My C-Section – Post 1 of 2

Posted on February 16, 2012
"fortune and love favor the brave."
~ ovid

First : This is my body, not yours; If this fact bothers you, too bad. You can't have or control choices about my body (the same way I have no say about yours)… you're just going to have to come to terms with it. Also... if you don't care to hear details about my body, you probably shouldn't read on either, lol.

Disclaimer about personal medical choices : One would hope that this much is obvious and didn't need to be said outright, but before I begin I wanted to acknowledge the following biases and common sense information. Firstly, this is the personal blog of one woman. I'm not you, you're not me, and I'm not a doctor. Please keep the following information in mind; I'm only one woman and you should NOT base any of your own medical decisions on MY outcome, please speak with YOUR doctor and base your decision on what makes sense for YOU personally. Always remember that you could end up with a different scenario and outcome than you read about here or anywhere else. Each outcome is different and unique. This post is by NO MEANS "advice" on c-sections, nor am I promoting c-sections beyond how it worked for me in my own life. Please talk to YOUR doctor and do YOUR OWN research.

Additionally, here is some more info you may like to know about me (in relationship to my health and how it may affect how my body deals with major surgery [which c-section is!]): This was my first pregnancy and first c-section (my first surgery and hospital stay as well). I'm 30 years old (29 when I got pregnant, and turned 30 two days after my baby was born). I'm a very healthy person, I rarely get sick. When I do get sick with something like a cold, it usually is very short and not severe. I also rarely have headaches. I've always been in my target weight range for my age/height, or if not then only a little overweight. I've never been underweight and also never been fat or obese (except I feel fat right now, since I was just pregnant LOL). I'm pretty sedentary, but I love to walk. Before pregnancy I walked 4 miles a day (briskly for cardio). I don't always eat the most healthy, but I do avoid greasy fast foods, I try to make smart choices about food. I have no chronic, genetic, or environmental illnesses or notable allergies to speak of.

I had an ideal pregnancy, I didn't even have any morning sickness. I also heal very fast from injuries, and my stretch marks and scars usually fade very well (I love piercings, and have many of them, I have never had any scar issues or keloids related to those, and they all healed very well and very fast). I have a pretty decent pain threshold as well and a strong will. I also don't scare easily and am not a very emotional person (except in private with my husband), I like to approach things rationally and know as much as I can ahead of time. As long as I have information and knowledge on my side, my natural curiosity about things usually can carry me the rest of the way through even the most harrowing experiences with little fearfulness.

I have barely any hips to speak of, and a smaller than average vagina. My own personal feelings regarding this, and family history of births (birth experiences of people I am genetically related to) made me worry about it with regard to vaginal birth. From the very beginning I felt I wanted a c-section. At one point I allowed some people to scare me into considering vaginal birth, but then, after a lot of fact checking and research (about elective c-section, emergency c-section, vacuum extraction, vaginal and pelvic floor trauma etc) along with my husband, I soon switched back to c-section and never looked back. The choice has always been mine, and my husband supported whatever I chose. I am VERY happy with my choice, and my outcome could not have been better, it was prefect and ideal for both me and my beautiful baby.

So there you go… now that that is out of the way, I can tell you all about my elective c-section.

Ever since my early/mid-teens I always assumed (and wanted) to eventually have kids (not have them THEN of course… it was just my outlook for my adult life). I don't remember when, but I eventually decided that 25 would be a good age to have my first child, but I ended up not being with the right person, nor had all my "ducks in a row" at that time, so I was forced to wait a bit longer. It also turned out that I had a little fertility issue to deal with. I'm still not sure what was wrong (not ovulating? not ovulating on time?) but two months of clomid sorted it right out, and my husband and I were able to finally get pregnant after having tried for over a year unassisted. I had a wonderfully ideal pregnancy with only one major bout of headache and some general physical discomfort during the final month (otherwise had none of the usual pregnancy woes except for some hormone induced acne… ugh! lol… it's gone now, yay!).

