Little man would not budge from his breeched position, so I had a planned c-section. Having a planned date was nice, but I do often wonder what it would have been like to have him naturally. If you have to have an emergency c-section, you will likely have a different experience. However, I will do my best to give a broad overview of what to expect when having a c-section.
If you are having a planned c-section, your doctor will give you a list of things to be done before going to the hospital. One of the items is to shower with a special body wash to help sterilize your body. Another, is to not have anything to eat or drink for a set number of hours before hand. If you’re like me, this won’t be a problem because you will be too nervous to eat!
On the day of the procedure, the nurses will check you in and get you ready. My doctor completed an ultrasound right before the procedure to double-check that my little man had not flipped. Your doctor may do this as well. After the ultrasound, I was given the all clear, and was taken into surgery. If you have someone with you, they will have to put on a suit (covering their clothes), and will be told to wait outside the room until you are ready.
Inside the room, I sat and waited for the anesthesiologist to give me a spinal block. I was really worried about this part, especially because my husband was not allowed in the room. However, it wasn’t that bad (nothing compared to what I had built up in my mind); only a small pinch and a little discomfort! The nurse was really great during this part! She let me hold onto her, and made sure I was okay!
After the anesthesiologist finished, the nurse helped me lie on my back, and then put inflatable boots on my legs/feet. These boots are meant to reduce the risk of blood clots. Once they were on, I had to put my arms straight out. Not sure why they do this, but I had to stay that way through the surgery. Once I was settled in this position, they pulled the curtain up, and gave me some blankets to keep me warm. I was also given a catheter at some point, but it must have happened after the curtain was up.
The last thing they did before letting my husband come in, was check if the spinal block was working. The doctor asked me a few times if I could feel anything. When I replied that I couldn’t, she said, “okay good, because we were pinching you with pliers!” After that, they finally let my husband come in!
Hubby stayed by my head until little man arrived. We couldn’t see anything, but our doctor told us that he not only peed, but he kicked her twice! Sounds about right! Once he was out, they lifted him over the curtain for us to see, and my husband was allowed over when they weighed him. When little man was all wrapped up, my husband brought him over to me! He was perfect!
Now, this is where things start to get a little blurry! Thankfully, my husband and family were able to help me recount the details. Hubby and little man stayed by my side the whole time I was being put back together! When I was all stitched up, the doctor removed the curtain, and I was moved onto a bed. At which point I was finally handed my little man! It was the best feeling in the world!
I still had no feeling from the waist down, but it didn’t take too long for that to come back. I was wheeled back to my room, and we were able to spend some alone time with little man. During this time, the catheter stayed in and the inflatable boots stayed on. Both of these were taken off/out later that day. I have talked to some women that really hated the boots, but I personally loved them; the pressure is awesome! Unfortunately, I also apparently threw up at some point during this time, but have no recollection doing so! Not sure if it was a side effect from the spinal block, or from being moved after surgery. Either way, I’m glad I don’t remember, haha!
After having a c-section, most hospitals will want you to stay two to three nights. Throughout this time the nurses will check on you and the baby. They will also make sure that you are getting up and moving. I know it sounds like a terrible thing to do after just having surgery, but it will help the healing process. You should get up and move not long after you get feeling back in your legs. Believe me, it is the very last thing you are going to want to do! But just try walking to the bathroom and back. It will get easier every time!
At Home Care:
I’m not sure what everyone else’s pain felt like, but mine felt as if my stomach was on fire! It was an indescribable, burning pain! It lessened a little bit every day, but I didn’t start to feel comfortable until about day 5 or 6, and it took about 2 weeks to feel back to myself.
A few things to keep in mind, you will still bleed, so be sure have what you need at home. The hospital provides everything while you’re there, and you can take what you don’t use with you. Extra tip, this is true for most things they provide – diapers, ointment, the little tub, baby shirts/onesies, etc – so be sure to take an extra bag for everything!
For the first few weeks, do not lift anything heavier than the weight of your baby, and try to avoid stairs. You will likely forget this, and regret it right away! I dealt with tenderness until about 6 months postpartum! So, try your best to follow all the directions they give! It is common to experience numbness, tenderness, and itchiness, but if you think that anything seems wrong, call your doctor! You know you’re body best!
Most hospitals will give you a belly wrap to wear. I personally didn’t like the way it felt, so I never wore it. Many moms love it, and swear it helps to lose the baby weight. It’s definitely worth trying!
Let others help! If someone is offering to do something for you, let them! I am very particular about things, but after little man was born I took all the help I could get! It’s not good for you or anyone else if you don’t take the time to let your body heal!
One final note. I’ve have talked to several moms that have had c-sections and they have told me that they feel inadequate or regretful because they didn’t/were unable to deliver their baby naturally. To them, and to you, I say this: wear your scar proudly! We fought our own battle! It may not have been the intended way, but who cares! Our babies are here, and that’s all that matters!