C-Section – Real Talk

Those of you who haven’t had a c-section, especially those of you who are currently pregnant and wondering how on earth they’re going to get ‘it’ out, this one is for you.

I wasnt very prepared for the reality of a c-section, mainly because it wasn’t planned so I hadn’t looked in to it too much, (I had a ‘listen to the experts and go with the flow’ attitude towards giving birth which I would certainly recommend). All of the information you get through the NHS on a Cesarean is a bit sterile and not particularly human and real. Everyone’s experiences are unique but in order to prepare yourself for what is to come I guess it’s good to be able to take something from the personal accounts of other Mothers.

Just a quick explanation of how I got to the emergency C-section part.. My waters broke at 6am on a Saturday morning, I went to the Birth Unit at Gloucester a couple of hours later, which I must add is a fabulous place as far as birth units go.
I had what felt exactly like period pain that came and went from 8am (nothing too severe)..turns out that my friends, is a contraction, who knew?! I didn’t.
When I arrived at the Birth Unit the midwives wanted to see what colour my waters were when they broke and told me I should’ve worn a sanitary pad to try and ‘catch’ some of it… no one told me this beforehand. Also, you dont know when your waters are going to break so you must use your crystal ball to foresee when this will happen, so that you can put said pad in place.
At 8pm that evening, at about 6 or 7 cm dilated, I had an epidural to make me more comfortable, baby’s head was at an angle so we wanted him to move by himself. I waited 2 hours for the anesthetist to get time to see me which was pretty tiring. The epidural itself was the worst part of the whole experience for me, however the results were fantastic, everything numbed so I could relax think about the horror that was to come. Even though it’s nearly 18 months since my son was born I can still feel the spot on my spine tingle where the needle went in if i accidently knock it.

I was finally at the magic 10cm dilated and pushed with all of my might.. and yes, I may have slightly pooed on the midwife, but I didn’t care! Baby was still stuck with his head at an angle so they were going to take me into surgery to try forceps and if that failed (which it did), it would have to be a c-section.
Understandably I had to remove all of my piercings to go into surgery, which is so not what I wanted to be doing at the time. I got very frustrated fiddling about with earrings, navel bars and nose studs (totally forgot about my nipple ring at the time, oops!!), if I ever go through this again in future I will be taking them out as soon as contractions start!

THE C-SECTION.
Although you can’t feel a thing, the surgery itself is extremely violent in that you will feel your body being pushed around a lot, this is something I really didn’t realise. Dan was in the operating theatre with me and it was very difficult for him to witness. The best way I can describe it is like when you’re having a filling at the dentist and your mouth is numb, but you can feel movement going on and hear drilling.
Except, there is no drilling at the c-section so don’t be alarmed!
I vomited whilst they were stitching me up as a result of all of the antibiotics etc.  I had 10 various injections in my thighs while being stitched up to prevent blood clots and infections and this left me nauseous for about 2 or 3 hours after surgery. They also believe I had an allergic reaction to the latex catheter they fitted during surgery because my noonie swelled up like a melon, I have never reacted to latex before or since this, so Im not sure if thats what it was. Either way, ouch!

Our baby was handed straight over to his Dad whilst I was stitched up and he had he first feed from a bottle of formula with one of the midwives whilst I was in the recovery unit. I felt a bit bad that I didn’t get to give him his first feed, giving birth was nothing like it is in the movies at all. I was in such a state after surgery mainly because of all of the drugs I had been given and that I hadn’t slept in over a day, I could barely hold my head up let alone a baby.

As soon as you are out of surgery they slip a pair of compression socks on you which you are supposed to keep on for 7 days! Over the next couple of days while you stay in the hospital you are given regular painkillers, you have an injection of blood thinners into your stomach once a day, you are given a jug to pee in. I was on iron tablets for a month afterwards and had to drink plenty of orange juice to keep things moving which I definitely recommend otherwise your first bowel movement will be just as horrendous as you think it will be!
The first time you stand up after surgery it feels like your scar is going to pop open and your guts are going to spill out. Dont worry they won’t. Just mentally prepare for this odd sensation and you’ll be fine.

You will never realise how much you use your stomach muscles until you have this kind of surgery. Every little move you make you can feel a pulling sensation around your scar. I really struggled to get in and out of bed, the car, onto the sofa and get the baby in a position to breastfeed for the first couple of weeks. I felt useless and was just generally emotional and overwhelmed.

Even though I didn’t give birth in the usual way, I still bled for weeks which no one told me to expect. The discharge and sore noonie is all hormone related, so no matter how you give birth you can expect it. I also wasn’t warned that sex would be reaaaally uncomfortable even after a c-section and that this was also hormone related. In fact it wasn’t comfortable at all for me for 9 months!!

My scar has healed really neatly. It has always been slightly lower and a bit lumpy on one side, I believe this happens because of where they have tied the stitches, but it’s almost unnoticeable. I didn’t use any special creams to help it heal, I didn’t want to touch it for weeks after I just left it alone. The sensation has never returned around the edges of the scar which is another thing I wasn’t warned about.

All in all the experience wasn’t bad at all. I definitely recommend having someone there with you whether its family, a friend or partner. I was so thankful to have Dan there to do things for me. Getting chocolate from the shop, helping me get comfortable in bed, walking me to the toilet, passing me the baby for feeds and doing all of the nappy changing etc. It just meant I was able to relax a bit more and not constantly be ringing my bell for help from a midwife. Plus when you feel shite its nice to have a friendly face around to keep you smiling.

Good Luck if you’re expecting!

Alice

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