If you’re a soon-to-be mom preparing for the arrival of your baby, and you’re freaking out just a little bit, know that you are safe here. This is a safe space. I mean, this here blog is where I “freak out just a little bit”, like, ALL the time. So welcome, friend!
Now, if your pre-birth freak outs are anything like mine was, you’re probably finding yourself scouring the internet for every drop of information that would give you some insight into your possible birthing experience. I mean it’s practically science: you always feel a bit better when you know what to expect.
In fact, knowing what to expect is what helped me through the birth of my boy via c-section. After reading numerous online articles and chatting to a few fellow moms who have been there (done that, got the bikini line scar?), I found myself more at ease and a lot more in control of my mental state.
And now that I’ve experienced it for myself, I thought to share my c-section tips with you! (My toddler says that “sharing is caring”, so theresit.) Here are 10 c-section tips that you might want to know before going for the cut:
1. Going in, mentally prepared is the best gift that you can give yourself. (Well, that and the sushi post-op, once baby is out.) Some of the things I mentally prepared my mind for was the spinal block injection and the insertion of the catheter. Here’s what you need to know about those:
Catheter: This is a soft hollow tube, inserted into your vagina, and passed into the bladder to drain your urine. It’s not eina, but the insertion can be uncomfy. The trick is to take a deep breathe, as the nurse inserts, and don’t clench! The catheter is inserted before you’re wheeled into theater and is removed a few hours post-op.
Spinal block/Epidural: A spinal block or epidural is administered, via your spine, when you’re in theater. The purpose of this is to numb the lower part of your body so that you are fully awake during the birth of your baby. Yes, I did say “spine”. And yes, it’s an injection. But, again, not necessarily eina (it’s a pin prick). The key is to NOT FLINCH. You flinching means they may have to redo it… which is a lot worse than just inhaling and exhaling for like, 2 seconds, so that they can get it right the first time.
2. Even though you’re aware that a c-section is actually major surgery, one can’t help but feel daunted as you lay on the operating table, draped and ready for action (so to speak). Again, make sure you’re in a positive mental space (having a fat chat with my Hubstopher, during the procedure, helped to distract me). Expect to feel tugging and pulling, during the surgery. Don’t panic – this doesn’t mean that you’re going to feel pain. Your pain sensors are deadened/numbed. But you probably will feel your doctor doing his thing, as he removes your baby from your body. It’s a weird sensation, but not uncomfortable (well, for me, atleast) and very short lived.
3. Once baby is born, you are told to remain laying flat on your back for a few hours. Do not try to sit up at all! This will cause excessive headaches which is a side affect of spinal anesthesia. No jokes guys, I’ve been told that these headaches are worse than someone hammering a golf tee into your eyeballs. Exactly. Trust me. Stay down until the nurse tells you to sit up. No worries though, you’re still able to hold your baby, which is all that matters anyways.
4. If you plan to breastfeed, remember that you will need to latch your baby to your breast immediately after birth, while you are in “flat down” position. This may making latching a tad bit trickier… BUT make sure that you get baby to latch correctly from the get go. Tip: because you’re laying down, you may need to sandwich your nipples and “feed” it to baby, to ensure that they scoop enough nipple. Rather do this and avoid possible incorrect latch which could result eina nips. And eina nipples is probably worse than having a golf tee hammered into your eyeball.
5. Your first walk is the pits. There, I said it. No sugar coating here. Expect: dizziness, cold sweats, ears ringing. This lasts for a few minutes only but it can feel overwhelming. The trick is to sit up in bed for a couple of minutes BEFORE getting out of bed. Then put your legs over the edge of the bed and remain seated that way for a while BEFORE standing. Once you’re ready, get onto your feet and remain in that position for a while etc. (You may need to sit down again, if the dizzy spell is intense). My point is that easing into that first walk is the best advice I can give you. Oh and don’t wait until you need to pee, before getting up for the first time. You might not make it to the loo on time. Do your first prance BEFORE you need the loo, so that you’re an experienced walker by the time you need the toilet.
6. Placing pressure against your wound (some people use a pillow, I just held it with my hands), as you walk, will greatly assist you to move around those first few times. The pressure offers support and helps you to not feel as if your insides are falling out. You might want to do this when you cough/sneeze/laugh too.
7. At this point you’ll want to opt for comfy oversized underwear that covers your wound. Full coverage underpants, that does not rest on your incision is a must! Most women also reach for a belly wrap or under garments that provide tummy support. These are said to reduce swelling and makes you feel a bit more held together.
8. Unlike natural birth – which affects the constitution of your lady parts – giving birth via c-section is thankfully kind to your vagina. Because of this, using the loo was way easier after c-section, compared to natural birth. So don’t let fear stop you from “going”… it may feel a bit weird the first time around, but trust me, you won’t be ripping out any stitches by going to the toilet. Also, the longer you wait, the more uncomfy it will be the first time around.
9. Pain meds are your best friends. You should be receiving pain medication every 4 hours. And hey, even if you don’t feel pain, make sure you pop dem pills every 4 hours! Don’t wait for the pain to kick in, girl. Making sure you take your medication on time will dramatically increase your quality of life, those first few days.
10. My least favorite thing to do, post-op, is move around. But going for short walks helps to shorten your recovery time! In fact, it’s important to walk around within 24 hours after your c-section. Tip: don’t lift anything heavier than your baby and avoid bending and stretching.
Have you given birth via c-section? Please share your recovery tips in the comments section below!