This post has been a long time coming, since she’s almost six months old! It took me awhile to write this because, honestly, the whole thing was a little traumatic for me. For a long time I continued to have a physical reaction, like a cringe or shutter, when I thought back to her birth. So, it’s taken me awhile to organize my thoughts on the topic. Now, this all sounds very dramatic but it probably wasn’t as dramatic as you’re expecting. Everyone’s experiences are different. So this was dramatic for me, but may not have been dramatic whatsoever for anyone else. Since it’s been almost six months I decided I should get it written down so I don’t forget!
Riley was born via c-section on October 5th. Because of all my ultra sounds showing slight placenta previa it was determined that the safest option was to do a c-section, so I knew about it way in advance. This was both good and bad! Good because I was able to read up and prepare for it. But bad because then I had a ton of time to think about what was going to happen and dwell on it.
I asked a ton of friends about their c-sections and read a bunch of blogs so I felt really prepared. I was really worried I would somehow feel it, but everyone said you don’t feel pain, you just feel the pressure. A couple of weeks before Riley was born my best friend had an emergency c-section and she said she didn’t even notice the pressure from the surgery as soon as they placed her baby in her arms! So, I was comfortable with all this knowledge!
We arrived at the hospital at 10:00 to check in for the scheduled 12:00 surgery. I got into my hospital gown and had blood work done, was unceremoniously shaved, fetal movement checked and that sort of thing. I met the anesthesiologist, who was nice enough but kind of gruff. As the minutes ticked by I became more and more nervous and jittery. I couldn’t lay in the bed so I got up and paced around the room with my fluids pole. Close to noon a nurse came in and told us there were a ton of people in labor that morning so my surgery was being pushed off just a little while.
Finally, they told me it was time! I was taken over to the surgery room and prepped for my spinal by the anesthesiologist assistant. Who I soon learned was actually being trained to be an anesthesiologist and, surprise!, was doing my spinal! As if I wasn’t nervous enough already. The lead anesthesiologist coached the student through the procedure, which was very uncomfortable, but worked exactly how it was supposed to. Uncomfortable meaning I could feel the wires and things going into and down my spine. But as soon as the medicine started working I felt nothing, of course.
After that everything went in fast forward with lots of people doing lots of busy things. I think there was a least 10 people in there between the doctor, nurses, anesthesiologists plus nurses specifically for the baby! They checked to make sure my spinal was working and then it was go time! The doctor said “let’s get started” and what I thought was her drawing a line of where to cut was actually the initial cutting! About 30 seconds later someone said “oh, did anyone get the husband?” as they had started without telling him. Let’s just say he had to avert his eyes when they brought him into the room from the door that was on the side of the room with the full view! After he came in and held my hand that gave me some comfort during the surgery. After lots of uncomfortable pulling and pressure, she was born!
Very soon after that she cried and was cleaned off and that all went very smoothly. They brought her over to me and I kind of put my hand on her and looked. But honestly I was in such a daze it didn’t even feel real to me at that moment. I was so distracted by the surgery I couldn’t focus much on anything else. I was very in my head about it, thinking about what exactly is going on. I kept wondering what each tug and pull was for, what it looked like, what it would feel like if I didn’t have the spinal.
At this point they took her away for her full doctor exam, blood work etc. As previously agreed, my husband went with her and I was alone. Looking back this was a mistake because even though there was a room full of people I felt totally alone. All the bad thoughts kept going through my head. And the pressure of the surgery tricked me into thinking many horrible things were going on. At one point I felt like someone large was actually sitting on my stomach, which I said loudly and was told “yes that’s your uterus.” Probably not the best thing to tell a person who is clearly on the edge of becoming unhinged! After a few minutes of moaning and shouting a nurse came over to hold my hand, and I squeezed hers so hard I probably almost broke it!
Finally, after a few more minutes (could have been 30 seconds, who knows!) the nurse said “You seem a little anxious, would you like something to help you calm down?” And I shouted “yes, please!” The next thing I knew I was waking up being transferred to the bed they wheel you into the recovery room on and the doctor said “did you have a good nap?”! She told me later that I had a panic attack and they had to put me under so they could finish the surgery because my blood pressure and breathing were going nuts!
After all that I was taken to the recovery room and she was there with my husband waiting for me! And I finally got to hold her for real this time. So this is my post-surgery pic. Not the most flattering of pictures, but hey that’s real life! Even though I was still in a little bit of a daze from being put under, I was able to start trying to feed her right away! After a little bit of rest we were moved to the maternity rooms, which were much bigger and nicer.
Meeting Big Brother
After a little while of rest we decided it was time to let Carter come and meet his sister! My mom was staying with us and brought Carter in that afternoon. He was a little timid at first, even though he knew what to do. I think he was nervous about what I would look like and how I was going to act, since he knew about the c-section. Visiting someone in the hospital for the first time must be very nerve racking for a kid!
We stayed in the hospital for four days for recovery, which was really helpful. The nurses were great and so helpful. They make sure you get up and walk enough, drink enough water and even helped me go to the bathroom. This experience was totally different from when I had Carter. With him I was induced early and then he was brought immediately into the NICU at a totally different hospital. With Riley she was in the room with us almost the whole time! With Carter the lactation consultation wasn’t very steller and I basically had to pump right away since he was taken to the NICU. This time around I had excellent support and the consultant was super knowledgeable and encouraging. So, the post delivery hospital time was totally different with both.
I will say that having done both c-section and vaginal delivery, that the vaginal deliver was definitely easier in terms of recovery pain and time! With the c-section it was very hard to walk for several days and very hard to move regularly for a long time! My scar is still healing and itchy sometimes. It seems like my body “bounced back” much quicker with Carter,too, but that might be because I was six years older this time around as well!
If you’re having a c-section I hope this post didn’t scare you too much! Like I said, everyone’s experiences are different. I was very “in my head” and had a panic attack. I assume that doesn’t happen to most people. I’ve had many friends who have had c-sections tell me they didn’t even notice the feeling of the surgery! And especially after the baby is out and you get to see them! So, please don’t take my experience and think that’s exactly what will happen to you! Be sure to read up on those recovery tips, though! You cannot be over prepared for that and it’s really a good idea to know what to expect as far as recovery goes!
Riley was born at 1:10pm on October 5th and was just about 6 pounds 6 ounces. She’s now almost six months old and over 16 pounds! She is the cutest and most perfect little baby, just like she was on her birthday!