8 Things No One Told Me About Having a C Section

I'll be the first to admit it:

I loved my C Section. 

Shop my hospital bag must have's for Baby:

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." 

Uh, pardon?

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. If you're lucky, you won't get your until after you make that bed shimmy and post epidural so you won't feel a thing. I was once lucky and once not so lucky. 

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.

Shop My Hospital Bag Must Have For Mom

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.


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. 

I had two sections in two states and the 12 hour rule also applied to how long I had to keep on post-operation compression boots on both legs and how long I had to wait until my first post-surgical shower. 

One state (Maine) just let you shower when you could and how you wanted, the second state (South Carolina) required a sterile shower first with the reddish-orange sterile wash to ensure no remaining germs/superbugs/whatever were left on your skin. You can't get it near your face or you'll be sorry. 

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. 

You might also find yourself with a very itchy nose (a medication side effect), still or beginning to vomit and your arms strapped back down if they were released so you could hug your babe. 

Shop My Hospital Bag Must Haves for Dad

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 offspring into this world. 

Who can turn their nose up at that? 

I loved my birth experience and that means that I loved my C Sections.

 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! 

*My smugness in the poop department only lasted 3 more years because when time came for C Section #2, I went into labor at 37 weeks and progressed so quickly my husband almost missed my section. As it turns out, it is possible to poop during a C Section, thanks to those intestines getting pulled and tugged out of that midsection of yours.*

disclaimer: each mama has her own experience. this is solely a reflection of mine. 


  1. I loved this post! Everyone's birth experience is so different and I think no matter how the baby comes out, there is so much random, gross stuff that no one tells you about. You're great at keeping it real lady :)

  2. Oh my goodness! My husband would have fainted. Now I know I'll have to have a back up with me in case I have a C-section.

  3. The putting me back together part after I saw the babe and they took her away was literally the worst part for me. I think I even said "I thought you said this would only take 10 minutes!" Haha!

  4. I'm pretty sure you and I had a nearly identical C Section experience. Joking in the OR and the catheter aka 'yellow purse' was hilarious to carry around on my trips to the nursery. But I wish my spinal was a bee sting, I kept on yelling "Pressure!" every time the doctor tried to insert it. Granted it was 3 am and I'm pretty sure my doc had been sleeping before I went to the ER. lol Oh memories!

  5. no poop. ahah well that makes me want a c-section! also good to know about the epidural bee sting.. im probably going to have one so it's a relief that they aren't super painful. xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  6. Girl- I LOVE this account from a momma's perspective! #2 and #6 definitely made me chuckle and I'm glad you had a great experience with the C-section! I did a post on Friday on a day in OB from a PA student's perspective- you should check it out. I've been getting to close the c-sections (but we don't staple.. no one should be doing that by the way)- we do a thin suture right underneath the skin so it dissolves over time. It's so cool to bring little babies into the world though!!

    xo, Kristina
    Medicine & Manicures

  7. Yay for no poop! Haha, I loved the catheter though. I find peeing to be an annoying task most of the time. ;)

  8. This was right on the money. I had to have a C-section after 26 hours of labor and only getting to 2cm. I loved the C-section and am happy I get to go that round again when number 2 comes along.

  9. I wasn't prepared for how fast she was out!! Seems like less than 10 minutes!

  10. As a labor nurse it's always nice to hear the patient side of things and how you explain what it was like for you made me laugh more than once. Thank you for sharing.

  11. The SHAVE!! That DEF was the WORST part!!!!!!!! This post is SO right in every way!! Second C-section they let me hold my baby on my chest while they sewed me up... That made the time go WAY faster, def opt for that!! We also def have my guts in the background of a photo a nurse took, oh the joys!!

  12. YES YES YES! I had a baby almost 6 months via c-section due to being breech also. Man...I LOVED my c-section too! I definitely wish I found this post before my c-section, because my husband and I were both freaking out when my daughter was not crying. And the part about being bored on the operating table was SO TRUE. I remember lying on the table while they closed me up and asking the doctor how he has time to spend with his family. It was definitely a good conversation happening despite the situation! I don't regret my birth at all and I kind of hope the next one goes as smoothly. :)

  13. I love this! I just posted a quick summary of our birth story (scheduled c-section) last night. I was totally happy with it since I was terrified of a vaginal delivery. We had such a good experience! I think this needs to be shared for all of those terrified mamas who are scheduled and freaking out.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.