It has been 10 months since Avery was born and I have received so many questions around her birth and the c-section I ultimately had with her. When my first was born over 7 years ago, I ended up with a c-section then as well. I had no idea waht to expect during a c-section at that time. This time around I had a scheduled c-section planned, but after going into labor at 37 weeks I still felt completely unprepared as they wheeled me into that operating room.
Part of the fear of having a c-section is the unknown. I have had first time moms and even second time moms ask me what it is like to have a c-section. Here is what to expect before during a c-section as well as before and after.
What to Expect during a C-section
You will be nervous
Once that decision is made to proceed with a c-section you will start to feel nervous. You will also feel sad, relieved and scared all at once. Sad that your birth plan is gone, relieved that labor is almost over and baby will be out safe and scared off the surgery and recovery. No one plans to have a c-section as a first time mom and an increase in nerves is to be expected.
There will be a lot of people
The room will be packed with people. I had both my children at a teaching hospital so my experience may be skewed. I had an anesthesiologist, a nurse anesthetist, my labor and delivery nurse, the OB attending, an OB resident, surgical tech, a nursing student, and a pediatrician resident and attending (standard for an unexpected delivery as it was for Avery). My point is there will be a lot of people there but they are all there to support you and your baby.
The spinal block is amazing
The spinal is way stronger then your traditional epidural. This basically numbs you from your nipples down. It will feel weird but you will be thankful it’s there.
Yes, you will need a catheter
They will place this after you get your spinal thankfully. It is a little tube that gets inserted into your urethra into your bladder. You won’t even know it is happening but it is an important part of making sure your bladder is empty. In fact, the catheter generally remains in place until you are up moving around.
You may feel sick to your stomach
This is typical with the anesthesia. I always get extremely nauseous during and post c-section. Just let them know and they will give you medications to counteract that.
You will feel pulling, tugging and pressure
None of this will hurt but you will feel those sensations and they are completely normal sensations to feel during a c-section.
You will be able to hold your baby and do skin to skin
I think that this is one of the biggest fears that new moms have when the thought of a c-section comes up. Not being able to immediately hold your baby after delivery. At the hospital I had both my children at, they had the baby cleaned, suctioned, weighed and measured in under a couple of minutes and then promptly placed them on my chest.
They also had a clear screen so that as soon as she was pulled out they held her up so that I could see her. While the doctors did cut the cord, Aaron was able to help trim the umbilical cord and be right next to Avery when she was getting weighed and measured. While it is not immediate like in a vaginal birth, the nurses and doctors make every effort to let you hold and see your baby right away.
Shaking is normal
Hormones combined with the effects of anesthesia will make you shake. This is to be expected and it doesn’t last for very long. I was shaking from a combination of those, nerves and the fact that the operating room is extremely cold.
Those first few days after a c-section when trying to get out of bed, up from a chair or even picking up your baby will be uncomfortable. Don’t even think about coughing, sneezing or having that wonderful first bowel movement. You will be sore and I suggest having a pillow on hand to brace against your incision when moving. It will help with the pain.
You are still a badass
Just because you didn’t have a vaginal birth does not make you any less of a mom. You are still amazing and recovery from a c-section is no joke. Some will say that a c-section is the easy way out and honestly they suck. There is nothing easy about a c-section and you are amazing no matter which way you birthed your baby.
Hopefully knowing what to expect during a c-section birth will help you be more prepared for your delivery. Whether you deliver vaginally or through a c-section knowing what to expect helps calm the fears a little bit.
I don’t have children but I know women who have gone through C sections and they said it’s not nice at all. The recovery is so much more painful than a natural birth.
Mary white says
Since you have not had a baby you should probably not be giving an opinion about pain. I had both types of deliveries and do not see it as one more painful than the other. Every delivery is unique.
You’re so brave! I never knew many of these facts about c sections
Debs @ https://tiger-mint.com
Congratulations and thank you for sharing your story. My mother had a c-section with my brother.
I was amazed at all the shaking with my first c section. It took forever to stop too. My other two weren’t as bad.
