out of my sweaty clothes or getting dressed after a shower, I started to notice C-section scars on women around me. Some still appeared fresh — scarlet and bumpy; others were pale pink smiley faces, tan curves or nearly-white slashes. No matter how they looked, though, I felt a kinship with these women. They had hugged a pillow and slumped over, just like I did, awaiting their epidural. They had lied on an operating table, shivering from anesthesia and nerves, waiting for a birthday to happen. Quite likely, they had been shocked at the amount of vaginal bleeding that still occurs with a Cesarean; freaked out by the Frankensteinian appearance of their staples; shocked and scared when their doctor appeared three days postpartum to remove them; incredulous at the ability of the human body to heal so quickly… just as I had. They were my C-section sisters — my Cisters, if you will.
I remembered growing up and seeing my mom’s vertical C-section scar from when she delivered my younger brother and I. “That’s where you came out of my belly!” she would tell me — a concept that seemed unbelievable to my first grade mind. Now, she and I were Cisters, too.
Admittedly, I’m lucky: I had an easy delivery, my incision healed well and I never experienced any complications related to my Cesarean — all of which could easily have soured me on the experience and leave me happy to “banish” my scar. But as it stands, I like my C-section scar. It reminds me of one of the most special days of my life, of what my body was able to accomplish and of how remarkable science and technology have come. It is my badge of honor, my Purple Heart. I wear it like one of those sticky name-tags that read, “HELLO My name is:”, announcing to the locker room – and the world – “HELLO My name is: MOM.”
Would you erase your C-section scar?