There are alot of controversies and confusions over C-sections. It’s said that c-sections are happening too often, and that they are dangerous.
I have had 3 C-sections from 3 different hospitals. Each story is a little different, and the reasons why I needed one are all different.
Sure there are times I wish I had a vaginal delivery, but you know what? In the end it doesn’t matter how your precious baby was born, just as long as the outcome results in a healthy mom and baby.
Never be ashamed of needing to have a C-sections because, pregnancies and deliveries are almost impossible to predict what is going to happen.
You may have this perfect birth plan in mind, to have a natural birth and no drugs… so did I, but it doesn’t always work out the way you have planned.
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What is a c-section delivery
Cesarean section also known as a c-section is a surgical procedure where the doctor cuts an incision into the the lower part of the stomach and the uterus and delivers the baby that way.
C- sections have increased quite a bit over the years, in 2015 about 32% of deliveries have been done by c-sections. There are a lot of reasons why a mother my need to deliver via c-section rather than vaginally, whether they are planned operations or unplanned.
What happens during a c-section delivery?
When it is decided that you will need a c-section they will get you prepped for the OR. They will come in and tell you the procedure, and why it is needed to be done, and get your consent.
Then an anesthesiologist will come in and either give you a spinal block or an epidural, depending on your reasons for having a c-section. After that they will place a urinary catheter and leave it in until the next day.
They will then roll you into the operating room, and get you ready for the operation. Depending on the hospital and the situation, you are able to see the whole thing being done.
They normally have a blue surgery drape over the lower half of you, but they have a see throw one if you are courageous to watch. I did not opt to go that route because I probably would have passed out!
But they will poke your feet and your tummy to see if you feel anything and ask you, if you can’t feel anything then they will create the incision and start the process.
The whole time the anestesiologist is there talking to you, making sure you’re comfortable and being your little cheerleader.
Having a c-section is the most strangest feeling you may ever feel. You don’t feel the pain but you feel lots of uncomfortable pressure. My first and last c-section I felt the pressure because both times I had an epidural, making it hard to block all feeling. My second time I had a spinal block and with that I felt absolutely nothing, no pressure or anything, it was pretty amazing.
If the whole delivery goes smooth they will hand your your baby so yo can have skin to skin contact. However, there are times that you might not get to have that do to complications. My sister wasn’t able to because with the anestesia she was too shaky and they did not let her hold her son. I think they could have let her or at least place him on her chest while the nurse held him, but for whatever reason they didn’t let her.
Another reason why they might not let you is if there is something wrong with you or your baby. If the c-section was an emergancy, you may not be able to get to hold your child right away. One of my twins wasn’t breathing on his own and it took what seemed like forever for him to start breathing on his own. They had to make sure he was good before I was able to hold him.
Reasons for planned Cesarean Section
Sometimes this kind of delivery is planned for numerous of reasons. If you have had a c-section before, more than likely you may need one again. It all depends on your body and your hospital. My second son I wanted to wait until his due date to have one. I wanted to see if he would come on his own and then go from there, and see if I would need one or not.
Well, he decided to stay in all the way up to his due date. The hospital I went to felt more comfortable performing a c-section than me waiting a few more days. If you have a vbak (vaginal delivery after a c-section) there could be complications, but not all the time. You hear a lot of moms having v-backs, and being successful. But, some hospitals might not feel comfortable or may not be skilled enough to preform one.
I has already had two before my twins, so for multiple reasons, they recommended that I have another c-section. I went to a different hospital this time, and they pretty much told me that my second c-section probably wasn’t necessary, so that was kind of a disappointment.
However, they said with my history of deliveries and why I needed one with my first son, they said the doctor probably wanted to do a c-section because history repeats itself. I wasn’t dilating with my first son, I might not with my second.
My twins were a high-risk pregnancy to begin with and having had two operations before, it could have put me at an even higher risk if I had done it vaginally. There was a high risk of hemorrhaging, where you can bleed a lot and possible need a blood transfusion or could bleed out. So obviously I didn’t want to risk that.
Reason for unplanned c-sections
Again, a reason for an unplanned c-section really depends on the state of the mom and baby. My first child I really wanted to have a drug free simple vaginal delivery. He was a week late so I got induced, because if a baby goes too long after their due date there are more risks of complications with the baby. The placenta could stop working the way it’s supposed to along with other issues.
