A very dear friend of mine is scheduled to have a c-section next month; both of her pregnancies have been high risk but her first resulted in such a disastrous labor that it’s unsafe to go natural again, so a c-section it is. Naturally (no pun intended) she is having fears and anxieties and has come to me with many questions since I had a c-section with my daughter. As we were discussing it yesterday she had mentioned that she took to the internet (dun Dun DUN!) to help learn more about what to expect. Not surprisingly, she didn’t find many positive things; as a matter of fact, on a mom group that she and I are both a part of a whole slew of moms commented with how horrifying it is, to expect the worst, it was just awful, etc. There wasn’t a drop of support on the whole thread! Actually, there doesn’t seem to be much support on the whole internet either.
I’m here to change that!
::insert superhero emoticon::
I was not planning to be a mom so when we found out I was pregnant I told the OB that we could just go ahead and plan the c-section to get that done and over with (I’m a very detail-oriented person with a love for schedules so the idea of a spontaneous labor is just not terrifying to me). After being turned down I went home and started looking up the process of a c-section, watching videos, etc. Having had the same results my friend is having now, I was TERRIFIED of having a c-section and quickly changed my mind. I opted for a completely natural, unmedicated labor. Well then I was given the news at 38 weeks that my daughter was transverse, butt-down, and that a c-section was an option so I left that appointment with my labor-date (if baby was head-down and ready to go we’d go ahead with an induction but if not then I’d have a c-section).
The morning of I arrived at the hospital on time, having not eaten anything since 6 pm the night before as instructed, and found out that baby was head-down. Talk about relief! Well, fast forward 24 hours, an arrested 7 cm dilation, a broken water, and two epidurals that didn’t work and I was singing a different tune. I was practically begging for surgery! Because I hadn’t slept at all they tried a third epidural so that I could get some sleep and hopefully dilate some more. Unfortunately that didn’t work, though, and my daughter’s heart rate was rapidly dropping and my blood pressure was rapidly increasing – they did a quick ultrasound to find out that my daughter was actually moving backwards in the birth canal and, while still head down, had positioned her body just so that her shoulder was preventing proper access into the birth canal. It was decided that I needed a c-section immediately.
I was quickly prepped and rushed into the OR and was given my anesthesia that numbed me from about my ribcage down to my toes. The staff was exceptional and I remember the doctor making jokes with me and warning my husband to not look over the curtain. I had an oxygen mask placed over my face (nose and mouth) and I had my arms strapped down (like a T) – the doctors said that was to both help blood flow and to prevent me from reaching for the surgical site (which I guess happens out of reflex). I felt some pushing and pulling but it was nothing major; the doctor said I’d feel something like my skin unzipping and, oddly, that’s exactly what it felt like. Being 100% honest period cramps hurt more than anything I felt during my c-section. If it weren’t so dang cold in the room I probably could’ve slept because, for the first time since labor started, I was in no pain, the meds were making me spacey and the oxygen was almost therapeutic. As I laid there it was almost like the doctors were off in the distance and I could hear the steady whooooosshhh and tsssst of the oxygen, I couldn’t nap, though, because the anesthesiologist was there asking me questions (to check how coherent I was) and monitoring my vitals.
All of a sudden the doctor said, “Okay, you’re going to feel a big push!” and it was almost like this giant fart had finally released this pressure that I didn’t know was there, and I heard it: the cry of my daughter. The doctor smiled and said, “Hey, you had a little girl living in there!” and she was brought to my face while they started cleaning stuff up and stitching me up. That took about 15 minutes and then I was brought to recovery while my husband followed our daughter to the baby room (where they gave her a bath and all that good stuff).
In all honesty, the recovery room was probably the worst part. It was me and two other women (but room for six of us) and two room attendants. One girl was throwing up because of the anesthesia and the other was other was talking to her friend who was in the room with her. I had terrible shakes, was starving (I was allowed to eat something small around 11 am the day before – it was now 1:45 pm a day later) and SO THIRSTY (I wasn’t allowed anything more than one small Dixie cup of ice chips during my entire labor) but the attendants wouldn’t give me anything until the shakes stopped because the anesthesia could make me throw up. After about two hours I was cleared to go to my room, so they got my husband and wheeled me down to the room I’d call home for the next two days.
I feel badly now because the nurse was trying to tell me how things worked on that floor, what to expect, etc. and I wasn’t really listening, I was eyeing the GIANT ice and water machine right outside my room. My husband filled up a cup for me and I chugged three cups so fast that frat boys would have been proud. Then my daughter was wheeled in and I honestly told the nurse that I wasn’t listening, this is the first time I’d really seen my daughter, that I was going to pick her up, and I did.
To kind of summarize, here’s a rough timeline:
12:30 pm – brought to OR
1:17 – my daughter was born
1:40 – I was brought to the recovery room
3:30ish – I was brought to my room
4:00ish – I got up and started walking
4:30ish – my catheter was taken out
5:00ish – they gave me a stool softener/laxative (be prepared for that thing lol)
From there on out I walked as much as I could around the floor and tried to sleep. It’s hard, though, because people are coming in every 30-45 minutes to check the incision and lactation consultants come in to help with breast feeding, it’s far from relaxing. I was able to shower the next day.
When I was discharged I slept the entire 90 minute drive back home and we adjusted pretty quickly. My husband didn’t do any night feedings so I was up every two or three hours to feed and change our daughter, I was able to shower fine, do laundry (yeah, I kept up with that, too), everything I did before – just not much heavy lifting. I lifted our daughter, though, so that was the most I lifted.
Make sure to take care of your incision properly, change the gauze regularly, wash it gently with warm water, and things will go smoothly. If you have to cough, sneeze, fart, hiccup, etc. make sure you hold a pillow to you tightly to help with that pressure. When you fart and poop don’t push too hard, let it come on its own.
Oh! The best part? The doctor was able to suction out most of the blood that comes along with labor so I only had postpartum bleeding for probably three or four days. That was awesome.
So there you have it. The true life story of a c-section survivor who actually didn’t hate her surgery lol. If you’re about to have one or you think it might be in your future, don’t be scared! It’s unnecessary worry and there’s not much you can do about it. If you have any questions, though, then please feel free to talk to me. I’ve got nothing to hide and nothing bad to say 🙂
Have a great day, y’all!