15 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Having A C-Section
I didn’t plan my pregnancy. In fact, I hadn’t even thought about having a baby. I definitely didn’t think I’d have major surgery. My doctor was worried about a previous injury and suggested I have a planned cesarean. I was scared to read about C-sections, completely terrified that I’d worry myself with the details. This was my first pregnancy and I wanted to enjoy it. I went into surgery completely blind.
Here’s a list of the 15 things I really wish I’d known before having a C-section:
1.) You’re going to be VERY hungry! You can’t eat 12 hours preceding your C-section. I got to the hospital at 7am for my 9am surgery but there were multiple emergency surgeries that set mine back. I was about to eat my arm off by 11am! I wasn’t even allowed to have water. Finally, the nurses came in to get me.. I just wanted to get this baby out of me so I could have a pizza!
2.) You’ll be alone for a short time that feels like an eternity! My husband had to stay behind as I was wheeled away for my spinal block. He wasn’t allowed into the operating room until it was finished. Talk about scary! My nurses and anesthesiologist were incredible but they were still strangers. They have you sit up, cross your arms and tuck your knees towards your chest. I was terrified! Luckily, they numb your back before giving you the spinal block. I was breaking a sweat for no reason, it really wasn’t too bad. They immediately asked me to lay down, my legs felt heavy and warm.
3.) Hope you’re not shy! Seriously though, you’re going to love seeing your husband finally walk into the operating room, in a funny yellow suit! There are multiple nurses, a handful of student nurses, my OBGYN, the anesthesiologist and a doctor that sews up your incision to make it as pretty as possible. Guess what? You’re displayed WIDE open for them all, talk about a show! My doctor asked me if I was ready to meet my son and I sure was! (Ready for that pizza too!) I felt a little pressure, I told my doctor that I wasn’t numb! He had just put a catheter in me and all I felt was pressure?
4.) Let’s talk about pressure for a second! I assumed that a spinal block completely blocked me from feeling ANY sensation, not just pain. A big fat NOPE! You will feel each and every single thing the doctor does but it won’t hurt. My doctor made my incision and instead of pain, it felt like someone was pressing their finger across my stomach as hard as they could. “You’re going to feel an intense amount of pressure now.” WHAT? There he was, my beautiful little boy. My doctor held him over the curtain covering my stomach, I turned to my husband and smiled.
5.) Your husband may not be allowed to cut the cord. The doctor cut my son’s umbilical cord, so he could get back to my open abdomen. Be sure to ask ahead of time if this is something you want to plan.
6.) Prepare yourself for what’s next! The nurses took my son to a corner of the room to clean him up and suck any fluid out of his nose. My husband was immediately in shock but not because our baby was in distress. He saw my uterus! Yes, he saw the entire thing because they take your uterus OUT of your body to sew it back up. The nurses will take your baby out of the operating room to clean him, weigh him etc but you’re stuck being stitched back up! I sent my husband with our baby.
7.) I’m back in the recovery room surrounded by family. They are hugging my sweet baby, giving him kisses and snuggles! I still haven’t had a chance to hold him. My husband places this tiny little human on my chest, he’s just perfect. The nurses close the curtain around me and start to clean me up and who knows what else? I was too busy staring at the beautiful baby I created! The nurses take my bed upstairs to the maternity ward, home sweet home for the next 3 days.
8.) I can’t walk, I still can’t lift my legs and I still have this annoying catheter in me! (You’re going to enjoy 24 hours of that!) I wanted to breastfeed, I was very worried my milk would be delayed from the C-section. A few hours later a nurse came in and told me it was time to feed my baby. She asked me if I wanted to try to breastfeed or if I wanted to give him some formula. I told her I wanted to breastfeed, this lady just rips my boob right out of my shirt and stuffs my nipple into my sons mouth. Expect things like that to happen often. My son wouldn’t latch but he was hungry. The nurse wheeled in a hospital breast pump, showed me how to use it and told me to make my son dinner. That machine felt so awkward. Whatever you do, don’t start with the highest setting! I thought my entire boob was going to be sucked into another galaxy. Finally, I produced a small bottle of colostrum which my son happily gobbled up.
9.) You’re still VERY hungry and not allowed to eat. I was begging my husband to get me a Big Mac by this point. I was finally allowed to have some ice chips. Yeah, ice chips. I cried more about hunger than I ever did over my surgery.
10.) The next morning is going to be incredibly embarrassing. It’s time for your catheter to come out and for you to pee like a BIG girl! This will be your first time out of that hospital bed and it’s going to HURT! Open your ears and listen to the nurse when she tells you the right way to get out of bed. You’ll thank her later! Slowly the nurse helps you to the toilet and yanks down mesh panties you weren’t even aware you had on. She yanks open your legs and starts to clean the blood from your vagina. I started babbling about embarrassment and she insisted that nothing about bringing a precious life into the world should be embarrassing. How could I argue with that? She helped me back into bed and I’ll never forget what she did next. She gave me a MENU! Oh yeah! I couldn’t believe how excited I was about hospital food but I was starving. They brought me about 907 mini juice cartons and told me I had to stay hydrated to produce breast milk. I felt like I was at a 5 star hotel with room service!
11.) You’ll want to tell your funny family members and friends to stay home. Laughing hurts. Oh and don’t cough or sneeze because that’s pretty much a death sentence. Basically, just do your best to avoid using your abdominal muscles.
12.) Your nurse will give you stool softeners because you can’t leave the hospital until you poop. Seriously, they are TEAM POOP! I’ve never been more excited to tell a grown woman that I did a number 2!
13.) You’re probably not going to pop open when you get home but prepare yourself for that fear. My incision was closed with dissolvable stitches, glue and steri-strips. My doctor told me the strips would start to peel off in about a week. I was showering 5 days after my C-section and one of those strips started to come off. I thought for sure that my entire stomach was going to plop out onto the shower floor. Try to be rational and remember that your stomach isn’t held together by tape alone!
14.) Your incision will feel numb and the skin around your scar will never regain complete sensation. Most scars are easily covered with cute panties. Here’s your ultimate excuse to have a Victoria’s Secret panty shopping spree! You just had a baby cut from your stomach, your husband has no argument.
15.) Having a C-section delivery is just as big of an accomplishment as natural birth. Don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise! You carried your baby for nine months, birthed the baby and have the scar to prove it.