You’re all about natural childbirth. You’ve read the books, the blogs and everything else you can get your hands on, and you’re totally prepared. But things don’t always go as planned — especially when we’re talking childbirth. Even the best-prepped mama-to-be can end up needing (or wanting) a C-section. It happens, and it’s going to be okay. Now’s the time to expand your childbirth-ed repertoire and learn a thing or two about Cesareans.
1. Pics are allowed. At least, in most cases. If your C-section is planned or there aren’t other complications, your S.O. (or support person) can comfort you in the OR. That means you’ve got your very own built-in paparazzi with you! Okay, so there are parts of a Cesarean that you may not want to capture forever. It is an operation, after all — you may not exactly want to livestream the birth on FB. But it’s entirely alright to have someone snap a few shots of junior immediately after birth.
2. You’ll need recovery-room time. After leaving the OR, you’ll be whisked away on a no-expenses-paid trip to… the recovery room! It’s likely that you’ll spend two to three hours there while the nursing staff keeps tabs on your vitals (such as blood pressure, breathing rate and pulse). Don’t worry about being away from your newborn. As long as everything went smoothly, your baby (and your support person) can hang with you in recovery. Keep in mind that if your baby needs further evaluation, they may need to spend some time away from you or in the NICU.
3. A major meal might not happen right away. You spent 20 hours in labor, only to find out that you needed a C-section. As you labored along, dreams of quesadillas smothered in hot sauce and your honey’s famous homemade salsa danced through your head. But ice chips were it for you. Now that you’ve had your C-section, you’re ready for a five-course meal. Hold on: Your doc may put you on a liquid-only diet (think Jell-O and soup broth) for the next day or so. Once you’ve got the medical all clear, you’ll finally be able to feast on that daydream meal.
4. You’ll still need maxi pads. You already knew that vaginal delivery would leave you needing these super-absorbers, but during a C-section the baby comes out of your abdomen. This may (wrongly) lead you to believe that pads are now non-necessities. For the last nine months, you’ve gotten to oh-so-gloriously skip your period, but now your uterus has to shrink and shed. It won’t matter where the baby comes out of: Your body will need to adjust. Expect this bleeding to continue for up to six weeks postpartum. (And you’ll def need to use pads instead of tampons.)
5. There’s a longer hospital stay. Give birth vaginally, and they’ll street you within 48 hours (provided no postpartum problems creep up). C-sections typically require a longer hospital visit. You did have surgery, right? It’s likely that you’ll need to stay in the hospital for at least 72 hours (that’s three days) after your baby is born.
6. C-sections are fairly common. Nearly a third of all deliveries in the US are C-sections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s well over a million Cesarean births each year, putting you in good company.
7. You get to stay awake. Long gone are the Mad Men-esque days when Mom got knocked out and cut open and woke up to a brand-new baby. Unless there’s a medical reason for you to be put under, the anesthesiologist will just give you a spinal block, numbing your body from the waist down. This allows you to stay awake for the entire procedure. Don’t worry about the ick factor: The docs will drape a sheet in front of the incision area so that you don’t have to watch the not-so-pleasant parts.
8. You had a baby like a champ. There’s no reason to feel like you failed just because you didn’t push that baby out on your own. Even if that was the original plan, the important thing is that both you and your newborn are healthy — if a C-section is what allows this to happen, so be it. Whether your baby comes out of you vaginally or via a surgical incision, you’re still a mama. And that’s what you need to be proud of!
What’s your biggest C-section worry? Share it with us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)