So, I went to the hospital on a Monday night and got induced. Nothing happened, so they gave me medication to try to make my contractions stronger. The contractions were starting to pick up, but nothing significant.
They tried a device to see if it would help me dilate and that didn’t help. Tuesday passed I was still at the hospital.
Wednesday morning still nothing except for my contraction were getting a lot stronger, but not dilating. So, the doctor suggested getting an epidural to help me relax because I was tired but couldn’t sleep. I did not want to but they talked me into it since it has been so long. I got very little rest still.
When you have an epidural you lay on your side and they will have you switch from side to side every so often. When I was on one side his heart was starting to drop. He was moving down but I just wasn’t dilating at all. They suggested to do a c-section because it could start to cause complications.
For the safety of my baby and myself I didn’t argue. The doctors know what they are doing and I just wanted everyone to be healthy.
There are lot of other reasons for unplanned c-sections like:
- Wrong positioning
- Birth defects
- Fetal distress
- Chronic health conditions
- Cord prolapse
- Cephalopelvic disproportion- where the baby is too large to fit through mother’s pelvic
- Maternal hemorrhage- bleed out
What are possible c-section complications
Cesarean sections are overall extremely safe, but there are risks of having a c-section just like any other form of surgery. But, do not get worried about this. These doctors know exactly what they are doing, they tell you the risks just so you and your family are aware of them.
Some c-section complications are:
- Blood clots
- Too much blood loss
- Infection after c-section
- Injury to organs
- A reaction to the drugs or anesthesia
- Harm to baby- accidentally nick the baby
- Death of mother
In the US, a mother dying during labor is very rare. It’s more common with a Cesarean section than a vaginal delivery but it’s still a low probability.
What are the benefits of a c-section
You may wonder if there are benefits of having a c-section. Well, believe or not there are. For the baby it lowers risks of baby’s injury like should dystocia (shoulder lodged in mom’s pelvic, fractures, or oxygen deprivation.
Also, you don’t have to worry about your HOOHA stretching out. So, that’s a plus! 😉
Cesarean section recovery tips
After you deliver your baby and everything is going good, they will bring you back to your room that you will stay in the next 2-3 days, or longer depending on how everything is going. You will still be numb from your waste down until the next day.
The nurse will come in every hour or so to help with the recovery process, and make sure everything and everyone is doing well. You will get medications for the pain that are safe for breastfeeding.
The recovery is similar to a vaginal delivery. You still get to wear those fun depends, and the nurse will come and massage your uterus. The next day the nurse will help you walk to the bathroom and take a shower, because you will still be a little wobbly.
With my first son, I felt no pain in the incision area at all. My second child I felt some but not bad. The recovery period with my twins was a lot worse, because it being my third c-section and all the scar tissue that had to cut through. It hurt to go to the bathroom, bend and oh my gosh sneezing!
When I got home the pain was still hard to deal with so I called the doctor to see if I could up the dose of the medication. I’m not going to lie, with going through the recovery, your hormones going back to normal and breastfeeding, my body was in the most uncomfortable situation ever. The pain lasted about a week, but fully recovered 4-6 weeks after the birth. If this is your first I hope you the same recovery as my first. 🙂
Things you can do at home to help the recovery process.
Your doctor will go over the incision care with you before you go home. There are different cares for how they cut you and what they used to close the incision.
They could close you up with stitches, staples, surgical glue. So, depending on what they used, the incision care will differ.
These things are important things I recommend having or doing while you’re healing
Belly band- I wish I used one after all of my pregnancies, get yourself a belly band. It will help support your tummy, the compression helps with the pain, and helps get your uterus and tummy back to it’s normal size. Make sure they are good for c-section recovery like this one.
Stool softener– Having a baby makes you super constipated in the first place, but there is nothing like being constipated while you’re still sore and hurting. It can hurt your incision to push hard, so make sure to drink lots of water and take stool softener. (I wish someone told me this!)
Ibuprofen or Tylenol– have these on hand for the pain. They will send you home with a stronger pain reliever, but sometimes this does the trick or maybe you are still in slight pain after you run out of the prescribed drugs. Both of these medications are safe for breastfeeding. Also, I always felt my milk let down, and it hurt! I would take Ibuprofen to help with that pain alone.