As I said before, I did seriously consider doing a normal vaginal birth at the hospital. However, I quickly discovered that the uncertainty about what could happen (What if they have to use a vacuum extractor that's dangerous for my baby? What if I tear severely or end up with incontinence or sexual disfunction? What if something else goes wrong and it turns into a dangerous emergency c-section? … most of these things were quite possible for me personally, based on a history of birth complications in my immediate family members, I was not merely being scared out of the blue) was causing me unrelenting worry and distress on a daily basis. We did research (as I mentioned) and as soon as we switched back to choice of elective c-section (knowing all the possible risks) I immediately felt relieved. I still had some fears (the main one being blood clots), but with elective c-section we felt there were far fewer, giant, looming question marks and "what if"s. The c-section risks were more predictable, very cut and dry (no pun intended) and easier for me to mentally prepare for. I also felt that since I have a history of being healthy and healing well that this was the smarter choice. The biggest factor was it being the safest choice for my baby.

Vacuum extraction and emergency c-section were the two absolute deal breakers for me, there was NO WAY I was going to risk putting myself or my baby through those two situations.

Once I let my choice be known to my doctor (who did not try to push me one way or the other) it was time to pick a date. He told me the optimal days that I could choose from, and we picked one (two days before my own birthday). The date we chose, of course, was past the 39 week mark (this was also a must for me). So now the juicy bit you probably were waiting for… my description of how my c-section went and how it "felt."

It all happened pretty quickly. I came in two hours before. There was no boring or anxious waiting time because for the entire two hours a nurse was asking me questions and prepping me (setting up my IV, giving me lots of fluids etc). I also met one of the doctors who would be working on me (there were two who did my c-section, my OB and this other guy) and the anesthesiologist. Next they brought in a jumpsuit for my husband, while he was dressing in the prep room they took me to the operating room and the anesthesiologist started the process of giving me my spinal. First she scrubbed my back and I felt a pin prick (this was the local numbing stuff), then she did the actual spinal, and I didn't feel a thing. I was expecting getting the spinal to hurt, but honestly I felt nothing. The nurse from before held me during it (I was asking a ton of questions so I think she thought I was scared). It was comforting though. Soon my legs started to feel cold, and then started to go numb. The nurse helped me lift my legs onto the table and I laid down.

My legs felt like they were "going to sleep." The anesthesiologist asked me to tell her if I felt (I guess it was a cotton ball with something on it?) as she rubbed it across spots on my stomach and abdomen. I was supposed to tell her if it felt cold or not. This was to find the boundary of where the numbing started and ended. The numbing gradated from just under my boobs to just below my ribcage, everything below that was completely numb. Oddly, after this, as they were putting in my catheter I guess, I noticed I still had some sensation in my clitoris. The other doctor seemed to think this was odd, but I only felt it the one time, so maybe it was just the last thing that went numb for some reason. lol

Anyway, so then they put up the screen so I can't see… but they went a little overboard. It wasn't a short little screen like in the youtube videos, this felt more like it was half a tent over me, it just seemed larger and more obscuring than the ones I have seen in videos of c-sections. I started to get worried that they would start before calling my husband in, so I kept asking for him repeatedly. Then someone said my doctor (my OB) had arrived. But the screen, as I said, was blocking basically the whole room except for what was directly behind me, so I was like "Uhm, can I SEE my doctor??" and they were like "Oh… ok" (I was like… yes, let's just let people cut me open without me seeing my doctor first… right). lol… anyway so he came around so I could see him and said hello. Then I asked for my husband again, I must have sounded annoyed this time because the nurse from before ran and got him (she was great btw, very nice the entire time… the others in the room all basically seemed to be ignoring me and I felt like a piece of meat).

