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? )
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.
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.