Having a c-section was something I was not prepared for- even though I actually had a scheduled one back in 2017 with my first daughter! I “researched” but honestly the only thing I “knew” going into it was that I should find high waisted leggings and underwear for recovery.
A lot of the things that happened to me were not things I was expecting. At all. I thought it may be helpful to share some insights. Not to scare anyone! AT ALL! But to help you feel empowered and to know what could *possibly* happen! Remember, everyone’s story will be unique. And that is what makes birth so incredible- we will all have our own story to share.
Here are 10 things I wish I knew…
- Anesthesia can cause you to shake + shiver uncontrollably and feel very nauseous. After my surgery was over I was throwing up and felt so sick. I didn’t realize until after this was something that could happen.
- It is a bizarre feeling to not be able to move anything from the waist down. I had a small panic attack because it felt so strange. Your legs feel like dead weight once you have that spinal block.
- A lot of people may be in the room. I was not prepared for this at all. In comparison to my vaginal birth it was about 4 times as many people. There isn’t really anything you can do about it, but I really wish I wasn’t so surprised that so many people had to see me in all my glory.
- You bleed. Yeah, this was a surprise to me. I guess I just figured since the baby wasn’t coming out “that” way that I wouldn’t bleed. But you do! And I think I had more postpartum bleeding at home after my c-section than I did with my VBAC, believe it or not.
- Birth via c-section is STILL BIRTH!
- Society sometimes makes us believe that having a c-section is “the easy way out.” I have birthed babies both ways and let me tell you. It’s not. I felt “less than” at the time because I had a section. I felt judged and having to explain WHY I needed a section. But I realize now birthing looks different for everyone. We all have our own story. And it is ours to own! There is something powerful in that.
- Prescription pain medication makes it even harder to “go” – even more than it does in general after giving birth. I wish I had known to take Colace a few days before my section to help move everything along afterwards.
- It can take weeks to heal. I guess I sort of knew this- but I don’t think I truly grasped the fact that this was MAJOR surgery until after the fact. Being sliced open at the abdomen and then being sent home to care for a newborn is HARD. I felt really crappy and it was hard to do anything for myself. I think if I had just mentally prepared for this it wouldn’t have been such a shock. Try to be kind and patient with yourself during this time.
- You can get gas trapped in your chest. AND IT HURTS. I had NO idea about this (I had never had another surgery in my life!) but apparently this can happen. The pain from this trapped gas lasted for about 5 days and I found it hurt more than the pain from my incision. The solution is to try and get up and walk around as soon as it’s safe + possible after the surgery.
- HAVING A C-SECTION DOESN’T MEAN YOU FAILED. You are an amazing mom no matter how you birth! Please remember this!
I hope this list is helpful. I am in no way saying I am the “expert” or that these things will also happen for you! I am just sharing my experience and hoping to spread awareness. I also think this list helps any expecting moms, whether or not they think they may have a section. Sometimes we just never know! You may have an idea (like maybe if baby is breech) and other times birth results in an emergency situation where a c-section is needed.
I am a big believer that knowledge is power, especially when it comes to birth!
I’d love to know something that happened during or after your c-section that you didn’t see coming. Please share in the comments!