Another nurse who I had met a couple weeks before, and who was prejudice against my choice to have a c-section (and who seemed to also be "put off" that I'm an atheist) was in the room, which didn't make me very happy, but I let it go, I was too preoccupied and excited. Anyway, so my husband came in, and I asked if they were going to test my sensation… so the doctor started doing something and asked me if I could feel it, and I said no. I guess at that moment they started cutting. I didn't feel a thing… well, I mean I didn't feel any pain or direct touch sensations, of course. So now the juicy bit where I describe how it actually felt as a whole process.

Ok so… my whole lower half is asleep, but of course if they move my body, my upper half can tell, because it's attached, and moves as well. Also, my stomach and ribs were still able to feel, and they got a little sore (I'll get to that in a moment). So the initial cutting and so forth I didn't feel anything at all. Then -I guess- they moved onto pushing her down and out of the incisions they made, THAT WAS A TRIP. First of all, because I couldn't actually feel on my skin and organs, my brain (in all it's evolutionary wisdom) had to fill in the gaps in the absence of that sensory info. So, instead of feeling like a really low incision (reality) it felt -to my upper torso and imagination- like everyone on the other side of the screen was grabbing one edge of a huge gash in the middle of my stomach and were all tugging violently in opposed directions. It sounds scary, but it was more kind of shocking and then a bit amusing because I didn't feel any pain from it, just the pressure and movement. It was like "whoa whoa whoaaaa" and then "Hahaaa" I felt like a piece of luggage being pulled around and shoved.

At one point someone started pressing very hard on my stomach (up high, where my actual stomach organ was, near my ribs) and it started to hurt. I felt like I could have puked (but I didn't because they give you antacid before the procedure). It got more intense so I told the anesthesiologist about it and she gave me morphine. From there on I felt absolutely wonderful. I've never experienced a narcotic before, this was my first time. I felt very mentally blurry, but it also felt really good and I was a little drowsy.

My husband and I were nervous (he couldn't see anything either, the screen was that large). We kind of just stared at each other and held hands. A few moments later we heard her cry. I don't have words for the look on my husband's face, but it was a really amazing moment. After that moment passed he stood up to peek over the screen and saw her. He said, "Well, she's definitely a girl." lol… he sat back down and they readjusted the screen for some reason.

Another moment later they brought her around to the little table where they suctioned her nose and mouth and clipped her umbilical stub. She scored 9 for all of her APGAR tests (meaning she was pink, strong, and breathing perfectly right out of the womb). 9 is basically the best/highest score a baby can get. I told my husband to go over and take photos. It took -for what seemed like- a while but they eventually brought her to me and laid her on my chest. Up until that point she'd been crying and her eyes were closed. As soon as they set her down on my chest I touched her face and said "Hello pretty, I love you." and she immediately stopped crying and opened her eyes. My husband said she hadn't opened her eyes while on the table, so likely I was the first thing she ever saw (albeit blurry? lol).

After a very short moment with her they whisked her away and my husband followed to watch over her while they monitored her and gave her a bath. I was left to be sewn back up. I felt great from the morphine and didn't feel a thing. I could hear some talking but the only bit I managed to process was that they were giving me buried stitches and dermabond for my incision so that it would scar nicely/minimally (not staples which I have heard are horrible and don't heal well). I think someone else also mentioned "You didn't lose very much blood." After they were done sewing me up the doctors left and the nurses cleaned me up and prepared me to go to the recovery room.

This post is super long now at this point, so I'll stop here and do a second post about the actual hospital stay and my recovery at home (spoiler alert: it went perfectly as well, lol). In the second post I'll talk about the hospital stay, breastfeeding, and how I healed at home.

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  1. So interesting! I think there are a lot of scare stories about c-sections and it’s worth bearing in mind that it is the best choice for some people :) It’s nice to see such a positive experience! Also, you did good and made a cute baby. WELL DONE :3

  2. Aww, Lynn, what a lovely story about Parker coming out of you!
    I’m glad that everything went smoothly and that Parker came out super adorable. <3
    Great read; I can't wait for the second half!

  3. Eep!! So happy that Parker arrived safe and sound, amidst the chaos :)

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