C-Section resources?

Hey guys,

My google abilities seem to be off for some reason! I am going to have a c-section next week due to my giant and uncooperative baby. We stopped at the bookstore on the way home to grab a book or two on the procedure and, more importantly, on the recovery process. There was not one single book on the subject. Came home to google and all the results seem to be steering me away from c-sections or info on VBACs or the risks of c-sections and such. I’m getting very frustrated–as anyone 38+weeks pregnant with a giant baby is apt to…

Soooo, I turn to you guys to point me in the right direction. I need info on:

The procedure itself - pictures are fine
The recovery process in and out of hospital
Caring for yourself and baby one you are home
FAQs or guidelines for returning to activities like driving, lifting, walking, swimming
Testimonials from other mothers on their experiences and advice

Benefits of c-sections over vaginal birth is also appreciated! The cons aren’t really relevant, but that’s all I can seem to find!!


Well, my c-section is 15 years old and has a messy bedroom, but here’s what I remember:

They knocked me out for the procedure because by that point I’d been in labor for 2 days and the epidural was no longer having any effect. I saw it done on one of those health t.v. shows, though; basically, they slice you open, pull out the kid, pull out your uterus and hose it down, then pack everything back in and staple you shut. I was in the hospital for about a week but I think the average stay is 2-3 days; I managed to catch a slight case of pneumonia while I was there.

Recovery time for me was about 2 months. I didn’t really have debilitating pain, but things were reeeeal tender and I tended to take it easy. Don’t lift anything heavier than the baby and give the housework a pass; the dust will still be there when you feel better.

IIRC, the doctor told me no driving for a few days; swimming wasn’t an issue because it was wintertime, but I’d imagine you’d want to stay out of the water until the suture heals up. Basically, if it hurts, stop doing it. And if you’re planning to breastfeed, make sure you discuss painkillers and such with your doctor.

Benefits? Well, if it’s determined that it’s unsafe for a baby to deliver vaginally, that’s a huge benefit right there. I had a VBAC (almost 8 years ago and that one has a messy room, too) and overall it was an easier experience; the labor and delivery was harder but the recovery time was way shorter. I do seem to recall I had less post-delivery bleeding with the c-section.

And congratulations on the new little bundle! In the end it doesn’t matter if they’re c-section, vaginal, or delivered by UPS; they’re awful sweet when they get here.

Both our pregancies ended with C-sections, so my wife couldn’t give you a comparison. However, according to my sisters, vaginal births weren’t that much fun, either.

My wife had an epidural both times. She said it felt like someone had suddenly pushed down on her, and then just as suddenly, all the pressure was gone. Recovery time wasn’t too bad – like Marlitharn says, if it hurts, stop doing it. One problem my wife had was getting muscle tone back, but I don’t know whether that was just her or if it’s a common thing.

My cousin’s wife had a C-section last week, and was kept in the hospital four days afterwards.

If you just want to see the procedure done, do you have cable? Daytime Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, Discovery Health Channel etc. are absolutely packed with shows about women having babies, and almost every single episode shows a C-section.

I had a c-section almost 10 years ago (he has a messy room, too, Marlitharn!) and this is what I remember.
Very sore and achy feeling. No actual pain-pain, but just soreness. I got very tired very quickly for several weeks afterwards. Showering was a major event.

As everyone else has said, just take it easy. Don’t worry about the housework, don’t lift anything heavier than the baby, just concentrate on getting better. You’ll feel a little bit better each day.

I didn’t have a C-section, but I did have abdominal surgery twice, which is kinda-sorta-loosely similar. The biggest hassle I recall, apart from not being allowed to drive for several weeks, was how it hurt to cough and laugh. The second time, I was given a small pillow at the hospital and told to hug that to my belly when I had to cough, and it made a difference.

Of course, my incision was probably a lot bigger than a C-section cut, but the point is, if you cough or laugh a lot, keep a little pillow handy.

As for birth recovery, criminy, just think of what your body has been going through and what you’ll be dealing with - you’re going to be tired and achy. So I’ll echo everyone else - take it easy, don’t sweat the small stuff, let others spoil you for a while, and enjoy your baby. I don’t know if mine has a messy room or not - she lives 800 miles away - but in her younger days, she created her share of disarray! You’ll need to rest up for that! :smiley:

I had an emergency c-section for my first son (almost 3 years ago) and a VBAC for my second (3 months ago).

