I wasn’t prepared for my C-section.
I never really had a birth plan, we went to an active birth session at the hospital for some advice and tips. I thought I’d just go along with it, see how I felt regarding pain relief at the time and hope for the best. I read a hypno birthing book and listened to the relaxing meditation cd that went with it so that I had some breathing and relaxation techniques. A huge fan of yoga, I was already somewhat clued up to how breathing and relaxation went hand in hand. I felt half prepared and I was happy with that. I’d been fully supported by my midwife all the way through. What no one prepared me for was an emergency caesarean section.
Not once did anyone talk to me about what would happen, how I would feel, how long it would take. When I’d be sat at 6cm dilated for ten hours after baby’s spectacular change of heart it was decided that surgery was necessary.
Here’s some advice, some things that I wish I had known.
I had visions of the scene from Alien re-enacted screaming, sweating, and violence. That’s not how it went down. I could feel some pressure and pushing around but it was more like having a filling than anything else.
I wasn’t prepared for how immobile I would be, I could have done with some form of pulley system to sit myself up in bed once I got home. Getting out of bed was very difficult and I did get quite frustrated. I think at the time I would rather have died than ask family for help but looking back, we could have done with an extra pair of hands to look after me in the first few days.
My insides did not fall out when I sneezed, coughed or went to the loo. I was terrified that my stitches would somehow fly open exposing my organs but it didn’t happen. I found pressing a pillow against my tummy helped me to feel like I had some control. My insides did not fall out when the dressing came off either! I was scared to take off my dressing, I think partly because I had the vision of some cumbersome gauze taped to my stomach like in world war one, but it wasn’t. It was a honeycomb pattern with a thin sticking layer over the top and it came off relatively easy in the shower.
Be prepared to walk for a while, I wasn’t allowed to drive for six weeks. I hadn’t factored this in and once my husband went back to work I did feel a little isolated during the week. We also spent a lot of money on a car seat that we could take in and out of the car. For those six weeks I wasn’t supposed to lift anything heavier than baby, and only a few weeks later he was too heavy to lift in and out of the car while in his seat, worth considering when buying a car seat.
When we got home I had to keep reminding myself that I had undergone major surgery and to give myself a break, I couldn’t physically do everything. Lifting supermarket bags, stretching to put things away and even lifting baby in and out of his basket from a seated position was tricky. Enlist help!
I still don’t have much sensation in the soft tissue area around my scar, I’m not sure if it will ever come back either. The scar itself is about 10 cm long, perhaps a little more and you can’t see it. I found that talc helped keep it dry when I was scared to towel dry it at the beginning.
The bottom line is that without the surgery I could be without my cheeky monkey! It might not have been the birth I thought I’d have, but it gave me the same results and I wouldn’t change him for the world.
Thank you to Helen from Mumatron for writing about her birth experience!