What to expect after a c-section
Are you planning ahead for a c-section? Or just want to make sure you’re prepared if you end up needing one?
I have two children and I had both of them by c-section. Like most women, I never wanted to have one, but I wanted children… so there you are.
My first birth was pretty horrendous. Everything that could go wrong pretty much did. So I ended up having an emergency c-section after hours (and hours and hours…) of unsuccessful labour.
My beautiful baby boy was stuck partly due to having a larger head and partly his position and partly the massive fibroid I had in my uterus. By the time they gave me a spinal block, to do the c-section, I was exhausted and relieved. I was also VERY ready to finally meet my baby!
After that, we decided I needed an elective c-section for my next birth.
That seemed so very clinical after the process of going into labour! We turned up at the hospital like for any surgery… went through the processes… and left the hospital with a beautiful baby girl!
Both of the births were not what I expected in really different ways.
Having a baby is an eye-opener in many ways anyway! But as a good friend said to me, even after her really difficult birth she could still have walked out of the hospital and gone home that day if need be… but I couldn’t. So having a c-section is a different experience.
So I wanted to share some of the things that shocked me. I really didn’t expect some of them, and others I hadn’t even thought of before they happened!
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I had no sense of baby being born
I thought I would still have a sense of the baby being born… but, nope.
Honestly, I had to guess that it had happened based on what else I could hear going on around me in the room.
And in both cases for me that did not include any baby crying… they had to give them both attention before they could do so.
For our first baby we had waited to see what gender the baby was. So I ended up asking my husband if he knew what it was while I was lying there! The medical staff were too busy actually dealing to the baby (or me!) to tell us. But then our midwife came over to tell us, and as soon as she could she brought him to me to give a little kiss before handing him to my husband to hold.
So I totally assumed that I had been too out of it first time round to gage when my baby was being born. With our daughter, I was sure I would have more sense of it. After all it was the middle of the day, I hadn’t been in labour for days beforehand…
I could feel pulling on my body, as I had the first time, but I still couldn’t gage when she was born.
It is really bizarre feeling your body being pulled and moved without really feeling exactly what they are doing. And I could not feel it properly. At one stage they had my legs in a position that I saw but had not realised they had done! So weird!
Of course some women do end up having that happen and still give birth vaginally.
But although I knew about this possibility it was still strange to experience.
And I still thought I would know when my baby was born!!
Read more: Preparing for a Scheduled C-Section
Baby needing attention before I could even see them
Both my babies had to have medical attention before I could meet them. It only took about 5 minutes or so for each of them. And they needed it!
But I would be lying if I didn’t say that it was sad… and a serious anti-climax.
I also didn’t get to hold either of them for some time.
My husband got to hold both of them as soon as possible, though. And he got to have them lie against his bare chest for skin-to-skin contact. I felt like I missed out… until I realised that I would have totally hogged that and not let my husband have half as much of it as he got.
I was exhausted
Even with the elective c-section when I hadn’t laboured or pushed at all.
That weirded me out.
Maybe it was just me… or maybe the whole thing is just exhausting regardless!
It’s easy to get the wound infected 🙁
Yeah… after the first time round you think I would have been more careful. And I honestly thought I was.
But I got an infection both times.
I highly recommend trying not to get one!
It itches as it heals
I guess this is not a biggie since this is normal to most wounds. But I still hadn’t expected it.
And my newly healing tummy was ITCHY! I got scared of itching it though… coz, um… as above, I had infections! I did not want any more!
The good news – I like good news! – is that itching means it is healing.
It’s a major operation
So with that goes the exhaustion and the soreness and the lack of being able to do things!
I guess because of the way they had to manoeuvre to get the baby out I was badly bruised all around my tummy both times. So it meant that there was more than just the wound site that was tender!
You need to follow all the instructions they give you. That includes the suggestions. I didn’t always listen to the suggestion part and, yeah, I think I mentioned the infections, right?!?
Try to follow the instructions!!
Of course that being said… it is not easy!
Hardest instruction to follow: not picking up your baby
So this is most probably the reason for my infections, since I may have pulled the wound as I was picking up my baby.
I couldn’t help myself.
I wanted to hold and pick up my babies and they were both reasonable sizes… probably over the recommended weight to carry while you wait to heal.
If I had been less stubborn I could have asked for more help. I could have sat down and then asked for the baby to be passed to me.
My tummy will never be the same
Yes, that is mom territory anyway, but I have numb sections on my stomach.
No sensation at all. It’s kinda weird.
And I definitely didn’t expect that!
Tiny Baby Kicks Can Really Hurt
Ok no-brainer again. But the thing is that when it hurts to move position then even a tiny baby kick to the gut can be agonizing. Really, really hadn’t expected my newborn to injure me like that!
Not driving after the Operation is Hard
Especially if it is not your first baby, and you have other things to do, or little people dependant on you.
I found it hard to wait for six weeks the second time, before driving.
The first time the whole six weeks was a blur, and I was still regaining use of one of my legs. So it was a case of walking before I could drive!
But with another child and needing things in the house, it was much harder to stick to the recommended six weeks of not driving.
Overall having a c-section can be a challenging experience… but then so is having a baby!