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Having a C-Section
When I was pregnant with my first child, my daughter, I didn’t think too much about having a C-Section. Throughout my whole pregnancy, she was always in the right position so I didn’t worry. But these are what you don’t know about a c-section.
What is the Most Common Reason for a C-Section?
The most common reason a mom to be would need a c-section is that the labor is not progressing or the baby is in distress.
I was in labor with my daughter for nearly 24 hours and had only dilated 5 cm. The more they tried to progress my labor, my daughter started to show some distress. That was when they decided that I needed a c-section.
While you know that a c-section is a possibility, you likely don’t know what to expect. Here’s what you don’t know about a c-section!
A C-Section Delivery
The first thing to know is about the medicine. When you first get either the extra boost to your epidural or a spinal to make sure everything is numb enough for the surgery, be prepared to feel sick. Like really sick.
Both times I thought I was going to be sick, which they do not want you to be. Don’t be afraid to speak up right away – the anesthesiologist will adjust things so that you feel better. It may take a minute or two, but hang in there. They are amazing at what they do and they want you to be as comfortable as possible.
Do you Feel Anything During a C-Section?
You should not feel anything major during a c-section. You may feel some pressure in your stomach as they maneuver the baby out, but it is not painful. It’s more of an odd feeling.
You will receive oxygen during the entire procedure. It’s major abdominal surgery so they want to make sure you are able to breathe ok.
Worried about seeing too much? Don’t be! There is a curtain in front of you so that you can’t see anything except the people who are up by your head – generally the anesthesiologist, your significant other and a nurse. I’m not sure if anyone gets the option to watch – I didn’t, and didn’t want to see anything!
It can feel like a lifetime until you hear that first baby cry. You are laying there, with no concept of time or how long it is going to take and all you are waiting for is to hear that first baby cry. But when you hear it, it is the most unbelievable sound in the world!
You don’t have to wait to see your baby until it’s over. While the doctors continue to finish the surgery, you can still see your baby.
Generally the nurses will take him or her over to get cleaned up and wrapped up. Then Dad can bring over your new bundle of joy so you can see the baby for the first time. It’s tough not really being able to to touch them, but seeing them is overwhelming enough.
After the procedure is over, you will be rolled to recovery so they can make sure you are doing ok. This is also the time when you get to first bond with your baby.
You will spend a lot of time doing skin-to-skin while all the medicine that went into your body to make the surgery possible wears off. Be sure to let your nurse know if you start feeling ill – I didn’t feel well after my second C-section and they were able to give me something for the nausea. The last thing you want to be doing after a C-section is getting sick!
It will hurt to do a LOT of things! It’s easy to forget in the haze of baby happiness that you just had major abdominal surgery. So it’s important to make sure you’ve taken care of all the major things before the baby comes.
A lot of times, it hurts to just move! Every laugh, or sneeze or cough is painful. It will be this way for a while. It will be difficult to sit up or get out of bed.
Your significant other will play a huge part in helping to take care of the baby in those first days because it will be tough for you to move. Be sure to pack some comfortable, loose clothing in your hospital bag so you can be as comfortable as possible!
If you have a toddler or other child at home, know you won’t be able to pick them up for 6 weeks. This was a tough one for me when I had my son. My daughter was 2 and a half and she was used to me being able to pick her up whenever she wanted. I felt so bad having to say no to her and there were definitely tears. I was lucky enough that my husband had awesome paternity leave and was there to help handle it.
You will be sore for a while. It was tough for me to get into our bed for a couple weeks after coming home from the hospital.
Laying down and sitting up were by far the hardest. You are supposed to rest, but also walk around to help heal. It’s a tough balance, but you really want to make sure that you do not overdo and cause any sort of infection.
One last fun thing – swelling! Specifically in your feet and lower legs. A lot of the fluid that was inside you when you were pregnant travels down to your feet. My feet were so swollen when I left the hospital, I could barely fit any shoes on – with my daughter, I was wearing flip flops in late October because I could just slide them on and they stretched. It can take a couple weeks for the swelling to do down completely.
Hopefully this helpful information will make you feel more prepared for a c-section should it be an option for you.
What was your experience with a C-Section?
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13 thoughts on “What You Don’t Know About a C-Section”
oh wow i can totally relate to all of this with having 2 c-sections with my kids. the worst was having to get up after having surgery like 4 hours later to get you to start moving again. but i would say my recovery time was about a week and i felt so much better!
Yes! I never thought it would be so hard to shuffle a few feet down the hallway!
These are all great points on having a c-section! I had a planned c-section with my second pregnancy (twin girls) but I was still surprised about the recovery process and how long it took/how much pain I was in. Definitely a lot harder than recovery from my vaginal birth.
I was too! My first was not planned and I couldn’t believe it!
Oh my gosh! Congratulations girl! I’m not a mum yet, but this post was very informative! I would have been so scared to be awake, I had no idea you had to be awake during this procedure. I think it’s so amazing what we women are capable of!
The thing with pregnancy and birth is that (for many) it is the unknown that causes anxiety and fear. It’s really great that you wrote about your experiences so that others will know what to expect.
I don’t have any kids but this is really helpful information in case I ever do!
I had 2 c-sections and the recovery was difficult. I definitely had anxiety the first time.
Yep, all true! I had an emergency c-section with my first son and a planned one with my second. Another thing I’d add is that you may feel pressure (not pain) when they’re getting baby out. It will feel like your insides are being shuffled around.
Right! That is a great point! It was such a strange feeling!
This was a great article. I wish I would have read it before going into labor as I had an emergency c-section. One thing I experienced that I wish I had known about was about the swelling that occurs in your feet. My swelling didn’t go down until after 2.5 weeks that was tough because getting around was difficult.
Thanks! Yes, the swollen feet were crazy! I remember not being able to even get my shoes on leaving the hospital!
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