What to expect during a C-section

Before

Your birth partner may be allowed in depending on the severity of the emergency. If there is enough time for them to change into appropriate attire and the surgery is straight forward then they will most likely be allowed into the operating room. You’ll be given antibiotics through an IV to prevent infection during surgery. The top section of your pubic hair will be shaved however if you can get it waxed a day before surgery that will save you the discomfort of new hair growth through your incision. You will be given an epidural or spinal block to numb the bottom half of your body but leave you conscious so as to experience the birth of your child(ren). A general anesthetic will knock you out completely (I was told to count backwards from 100 and I only remember getting up to 97, it knocked me out quick). It is usually used in emergencies. A catheter is placed in your urethra to drain urine during the procedure. A lot of women are squirmish about this but it’s nothing to worry about, you’ll barely even feel it. If you are having a scheduled C-section you are advised not to eat for about 10 hours before so you don’t throw up during surgery. If you’re completely out like I was, there will be a nurse keeping your head sideways into a dish and cleaning you up if you do.

During

When the anesthesia has taken effect, your doctor will make 2 incisions, 1 above your pubic bone also known as a “bikini cut” then either a horizontal or vertical incision on your uterus. Vertical if your baby is premature and the lower part of the uterus has not thinned enough to cut. If you have a vertical cut you will not be able to attempt a vaginal delivery or VBAC  with your next pregnancy as chances of rupturing your uterus during labor are very high. If you are alert during the surgery, a screen will be placed above your waist. If you wish to witness the birth, the nurse will lower the screen slightly so you can see the baby and not much else. Your partner will be seated close to your head. Once the cord is cut you’ll be able to see baby for a brief moment before they are taken for examinations while the doctor delivers your placenta and starts stitching you up. The process takes slightly longer than opening you up but no longer than 30 minutes. You doctor may choose stitches that dissolve on their own or staples/stitches that need to be removed between 3-7 days after surgery.

After

You may request that your baby be placed on your chest soon after delivery before they are cleaned up. Congratulations, baby is here! You can expect to remain in hospital for about 3 days. As soon as you have settled into the recovery room you’ll be able to breast feed. You will continue to receive fluids through your IV until you can eat and drink (it was 6 hours before I could eat and drink). You will also receive pain medication and you’ll be well enough to go home soon enough. Keep a close eye for quick C-Section recovery tips.

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