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Every expectant mom has a birth plan and may opt for a cesarean section for a multitude of reasons (many involve the safety and well-being of both Mom and baby). Some are planned in advance while others are eleventh-hour emergencies. Here’s what you might not know about having a C-section:
IN MOST CASES, YOU’RE AWAKE
While some situations involve putting Mom under anesthesia, chances are you’ll be wide awake. It shouldn’t be painful, but you’ll feel doctors pulling and tugging in your abdomen and womb. Expect to overhear a play-by-play if you get a doc-in-training.
YOU STILL NEED AN EPIDURAL
The big scary needle in your spine that keeps you up at night while you’re pregnant…yep, you still need it. And if you’ve read books warning of extremely rare complications, you’ll be extra focused on sitting super still when they come at you with the needle.
THE OPERATING TABLE IS WEIRD
It’s cold and tilted back a bit, so your head’s lower than the rest of your body. It might not be a huge deal for most people, but if you suffer from vertigo it could be dizzying.
IT’S PRETTY GROSS
Let’s just say it’s probably a good idea not to look beyond the curtain that separates you and your partner from the surgery happening on the other side.
YOU DON’T GET THE IMMEDIATE BABY BOND
Sure, the nurse will put the baby on the tiny bit of chest available for a minute so you can kiss her and send her on her way. Then she’s off to the nursery as the docs stitch you back up for another 30 to 40 minutes. The upside? Since you’ve had surgery, you get 4 to 5 days in the hospital to recover, which means plenty of snuggle time with your new arrival.
IT’S MAJOR SURGERY
There’s no heavy lifting (like some newborn babies or your other kids) or driving for the first week or two. Once you stand up you’ll feel sore, and the numbness around the scar can last for a while. If there’s nerve damage, the feeling may take months to go away. And there’s no getting around what an odd and unpleasant sensation you’ll have while the staples are being removed.
All moms have a few days in giant industrial-sized underwear, but you get to wear yours for an extended time to prevent chafing as your scar heals. Welcome to the sexiness that is motherhood!
OTHER NOT-SO-DELICATE ISSUES
It may take a while for things to…flow the way they’re supposed to again. Some poor nurse may have to sit outside your bathroom to verify numbers one and two (which can be quite a doozy) are in working order before you’re allowed to leave the hospital. And when the gas starts passing…it’s often potent, uncomfortable and frequent.
When all is said and done, no matter how your baby is delivered into the world, it’s all worth it. The short-term pain and uncomfortable situations will quickly be replaced with new baby bliss and a love you never understood until holding your little one in your arms.