For the c-section, I had an epidural. My son’s heart rate began to drop and wasn’t recovering very quickly. We went to the OR in a pretty organized fashion, they upped the epidural drugs, put up a sheet so I couldn’t see what was going on, and cut. My husband was there with me. They made him sit in a wheel chair, even though he’s witnessed dozens of surgeries. It took them a few minutes to get the baby out (they were sort of in a hurry). He had the cord wrapped around his neck and shoulder. They let me hold him for a few seconds, then hurried him off to make sure he was okay (he had pretty poor APGARs - I think the first was a 5). The sewing up sucked - they massage your uterus and have to get everything stuffed back in there, which makes for mucho queasiness. I puked. Then they took me to recovery. If you’re going to breastfeed, make sure you’re ADAMANT and your husband is a WATCHDOG to make sure your baby is not fed a bottle while you’re in recovery. They gave my bub a bottle of water :rolleyes: and it really screwed up his latch. I ended up exclusively pumping for him for months until I just gave up. We never got the breastfeeding thing working.

I found recovery to be okay. I was up walking within 12 hours and was fairly functional within a week. I was in the hospital for 2 1/2 days. They told me not to lift anything heavier than the baby for several weeks and not to drive for two weeks. Since this was my first child, I found it fairly easy to cope.

I’ll briefly tell you about my VBAC, just for comparison. I wanted to try the VBAC because I was worried about recovery from a c-section with a toddler. Ha! I ended up having no epidural (dr. couldn’t get it in in time), almost having another emergency c-section (posterior baby with another cord wrap), and came out of it all with a 3rd degree tear (which required two hours worth of stitching). It was significantly more hectic and dramatic than the c-section and recovery has sucked! Three months later, I’m still sore. I was able to do more, lift more, and get around better, but I’m hoping this pain isn’t something I’ll have to live with forever. If I hadn’t had the tear, though, recovery would have been a breeze compared to the c-section. I tore because of the very hurried nature of the birth - it had to go fast because my baby was in a lot of distress and if he didn’t come out within seconds, they were going to put me under general anaesthetic for another c-section.

Just out of curiosity, how big are they predicting your baby to be? I swear, if I had had a daughter, I would have told her to ask any guy she dated what their birth weight was. I was lucky and married someone who weighed 4 lbs at birth - I had little guys (6 lbs 14 ozs each).

I had my c-section three and a half years ago. It was not an emergency, although it was last minute. My baby was large (very long) and refusing to tuck her chin (called OP) so after 36 hours they opted to go in and get her.

I had an epidural, but it needed to be toped up, a lot, over the 36 hours so by the time I was in the OR I was shaking and my teeth wouldn’t stop chattering. It seemed to take a long time, but was probably only fifteen minutes. My recovery was fine, no problems, although I know of two other women that have had troubles with the incision opening a little.

All in all it was fine. My sister had three vag births and my recovery didn’t seem a lot worse by comparision.

If you want to see a video of the procedure, go here (requires RealPlayer):
More info here:

I had one and liked it enough to schedule another - I ended up miscarrying but was pregnant long enough for prenatal visits a few times. I made it clear there would be no attempt at VBAC when I could schedule a c-section and not have any contractions. I remember thinking, when my son was 10 days old, that even though my incision kind of hurt it certainly beat being almost 10 mos. pregnant!

Our local maternity hospital has only single rooms so, where some might say you have to stay longer at the hospital, I say you GET to stay longer.

Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. I will say that this experience made me think I was having a small seizure and I had to be sedated pretty heavily. The experience of HAVING the c-section was pretty awful, but I am not one of those women that thinks having a baby is wicked awesome. The recovery is what wasn’t bad.

I had one last February, an emergency at 23 weeks, so it may be a little different, but I remember the details well.

They’ll have you lie on your side and tuck your legs up so they can get the epidural/spinal in. It really didn’t hurt all that much, except that it’s not pleasant to pull your knees up when you’re 14 months pregnant. (I know you’re not 14 months. But it feels like it, doesn’t it? :smiley: )

It’s pretty cool how the epidural feels. You’ll feel things starting at the toes and working up to your waist - first cold, then tingling, then nothing at all. You’ll still feel that your toes are your toes, but you won’t be able to move them. It’s freaky.

They will then move you to a table I like to call “The Tilt-a-Whirl Crucifix.” It’s a skinny, skinny table that has arm rests up top, like a crucifix. They will strap you on, but you won’t feel it. The weird part is next - they’ll tilt the table slightly to the left. (This gets the uterus off the major artery in your abdomen.) It feels like you’ll slide right off. You won’t.

