new mama · PPD · pregnancy · recovery

Things I didn’t know about C-Sections before my own

It’s been a couple of years since my C-Section with Gremlin, and I had another one planned with Cay, but that never happened.

The situation around Gremlin’s birth was similar to Cay’s birth; I started having contractions in the early hours of the morning but I had no idea I was busy going into labor. With Monster, my water broke but I had no contractions. When I started having contractions with Gremlin on the day of my scheduled C-Section, I just assumed that I was stressed out about the procedure and the stress was causing me some discomfort and pains.

It was only when we got to the hospital and I was placed on all the machines that I realized I was going into labor and I was already four centimeters dilated. Luckily my times were moved around and I was in the operating room in time to have my C-Section.

So that was a little backstory for you..

When I decided I wanted to have a C-Section after my traumatic birth experience with Monster, I was already stressed out about the whole idea. A C-Section isn’t an easy way out of giving birth because you don’t want to go through the pain and “save” your vagina from getting destroyed as some will say. For me, it was due to medical reasons and after the possibility of almost losing Monster during labor, I didn’t want to take the chance again.

I tried to research as much as I could about C-Sections to prepare myself in all ways possible and have as many questions answered. Most women I spoke who had had C-Sections told me some pretty scary stories about their experiences; stories straight from the operating room table to some horror details about their incisions during the recovery period. People love sharing all the gore details and it really doesn’t help with keeping your confidence up.

With the days leading up to my C-Section, I didn’t feel confident about the procedure. I had nightmares about things going wrong during the procedure; things like a swab being forgotten inside me, my organs being removed and of course, something happening to Gremlin.

Luckily, everything went well, although I was in tears from fear leading up to the prosedure.

After having my C-Section and getting through the recovery process, I realized that no matter how much research one does, you don’t really know what to expect until you’ve gone through it yourself.

I wanted to share some of the things I didn’t know before my C-Section all the way through to recovery.

The Prep

Getting a catheter inserted into your urethra is painful and uncomfortable. I never felt it during my birth with Monster as I had an epidural done so I had no idea what to expect.

Also if you think you only need to shave low enough for the incision to be made, think again. Everything has to be gone, and if you don’t do it yourself at home, the nurses will do it for you over dry skin. It’s not funny, let me tell you.

During the Procedure

The operating room is freezing. When I was wheeled into the room, I had to strip out of the hospital gown, sit on the table to have the spinal done, dress into the scrub gown and lay down on the table. While you can’t feel the bottom part of your body, the top part of you keeps shaking due to the cold.

I could feel the tugging and the pulling. I didn’t need to see what was going on (thank you, curtain!!) but I could feel the doctors pulling and tugging on my skin to stretch open the incision to remove Gremlin.

You undergo major surgery, and your bladder and intestines may be moved around a little to better reach your uterus (knowing this didn’t help soothe the organ nightmares I had).

It’s super quick actually, a C-Section. Unless there are complications. The procedure started at 08H00, Gremlin was deliver at 08H17 and I was on my way to the ward by 09H00.

If you think your vagina is untouchable, you’re so wrong!! After you’ve been stitched up, a nurse will wash you up down there before you’re wheeled off into the recovery room.

After the Procedure

You’ll get the shakes. When you’re lying in recovery and your vitals are being monitored, you might experience some shakes. I was shaking like crazy, and two warm blankets and three heaters didn’t help. I was taken to the ward with one heater still under the blankets and it stayed there for another hour until my body managed to control itself a little.

Recovery Period at the Hospital

The next morning, you’re not asked to get out of bed, you’re forced to. The quicker you can start walking, the better. Once you’ve had the catheter removed (still uncomfortable) and the drip, you’ll be showed how to properly get out of bed, which I won’t lie is painful. Next you’ll need to walk to the bathroom for your first pee, which will hurt a little. You’re also going to be a little dizzy (or very in my case) because you have eaten in more than a day part of the prep. Once I was in the bathroom, I couldn’t stand on my own because I was so weak, I had to call the nurse to help me get back to bed.

The first meal I had (when you’re very hungry, hospital food looks and tastes amazing) made me feel extremely nauseous, which is very normal.

Your first poop is very important and very painful. Straining yourself isn’t encouraged as you can hurt your incision, so you need to sit and wait…and wait… And if at first you don’t succeed, try again.

Recovery Period at Home

You can’t walk hunched over, you need to walk as straight up as possible, pushing through the pain. That why I’m so happy I invested in a belly binder. I don’t know what I would’ve done without it.

You’re not allowed to lift anything heavier than your baby, and when you have an older kid who doesn’t understand what’s going on, this proves to be tricky.

The smallest tasks hurt. It wasn’t as bad when I had the belly binder on which suppressed most the severe pain but showering was my biggest obstacle. Hubby Byren had to help me wash my hair and legs during the first week back home because it was too painful to lift my arms up or bend over to reach my feet.

You’re going to bleed for a few weeks just as you would with a vaginal birth.

You need to be careful moving around. No sudden movements; no bending over suddenly or falling down onto the couch. Small and simple movements so you don’t injure yourself.

You’re not allowed to drive for up to six weeks or until the time you can slam on the brakes without hurting yourself. Six weeks is a long time to depend on someone else to take you places.

Take the pain medications you’ve been given! They really will make your pain management a lot easier.

Infections are such a big possibility if you don’t care for your incision properly, so follow all the guidelines the nurses give you.

The day I removed the covering off the incision, I was feeling a little terrified. Some part of me was expecting to find I have an infection and another that my incision was coming apart. Having never had surgery before this, seeing my incision for the first time freaked me out a little. Also seeing how small the incision actually was was surprising, as I thought about how they managed to get a baby out through such a small space.

I was gassy for about two weeks after the procedure, and it hurt!

You still manage to pee a little when sneezing or coughing. I guess that’s a little package deal that comes along with pregnancy.

It hurts like crazy when you laugh, sneeze or cough so I always had a pillow nearby to press against my stomach to suppress some of pain.

You’ll still look like you’re a couple of months pregnant for a while until the swelling starts decreasing with time.

The incision and the area around it stays numb. As I said, it’s been a few years and it’s still numb around the incision area.

The recovery road is a long one. It took me around three months after the procedure to start feeling like I’m a human being again.

Hormones make everything worse. When something was a little bad for me, I experienced it as the worst things to ever happen in the whole world.

What didn’t you know about C-Section before you had yours?

5 thoughts on “Things I didn’t know about C-Sections before my own

  1. Thanks – this was super helpful – as you say nothing will prepare you for it unless you go through it yourself – but some how this will help a bit.

  2. Besides the traumatic birth you had first, would you say c-section or vaginal birth is better in terms of recovery (emotionally and physically)?

    1. I’ve had two vaginal births (one with the FB and then after my c-section I have a VBAC). In all honesty, all of them had their up and downs but my quickest recovery, physically and emotionally was with my VBAC.

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