Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Labor and Delivery Tips: Scheduled C-Section

Tips and Tricks Tuesday

I'm linking up with the awesome new mom, Megan, for Tips of Labor and Delivery! I'm coming from a little different place than most other moms. Allow me to explain...

I have two kids. Rory is two and Trace is almost 7 months. (YIKES.) Rory was born May 6, 2009 after 18 hours of labor and an "emergency" c-section. Emergency because my labor was too powerful for too long without making any progress. She was fine, but my blood pressure was starting to get goofy so the decision was made to have a c-section. At the time of my section, I had had "level 10!" contractions for 18 hours and was only 6 cms dilated and about 60% effaced. My body lacks the ability to produce enough natural hormones to complete the labor process. It's merely a chemical problem.

When I found out I was pregnant with Trace, the decision to schedule a C-section was made. He was born right on schedule on Oct 25, 2010. Good thing too, both my babies were almost 10 pounds! :)

My tips are for a scheduled C-section.

First, and foremost, a c-section is NOT a sign of weakness or that you did anything wrong. It is merely another way to get a baby delivered. A lot of times you will see people on the internet/read articles/etc encouraging moms to push through any obstacles to have a natural birth. This is fine, if you are comfortable with it. YOU must make decisions based on YOUR BODY and YOUR situation. Not your husband's opinions. Not your mom's. Not your in-laws. Your OWN. Research, pray, do whatever you need to do and be comfortable with what you decide.

Off my soap box now. Oops. ;)

Preparing for a scheduled C-section is fantastic. You know the time to arrive, the date, the approximate time your baby will be born. We were able to plan Dave's vacation days, my substitutes at dance, family members were present. It was nice having a plan. I need a plan to help settle my mind.

Things to bring to a C-section...

LOTS OF PADS and huge underwear. The cheapest, biggest pack you can find. You figure it out.
Comfortable clothes
Socks and sneakers. You MUST get up and walk.
Good smelling body wash.
Your own pajamas for the next day.
A heating pad.
Your iPod!
Books, magazines, Kindle, etc.

Steps to a C-section. (Please note, this is just the way things were done at my hospital and by my doctor! I'm merely listing this as points of reference, not medical advice or procedure.)
Pre-day of surgery: BE CAREFUL TO FOLLOW ALL INSTRUCTIONS. Eating and drinking must stop when you are told.
1. Arrive and check in! Go up to your room, get comfy.
2. A nurse will come in start all the prep work. IV lines, monitors, etc. At some point, you will be given a urinary catheter. OUCH. Holy ouch. This is the worst part of the c-section, for real. If you can wait until after your spinal tap/epidural to get this, you are LUCKY! You won't feel a thing. If you get it before, breathe through it and count to fifty. It doesn't take very long but it does hurt. Once it's in though, it doesn't hurt at all.
3. You will be given a "shot" to settle the acid in your stomach. It tastes totally nasty but it's small and not that bad.
4. You will have to sign about a million papers. Read them but remember, most of those papers are legalities. They must inform you of all the risks. Do not be scared by this! You will be fine.
5. You will receive your spinal tap/epidural. At my hospital, this is done in the operating room. My first c-section, neither took and I was put under for Rory's delivery. For Trace, my spinal worked immediately. Do not worry about having to be put under, it's not scary and it happens rarely.

An epidural/spinal tap really isn't painful. It's the anticipation that makes people nervous. Lean on your doctor or nurse as far as you can and really curl your spine. Stick those vertebrae OUT for the anesth. to see! Relax and take 10 deep breaths. It will be over before than, promise.

6. Sometimes your stomach will get upset from the spinal. Mine did both times and I threw up on the operating table with Trace. This happens sometimes and is no big deal. Turn your head to the side and get it over with. Your nurse will clean you up, no worries.
7. My hospital gives you an oxygen mask as a precaution. Lots do. Nothing is wrong, it's just precautionary!
8. When they actually start the surgery, you'll barely feel anything. I am not lying to you, it's less painful than baby kicks! I told Dave it just felt like when the dog walks on my stomach when I'm sleeping. No biggie at all. I was laughing and joking with the doctor during it.
9. Then. The greatest moment in the world. Your baby will cry and you will feel that all is right with the world. And it is. :)
10. They will start stapling/stitching/gluing you back together at this point. Again, you won't feel much. Certainly nothing painful! I had internal stitches and staples the first time and internal stitches and glue the second time. The glue is WAY BETTER.
11. You'll be wheeled back to your room at some point. I had to lay flat on my back for 6 hours. Trace was in the incubator for 12 hours. This is a precaution my hospital takes for all c-section babies, just to be sure. Ask about this, be aware it might happen.
12. Rest. Relax. EAT SOMETHING! :) Drink lots of water.
13. The next day, you need to get moving. It will hurt so bad to sit up straight and move around but you MUST. Listen to me. Stand up straight. Start stretching those muscles back out. The sooner you stand and get the blood flowing back to that area, the better you will feel. A belly binder helps a lot, strap that sucker on tight.
14. Most importantly, let yourself feel what you feel. Don't hold emotions in. It's perfectly okay to be scared, nervous, anxious, happy, sad and everything in between. Give yourself a break. Feel what you feel and talk about it with someone. Hold that little snuggly newborn close and realize how amazing you are! Moms rock.

I'm kind of an expert on C-sections. I had 2 in 17 months. Got a question? Let me know! I'm an open book of c-section knowledge. Ask and I will answer! :)


Meagan said...

Thanks so much for doing this!!! So interesting to hear everyone's stories! When I was taking so long to go into real labor I thought I might be like you and lack the hormones to go into labor or something.

Ashley said...

I came over from Meagan. I found this extremely intersting and I am very scared of csections so I Just learned a lot from your experience. One of my best friends just had a scheduled csection due to a breech baby and I have not been able to talk to her yet and find out what it was like. AND, You said you needed to bring lots of pads- I had no idea you had THAT problem right after a section like with a vaginal birth!

Cindy said...

Thanks for doing this! I'm having a scheduled section in September. It'll be my second in 14 months!! :) Reading this makes me nervous, but I know it'll be worth it, and hopefully better than an unplanned section!! So do you like having your kids so close together?? :)