I didn’t want a c-section because the whole idea squicked me out.
Like many people, I opted for an unmedicated labor … which went on forever with no progress and the pain levels were very high. I finally agreed to a c-section, at my doctor’s urging.
WELL, the administering of the epidural might have seemed uncomfortable to someone who hadn’t just been in labor for hours; I barely noticed it. The relief was within minutes. The c-section itself had zero pain or discomfort while it was happening.
At the very beginning, the anesthesiologist told me “some people feel like they’re falling, because you can’t feel the table underneath you” and about 30 seconds later, I told him I was falling off the table. I’m sure he gets this a lot. He patiently said AGAIN “okay, that’s because you can’t feel the table.” It was a weird feeling, because it did feel like falling, only you’re obviously not because you can see with your own eyes that you haven’t dropped down to the floor.
I will mention that in my childbirth class, I heard a million times that the epidural doesn’t alter your mental state, it only relieves the pain … but that was not my experience. I was high as a kite, and jolly about it. I did feel a tugging or rocking sensation as the OB was getting in there, so to speak, but it wasn’t unpleasant and it was kind of a disassociated feeling, because I was really too anesthetized to feel any specific area.
My recovery was quite uneventful. I didn’t feel great the first day or two, but it wasn’t unbearable and the hospital provided plenty of medication to deal with it. I took the advice I received here on the SDMB – try to walk as soon as you can. Obviously it’s slow walking, and for short distances, but I got myself to the bathroom and back as soon as I could manage it. (My hospital wouldn’t remove the catheter or the compression stockings until I proved I could walk, so my baby’s birth was recorded at 3:02 PM, and I was walking by 6:30 PM.)
At home, recovery continued to be fine. I wasn’t bed-ridden, I wasn’t in pain.
One weird incident happened about five months after the baby, by that point I considered myself completely recovered. Then our cat jumped up on the bed in the middle of the night, and landed squarely on the incision area. I think my screams woke up everyone in the county. So yeah, your insides are still sorting themselves out months after the fact.