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.