Friday, December 14, 2012

My Thoughts on Having a C-Section

When the doc told me he strongly suggested a C-section, the sooner the better, I started crying.  Of course, a C-section wasn't what I had in mind when I imagined Ina Mae's birth. I considered asking for a trial of labor through induction and if that didn't work, then attempting a C-section. 

However, that lasted about 10 seconds before I realized that no matter how she came to this world - through a traditional delivery, surgery, dropped off by a  stork, or jumping out of a ring of fire in a clown suit, I didn't care, as long as she came here safe.  

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At that time we didn't have any information about what was wrong, but I knew that if there was some sort of complication, a C-section would be the safest option for her, so why risk it?  

I thank God everyday that I didn't argue with the doctor, that they got her out of there as soon as possible.  

Having said that, a C-section is a major surgery, one that I hadn't really looked into because I didn't think I would have one.  There were many things I didn't know.  Here are some of my thoughts on the positive and negative aspects:

- As the nurse was wheeling me towards the OR, I naively told her I still wanted my baby placed on my chest immediately after she was born.  I am sure that nurse thought I was crazy, but she nicely told me that because there could be a complication, the doctors would have to examine her first.  

- During the surgery and shortly after, everyone told me I would be able to see my baby "soon."  Apparently, to them, "soon" is TWO HOURS.  I get it, they needed to make sure that I was recovering properly, but that was the last thing on my mind as the seconds ticked by.  

- I was not supposed to stand until 24 hours after surgery.  I laughed at the nurse when she (sweetly) told me that. I had a baby a floor above me, there was absolutely no way I was going to stay horizontal for 24 hours not being able to go see her.  After some discussion, I convinced the nurse I was fine at about 3 AM - almost 12 hours after the surgery, and I got in the wheel chair to go see Little Miss.  

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- I was NPO (nothing by mouth), had a catheter in, and was connected to IV fluids, until I passed gas (sorry).  I couldn't even drink water.  After the surgery, even though I was on fluids, I was SO thirsty.  My lovely family members fed me ice chips, and I even convinced a few of them to sneak me sips of water.  This lasted about 30 hours after my surgery.  Once I finally had all the tubes disconnected, it was so much easier to get around.  I took a shower and finally felt like a normal person again.

- After that 30 hour mark, I rarely thought about my recovery, mainly because I felt great.  The next evening, in the middle of the night, I tried to wake Dan up because I wanted to go upstairs, but he was dead asleep, so I decided to walk up there myself.  After that, I nixed the wheel chair.

- Many of the nurses told me that they couldn't believe I had a C-section.  They said that I was getting around better than most moms after a vaginal delivery.  I think this was because I really didn't have a choice.  I was too busy worrying about if Ina Mae was eating enough, pooping enough, or what her bilirubin level was.  By the last day I was there, the nurses joked that they were going to race me down the hall.  

- One of the reasons I think I felt so great was that I never turned down my pain medication.  I was taking naproxen every 12 hours and a Lortab every 4 hours. I stopped taking the Lortab about a week after the surgery, and I am still taking the naproxen.  I have been in painful situations before, when I tried to be tough and say I didn't need any pain meds, and soon regretted that decision.  

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-Another reason I was doing so well was because Ina Mae was recovering so quickly.  When I first saw her, with all those tubes and lines connected to her, I felt pretty crappy.  However, with every jump in her hematocrit level and every line or med that was disconnected, I cannot tell you how much better I felt.  I was riding the high of her recovery.  When my mid-wife would come to talk to me, she could not believe I was so happy, but how could I not be?  What in the world could there be to be upset about?  I honestly think those first few days of Ina Mae's life are the happiest I have ever been.  Ever.  

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- My staples were removed before I was discharged - 4 days after the surgery.  I still have steri-strips on the incision, which is healing very nicely.  I had a significant amount of bruising around the incision, but that is mostly cleared now.

- A side benefit of having surgery is that my employer will give me two more weeks paid on my short term disability.  Obviously, this isn't a reason to want a C-section, but is nice to have.  

