10 Things No One Tells You About C-Sections

Ah, the c-section. Whether it’s the iconic film scene of an alien bursting out of some poor chap’s torso or a picture of medieval torture in a history book, the images that come to mind when discussing c-sections are not usually happy ones. Let’s be honest: you’re getting major surgery, taking a tiny human out of a bigger human, and are (most likely) going to be awake for it all. So if anyone tries to dismiss your right to be a little antsy, well I won’t say what to do for legal reasons, but you get the idea. This isn’t meant to scare you, of course. But I always thought that the unknown was the scariest thing. At least if someone had told me what was going to happen during the c-section, I’d know what to expect. So that’s what I’m going to do for you. Here are all the gross, scary, awkward things that will happen before, during, and immediately after your c-section!

 

10. Paperwork & Red Tape

Even if you thought you were super smart and preregistered with your hospital prior to giving birth, there will still be paperwork to fill out and red tape to deal with for a solid twenty minutes. We arrived nice and early to our scheduled c-section, yet when we checked in at the desk (after my impromptu puke session in the parking lot bushes), they didn’t have my name right and had me listed with a different OBGYN. But we perma-sickies are used to knowing more than the hospital staff, aren’t we?

You better listen when I'm talking to you

You better listen when I’m talking to you

9. You Will be All Sorts of Exposed

I knew my c-section wasn’t exactly going to be a fun getaway to Club Med (that’s still a thing, right?), but I didn’t expect to feel so much like a patient and not a person. That’s no reflection on the staff, it’s just the nature of the beast. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity in the lobby, my husband and I were taken back to our room where I was told to change. No undies or socks or jewelry, just a gown and a a gross hair net. Then a nurse came in and shaved my lady area and acted like it was a totally normal thing to do. This was my introduction to how matter of fact the staff would be about all the private and embarrassing aspects of the ordeal. In some ways it was reassuring, but at the end of the day it’s still very awkward when someone is silently shaving you.

Do I make eye contact? Is that rude?

Do I make eye contact? Or is that rude?

8. You Will be Alone… a lot

After the grooming session was over, I was told my husband would have to leave and no one would be allowed back in until the surgery was about to begin. Suddenly I was alone, just waiting for a nurse to come in, and full of time to daydream about all the things that could go wrong. Even after the pre-op stuff started, it’s still just you and a handful of people.  Technically they had more people on staff than usual as a precaution for my high-risk pregnancy risks, but without a loved one there you still feel very alone… and nervous.

becoolbecoolbecoolbecoolbecool

becoolbecoolbecoolbecoolbecool

7. Yak City, Sick, Yak Yak City

Okay, my not-so clever spin on a line from a rap song may not be funny. But you know what is funny? Telling the nurse like nine hundred times that you’re GOING to puke, have them nod but do nothing, and then letting a glorious waterfall of vomit wash over them. It didn’t feel great, but a small part of me thought “maybe next time you’ll listen to me when I say I’m about to upchuck.”

Deal with it

Deal with it

The actual point of this entry is to warn you that you will definitely puke at some point. It may be when they’re poking or prodding or it may be when your internal organs suddenly shift as they finagle a human out of you. Which brings me to my next point…

6. Lines and Wires and Garishness, Oh My!

Second time in a row I’ve tried to be punny, but whatever, it’s who I am! Aaanyways, no one really told me the frequency with which people would simultaneously be both in and making holes in my body. First there was the three-attempt IV in my arm (EDS makes for lousy veins), then there was the two-attempt spinal block (scoliosis doesn’t help much), and then there’s the fact that someone has their hands INSIDE of you. It’s like the dentist, “You won’t feel pain, just pressure.” Yeah, right. I didn’t feel the scalpel but it felt like someone was sitting on my chest AND pushing my stomach and lungs up into my throat.

gross-out-gif

Yup, pretty much

5. So… c-c-cold… might… die

Another one I wasn’t warned about, surprise! Not only will you be freezing due to lack of clothing, but they keep the operating room super sterile and apparently that is synonymous with ARCTIC. Oh, and the spinal block. Unlike a vaginal birth, you have no choice about whether or not to use some kind of anesthesia. And spinal blocks give you this horrible sensation of internal cold and uncontrollable trembling. Super fun symptoms to have when you’re puking while horizontal. But the cold! Maybe it’s just me, but being freezing cold with nothing to do about it was ridiculously aggravating. It helped to imagine this, though:

Oh, Vince, you do go on

Oh, Vince, you do go on

4. Here Comes Baby!

Nothing can really prepare you for the big moment. Most of the things they don’t tell you about c-sections are negative, but this is a rare positive surprise! I cannot put into words the mixture of intense emotions that surged through me when the big moment arrived. I was extremely relieved he was healthy, so excited to meet the little thing that was once smaller than a blueberry inside me, in awe of the fragility of this new life, nervous that I wasn’t going to be a good enough mom, and just blown away that this HUMAN came out of ME!

It really is!

It really is!

