Things I Wish I Knew Before Having A C-Section
To start off this is only my experience of having an emergency cesarian and I am in no way, shape or form trying to scaremonger anyone. There is so much pressure on women to have the ‘perfect labour’ and not enough talk about what could go wrong.
You’ll lose the feeling around your incision: This really shocked me but your scar will remain numb and this can last indefinitely, for me this was a bitter pill to swallow.
You’ll have to inject yourself afterwards: For about 10 days I had to inject myself in the tummy to reduce the risk of blood clots – I’m okay with needles but when you’re postpartum and feeling grotty this can be a nasty task.
The recovery is really painful: I really struggled with my recovery, the pain really took me by surprise but even sitting on the sofa was uncomfortable, holding your baby is hard, getting out of bed is nearly impossible. This was something I really wasn’t prepared for.
You won’t get that ‘moment’: This isn’t true for everyone and to be honest by expecting it you can be setting yourself up to fail. Labour is called labour for a reason and you’re guaranteed to be tired so don’t be shocked if your first thought when the baby comes out is “can I sleep now?” When they brought Rory over I was bewildered. I remember being amazed at how gorgeous he was (is!) but that was it, there was a detachment. The bond came a few hours later when I finally got him alone! This also isn’t unique to cesarian’s – there is so much pressure being built your whole pregnancy for this “one born every minute” moment and actually, that’s not always a given.
You’ll still have postpartum bleeding: This really surprised me, I also had postpartum bleeding for longer than usual. I always assumed the bleeding was something to do with vaginal deliveries but actually, it’s from the placenta being removed from your uterine lining so no matter how you deliver, you’re going to bleed!
You’ll be paralysed for about 7 hours afterwards: You have a spinal block/epidural so you’re going nowhere for a while which means someone else is going to be looking after your baby. It’s okay, you’ll want the rest. Once I was got up to take a walk (to reduce the risk of blood clots) I was adamant I wanted to start caring for my baby, there is something odd initially about your baby being cared for by someone else.
It’s brutal: So so brutal, no one discusses how aware you are of every little movement. Rich commented about how the procedure was so vigorous my whole body was moving like someone was shoving me. It’s quite an invasive procedure to endure when awake, knowing your body is receiving that treatment. Obviously, I appreciate this is all necessary for the safe delivery of your baby.
It will hurt to cough/sneeze/laugh for a few weeks afterwards: You’ll never know how much you used your stomach muscles until they are so battered and bruised that the bruising even shows on your skin afterwards! I made a ban, that Rich couldn’t tell jokes and comedy wasn’t allowed!
Getting in and out of bed is the stuff of nightmares: This was easily the worst part for me, the first few nights Rory was in a Moses basket and kept spitting out his dummy – I physically couldn’t lift myself up enough to even put my hand into the basket to give him back his dummy. I felt completely useless to my baby.
Your scar will be itch for ages afterwards: I am four months postpartum and it still itches like a trooper!
It’s not your fault: For aaaages I kept thinking “if I didn’t have the epidural this wouldn’t have happened” as it had slowed my labour down and I had to be re-induced, cue a wonky head and the final 1/2 a cm of my cervix refusing to dilate and we were whisked to surgery. However, the odds were always against us, his head was always going to get stuck and with my waters being broken well over 24 hours, time was limited. A c-section was the safest possible way to bring my baby into this world.
The operating team are super friendly and it might annoy you. To be fair, we entered into a really calm and friendly environment, the team went round in a circle introducing themselves, which in hindsight is lovely. HOWEVER after 38 hours of labour and wanting to see my baby while getting head around the fact I was about to have major surgery – the last thing on my mind was wanting to learn these people’s names!
The mental recovery is harder than the physical: The physical recovery is SO hard, but I felt more defeated by it all mentally – having a hard labour, being exhausted and adjusting to life with a newborn takes some getting used to – but you WILL get there and one day you’ll be so proud of that scar!