I am the proud mom to four amazing children, each born via c-section. With my first born (12 years ago,) I will admit I was nervous, unprepared and scared of the unknown, as I went into labor. 13 hours of very little progress, my doctor asked me if I wanted to “keep trying” or have a c-section. After a few quick questions, I opted for the c-section.
There were so many questions not asked, so little information volunteered and many things I had to learn on my own. If you are expecting, make sure you prepare yourself for the “what if.”
10 Things To Know About Having A C-Section
The worse part about the c-section, for me, was the spinal tap. Every time. And it wasn’t even that bad! I am short, so the position the doctor and nurse puts you in is awkward, but know that you can hold the nurse’s hand and will probably have to hug her while the spinal is being inserted. (It takes a few minutes, and you have to hold super still.) It’s also okay to use a few words of choice… I am sure I did. The nurse is also great about keeping you calm if your water breaks while she’s holding you. Even if fluid gets on her clothes. And her shoes. And starts going down the hall. (true story.)
Tell the Anesthesiologists how you feel. For my first c-section, I was nauseous and didn’t want to puke. I told them I needed to be fanned. Fanning turned into meds in my IV and a cold rag on my forehead. It was amazing. For my second, third and fourth c-section, I told the Anesthesiologists ahead of time, that I could get nauseous and that I needed fanning and a cold rag. I was told to “say the word” and when I did, they took care of it instantly!
You won’t feel pain. It’s true. You will feel a little pressure, but those doctors do an amazing job at making sure your body is numb and you don’t feel a thing in the operating room (after the spinal.)
You can have a guest (or two) in the operating room. It’s likely you will want your significant other, but the other guest could be baby’s aunt, grandparent, etc. Hospital and doctor policies will determine where the guest(s) must stand and what they are allowed to photograph. (Ask about this at the hospital tour or when you pre-admit.) My husband was also the photographer. He took this amazing picture (below.) Make sure you tell the photographer to take all the pictures… you can delete the ones you don’t want later!
Dad won’t be able to cut the cord. The initial cord is cut by the OBGYN, but they may allow a second cutting once the baby is assessed.
Stand up, when allowed. This sounds painful. It will be, but it makes recovery so much easier! I stayed in bed for a full two days with my first born. (No one forced me to get up.) …and I paid for it. With my other children, I was out of bed within 12 hours and it made things that much easier! Now, I’m not telling you to run a sprint — take it super slow, but get out of bed, even if it’s just to stand up and lay back down.
Take a shower. It will be difficult, and you might need help, but you will feel so much better after you get out of the hospital gown and freshen up!
You will bleed. Bleeding is good. It shows your uterus is contracting and doing what it’s supposed to do! Be prepared to wear the gigantic pads and bring your old underwear. I always recommend these “granny panties” in your maternity size. (Don’t spend more than $2 a pair.)
The nurse will be your best friend. And your enemy. She will stay on top of your medicine, bring cold water and cups of ice, then massage your uterus to help it contract. This will probably hurt. Get ready. Side note: breastfeeding will also help the uterus contract, which means the nurse doesn’t have to massage as often!
Your scar will heal and stay numb. If I touch my c-section scar, I can tell you there are spots that are completely numb and other spots that have feeling. Though it’s kind of weird, you learn that it’s part of your history and made you the mom you are today!