3. Alone Again, Naturally

I may be in my late twenties, but I love me some melancholy 70s music. As Gilbert O’Sullivan so poignantly states, “Reality came around.  And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces.” Except I was cut just once, maybe six inches wide. Boy, did reality come around, though. After the awesome moment that you hear your baby’s first cry (of many), you are on your own again. I wanted to do the “natural” c-section thing, but with my severe shaking and unstoppable, frequent vomiting, they couldn’t bring the baby near me. So off he was carted, my husband went with him, and I was alone on the table getting stitched up. I guess I should have figured this, but the “finishing up” portion of the c-section took about forty-five minutes and was much longer compared to the “pre-baby coming out” part. Emotions were running high, I just wanted to be with my baby, but this is one you just have to endure.

OH THE FEELS

OH THE FEELS

2. EXIT ONLY!

Warning: TMI ahead.

Pee-pee holes, as adults often call them, are meant for one thing and one thing only: to let urine out of your body. In other words, it is an exit only. This is why I hate catheters and do not like when grumpy nurses with cold hands wake me up and fiddle with a tube in my sensitive area.

Excuse me?!

Excuse me?!

Oh you thought the c-section was the end of people all up in your nether regions? Haha, nope! You will be woken up just as much, if not more, by the hospital staff than your own baby to check out your “stuff.” P.S. you don’t get to wear underwear for a while. You’ll lay on a doggy pee-pad while Carrie-sized amounts of blood just pour out for way too long. I thought that since it wasn’t a vaginal birth, it was normal down there. False. You’ve just had a baby taken out of you (a significant trauma) and the blood has to go somewhere. So expect your “exits” to still be examined for a while after the surgery.

1. You Want Me to Do WHA?

Hey you know how you just had a baby and you’re super achy but have somehow managed to muster what little strength you have to care for your baby? Well now they want you to freaking WALK. The audacity! They stress the importance of getting vertical and walking, and I get it, but does it have to be so soon?

Not an option, bro

Not an option, bro

Apparently, yes. You really do need to get up and walk. In the end, walking when I did – and doing it often – significantly helped with the healing process and getting my bowels moving. Trust me, do not underestimate the value of getting your tummy factory up and running again!

 

So there you have it: ten things that you probably didn’t know about the whole c-section process. Some parts of the experience are super unpleasant, some are just awkward, but in the end you get an incredible reward: your very own baby! Its resale value is slightly less now that it’s out of the original packaging, though. (GET IT?) But for real, I’d do it all again (maybe take a few more stool softeners) because nothing compares to the moment when you look into your baby’s eyes for the first time. Oh, geesh, where’s my Kleenex?

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C-Section Checklist

We’re gonna hop in a little time machine here and go back to the frantic days leading up to THE BIG DAY.  Everyone was telling me the “must haves” I needed for the c-section.  But some of them just sounded downright silly.  Like, who is actually going to need to bring their make-up bag nonetheless have time to apply it?  The answer is no one, by the way.  No one has time to be model pretty and if they say they do, they are either lying or some kind of future alien thing.  So as if I didn’t have enough things on my mind – is the house ready? will the baby like the nursery? what if I fart during the c-section??? – I had yet to do anything that even closely resembled packing.  Time management isn’t really my “thing.”

Basically me everyday of ever

Basically me everyday of ever

So, without further ado, because my rambling and tangents could theoretically go on forever, here is a (mostly) foolproof packing checklist for your c-section and hospital stay:

For Just You:

  • Pajama type or loose fitting dresses.  Having a tight waistband pressing on your incision is Guantanamo-level torture
  • Some hospitals will provide socks with little grippy things on the bottom, some will not.  If they don’t, I highly suggest bringing a pair or two, because slipping on a cold hospital floor after major surgery isn’t super fun
  • Maternity bras (plus nursing pads) and really comfy undies.  Some ladies like to go the low-cut route (so it doesn’t touch the incision) some like high-waisted undies (because it feels like it keeps everything “in”).  It’s dealers choice
  • Your own pillow(s) and blanket(s).  Not only are hospital pillows flat and oddly noisy, but hospital blankets are thinner than truck stop bathroom toilet paper.  And that’s saying something
I just want to be warm and slee-hee-hee-heep

I just want to be warm and slee-hee-hee-heep

  • If you’re breastfeeding, bring your own pillow and cover and other paraphernalia because most hospitals will only provide a hospital-grade pump
  • LOTS OF HEADBANDS.  Between puking, sweating, tossing and turning in bed, and other things, you do not want to deal with hair in your face
  • This is a big one!  The hospital room I was in had a shower with washcloths and towels, but no shampoo or soap.  Also, even if you’re not going to breastfeed, your body will still be producing colostrum (aka liquid gold) AND your baby needs to smell you, pheromones and all.  So BRING YOUR OWN SOAP.  Use something unscented and gentle so as not to confuse your baby’s Basset Hound-like scent receptors.  Oh, and Q-tips.  Bring Q-tips because water in the ear is super annoying.

