Before we go any further let’s just get it out there: there is no easy way to have a baby! Perhaps it’s not as common today (I certainly hope it’s not) but when I had my first child with an emergency C-section, there were many with the attitude that a C-section delivery was the “easy way” to have a baby. I’m still peeved about that remark.
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The truth is that not all labors progress as expected. In my case, my water broke (all 3 times) but then nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zippo. There were no labor pains or contractions or any of the other things that my body was supposed to do to deliver a baby.
Fortunately, modern medicine can be a wonderful thing. When my body didn’t do its part to deliver my first child, I was given drugs to help things along. The Pitocin I was given did get the contractions started. It’s a commonly used drug for inducing labor and has been successfully used on multitudes of women. Now, experiencing the full effects of contractions, we figured that delivery was just a matter of time.
We were wrong.
The Pitocin had my contractions coming one right after the other with no break in between. Apparently, this is not a good thing for babies! I began to notice the people scurrying around and then the doctor called my husband out into the hall. When they returned I wasn’t sure what had been said, but I could tell that it was serious. The look on the faces of my husband and doctor weren’t ones a woman in labor wants to see…ever.
“The baby is in distress,” my husband told me. “The doctor says we need to do a C-section.”
C-sections can be life saving
I’m a little slow at the best of times, and this was not the best of times. “Okay, when?” I asked. “Right now,” he said. “They’re going to prep you for surgery while I go get ready. I’ll be back with you in a few minutes.” And with those words, he was gone. I assume he’d headed some place down the hall to scrub up. Holy crap, this wasn’t the way I pictured this going down.
The people in the room go into high gear. I’m quickly rolled down the hall and into an operating room and helped over on to the table. I’m given an epidural (which I didn’t feel because at this point the Picotin has the contractions coming so fast that I already hurt like hell!) and then I’m strapped down to the table.
This is the point where I begin to get really scared.
I’m not sure that anything really prepares you to be strapped down to an operating table and have those bright theater lights shining down on you. The only other time in my life that I’d had surgery, I have no memory of the operating room at all. I’m positive that’s much better than this. Being strapped down to a table while you’re fully conscious is a very helpless feeling. It might have gotten a little better when my husband finally entered the operating room and sat down beside me, but not much. Things began happening at lightning speed and the whole procedure didn’t take very long. Obviously, when the doctor said we needed to get the baby “right now!” she meant it.
Fortunately, all went well with the delivery. My baby was healthy and except for the top of his head, which looked like we’d tried to drag him through a metal doughnut, he looked like every other baby in the nursery. I was grateful the whole thing was over.
Except that it wasn’t really over.
While my hubby left the room to follow our newborn and the nurses to the nursery, I’m still strapped down to the operating table while the doctor finishes her job. That takes longer than the actual delivery did. I’m relieved that the baby is alright, but I’m ready to be off this table and hold my baby. The dreams I had of my baby being handed to me immediately after his birth are shot. This was not how I imagined this would happen.
After a C-section delivery
Since I had no idea that I’d end up having a c-section, I hadn’t prepared myself for the aftermath. I’d had surgery before when I was in high school and had to have my appendix removed, so I wasn’t completely clueless, but this was different.
Hormones were involved. My emotions were on a roller coaster. And then my sister-in-law came to visit.
During the course of the conversation she told me that at least I’d managed to have my baby “the easy way.” I’ve never felt more insulted in my life! Here I was with a wound in my belly that made every move painful and she’s telling me how easy my delivery was. Well, let me tell you, delivery may have been “easy”, but recovery was a bitch.
My mother was reminiscing about having a cheeseburger right after I was born. I, on the other hand, have nurses insisting I walk up and down the hall to help get the gas that’s built up during surgery out of my system. Gas is one of the leftover little indignities from surgery.
Does the embarrassment ever end?
So then the nurses start coming in and asking what is probably the most humiliating question I’ve ever been asked, “Have you managed to pass any gas?” Excuse me, did she just ask me if I’ve managed to fart?
Yes, she did. And so did every nurse who entered the room. Nurses, of course, don’t call it that (I suspect they do, but they’re too professional to do it to our faces). They call it passing gas, but we might as well just call it what it is. And until you’re able to get all that gas out by farting, and then able to go do #2 in the bathroom, you’re going to have people checking on your bodily functions.
“When was the last time you passed gas?” “Do you still need to pass gas?” “Be sure to get that gas out.”
Well, at least I’ve got permission to fart. I feel so much better. Or at least I will once I recover from the humiliation.
And then it gets worse.
“Have you managed to move your bowels?”
Humiliation can’t get any worse than this.
Let’s don’t forget that nurses are still checking you “down there” to see how much you’re bleeding. Just because you had your baby “the easy way” doesn’t give you a pass on all the lovely afterbirth fun. My doctor reminded me that the C-section mommies still have all of the other childbirth recovery issues to deal with, they’ve just got recovery from major surgery to cope with as well. It was not what I expected.
This post continues in Part 2: Your Unexpected C-Section
I hope you’ll share this with your friends on Facebook or pin it to your favorite Pinterest board. I assumed childbirth would proceed normally – I sure wish I’d been more prepared for the possible alternatives.
Products to help the C-Section Mama
C-Panty High Waist Recovery and Slimming Panty – I have not used these (they weren’t available when I had my babies) but I do know that abdominal muscles take time to heal and need extra support. Coughing, and even laughing, hurt like the dickens while those muscles are healing!
The Essential C-Section Guide – Looking at the table of contents, this book appears to answer the questions I had after my surgeries.