- Now I am almost two weeks post surgery and I still feel wonderful.  Every once in a while I regret picking something up or bending down, but mostly there is little evidence left of the surgery - besides my wonderful incision scar.  

I thought I would be sad that I didn't have my "planned" birth experience, that Dan didn't get to cut the cord, that I didn't get to spend my daughter's first few hours of life with her, but honestly, I haven't felt that, even a little bit, even once.  I know that what happened was what needed to happen in order for her to be OK.  


Yesterday was a whole lot of lazy.  

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I am so excited that fresh veggies are finally tasting good again.  

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My mom made us dinner again, which was so nice to not have to worry about.  Thanks Momma! 

Poor Dan had to work about 16 hours, so Ina and I hung around the house. It was nice to have a lounging / veg out day, but now I am getting a little restless.

I have some errands to run today, and Ina has another pediatrician appointment.  I can't wait to see if she has gained any more weight!  


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  2. Great to hear everything's going well :)

  3. So great to hear your perspective of a C-section and that you're doing so well! I know that I'll need one because of the way I'm carrying the twins, but even being mentally prepared doesn't make it something to look forward to... But like you, I know it's the best for the health of the baby/babies and as a mom, that's what our priority needs to be.

    Do you have a support belt/compression brace thing for C-section recovery? I've read about some, they can be pricey, but apparently some hospitals give them out too? People seem to like them, but I just don't know. Looking for your input if you've got one or not since you seem to be doing so well...


    1. Hi Shelby! I am so excited that your pregnancy is going well! I didn't have one of those braces, and I have not heard of them. If I were you, I would ask your doc about it. Your insurance might even pay for all or some of it?

      There was a mom with twins in the NICU the same time as Ina Mae. She seemed to be doing wonderfully! :) My thoughts and prayers are with you and your sweet babies.

  4. I love reading your blog! Max is only 2 months but it is crazy how fast things go once you have the baby in your arms. You do a wonderful job at explaining all the feelings you have after you get to meet the little one. After a while it all becomes a blur of diapers and baby clothes and you almost forget how it felt the first time you were able to get a foot on the ground.

    ... she absolutely gorgeous. Congrats! We should set up a baby play date. :)

  5. Oh wow Racheal, I can't believe that you had to wait so long to eat or drink afterwards. I was in labor for 18 hours with my daughter. I remember eating a turkey sandwich about midnight and my water broke at 5:30 that morning. I didn't get to eat until 2:30am the next morning. Believe me Grilled Cheese never tasted so good at 2 in the morning. Thank good that cafeteria was still open. I realized when I had my daughter that having a baby in general is such a long drawn out crazy thing, but not being one that has had a c-section, I just can imagine the feeling that you are completely not in control of whats going on. But Racheal I'm so happy that things went ok, even if they were not the way you had planned. Ina Mae is such a beautiful baby.

  6. "By the last day I was there, the nurses joked that they were going to race me down the hall." <-- I guess all that running came in handy! ;)

    She looks so peaceful!

  7. Rachel, your C- section blog is dead on. It made me tear up with my memories and the joy it had also given us. It is the worst pain I had ever had, but would do it again any day. The passing gas made me laugh. I can still tell you what time it happened for me. Sad to say, but food never tasted so good. The nurses brought my 9 cups of juice! Love the blogs!

    Lindsay kroll

  8. Rachel, I felt the same way as you did about the C-section. With my oldest they broke my water, I immediately went into back labor, they gave me an epidural, felt better. But, they ended up having to do an emergency C-section because they kept losing his heartbeat. I felt so deflated, it wasn't what I planned on, I went to birthing classes and I was prepared to push, not to be rushed into surgery. I didn't see him for over 5 hours. They wisked him out of that OR so fast, I barely got to see him. So holding him for the first time was the best moment of my life. He was fine and will be 15 next month! My daughter was born via C-section, too. They had to make a seperate cut for each of them so I always tell them they have their own 'door' in my stomach! :) I'm so glad you and Ina Mae are fine. Enjoy every moment!


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