It’s funny how much reading I did while I was pregnant to learn all about what my body was going through month to month and how to take care of this infant that would soon be joining us but I didn’t read too much about what to expect should I need a c-section.
After having two now, I thought I would give you the low down on my experience so that you could have a better idea of what to expect should you need one too.
All of my friends think I’m crazy for preferring a c-section over a vaginal birth but one of my girlfriends who has now done both has confirmed that she found the recovery process for a c-section way easier! So if you’re feeling scared, take a breath. I know it’s major surgery but you chose your OB for a reason. Hopefully that reason is because they’re exceptional at their job and you trust them completely.
So the next time you’re at your appointments I encourage you to ask a million questions about how your doctor does c-sections because it does vary. Some allow your husband to cut the cord, some don’t. Some will pull the baby out and place them directly onto your chest, some don’t. Some will allow a see-through drape in between you and the procedure so you and/or your partner can watch and some won’t.
It’s really up to how your OB does things.
A tip that I have is that while you’re being prepped for surgery, ask the nurses if they can preheat the operating table. The room gets cold and you want that table to be nice and toasty by the time you get in there or you’ll be teeth chattering cold! Tell your partner about this pro-tip ahead of time and make it their responsibility to get it done in advance. You do, afterall, have a lot on your plate.
You can also ask them to put a heating pad or electric blanket on top of you during the procedure. I had one for both and it helps a ton.
Another way to get your spouse involved: make them have chapstick in their pocket!
Cody applies chapstick on me because that room is dry and I’m not exaggerating. There’s a reason every labor bag packing list has chapstick on it. You’ll want it during your csection to make you a tad more comfortable.
Next, ask your nurses to have a cup of ice water in your post op room ready. Just like your lips, your mouth is going to be dry after and having that relief on standby is a blessing.
Something I really didn’t understand about anesthesia is that it numbs you but you still feel things. I thought being numb meant not feeling anything but I was wrong. You still feel them tugging you open and digging around which is disgusting for the record! There’s no pain so don’t panic. It’s just gross to feel someone tugging open your torso, ya know?
Speaking of gross, if you have no intention of seeing what your insides look like, make sure the lights the doctors use don’t show you your reflection. If they do, tell the nurse and she’ll angle it differently. I remember looking up and being able to see the doctor do her initial incision through the metal of the lamp. I started laughing because I’m a nervous laugher and asked Cody to give the lamp a nudge for me.
Okay, this next one is weird to talk about but I have to tell you!
You need to fart.
If you’re like me, you don’t fart in front of your husband. And if you do then great because this next part is going to go way smoother for you then it did me! I don’t know the science behind it so you’ll have to google it because I’ll butcher it trying to reiterate it to you. Your nurses will continually ask you if you passed gas lately and for good reason because if you don’t, you’re going to be in a world of pain and probably not in the area you think.
It’s shoulder pain. God awful, head spinning shoulder pain. Allegedly, the gas gets stuck in your shoulder and causes this awful pain in your shoulders that’s worse than the actual surgery itself. I had it for both surgeries and it kept me up at night, that’s how painful it was! But for whatever reason, I just couldn’t fart. Maybe I trained myself a little too well over the years and now I’m dealing with the ramifications of that decision.
One of my girlfriends just had a c-section and I warned her ahead of time about the need to fart because she was like me when it came to farting in front of her hubby. She too, couldn’t do the deed and called me in loads of pain.
So next time, I’m kicking Cody out of the room and squeezing one out to avoid the unearthly feeling.
Remember when I said a c-section is major surgery? Good. Just because some people find it easier than vaginal labor, doesn’t make it easy. So take your time in recovery but take the nurses advice about getting up. The sooner you get up and move around, the sooner you’ll start feeling better.
Don’t be a hero and skip the pain meds. They’re there to get you through the pain so that you can enjoy your baby’s first few days of life and trust me when I say you want that time! The first 48 hours of Mavericks life were an absolute blur because of how much magnesium I was on and that always made me sad. I love that first week of life. The world around you feels so genuinely peaceful. People are tip toeing and talking in whispers and time slows for a little.
My last piece of advice is to not rush out of the hospital. I did that with both of mine and I won’t do it for the next. At the hospital you have a team of amazing nurses that are waiting on you hand and foot. They’re there to help you get better, Momma. So let them help you because when you get home, things get a little harder because there’s less hands to help. Take advantage of the time you have there. It’s not a hotel that you can check back into voluntarily.
Lastly, congratulations! You’re now part of the Super Women club. You’re going to be amazing and your baby is going to adore you.