I left off in my last post explaining why I ended up going for a scheduled c-section, now it’s time to gab about everything that came along with that!
Honestly, I think I went through some grieving over the fact I was having that moment, and my ideal birth, taken away. I knew what I was doing was the mature, responsible thing, but I still mourned the loss of what could have been.
The doctor told me that IF my baby turned before the surgery date, then they would just cancel and I could continue with my homebirth. I had updated most of my family and friends on this drastic change of plans, and they all gave me advice on how to turn him, saying that they were praying for him to turn and that they just had a feeling he’ll turn. It was all sweet, and I knew they meant well, but deep down I knew he wasn’t going to turn.
I could feel the amount of space there was in my womb for him to move and I could even feel him trying to wiggle his way around so he could face down, but he was vacuum sealed in that position. I told this to a lot of people, and they acted like I was taking the easy way out, stressing too much, or they would just outright tell me I was wrong and that my baby was going to turn. It was kind of insulting being told that, apparently, people that aren’t me know my body better than I do.
By the time the day had arrived, I’d pushed my feelings aside and was just focusing on how excited I was that I was going to meet my little one.
Soon as my husband and I arrived at the hospital, they checked me in and hooked me up to my IV right away. I remember joking with the nurse about how I always hate IVs because I feel like I can’t move because I was always worried I’d pull it out and how I hated when the fluid got pushed through my veins because it tickled. The nurse made a weird noise and said, “Well, I don’t have the IV in yet…”
I whipped my head around to look at my arm (I was looking as far away from the needle as I could, because I’m a giant chicken), just to find that the nurse had attempted to draw blood and I guess she didn’t have the tube attached right because my vein was spraying blood all over the nurses chest and on the right side of the hospital bed. Not a great way to start. Don’t get me wrong, the nurses and doctors were great, but that wasn’t a positive start to my day.
I had arrived two hours early to my surgery so I could be properly prepped, but man did those two hours fly by. Nurses, doctors, and one anesthesiologist made their way into my room to properly introduce themselves and explain what’s going to happen and how long it will take. Before I knew it I was walking down the hall to my operating room.
For legal purposes (at least I think that’s what they told me) my husband had to wait in another room while they gave me my spinal. I’d spent months planning a un-medicated birth, and I’d never been a big fan of needles, so having someone with a huge needle pointed at my spine while they told me to relax was a kind of nerve-racking experience. Oddly enough, the shot was what hurt the most. It burned and took my breath away; the nurse I was leaning on rubbed my arms and told me it was normal.
After they laid me down and my nerves were dead from about my chest to my toes, they brought my husband in. Now, I’ve been told by other moms that even though you’re numbed up, you can still feel some slight pushing and tugging; the nurses warned me before hand too. It’s honestly a really weird feeling, knowing that on the other side of the curtain your belly’s cut open with people’s hands digging around inside. The whole surgery took about an hour, but they got my little one out in about nineteen minutes, which would have been sooner but he was really cuddled up next to my rib cage.
From what I’ve heard, normally c-sections can hurt or delay the bonding between mom and baby, but luckily the hospital I was at was all about the skin to skin and breastfeeding, so I felt pretty blessed knowing we were all on the same page. As soon as they pulled him out, they plopped him on my chest on the other side of the curtain and let us get a good long look at him through the little window on the curtain, even take video! My doctor was kind enough to delay cord clamping and even left the cord a little long so my husband could cut it. Once they had him weighed and measured, they brought him back to me, so the rest of the surgery he sat snuggled against my chest.
I stayed three days in the hospital, which is about average. My incision healed up really fast, but I was still in a lot of pain and having some trouble getting my little one to latch properly or else I would have only spent two days there.
The pain was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It was a sharp burning that would happen whenever I turned or tried to stand up. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, it takes a lot to make me cry, but just reaching my hand out to try to see my baby hurt. It makes total sense though, I just gave birth an eight pound human, lost blood, fluids, and everything else that comes with growing a small person on top of having major surgery. I remember the nurse having to talk me into taking a shower because walking those five feet to the bathroom felt like someone was ripping the skin off of my waist. But I gave in and took a shower, bent over in half and in a crouched position because I was afraid if I fully extended myself I would have started crying in pain again. Unfortunately, when the water ran down my incision, it felt like fire and I ended up crying anyway.
By the time I got home though, I was pretty mobile and more energetic. I had gone from serious pain killers, to maybe an ibuprofen every couple of hours. I had my mom stay with me for a few days, to help me at night. I couldn’t lift my baby, or bend over to set him down, it was really frustrating. The first week of my son’s life I couldn’t go and cradle him when he cried, I had to find someone to do it for me or else I’d be in a whole bunch of pain, or risk hurting myself. I think that along with my hormones trying to figure themselves out put a slight hindrance on bonding with my son. But I’m no quitter! I nursed and did skin to skin contact every second I could. I’m so thankful to not have gone through postpartum depression because I know a lot of women have, and I feel deeply for them because I cannot imagine how hard that must be to have a new baby and not feel close or even want to feel close enough.
I did, however, have a touch of the baby blues about a week after having him, which is completely normal, that lasted about two days. So I spent those days curled up in bed with my baby, everything making me cry, but after venting to my husband and my mom I came out of it and haven’t had a real bad day since!
Thank you for reading! I know how much it helped me to read other women’s experiences when I was pregnant, so if you have any questions or would like to share your own story, I’d love to read them and talk to you!