They’ll rub your belly with a bunch of disinfectants and cover you with a bunch of plastic backed paper. It might feel cold, but you probably won’t mind it much. What you’ll notice is that you can feel the movement of your skin and muscle as the nurse scrubs you, but you can’t feel the surface of the cloths. It’s weird.

They’ll put a little divider screen up across your chest so you don’t see the rest. You partner will be let into the room, wearing a disposable gown and hair and foot coverings. They’ll probably set a chair up for him/her at your head. On the other side of your head is where the anasthesiologist usually sits. They’ll hand your partner an emesis basin - hospital speak for barf container. It’s for you, not for him!

At some point when there’s lots of heads around your belly, you’ll start to feel a lot of tugging and pulling. Again, it won’t hurt. You’ll feel the movement, but not the pain. This means you’ve actually been cut into a few minutes ago, you didn’t realize it. Now they’re moving skin and muscle and making a second incision into your uterus. They’ll keep the cut as small as they can, and wriggle the baby out of it. They pull really hard, and once again you’ll be sure you’ll fall off the table. You won’t.

If you feel at all nauseous, tell the anasthesiologist. He’ll move some dials and you’ll feel instantly better. If he’s not quick enough, that’s why your partner is holding that emesis basin.

They’ll hold up your baby so you can see it, and some hospitals will hand the baby to you right away, but most of them want to towel off, weigh, measure and make sure the baby’s breathing and pink before they wrap her up and give her to you.

In the meantime, they’re already stiching you up. No, they will not “tighten things up”, or “take out a little of that baby fat” for you, even if you ask. :wink:

It takes about an hour for your feet to come back to you. They’ll move you into a recovery room for that, where a nurse will keep a close eye on you, and start pain meds. Once you can feel your feet again, they’ll move you to a regular floor. (I’m not sure when they reunite you with your baby, or if she goes to recovery with you. Mine, of course, was immediately taken to intensive care, so I didn’t see her for a few hours.)

Recovery isn’t bad. I was on dilautid (a narcotic) through my IV for a day, then Vicodin, Tylenol and Advil. My husband lost my Vicodin prescription on the way home, so I was only on Tylenol and Advil after a few days.

Do take the stool softener they give you! Pooping is really scary the first time!

In all, I think the recovery from the c-section was easier than the recovery from the vaginal birth with my son.

Good luck! I’m going out today, but if you have any questions, I’ll be back tonight.

I have had one of each. In terms of recovery I slightly preferred the c-section, though any method of getting a baby into the world is fine with me, I don’t recall getting extra mommy points for either one.

I had a uterine incision and you will almost certainly have a skin incision so some of this may not apply. Here’s my advice:

Ask for help. Everybody wants to help anyway, so take every single person up on their offers of help. Let somebody else shop, cook, and clean up your house. If you can do nothing but rest the first week, that’s ideal. Walking and that are no problem and is a good idea; lifting is likely to cause a problem.

If your shoulder hurts this means you have an air bubble in your body. Your body does not like air where it shouldn’t be. They usually give anti-gas meds for this but a nurse told me that walking around as much as possible will make it go away.

Take your pain meds. This is no time to be all studly.

I was unconscious for the procedure so I missed out on it.

You’ve received lots of information here but that won’t stop me from adding more. LOL

I have had both a vaginal birth and a scheduled c-section. That vaginal birth was easier. That being said, the C-section wasn’t much worse other than the few hours after with a cath and a pain pump which was slightly annoying. I wanted up and wasn’t permitted. (this was five years ago)
The day after my daughter was born c-section, I was ready to leave the hospital. Had to get special permission but I went. However, I have a very high threshold of pain (or so I am told).
When you are home, the being uncomfortable for a few days is the same for both, just a few inches south.
You’ll do fine. This is the easy part. That hard part comes when the go to leave for college. sniff sniff.

Hmm, my C-section is now 10 and has a messy room. Is there a theme emerging here?

Anyway, he followed 3 vaginal deliveries and the recovery was not a lot harder. Parts of it were easier. If I’d ever had another one I would have chosen a C-section.

But the C-section followed 12 hours of labor–all night–because my idiot doctor did not check me and did not believe me when I said the baby hadn’t turned (he was breech). I wasn’t in labor anywhere that long with the other three. So that was probably a factor, along with my advanced age, and it still wasn’t too bad.