For the Baby:

  • Note:  Thankfully you won’t actually need to bring much for your baby during your hospital stay.  In between hospital staff and visitors, there will be an ample supply of diapers, beanies, bottles, formula, and everything else for your little one
  • Going-home outfit.  It’s up to you if you esteem fashion over ease, but remember that your baby is floppy, fragile, and impatient
  • Receiving/swaddling blankets.  ASK FOR TIPS from your nurse on how to make a nice little baby burrito because swaddling is not as easy as it looks
This is a fairly accurate equivalent of trying to swadde a baby

This is a fairly accurate equivalent of trying to swadde a baby

  • Mittens are a must because babies just love trying to scratch themselves and simultaneously gouge their eyes out with their tiny, angry fingernails
  • Grooming kit type things and pacifiers are optional again based on what your local hospital will/won’t provide

For your Partner:

  • Note:  Your partner’s sole job is to hold on to and take care of all the things you don’t have time for, just being honest.  With that said, the following items are less about things to keep your partner comfy and more about keeping your life stress-free
  • Facial toner.  This was a Godsend because I didn’t have the time/energy to wash my face yet I still felt like I had spent 13 hours over a fast-food fryer.  The toner not only let me feel refreshed but I didn’t even have to get out of bed!
  • IDs, insurance cards, and any other paperwork your hospital or doctors require
  • Camera (or SmartPhone) for all the necessary pictures you need to take.  I don’t care if people say all newborns look the same, I want pictures, gosh darnit!
  • Chargers and batteries!  This one CANNOT be stressed enough, people
  • Cash for vending machines, valet, or any other services that don’t accept cards (which, surprisingly, is a lot!)
  • Here’s one I didn’t think would be important but I’m so glad I brought – BAGS.  Bags for dirty laundry, supplies the hospital gives you to take home, gifts visitors bring, paperwork from your doctor/nurse, and everything else that will come your way.  Believe me, you will leave for the hospital thinking you are fully packed but then you will go home looking like a Canadian experiencing Disney for the first time.  No offense.
Be careful or this could be you

Be careful or this could be you!

Hope this checklist helps or at least gives you a guideline for packing!  Up next is a post about all the “wonderful” things they don’t tell you about getting a c-section!  Hang in there, though, ladies; you can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel (insert vaginal birth jokes).

HOLY GUACAMOLE – and other musings

Has it really been six months since my last blog post?  I wonder why tha – oh wait, I know.  As a matter of fact, just as I sat down to write this, my little monster blessing decided it was the perfect time for a meltdown.  But we’ll get to the joys of parenting a little later.  Well, actually that ties directly in to what this post is about.  I mean this in the least hippie-ish way possible, but it’s all about acceptance.

Okay, so maybe it IS a little hippie-ish

Okay, so maybe it IS a little hippie-ish

 

Point being, no amount of preparation can adequately compare to the reality of having a little human who needs you for everything and relies on you 24/7.  They should have called the book (and subsequent movie) “When you’re Expecting, Expect to Have your Expectations Obliterated.”  Perhaps I shall copyright that and become a millionaire.  Or, more likely, it will take me eight hours to finish this post because of feedings, diaper changing, consoling, pulling out of hair, and teething meltdowns.  And you know what’s the most insane part about all of that?  I actually don’t mind it.  I even think I – dare I say? – like it!  That is possibly the best expectation to have blown out of the water.  You love this mini monster so darn much that no amount of Gitmo-level torture can make you bitter about the situation.  You may, however, be so sleep deprived that your happiness frightens others.

 

face-off1

I’M JUST SO HAPPY

 

So yeah, a little acceptance, a lot of self-forgiveness, and a healthy understanding that crazy is the new normal will help you make it through the first few weeks.  And let’s be honest.  The first few days will feel like weeks and when the doctor discharges you, you will expect to exit the hospital and see flying cars and robot people since surely eons have gone by whilst you were in there.  Because, besides the fact that you’ve just had a small human taken out of your body, you are awakened every one to two hours for days on end and your sense of space and time is just not what it used to be.

 

Obligatory DW gif

Obligatory DW gif, sorry

 

I’d apologize for the lateness, the lack of clarity, and the shortness of this blog post, but apologizing is just no longer the biggest nor the best tool in my skill set anymore.  Apologizing really shouldn’t be in yours either with the small exception of explosive diarrhea in a public place.  And that’s totally a random example, not like anything close to that has ever actually happened… ahem.  Anyways, I really will get back into the swing of things with better posts and (hopefully) better time management, but I’m a mom now and things are just a little more timey-wimey and wibbly-wobbly these days 😉  So accept the crazy.  Accept that leaving in ten minutes really means getting on the road in twenty.  Accept that some people won’t be able to keep up with the new mommy you.  Accept that you’re a new mommy.  Accept that there will be more bodily fluids on you then a hotel scene in an episode of CSI.  Thank you to anyone who has kept up or stayed with this blog, it truly means the world to me ❤