I'll be the first to admit it:
I loved my C Section.
However, despite knowing for quite a few months that my extremely Frank Breech babe would have to come out of my abdomen and not my lady bits, I was still in the dark for quite a few of the surprises that were waiting for me in that Operating Room. Luckily for ya'll, I have no filter and see it as my duty to help a mama out, so buckle up baby, we're talking C Section Secrets.
(if you are crazy squeamish - or my dad - just go ahead and stop reading now)
1. Buzz Cut
If you have a scheduled C Section, a sweet nurse at your OBGYN office will most likely tell you that it is up to you if you'd like to do your own Prep Shave. At my doctor's office, it was mentioned so off handedly that I almost missed it. As in, "oh, you've gained another 20lbs, your baby might have cracked one of your ribs and you're welcome to do your own prep shave."
Flash forward a few hours and my water broke 2 weeks early and the prep shave had yet to be attempted. I say attempted because, let's be honest, at that stage in the game you haven't seen below your weird belly button in months.
Anyways, I showed up to L&D freshly unshaved and out came the hospital grade electric razor. And, heads up, they shave you while you're laying down in your hospital bed. So, so awkward.
After you handle your sheering, the nurse will roll up a piece of what looks like masking tape from her desk and press it against your skin to pick up your cookie's winter coat. Uh huh, it's as fun as it sounds.
2. Ball and Chain
So, you'll get a catheter. It doesn't really hurt but it doesn't exactly feel normal either.
The weirdest part is when you have to shimmy your 40 weeks pregnant self from your hospital bed to the OR table with your catheter in place. They'll remove it once it's clear you won't need any further medical intervention, you can feel your swollen ankles and after you beg them incessantly for a shower.
Side Note: my catheter was still in place and very much operational when we had our first post-birth visitors....who happened to be my husband's boss and HR manager.
3. Bee Sting
The epidural really doesn't hurt as bad as you think it will. It does, in fact, sting, but considering the pain of contractions, an epidural was certainly not the Big Bad Wolf that I made it out to be in my mind. In case you're wondering, the bee sting feeling is from the numbing shot pre-epidural/spinal block. I got a spinal block and was the happiest girl in the world - I literally joked my way through my C Section. I spent many a night laying awake wondering just how badly that sucker was going to burn and I am pleased to report that you may be pleasantly surprised when it's all said and done.
4. 12 Hours
So, if you have a scheduled C Section you aren't allowed to eat or drink 12 hours prior to your surgery. Why? Well, I'm sure there are lots of reasons, but the one that really stuck out to me is that it might cause you to vomit. While you are strapped to the operating table. By far the worst part for me was the panic right before I threw up...what's a girl to do? I was strapped down, flat on my back with my abdomen wide open. So I turned my head and barfed on my husband's cute little scrub shoe covers. Sorry, honey.
The nurses will clean it up quickly, suction your mouth so you don't choke and everyone will be super sweet about the whole thing....except your husband who may or may not have been wearing his fave shoes under his scrubs.
5. Cry Baby
C Section babies often don't cry right away. They weren't squished through your teensy little pelvis so they still have gunk in their lungs. They tossed my babe over that curtain and he was silent. Cue the hysteria. "Ooops! We should have warned you that C Section babies don't cry!" was the response of the surgical team when I began my first (but certainly not last) mama panic.
6. Dad With A View
So, C Section partners will be spared the trauma of seeing a human head (among other things) come through your lady parts but they may get a view of an equally traumatizing nature: your internal organs. We didn't see that one coming but sure enough, my husband was escorted over to cut the baby's cord right past my open abdominal cavity. A hospital OR is only so big and I guess they hoped he would be drawn to our fresh little chick laying in his sterile little bed. Instead, my slightly squeamish husband caught sight of my intestines and had to take a moment to regain his composure.
7. Time on Your Hands
I will warn you, once the amazing moment of seeing your baby for the first time wears off, you will find yourself bored out of your mind laying on the operating table. I literally wanted to ask what in the world was taking so long (you know, besides stapling my belly back together and all). I struck up a conversation with my doctor to pass the time. Your partner will be with the baby in the nursery and you'll just be laying there wondering when you'll get to hold your babe and what kind of pain killers you'll get out of this deal.
8. All of the Heart Eyes
Every birth experience is important and special and, chances are, you will in no way feel cheated or disappointed that you did not have a vaginal delivery. The hardest part is not being able to cuddle your baby right away but you still showed 40 weeks of pregnancy what was up and successfully brought your off spring into this world. Who can turn their nose up at that? I loved my birth experience and that means that I loved my C Section. I loved that my water broke and I knew what the plan was. For the record, my son was delivered just 2 hours and 24 mins after my water broke at home. No guessing, no 30 hours of pushing, no tearing and (most excitingly) no poop!
disclaimer: each mama has her own experience. this is solely a reflection of mine.