I did have a harder time getting breastfeeding going, possibly because the whole first day I was pretty much out of it (exhaustion, etc.). The staff gave him a bottle but I don’t hold it against them. Dehydration is not good for babies.

I found a nursing pillow to be very, very helpful. It might have been helpful even if I hadn’t been breastfeeding.

I had the baby on Thursday morning and was out of the hospital on Saturday. I could have stayed 2 more days but I don’t like hospital food.

Advantages: my first 3 sons were all red with misshapen heads. (They got cuter.) My C-section boy was the purtiest thing in the nursery, nice and pink and really cute.

I had an epidural and was conscious. I was draped for the procedure. Had I known in advance, I could have gotten permission to watch. (I think they had some kind of training session you had to go to, maybe it was just an informational video.) I would definitely have done this. But as it was, the staff were great. They kept saying things like, “Now there’s a BIG foot,” “Yep, this is a boy all right,” and since I was desperate to see my baby I found those comments comforting. It was still a great relief to see him. I was able to hold him while they were sewing me up (which took about twice as long as the delivery) and he was very alert,

The nursing staff gave the usual mixed messages. “Okay, we’re gonna get you up and walk you around. But don’t try to get up by yourself!” Oh–okay. I had a catheter and at least one IV, so I don’t know why they thought I’d be inclined to try to get up by myself anyway.

Four hours later: “Hey, have you not gotten up yet? The sooner you get up and walk around the quicker you’ll recover.” ??? But they told me not to get up by myself… And then they still didn’t get me up. Well, obviously, they did eventually.

More advice: You need an advocate by your side to chase down the nursing staff and deal with these things. By that point my husband had gone home–he had been there all night too, holding my hand and feeding me ice chips–and so was not around to point out that these inconsistencies on the part of the nursing staff and remedy them.

I also want to add that the faster you can get up and around the faster you can have a shower and go home.

I had her at four in the morning and was going home the next morning. It was a little difficult as they tell you not to lift over ten pounds. Hard to do when your baby is 9 pounds. I got a bassinette with wheels. It was awesome (thanks to my in-laws for the kickass present).

Listen to them about restrictions. Don’t try to vacuum or go up and down stairs. It may seem okay fromt he outside but you have no idea how healed you are on the inside. It is not worth damaging your insides.

I had a planned c-section 3 years ago, which was my second baby. The first was a c-section after 24 hours of labor, but the second one seems more relevant here, since you won’t have to labor first, and that makes it so much easier! I, too, produce giant babies.

I was whisked in and the baby was born by about 45 minutes after I walked in the door, so it’s nice and quick. It feels very weird, with all the tugging and stuff, but is not really very painful, but they tug hard! They do take your uterus out of your body, so it feels strange. They should just rub the baby and make sure she’s breathing, and then give her to you while they sew you back up (assuming there are no problems).

I found recovery to be pretty easy. They will want you to be up and walking around within hours, and it’s not hard. Going to the bathroom, that’s no fun; you get a catheter and have to ‘remember’ how to pee (very strange feeling, not being able to remember how to do that), and they’ll want you to take stool softeners for a few days to ease any strain. Those just gave me the runs. I’m not sure if I should have taken them.

Have meals frozen and ask people to come over and help out if they offer! They can bring meals or clean while you sit around and recover. You’ll need help getting out of bed and sitting up, and picking up the baby for a few days.

The good part is that your girly bits don’t get all beat up, and you’re much less likely to suffer from accidental incontinence, AFAIK. Your scar might ache for a while, but after some time, you ought to be able to thump it with no trouble. I still have a pooch hanging over the scar which has never moved, which looks a little funny.

Here is the tricky bit with a scheduled c-section that you should know. When you go into labor, everything stretches out, right? The birth canal and vagina stretch. And after the birth, all these hormones kick in and shrink your uterus and everything back down to normal. You uterus needs shrinking, but not your cervix or vagina, etc. But they will tighten up anyway! A lot! This will make sex very painful at first, and it can take quite some time for it to get back to normal. You can ask your midwife or childbirth class instructor for exercises to do to help (which I did not know, grrr).

All in all a planned c-section is a pretty good deal, so congratulations and enjoy that baby!

Might not have been the bottle. My daughter didn’t latch for a week, and didn’t get a bottle for the first three days (until it was bottle or IV - we opted for bottle). Some babies don’t latch.

