Friday, 13 May 2016

Stuff I wish I'd known before I had a c-section

Baby A was not in a hurry to make his way into the world, so in the end he was evicted by emergency c-section, but that is a story for another day. Here are the things I wish I had known prior to having my c-section.

The pain! Of course I knew it would hurt afterwards, but it didn't hurt how I expected it to. The first time I went to stand up, about 24 hours after the op, I couldn't stand upright. I had to do this hunched over shuffle, like they had sewn me up too tightly! Very weird. And it took a good few weeks to be able to function. I couldn't get in the shower on my own, or carry my baby up the stairs for the first two weeks. Three months on and I still get the odd twinge if I've had an mildly active day. The moral of the story is, take it easy and accept any pain medication they offer you.

Don't invite funny people to see you and the baby afterwards. It hurts to laugh for at least a couple of weeks. Sneezing is also not recommended.

You get to wear oh so sexy compression stockings day and night for 6 weeks afterwards. 6 WEEKS! I had no idea. And the hospital only provided 2 pairs so I was constantly waiting for a pair to dry while suffering from very stinky feet.

You're not done with needles once the op is over. I had to have daily injections for a week afterwards to lower the risk of DVT. I couldn't bring myself to do this so my husband did it. I hope you or a close person aren't squeamish.

Even if you feel fine to drive before the recommended 6 weeks, your car insurance might be invalid until then. If like me you live in a rural village 5 miles from anywhere, it makes for a stir crazy couple of weeks counting down to the magical 6 week number.

I don't mean to be so negative, c-sections are of course wonderful things when nature isn't going quite to plan. So here are a few positives I didn't expect from c-section.

It doesn't have to be scary, even if it is unplanned. Mine wasn't a crash, get the baby out this minute kind of section, but it was an emergency. My waters had been gone for 3 days, a whole day of induction had done nothing except cause me pain and the baby was just starting to get stressed. Yet the staff were all so calm and caring that I didn't feel scared or anxious in the lead-up or during. And when it was confirmed I'd be heading to the operating theatre, my overriding emotion was relief. We'd be meeting this baby at last!

Even though I was pretty much off my face by the time I got to surgery (diamorphine will do that to you) I knew the precise moment my baby was pulled from my body. I didn't feel any pain, but I did feel a sudden weight lifted off me and all of a sudden I could breathe deeply for the first time in months. It was very surreal. True a lot of c-section births mean you are separated from your baby while they stitch you up, but I don't feel it negatively affected the bond I have with my son. And it did mean Daddy got to have those first minutes-old cuddles instead. Lucky Daddy!

I'm strangely proud of my scar. When I look at it, I think, that scar represents what saved my baby and probably me too. I dread to think how things could have ended had I been giving birth a hundred years ago. My scar is not ugly, or something to be ashamed of, it is my happy ending.

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