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Things I Wish I Knew Before Having A C-Section

February 24, 2017

To start off this is only my experience of having an emergency cesarian and I am in no way, shape or form trying to scaremonger anyone. There is so much pressure on women to have the ‘perfect labour’ and not enough talk about what could go wrong.

You’ll lose the feeling around your incision: This really shocked me but your scar will remain numb and this can last indefinitely, for me this was a bitter pill to swallow.

You’ll have to inject yourself afterwards: For about 10 days I had to inject myself in the tummy to reduce the risk of blood clots – I’m okay with needles but when you’re postpartum and feeling grotty this can be a nasty task.
The recovery is really painful: I really struggled with my recovery, the pain really took me by surprise but even sitting on the sofa was uncomfortable, holding your baby is hard, getting out of bed is nearly impossible. This was something I really wasn’t prepared for.
You won’t get that ‘moment’: This isn’t true for everyone and to be honest by expecting it you can be setting yourself up to fail. Labour is called labour for a reason and you’re guaranteed to be tired so don’t be shocked if your first thought when the baby comes out is “can I sleep now?” When they brought Rory over I was bewildered, I remember being amazed at how gorgeous he was (is!) but that was it, there was a detachment. The bond came a few hours later when I finally got him alone! This also isn’t unique to cesarian’s – there is so much pressure being built your whole pregnancy for this “one born every minute” moment and actually, that’s not always a given.
You’ll still have postpartum bleeding: This really surprised me, I also had postpartum bleeding for longer than usual. I always assumed the bleeding was something to do with vaginal deliveries but actually, it’s from the placenta being removed from your uterine lining so no matter how you deliver, you’re going to bleed!
You’ll be paralysed for about 7 hours afterwards: You have a spinal block/epidural so you’re going nowhere for a while which means someone else is going to be looking after your baby. It’s okay, you’ll want the rest. Once I was got up to take a walk (to reduce the risk of blood clots) I was adamant I wanted to start caring for my baby, there is something odd initially about your baby being cared for by someone else.
It’s brutal: So so brutal, no one discusses how aware you are of every little movement. Rich commented about how the procedure was so vigorous my whole body was moving like someone was shoving me. It’s quite an invasive procedure to endure when awake, knowing your body is receiving that treatment. Obviously, I appreciate this is all necessary for the safe delivery of your baby.
It will hurt to cough/sneeze/laugh for a few weeks afterwards: You’ll never know how much you used your stomach muscles until they are so battered and bruised that the bruising even shows on your skin afterwards! I made a ban, that Rich couldn’t tell jokes and comedy wasn’t allowed!
Getting in and out of bed is the stuff of nightmares: This was easily the worst part for me, the first few nights Rory was in a Moses basket and kept spitting out his dummy – I physically couldn’t lift myself up enough to even put my hand into the basket to give him back his dummy. I felt completely useless to my baby.
Your scar will be itch for ages afterwards: I am four months postpartum and it still itches like a trooper!
It’s not your fault: For aaaages I kept thinking “if I didn’t have the epidural this wouldn’t have happened” as it had slowed my labour down and I had to be re-induced, cue a wonky head and the final 1/2 a cm of my cervix refusing to dilate and we were whisked to surgery. However, the odds were always against us, his head was always going to get stuck and with my waters being broken well over 24 hours, time was limited. A c-section was the safest possible way to bring my baby into this world.
The operating team are super friendly and it might annoy you: To be fair, we entered into a really calm and friendly environment, the team went round in a circle introducing themselves, which in hindsight is lovely HOWEVER after 38 hours of labour and wanting to see my baby while getting head around the fact I was about to have major surgery – the last thing on my mind was wanting to learn these people’s names!
The mental recovery is harder than the physical: The physical recovery is SO hard, but I felt more defeated by it all mentally – having a hard labour, being exhausted and adjusting to life with a newborn takes some getting used to – but you WILL get there and one day you’ll be so proud of that scar!

The comments +

  1. Rachel Bradford

    February 24th, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    I love your total honesty here. I did not know about the injecting yourself! That would scare me so much! I'm fine with needles but stabbing myself isn't my idea of a good time!
    And I didn't know about the bleeding thing either! Makes sense though!
    Thank you for writing this! I think it will be so helpful for so many people. X

  2. Brittany Hager

    February 25th, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    This was interesting. I also had an emergency c section. Mine was 8 months ago. I was very lucky. No injections. Very limited pain. Was on my feet that day. My recovery was actually much better than for a vaginal delivery. Didn't get to hold my baby until that night, which was hard. Husband did t get to cut the cord, which wasn't a big deal.
    Seems like just like a "natural" delivery there is bound to be endless variation in people's experiences. Thanks for sharing yours.

