When I was expecting my first, I did not think I’d have anything other than a natural birth. I spent weeks worrying about when I’d be going into labor naturally, and right up until a few days before my baby was born, this was what I was planning for.
However, on my last hospital visit, our doctor told us that based on the growth scan and some health concerns that he had, we needed to have an elective c-section that week. Way to throw a spanner in the works to all my plans, right? You see, while they called it an “elective” c-section, we really had no choice but to have it. And instead of having at least another couple of weeks before our little angel came, we suddenly had a few days!
While the thought of having surgery in a few days made me quite anxious, I was a little relieved that I wasn’t going to have to deal with one of those scary two or three-day labor experiences. We’ve all heard the horror stories of women who go into labor for two or three days, then they have to deliver a baby that is so big they literally have to rip you open down there to get them out. While I had prepared myself mentally for this (well, not exactly this scenario!), I was grateful that I wasn’t going to have to go through any of that.
Our doctor recommended that we have a c-section based on our most recent growth scan. He also had some concerns about my overall health because my blood pressure had been slowly going up for a few weeks by that time. +
So we got a date and I was sent home to prepare. Those pre-surgery days were spent worrying and obsessing over anything and everything. I wondered whether the operation would go fine, I was anxious to see my baby, and I worried about how long it would take for me to heal. In the end, I’m pretty sure all that worry and stress only made my blood pressure go up even higher!
On the day of the procedure, I got up bright and early and headed to the hospital. As per our doctor’s instructions, I had not eaten anything for about 12 hours, and pregnant me was super hungry by the time I got there.
They were ready for me at about 8 am. My husband and I were taken to the theatre, where he got to wear scrubs and meet the team that would be operating on me. There were around 8 medics there, but my husband later told me that about 4 of them were students who were just there to observe.
The anesthetist made me perch slightly on the operating table as he numbed my back. Then he put in the epidural and I hardly felt a thing. My husband was holding my hand the entire time. I started to feel numb from the waist down and had a little panic attack as a result, but the anesthetist was really nice and reassuring throughout the process. I think my husband was freaking out as well, he had a death grip on my hand and I’m pretty sure the anesthetist was rubbing his shoulder, too!
When I was completely numb from the waist down, a nurse shaved me and cleaned me. It was a strange sensation because of the numbness. The incision was made about an inch below where my pubes start. I couldn’t feel a thing. Everything was happening behind a cloth that separated my upper body from my lower, so all I could feel was some tugging and jostling and then it was over.
A few minutes later I heard a cry. It was the most beautiful sound in the world! My husband was crying and wouldn’t let go of my hands. The anesthetist asked them to lift our little angel up so we could see him. And that moment when I first laid eyes on my son has been seared into my brain ever since. He was so beautiful and screaming his lungs out and I was just so happy to see him. Nothing else in the world mattered at that moment. I have just become a mom!
Well, a few seconds later the nurses whisked him off. Out of our sight, they gave him his vitamin K and did some blood tests. About 10 or 15 minutes later, they brought him back all wiped down for a much-needed cuddle. He was plopped on my chest, still screaming, and as my husband kissed us, he started to calm down.
The doctors finished stitching me up and then transferred me to a recovery bed. My husband held our son as I was wheeled to the recovery room. There I breastfed my baby for the first time. I was there for about an hour before they moved us to our private room.
We were discharged two days later. I was still a little sore by then but I was mobile and I could do most things by myself and my c-section wound had already started to heal nicely. As long as you get plenty of rest, avoid strenuous activities, eat a healthy diet, and ask for help when you need it, you should be able to heal up fully in about 6 to 10 weeks.
I was completely healed within 6 weeks from the day I left the hospital. After about 12 weeks, my scar started to fade away on its own. A year later, you can barely notice it.
The one thing that I learned from my experience was that pregnancy and labor can be very unpredictable. Sure, it is recommended to plan for a vaginal delivery, but it is good to keep in mind that a C-section might become an option at any point during your pregnancy, especially if your doctor decides that it is the safest alternative for you based on how your pregnancy or labor is progressing.