I think most pregnant women have a general idea of what they want for their Birthing Plan and I don’t think having a C-Section is usually a part of it…at least it wasn’t for me.
I took childbirth classes prior to my son’s birth and they only covered C-Sections for one class period (i.e. 3 hours). I had it in my mind that I would have a ‘normal’ delivery and be out of the hospital in a day or so. Not the case. I went in for my usual check-up two weeks before my delivery date and my OB/GYN advised me to have a C-Section for various reasons. I agreed and 9 days before my due date, my son was born – all 9lbs., 4oz of him!
Even though I knew ahead of time that I was going to have a C-Section, I wasn’t prepared for what I experienced during and after surgery. Here are a few tips that I wish I had known prior:
- Having a Spinal Block is a very odd sensation after it kicks in: after the Anesthesiologist gave me a Spinal, it only took several minutes and I was completely numb from my chest down. I had just enough time to get my legs up on the operating table and lay back before the numbness started to occur. Having your legs numb is one thing but having your chest numb is a completely different story – it didn’t feel like I was breathing! I had a few moments of panic before the Anesthesiologist told me just to talk (talk about anything!) because then I wouldn’t think about the chest numbness and I would realize that I was breathing just fine. One other side effect which actually occurred several hours after delivery was extreme itchiness, mainly on my face. Just let your nurse know and they can give you medicine to help alleviate this.
- Listen to your body: Everybody reacts to surgery and narcotics differently and even though this is a joyous and exciting time for you, your family and friends, please remember that you just went through a major surgery and that you need to listen to your body. I had a room full of excited people but I started to feel very nauseous several hours after my surgery. Luckily, my nurse spoke up and ushered everyone out of my hospital room for awhile so I could rest and be with my newborn baby. I was happy to have visitors again after a couple of hours but I just needed some ‘downtime’ for a bit, too.
- Having a Co-Sleeper is a wonderful thing to have once you’re home: I was fully prepared to have the nursery ready so my son could sleep in his crib from the start; however, the Co-Sleeper was actually where my son slept during our first week home from the hospital. To be quite honest, I didn’t even step foot in his nursery for about a week after we were home. We had a 2-story house (with all bedrooms upstairs) and going up and down stairs was not a possibility for me after surgery so the living room became a makeshift nursery for the first week. I slept on our recliner couch which helped tremendously because it actually helped to elevate me from a laying down position – my abdominal muscles were not the strongest at that point. I had the co-sleeper right next to the couch which made it easier for me on many levels.
- Have diapers, wipes, extra clothes easily accessible: since I wasn’t going up and down stairs during my first week home, I needed to have all of the baby supplies on the main level with me. Even after I was more mobile and able to change my son’s diaper/clothes in his room, having diapers, wipes, bibs, and some extra clothing on the main level came in handy. Our kitchen counter and dining room table actually became a makeshift changing table so having a diaper caddy nearby helped to keep supplies organized and easy to grab.
Even though the diaper caddy came with a changing pad, I preferred to have something with a little more cushion and protection for my son when I was changing him in an area outside of his regular changing table. I love the Keekaroo Peanut Changer for this very purpose – it is soft, slip-resistant, has a safety strap for added security and comes in several fun colors:
- Use a Nursing Pillow: there are several on the market with different options. Some have back support, others have pockets or a privacy cover…it’s all personal preference. My Boppy pillow came in handy not only as a nursing aid (it helped relieve some pressure from my incision area while I was breastfeeding) but later became a place my son liked to sit when learning to sit by himself.
Did you have a C-Section? What tips or products helped you during or after your surgery?