  3. Lucie Loves It

    February 26th, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Such a good helpful post G! I've got one of these half written from a while ago and haven't finished it and can't seem to.. well done for speaking about it. I have no idea how mums think its the "easy" way because there was nothing easy about it.

    You warrior xx

  4. Hayley: Sparkles and Stretchmarks

    February 26th, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Really interesting to hear your experience.

    I think the thing to remember with c sections is that they are just like natural births in that every single person has a totally different experience. I also think that there's a HUGE difference between an emergency c section and a planned one as the beginnings of labour make things more difficult when it comes to performing the section, and there's usually an element of urgency involved. I think emergency sections are the ones that end up with a difficult recovery unfortunately.

    My c section experiences were very different – I was walking again an hour and a half afterwards, I didn't have a painful recovery at all (i was out shopping two days later!), and I didn't really feel any pulling or tugging during the op either – they were totally chilled and relaxed experiences. But mine were planned ones, so I really think this is the reason for the difference.

    I also found out that not everybody has to have the injections – I had to, but my sister didn't as her hospital trust only gave them to people over a certain BMI so it depends on the different hospital policies too.

  5. Tinyfootsteps Blog

    February 26th, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    This will be helpful for so many people. I think there's so much that surround labour and birth that is unknown until you go through it. There's so many "Is it just me or…" moments afterwards. I know what you mean about that instant bond not happening, even with a vaginal birth it took a while to really feel like Jasmine was my baby.

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

  6. Wellies and Wishes

    February 27th, 2017 at 7:18 am

    Lovely honest post G. I can relate to pretty much everything you've talked about, as I'm sure many others will. More people should be talking about their experience of child birth and that it's not always the way you've fantasised about what it'll be like and the moment you see your baby. I didn't see Oscar until the day after he was born, it was such a strange feeling, I felt like I had a baby but I didn't at the same time. xx

  7. Kirsty McManus

    February 27th, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Your a superstar G, you may have struggled but you've came out of the other end unscathed (minus your battle scar), and this post will help so many others! Your right about the lack of connection not being unique to c-sections, it took a solid 6/7 weeks before it clicked for me…

  8. Mummascribbles

    March 6th, 2017 at 11:52 am

    I do think like natural births, each section is so very different and especially between planned and emergency. I was up and about with ease the following day after my elective but after my natural, I couldn't walk or sit down! I spent 9 days laying on the sofa before I managed to leave the house for my eldest's bday party. It was absolutely horrendous!

  9. Nyomi

    March 6th, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    This is all very true. Those who think it's the easy way out are ill informed.

  10. Hannah J

    March 9th, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    I didn't have to have any injections after mine. Just the one that's something to do with my blood type rather than the C-Section so much.
    The most discomfort was the first week or two where I was still trying to get around (especially the first trip to the loo and that night when I was trying to walk/shuffle my way round the ward). When we walked back to the car I actually ended up holding onto the wall, when I got to the car I had to sit sideways and sort of pick my legs up and swing into the car.
    Moment wise – yep the moment didn't happen, I think Chris got that when he was first to hold Jaxon but we got time together in recovery just as us three and the nurse was really good about helping me breastfeed that first time.
    I was surprised by the amount of PP bleeding given you'd think a lot would have come out with the C-Section but you have to remember it's your body recovering from the crazy ordeal it's just been through.
    I went to theatre and Jaxon arrived around 10:15pm, which meant that yes although I was paralysed I was able to sleep that off a lot of the time. I got in trouble with the midwife for leaving Jaxon to sleep but I hadn't been told any different and with Chris going home around 6am ish I wasn't able to get out of bed and get Jaxon sorted. I could reach his cot and get him in and out (and for a chuck of that time in hospital he stayed in the bed with me).
    I did feel a lot of pushing and shoving but there was no pain. I even threatened to ask to watch my own C-Section because I'm a bit of a nerd.
    Yep cough/sneezes and laughing all hurt – when I got my first post-c-section cold oh my days did I know about it. Oh and those three might also make you want to pee. For a few weeks after the C-Section I couldn't always tell that I needed to pee until I was desperate – I think that was a combination of post-pregancy as well as Post-C-Section.
    I really think that C-Sections are different for everyone. Mine was an emergency in that it wasn't planned but it was elective given that I had time to get used to the idea before going to surgery. I think between me getting to hospital and Jaxon arriving in the world there was 3 hours. I was super chilled and although I think both my husband and the midwives expected me to have a meltdown before getting to theatre I was actually really chilled and really blessed with all the amazing staff I had looking after me.

    Rather than me write it all out you can read it here.

  11. JaynieShannonx

    September 9th, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    I love how honest this is. Everyone seems to think that C-Sections are a walk in the park, I am due soon and I have no idea about emergency c-sections etc but I've heard the recovery is brutal. Also really surprised to hear about the bleeding too! I would of thought that was vaginal birth only too.

    JaynieShannon | Beauty & Lifestyle


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