I have been wanting to write this post for awhile but I have been putting it off because there is just so much information to share with you. First, I should tell you I had a little bit of an advantage going into my c-section being a nurse. However, I don’t specialize in woman’s health so a lot of things were still new to me. I want to share with you things I knew and/or learned throughout my journey, so if you windup needing to have a c-section you don’t feel completely helpless, and overwhelmed with whats to come. I’m also sharing my personal photos leading up to and in the c-section in hopes to take away some of the fear that comes with having a c-section, for me it was best (meeting B) and easiest day of my life.
How can I prepare my body for the C-Section
As a nurse I knew that the pubic area is going to need to be shaved and prepped for surgery. They will help you shave prior to surgery or for me I felt more comfortable taking care of that at home by myself. Another issue post c-section is that constipation. I hear SOOO many woman tell me how awful pooping was post vaginal birth/c-section. I addressed this early on in my pregnancy with my doctor and my little trick (**Obviously, I’m not a doctor so talk to your doctor and get their approval before starting any medication**) was to take 1-2 Colace (stool softener) 1/2 weeks prior to surgery. This was a lifesaver for me and saved me from being in a lot of pain post baby. Lastly,
ONE VERY IMPORTANT TIP during the prepping stage. *** there’s controversy and studies happening around this next tip but I am still going to tell you about it and then you can research it and have a chat with your doctor. In the past if you had allergies to shellfish (fish, crab etc) it was important NOT to be prepped with iodine. IODINE is a solution that is commonly used as a skin disinfectant to prep the skin before surgery. It was said and known in the medical world that people with allergies to shellfish often had a reaction to iodine. Again, talk to your doctor about any ALLERGIES prior to surgery, better safe than sorry!
Anesthesia tell me EVERYTHING
So I’m gonna break this down into simple lingo. TWO main possibilities for anesthesia when having a baby 1. Epidural which is most commonly used in vaginal births, they will leave a tiny catheter( *you can’t feel it or notice it) in your back, that way you will receive a constant infusion medication for as long as your labor lasts 2. Spinal (which is what I had) is a one time injection that that kicks in quickly, but will only last a few hours. It was a super weird sensation when it kicked in, from my belly down. Everything was super warm and all of the sudden heavy and numb!
TWO MORE IMPORTANT TIPS
- Tell your nurse or anesthesiologist if you are prone to getting nauseous or itchy with anesthesia. If you let them know in PRE OP they will give you a couple medications to combat those.
- Lastly, you will have a catheter placed because you obviously don’t have control of your bladder when you have your epidural or spinal. I made it known that I wanted it to be placed after the spinal was done, that way I didn’t feel anything. The more you are educated about the c-section process it allows you to be your own ADVOCATE and to be VOCAL about what you want throughout the entire process. The hospital staff will then do their best to accommodate you!
Will I be strapped down?
I asked about this right away because that is something I am not comfortable with, and some doctors do prefer it. I knew that I wanted my hands free because it gave me a sense of control and I could hold my husband hand if I needed too!
What is the incision like?
I spoke with my doctor in her office prior to the c-section about what I was hoping for and I was very firm about needing to know all the details regarding the incision. There are a few different types of incisions, so it is important to clarify what your doctors prefers. I had a super low transverse aka horizontal incision. This is what I asked for probably 100 times, give me as “LOW and SMALL” incision. Also remember to get the 411 on your stitches…. I think that was the oddest part of my incision, I could feel the dissolvable stitches under my skin and it was kind of “knotty”. I was soooo worried that I was gonna have a lumpy incision. My doctor told me that those stitches will dissolve and when she gave me the go ahead I would use light heat and soft massaging of my incision. And after a month or two the incision is perfect and smooth!
ONE MORE TIP
Can I do skin to skin with my baby in the OR?
This was the hardest part about having a c-section, letting go of that image of snuggling and holding my baby right away. As you can see from the photo they let Blakely stay cheek to cheek with me for 10-15 mins after the birth, while the doctor was still working on me. I still was able to hold her and to be honest it was the most special moment of my life, I am tearing up just writing this. So work with your doctor and the nurses at the hospital to come up with a plan to have some form of skin-to-skin contact. It is said that skin- skin between moms and babies directly following birth has a ton of benefits, including an increased likelihood of breastfeeding success.
These are just a few of the main concerns and tips I learned from my c-section. I encourage ALL mamas even if they aren’t planning on having a c-section to still be educated on the process, talk to your doctor about everything. You never know what will happen and it is better to educated yourself so you can be prepared for both a vaginal or a c- section. If you have an questions please leave me comment of DM me on Instagram, I am an open book and always willing to chat about this.