8 Things I Wish I’d Known Before my C-Section

  

Nearly two years after my sweet baby girl entered this world via cesarean section, I am still processing it all. It was not how imagined our birth story, but it had the perfect ending.

At 41 weeks pregnant, I was prepared for EVERYTHING. Except for a c-section. I had only known a few people who had had a c-section prior to having my own. I had been overly confident that I would deliver our sweet girl naturally, thus I had little background knowledge to fall back on.

You can read my full birth story here. But for now, I’ll save you the details and share the lessons that I learned but wish I’d known ahead of time! {This is not medical advice, so always consult your doctor.}

 

1. It can happen in an instant.

At 41 weeks my body had failed to make any progress. After 20 hours it was clear that baby girl was not going to come on her own. The decision was made within a matter of minutes. Before I knew it, I was being wheeled off to the OR. 

I will never forget when the nurse looked at my husband, Ryan, and told him that he would have to wait outside of the operating room while they prepped me for surgery. Though I later found out that it was only about 10 minutes, he and I both agreed that it felt like a lifetime. During that time Ryan was dawned in scrubs before joining me in the OR.

 

2.  Excessive Shaking and even some vomiting are normal.

Due to nerves and a cold operating room, I was shaking uncontrollably. It actually got so bad that nurses had to strap my arms to the operating table. I felt so blinded and trapped. My mind raced thinking that this meant that something was wrong. Had I known that this is actually completely normal and quite common, perhaps my mind would have been slightly more at ease. 

I had gotten an epidural (followed by a spinal block when it was decided that I would be having a c-section). Epidurals are known to cause excessive shaking and can also cause nausea. Nerves can be an additional cause for shaking and even nausea. 

 

3. There is an anesthesiologist present for the whole surgery.

The anesthesiologist was a huge source of reassurance and comfort for me. He remained within earshot for nearly the entire operation. I became extremely nauseous during surgery and began throwing up. He quickly stepped in and administered medication in order to help stop the nausea. He was also reassuring my husband and I, talking us through some of what was going on in the OR throughout the delivery.

 

4. This isn’t their first rodeo.

It’s reassuring to know that doctors and nurses are confident in performing and assisting with surgeries. For them, it is just another day. But for us, it was no ordinary day. Both my husband and I were more anxious than we had ever been before. However, I was not prepared for the casual banter that took place during my c-section. The doctors and nurses proceeded to discuss their weekend plans while we anxiously awaited the healthy cry of our sweet baby girl. At one point the doctor’s phone even rang and she actually had a nurse answer it for her. Though I had a good feeling the latter is not normal, nor would I imagine it’s encouraged in an OR, this goes to show how comfortable doctors and nurses are performing this surgery.

 

5. You will likely have a catheter.

During pregnancy, I had put a great deal of thought and even worry into the idea of pooping while delivering our daughter. Having a catheter had not even crossed my mind. The catheter was removed once I was able to get up and walk around. However, I must admit that I had an extremely difficult time peeing after the catheter was removed, so don’t be alarmed if it’s a process. 

 

6. It will hurt to laugh, sneeze and walk for quite some time. 

Nearly every movement that I made was slow and labored for quite some time after my c-section. I dreaded the moment when I felt a sneeze come on. The pressure of a sneeze or a cough on my stomach and abdomen was terrible. I’ll let you in on a secret though: a pillow will likely be your best friend. Pressing a pillow into my stomach before a sneeze or a cough was my saving grace. 

 

7. Bleeding is normal.

I thought perhaps since I hadn’t given birth vaginally that I would not experience postpartum bleeding. I was wrong. I was wearing the giant pads and adult diapers for nearly two weeks after Quinn’s birth and panty liners for quite some time after that.

 

8. Recovery looks different for everyone. 

I was not able to walk to the end of our street without pain for what felt like months. Yet I knew others that had a c-section that were walking the neighborhood hardly a week after giving birth.

I spent a large part of my postpartum recovery comparing myself to other moms and their own recoveries. Each Mom, whether she gave birth vaginally or via c-section, is different; just like each child is different. No pregnancy or birth story is the same, nor is any recovery the same. Give yourself grace and listen to your body. Recognize the signs when you are doing too much or pushing too hard.

 

A cesarian section is a major surgery. It’s not an easy out. I am no less of a Mom because of how my daughter came into this world. These are truths that took me months to truly understand and even longer until I truly believed them. 

I hope that regardless of whether you have had a c-section, plan to have one or hope to never have to experience one, you find this to be insightful and eye-opening. 

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2 Responses to 8 Things I Wish I’d Known Before my C-Section

  1. Lisa S April 22, 2018 at 4:36 pm #

    I also had an unplanned c-section. #2!! I was shaking so badly that I didn’t think they were going to be able to make the incision. I was wrong – they really weren’t bother at all by my discomfort, which leads us to #4. My doctor and the support staff were so engrossed in their routine jobs that they forgot to include me in the deliver of my son. They almost forgot to bring my husband into the room before starting and then, once my baby had been pulled out, the doctor asked my husband to stand to see him. They’re all looking at my baby and I had to ask if it was a boy, since we hadn’t found out the sex and no one thought to include me. I really felt so removed from the process and like I was simply a vessel. It was 10-15 minutes before I got to see my son.

  2. Shannon April 23, 2018 at 7:18 am #

    Lisa, I totally get that and felt similar in a lot of ways. It was about 10 minutes until I got to see our daughter as well. A surreal experience but thankful it led to a healthy baby!