What to Expect: An Unexpected C-Section

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When I share the details of my daughters birth, I usually share the version that includes the facts. She was born on July 14 at 8:52 p.m.. She weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces. It was by far the most wonderful experience I have ever been blessed to have and I would do it all over again ten fold for her. My life really did change for the better that night in July.

But I still wish I would have been a little more prepared. After 14 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing, my sweet little girl was like a stalled truck on the baby delivery highway. She wasn’t progressing and we had a few scares with her heart rate fluctuating.  I never expected to be told that my baby wouldn’t be able to be delivered naturally. But I was.  About an hour and a half later, my sweet girl was delivered via c-section.

I was surprisingly okay with the turn of events. I know a lot of mama’s struggle with feeling like they “failed” when they have to deliver via c-section. No way, sista. You got your baby here. She’s the same baby she would have been no matter what her exit strategy was.

Funny little side story- my baby daddy was kind of left out in the hallway of the operating room a liiiiitle too long and by the time they brought him in I was already cut open. The sight was a little gruesome and as he puts it, he “saw my guts”. Yeah, that’s right- they cut me open, moved some things around and pulled out our baby. All while I was AWAKE. I’m proud of that. Ask any person on the street if that sounds a little scary it will tell you what kind of warrior a c-section mama is.

I wouldn’t change a thing about Emmy’s birth story. It’s so beautiful to me. But I wish I would have taken the time to do a little research as to what to expect if the unexpected happened. I knew nothing about the c-section process or the after math. Here are the 5 things I wish I had known before having my c-section.

I wish I would have talked to my doctor about the possibilities of a c section

Emmy was my first child. I was healthy, she was healthy. The topic of a an unplanned c-section never came up. I had no idea what to expect, what recovery would be like, etc. The best way to prepare yourself for the unexpected is to talk to your doctor. The day your baby arrives will be one of the most magical, yet emotional days of your life. Don’t add any more roller coaster flips and turns to your already crazy day by not being informed and prepared on what could happen if things don’t go according to plan.

The Recovery

Since I had a C-section, I ended up staying in the hospital an extra day. I honestly could have stayed an another extra day if I had the choice. During those 4 days I spent most of the time in bed and when I wasn’t in bed I was walking the hallways to help with wound care (more on that below). While the doctors and nurses took great care of me during recovery, there was one detail that really threw me for a loop. Going to the restroom. The morning after my c-section my nurse told me it was time to get up and go to the restroom. My catheter had been removed earlier that morning and I did feel like I needed to pee. After slowly making my way to the restroom I attempted to go. Nothing. I couldn’t make it happen. It was so frustrating. I couldn’t make the muscles work to go. After throwing int he towel the nurse told me I had to keep trying. And I did- for almost 4 hours. It really caught me off guard that I had temporarily lost the ability to control something that was once done so effortlessly. Needless to say, I felt like an absolute ROCKSTAR when I finally made it happen.Who knew I could be so proud of myself for peeing?

Skin to Skin

The thought of not holding my baby as soon as she entered the world was not something I had ever imagined. My birthplan outlined that we would do skin to skin immediately. With the turn of events, I didn’t get to hold Emmy until 15 minutes after birth. It seemed like an eternity to me at the time. And to be honest, it was also upsetting at the time. I wanted me sweet girl. As they finished stitching me up, I finally got to have my skin to skin time with her.  I was wheeled back to my recovery room with my little naked baby on my bare chest. I wish I would have known about the c-section protocol and that skin to skin would not have been immediately possible.  But in the grand sceme of things, Emmy and I had our bonding time and it was as even more perfect than I ever could have imagined.

Wound Care

Caring for your incision after a c-section is serious business, after all, it is MAJOR surgery.  Taking care of the wound on the outside was not too troublesome. I had a waterproof bandage that stayed on for 10 days. My doctor informed me I could not take baths for at least 2 weeks since soaking in water could cause issues for the incision. I was honestly too tired to stand for showers those first few days so I usually bathes with a stool so that my incision was not submerged. When the bandage was removed there was a thin pink scar, nothing too scary looking. Where caring for my would caught me off guard was the physical limitations. I had heard that the best thing you can do after a c-section is to move around alot. I never knew why but I quickly learned. The colder and stiffer your muscles are, the worse the pain. Getting out of bed every time the baby woke in the middle of the night was a huge feat. I would have to roll to my side and have Jay help pull me up. I usually couldn’t lift Emmy up right away because of the pain. We live in a two story house and had to bring what seemed like half of Emmy’s nursery down to the first floor. The sudden change in my bodies abilities was hard to cope with. This is where asking for help is a big must. Rely on those around you and accept help whenever offered.

If the unexpected happens you- remember that you have just had MAJOR SURGERY. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your baby. The more you focus on moving and healing, the faster you will be fully recovered. And most of all- remember that you are doing a wonderful job of being a new mom!


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