Preparing yourself for a c Section Delivery

Preparing Yourself for a C-Section Delivery
Includes Firsthand Experience with Information that is Seldom Told

You find out that you will, indeed, be having a birth via surgery. Your heart begins to race and panic ensues. Thoughts rush through your head including the concern for safety of yourself and your child, the pain and preparation for after the birth, and the thought that your child will be here in a matter of minutes. Your heart is overjoyed but you’re scared. The beginning stages of a birth by Cesarean section may bring a feeling of uneasiness, anxiety, and a fear of the unknown. This is all normal and you will be experiencing something that others have experienced before and many will after. No matter how prepared I thought I was when I went into the hospital for my scheduled surgery I wasn’t prepared with the first hand experience of knowing what would be happening. My purpose of writing this is to educate and perhaps help those who are to experience this to have a little more peace of mind and ease of the heart when it happens.

Medication, Preparation, and Drapery
Prior to even going into the room for surgery you will be medicated and prepped physically for the surgery. Your preferred person in the surgery room will also be putting on scrubs from head and mouth, to their toes. The surgery room must be kept completely sterile. You will be asked to remove any jewelery, and confirm any allergies to medications. Your doctor should brief you on the general aspects of the surgery and give an estimate of the time surgery will take. If you have any questions at all at this point please ask your doctor. This will ease your mind and no question is a stupid question. An anesthesiologist and other staff will also be accompanying you to the surgery. You will arrive in the room and you will see a huge light over the table. You will also see a drape that will be placed over your abdomen to block your view from the actual surgery. The anesthesiologist will most likely ask you if you’re feeling anything in your legs if you have an epidural, and will ask you throughout the surgery if the level of pain is greater than it was. You will be administered more medication if the pain changes.

The First Steps of Surgery
The doctor will be cutting through multiple layers of your lower abdomen and uterus so this part will take approximately 5-20 minutes. The tools used will be sharp instruments and blunt dissection tools. You may also hear whirring noises from the tool used to cauterize or burn small blood vessels to prevent bleeding. My ob-gyn also used a tool that burned away the layers during the surgery and it gave off a very strong smell of burning.

Reaching the Uterus
When reaching the uterus you will hear suctioning sounds. Amniotic fluid is suctioned to make more room in the uterus for the doctor’s hands and tools such as forceps or vacuum extractor.

Engaged in the Pelvis
At this point the doctor will assist in your baby being born. Your baby will be lifted out of the pelvis. You may feel pressure and nausea at this point. The physician should communicate before this point to advise you that there will be a large sensation of pressure. This will be an intense, but brief moment. They will check for umbilical cord entanglement or other complications.Most likely your physician or a staff member will push on the upper part of your abdomen to assist. Once the child’s head comes out their mouth and nostrils will immediately be suctioned. Vaginally birthed babies have help with the fluids being squeezed out by labor and birth. If born by c-section, your child will need some extra assistance with this process. If meconium is present additional efforts will be needed.

Final Steps of the Surgery
Your baby is now born and shown to you then taken to a warming bed, usually in the same room. The baby will be suctioned again to assure that amniotic fluid is cleared. Repair of the uterus and layers that were cut need to be repaired. The placenta is removed and examined at this point. This takes 45-60 minutes and this is when the incision will be stitched up. Your doctor may have made a bikini cut that is an incision 4-7 inches horizontal just above the pelvis. My doctor stitched this from the inside so nothing showed on the outside but where my skin met. This is the point where you may also be given your baby to breastfeed or hold again.

The Hours Following
You may feel overwhelmed with joy, pain, excitement, fatigue, or a combination of all of the above at the same time. You will be on a heavy pain medication so that the pain will be the least of your worries. You may experience severe gas pains that feel like they fill your whole abdomen. This is in part as a result of the medications, and the surgery itself. Don’t forget during this time your nurse will be your best friend. They will be the ones administering meds, checking your stats, and helping you! Don’t hesitate to ask your nurse any questions or communicate your symptoms. They may give you additional medication for the gas pains. This was very very uncomfortable in my personal experience. The intestinal gas pains did not subside until I finally got a medication for it. You will want to get as much rest as possible at this point because you will not be able to walk as long as the catheter is in and you are on an i.v. You will have plenty of time to spend with your new baby in the coming hours and days. Let me assure you your baby will definitely appreciate a well rested and happy mommy!

I hope this helps someone. Congratulations in advance on your new addition!