Nicole Anderson | Camping for Women says
This was such an interesting read to truly try to appreciate all that a mom will go through in the process of having a c section. I’m sure you must go through a number of emotions: scared, elated, all at the same time! This is a great resource for expected moms to read.
Amy-Lynn Denham says
Whether scheduled or emergency I think that c-sections are scary (even though the doctors are well-trained). I have a lot of respect for women who endure this.
Geraline Batarra says
Mothers are still mothers whether they had a c section birth or normal. They both had a painful and un ending sacrifices.
This is highly informative. I never heard of this before. Thanks for sharing.
Sincerely Miss J says
Congratulations. I had a c-section and I agree that spinal block was amazing but the pain and recovery was super tough. Don’t want to go through that again.
I know someone who had a c-section and they said that it didn’t wasn’t a walk in the park. Childbirth, whether delivering vaginally or via c-section, is an incredible (and excruciatingly painful) process. Therefore, I have nothing but respect for women who have to endure it.
Julie Trujillo says
It’s amazing what a c-section does to our body and scary how many times it’s performed in the US.
Chelle Dizon says
I really cannot imagine if I’ll be the one in your shoes. I have so much respect for moms who had a C-Section.
Clare Minall says
I ahve 3 kids adn all of them are from C-Section. It was not as painful as people think but it was a very critical procedure.
Alexandra Cook says
I really don’t know how it feels like but it sounds very painful. Salute to all moms who undergone C-section. You were so strong.
Sounds like it was really hard. I have a normal delivery with my kids. It was so painful never thought that a CS can be so painful too.
As a two-time mom, I’m constantly amazed at how little I know about aspects of the birth procedure. This was very informative and is great info for soon-to-be mamas.
Czjai Reyes-Ocampo says
The pain of giving birth via C-section usually comes after you have given birth. I did not want to go under the knife when I gave birth to my son, and thankfully, he was born via NSD. I also wanted to save on medical expenses because C-section deliveries are very expensive here in my country, unless you have a health insurance.
Purva Bhatia says
Well summed up. I went through a csec to deliver my baby. The recovery period is more than normal delivery but I couldn’t have been able to bear the pain I think.
Shannan P says
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. While I ended up having vaginal births with my kids, we were teetering on the brink of a C-section with my youngest and I remember being terrified and not knowing what to expect.
Jasmeet Singh says
You are so brave. Thank you for sharing this information. This will surely benefit other expecting moms
Elizabeth O says
This such an informative post. You’re so strong and I appreciate your time for writing this article.
Kalyan Panja says
This is an useful post for would be mothers. Thought provoking post.
I don’t have any kids, but I don not want to push. I don’t think I’ll have the strength. But c-section may not be up to me. Yeass you are still badass
Karen Monica says
This is such an informative post about C section. This will definitely benefit expecting mums.
Monidipa Dutta says
I am actually terrified of having kids. But I must say that you r strong…
sarah camille says
C-sections are one of the things that scares me the most about pregnancy, but I’m so glad I read your post. I didn’t know about several things you mentioned but it feels a little less scary now!
I have bookmarked it for obvious reasons 🙂 I especially love this “Just because you didn’t have a vaginal birth does not make you any less of a mom.” Thank you so much for sharing this!
JASMINE VARGAS says
I had two c-sections and I remember recovery was the hard part. I hated to move lol
I had my first born “naturally” and twins by c-section. When I was told there was no other option than a c-section with the twins based on their positions, I completely lost it. I was upset for days and it took several discussions with doctors and my husband to come to terms with it. I was scared to death of the procedure, recovery, breastfeeding afterwards, how I would be able to cope with twins and a 2 year old, etc. And honestly yes I did feel like a failure.. Everything went however well, “giving birth” was a breeze, I recovered relatively quick (not as quickly as many, but still) and managed to breastfeed without any issues for a year. I think the most important way to prepare is face any concerns or questions and come to terms with the surgery. Were I ever to have another child, I would definitely opt for natural delivery given the possibility, but either way, a baby is always a baby, no matter how they’re born ❤️