When did you have your C-section?

March 2017

Was it planned or unexpected?

A little bit of both! I was planning on a natural vaginal delivery but discovered at my 38 week appointment that my baby was breech. My OB scheduled an ultrasound to see if I would be a candidate for an external version. At that appointment, it was confirmed that my baby was in a Frank Breech position and that I had very low fluid so they wanted to deliver via c-section that day and my baby was born about 5 hours later.

What was your recovery like?

Super painful in the first 24 hours. The nurses encouraged me to sit up and stand which almost felt impossible. However, I was determined to get the catheter out and made every effort to try to move and walk (within reason). I kept on top of my pain medications when I was home and never needed anything stronger than ibuprofen.

What surprised you about your C-section recovery?

The shaking! When I got out of surgery and needed to nurse, I could hardly hold the baby because I was shaking so bad. The other thing was bloating. I felt super bloated in my stomach for a while and like my whole body was full of fluid.

What types of pain relief/control did you use?

I just took the 800 mg ibuprofen I was prescribed on a schedule. I don’t think I used all of it and never required anything stronger.

What types of comfort measures were helpful to you?

Before delivery, my doula massaged my feet which helped calm my nerves. During the birth, my husband stroked my head and told me I was doing a good job, which was calming and helpful because I was extremely anxious and felt like I had no control at all. After my baby was delivered, the anesthesiologist stayed by me (everyone else was over by the baby) and just talked to me as I was getting stitched back up. I had a lot of support postpartum. People helped bring me food and water so that I could rest and recover and I really tried to take it easy especially in the first 2 weeks. I avoided walking up stairs as much as possible. I also used a belly binder that they ordered for me in the hospital which was extremely helpful. I chose to breastfeed so using a breast-friend pillow was great and helped me not put too much pressure on my incision.

How did you feel emotionally about your C-section in the early postpartum weeks?

Fortunately, it wasn’t an emergency and I knew that it was extremely likely I would need one so I had a few days to come to terms with it and “make my peace with God” so-to-speak. I felt like I missed out a bit on labor and delivery. I had a lot of mixed emotions but was so happy that both baby and I were healthy and was pleased that the procedure went so well and I had a relatively good recovery.

When you think about your C-section today, how do you feel about it?

I am really proud of it and of myself. It was the right thing for me and my baby. I am so thankful for modern medicine. C-sections get a pretty bad reputation among the natural birth community, but I don’t know if my baby and I would be here if they weren’t available. I am so thankful for trained medical professionals who can do them well.

What advice would you give other people who’ve recently had a C-section?

Birth is birth and you can be so proud of what you went through to bring this baby into the world. We literally had major surgery to birth our children (and most of the time, you’re awake for it!) – that’s pretty badass. Don’t feel bad asking for help, sitting on the couch a bit more than you’re used to, and don’t let your bloated tummy get you down. It will go down eventually. Your body just went through something huge. Give yourself grace. There is no one way to feel about birth. You can feel many different things and that’s ok. I am so proud of you. You are courageous.