The scar is a laparotomy scar, not a vertical c-section. Classical cesarian sections typically do not extend above the umbilicus. This isn't to say she didn't have a c-section scar before her laparotomy. There are multiple reasons for a full length incisional laparotomy, particularly in the times prior to laprascopic surgery becoming more readily available. Any intraabdominal cancer or infection would usually require such a large incision for access. I'm a doctor who has seen a lot of scars!