My first C-section was not planned. I had already had one vaginal birth that did not go very well. My first baby was stillborn in the 9th month, I had a labor that lasted many hours. The birth was a difficult one. We knew that the baby was not going to be born alive so there was no need to try to spare him. The doctor had to use forceps to guide him out which ripped me in about ten different directions. Every time I stood up for months after that birth I felt like my insides were going to drop out from between my legs. It was a horrible experience all the way around, mostly because I did not come home with a baby. The rest of what happened was minor to that in comparison.
So it was actually my second child (first live birth) that was my first C-section. I had planned to deliver her vaginally but in the end I had placenta previa. The doctor advised against trying to deliver vaginally. Since I had already lost one baby and did not want to lose another one I had no problem going along with their plan for a C-section.
As mentioned above, I had already had one really difficult vaginal birth where I was ripped open. Recovery from that took a long time. I thought the C-section was a lot easier to recover from. It was a nice clean incision in the lower abdomen that healed well. It hurt a little for a while, but at least I didn't feel like my insides were going to drop out on the floor from between my legs. Plus, this time I brought home a baby which was the main thing. To me, it didn't matter how she came into the world, what mattered was that I walked out of the hospital with a live baby in hand. She's now 28 years old.
My older sister had two C-section births before me so I was well familiar with it all. She had labor that simply wouldn't progress. After about three days she was glad to have a C-section because that meant that she was finally going to have her baby.
I would tell other women not to feel bad about missing out on the classic birth experience. The safety and well-being of your baby and yourself are the most important things of all. It really doesn't matter how your baby comes into the world. What matters is that they make it safely. I went home empty handed once, it sucked more than I can say. It's a lot better to go home with a baby than without one. Also, the birth process is but one small part of your life as a mother. The real experience of motherhood happens once the baby is born. That's what's most important, you have many years of dedicated mothering to do with your child. I rarely think about how my kids were born, just that I'm so glad I have them.
I would have liked to have tried a vaginal birth with my second daughter (third pregnancy) but with my history of an unexplained still birth and placenta problems, plus I had some high blood pressure with my third, I didn't care about it in the end. Again, the main thing to me was a healthy, live baby in hand.
I never gave a look back. My only regret is that I lost my first child. It was my only boy. I have two lovely daughters. I focus on them. What's in the past is gone. My daughters are the here and now and have been since they were born.
As for recovery I only discovered what is true for any new mother. Rest, rest, rest, whenever you can. Taking care of a baby is a 24 hour a day job! The C- sections were so much better than the vaginal birth experience I had. I feel like I recovered so much quicker.
My children are 26 and 28 years old now. It was a long time ago. I feel like I am fully recovered. I felt fully recovered pretty early on. The only little reminder I have is when I stand at the kitchen sink to wash dishes. I guess I tend to lean into the counter a little. The edge of the counter top comes right to where my C- section incision is. It's not what I would call a pain or even a discomfort, it's just a strange little awareness that it's the same place where my c-section scar is.