I had a C-Section twice, at two different hospitals. The nuts and bolts of the operation is the same, but it seemed like different recovery procedures depending on who you talked to. One thing I found helpful - the pillow pressed against the incision that **FairyChatMom ** mentioned. I remembered wishing that I had my huge Calculus textbook to lay on the area. The second hospital didn’t want me to do that (hold a pillow to my belly when I got up or anything) so I did it behind the nurses backs.
You don’t realize how much you use your stomach muscles just brushing your teeth.
Things to think about (procedures vary from hospital to hospital) - how much are they going to shave? I think the standard is something like eyebrow-to-the-guy-standing-next-to-you, but mine didn’t go quite that far.
Will they put the catheter in before or after the pain meds? Definitely ask if they will do if after the pain mgmt. Will you get an epidural (a much heavier dose than that of regular labor) or a spinal block? Will you have one nurse that stays with you from pre, during, and post op? Or will you go through it “assembly line” style?
None of these things are do or die, but it will make you feel better to know what is coming instead of being surprised. Your doctor should take the time to walk you through it. It does concern me that you are asking about the procedure - your OB *should * go over it with you.
Recovery - no walk in the park, but easier than I thought it would be. The discharge nurse will go over your dos and don’ts as well as pain meds. I breastfed and still got percocet. Any questions ask away or email. Just know that after today, I won’t be back until Monday (no computer at home). If I don’t see you around the boards, good luck. You will do fine.

My c-section’s room is messier than your c-section’s room, nyah, nyah, na nyahhhhh nyah! [size=1]Sadly, this is probably true. I was a slob as a kid and the student has surpassed the master[/size=1]

She was born 9+ years ago. Urgent (my health was crashing) but not slash-and-grab, and I credit this with leading to a fairly easy recovery. I think because the doctor had time to do a neat job, rather than “get baby out NOW before it dies!!!”. Hopefully you’ll benefit from that same “non-urgent” delivery technique.

My pain was really quite controllable: they gave a dose of a long-lasting morphine directly into the epidural area just after surgery, so I had very good pain control for 24 hours (minor itching, which was a known side effect). In fact the 2nd day was worse because that morphine had worn off, but I was still on my feet pretty much as soon as I could, as my daughter was on another floor. I took precisely 1 narcotic painkiller pill, and made do with naprosyn (IIRC) after that, as I really didn’t need The Big Guns pain-wise.

I spent 4 days in the hospital. Could have gone home after 3, but I’d confirmed with the health insurance that they’d cover a 4th day, the baby was gonna still be there anyway (she was a preemie and spent a couple weeks in NICU). Plus the hospital a) had no stairs, and b) had rails on the bed, which really made getting up and lying down easier. Home had stairs and no bedrails.

Vaginal delivery of a big baby can (in my experience) lead to an unpleasant recovery - my son had a large head, leading to forceps and nasty tearing. I couldn’t sit up for 2 weeks, seriously, and I was using Tylenol 3 for most of a week. The c-section was much easier.

I was able to sit up when they did the epidural - was sitting “Indian style” on the bed in what was to be my recovery room. Made space for that 14-month belly WhyNot mentioned, perhaps that’ll be an option for you. The epi felt odd going in (I don’t expect to have sensations inside the spine) but didn’t hurt aside from the brief prick of the local anesthetic they numbed the spot withg first. Do make sure they test you for numbness before they do any cutting. Epidurals don’t always work (mine didn’t, quite, though it worked better than with the vaginal delivery when they didn’t FUCKING believe me that it didn’t work).

No shaving whatsoever in my case. And I had zero problems with post-op infection. A friend who delivered at a different hospital (read “butcher shop”, same place that botched my son’s delivery) was shaved and had a post-op infection. Make of that what you will.

Catheter was done before epi was started, grrrrr. The nurse who did it cleaned the area with betadine or something first and I think it was really unnecessary to shove the sponge halfway up my twat. Anyway, not pleasant but not anything to scream about. Later on lead to some entertainment as, in recovery, I could “pee” without moving (when nurse emptied the bag). And my dear spouse had to help transport the bag when I was finally taken up to the postpartum floor (ah, that’s love).

The incision felt, to me, exactly as if someone had drawn a line across my tummy with a felt-tip pen. I remember saying “Oh cool!”. Lots of pressure as they were tugging things around to get the baby out. I sort of knew that would happen but nothing quite prepares you for the sensation of them apparently attempting to push your liver, lungs and kidneys out through that 5 inch incision!