Heating pad– this will help with the swelling, cramping and ease the pain. Make sure to have it set to a low setting.
Loose fitting pants and undies– Most of the time the doctor will recommend leaving the incision uncovered to reduce infection and heal faster. So, loose fitting clothes will help that, plus it will feel so much more comfortable. And if you rather wear undies than depends these are great.
Depends and pads– Instead of normal underwear I would wear these because it didn’t press on my incision, plus you will still have lots of fluid coming out for the next week or so after being home.
What to do the night before your c-section
Like any surgery there are night preps that you need to do. You are not allowed to drink or eat after between 10 and 12, your doctor will let you know the specific time. Make sure you drink a lot of water before then, I learned from that mistake. My first planned c-section I didn’t think of not being able to drink and I was so thirsty the next day. They do this so you don’t vomit and possibly aspirate and choke. You are allowed to brush your teeth but be careful to not swallow water while rinsing your mouth out.
You should take a shower before you go to the hospital just so you feel fresh even after your procedure. One hospital I was at gave me a special soap to use during my shower, but other hospitals I went to did not give me soap. But, they will let you know if your own soap is good enough or not.
Last get sleep! I know it’s easier said then done. You’re pregnant first of all, and you are about to have a baby, plus knowing you will have a c-section it’s nerve racking. But, try your hardest to get sleep.
My first son was two when I had my second boy, and the night before I think he sensed something was going to happen because, he did not sleep at all that night. He would not let dad put him to bed, he only wanted me. And of course he wouldn’t fall asleep so I put the TV on so he could sleep, that didn’t work. I got a whole 30 minutes of sleep before having surgery and meeting my new son.
I was exhausted! So try your hardest to get some nice sleep.
Are There side effects of having a c-section?
There are side effects to having a c-section, these can effect you and or your baby. It is common for babies to be born with fluid in their lungs. When the baby is delivered vaginally, they go through the mom’s canal helping with pushing the fluid out of their lungs.
Babies don’t have that to their advantage when delivered by c-sections. However, the doctors are good at getting the fluid out, but there is that risk that they can’t get it all out in time.
Future pregnancies maybe be difficult after having a c-section. The more you have, the bigger chance that your placenta can abnormally stick your wall. Also, if you have a vbak you have a higher chance that the uterus will tear open along the scar tissue.
Why are c-sections considered a bad thing?
Cesarean sections are actually considered really safe. They just tend to have more risks than vaginal delivery for obvious reasons like it being major surgery. There’s risks for the baby and mom like hemorrhaging or blood clots, but these risks are very uncommon.
This procedure is actually good and we are lucky they can be done for situations like the baby and mom are in distress and need to be delivered immediately.
I think the whole “c-sections are bad” stigma came from society saying it’s bad. They say you should try to have a natural delivery, that’s the only way you should do it. You hear people talking down about not having a vaginal delivery, and how it’s so much easier or a cop out to have a c-section. Well, you see all the risks and complications that could happen plus the recovery, it’s not the easy way out.
Having a baby vaginally or by c-section are both hard, complicated and tiring physically and emotionally. If you have one don’t feel like your less of a mom that you couldn’t have one naturally. I hear moms brag saying, “oh I did it with no drugs, and all natural,” well that was my plan too, but things happen.
The most important thing is that you and baby are safe and healthy. We need to lift each other up as moms and not drag each other down, because motherhood is hard enough as it is.
Do they cut the same scar for a second c-sections?
Not all c-section incisions are the same because it depends on how the baby is positioned in the uterus, and other factor go along with that. You can have a horizontal incision or a vertical incision.
That being said they might have to make a different incision. However, it is more common that they do cut the same scar. This can cause issues if you have multiple c-sections because the scar tissue builds up and it can cause the next procedure to take a little longer.
How long does it take to have a c-section with twins?
It makes sense that a twin c-section would take longer than a singleton because there are two babies. In my experience it took quiet a bit longer because it was my third and there was a lot more scar tissue to cut through. But, the actual delivery of the babies didn’t take a whole lot longer. They had one baby out and within 2 minutes my second was out. The closing up also took longer because of the scaring.
Since it does take longer than a one baby delivery they do an epidural instead of a spinal block, because the drugs lasts longer and they were able to control the amount, going into me.
Spinal vs epidural for c-sections
I didn’t know there were two different kinds of anesthesia for deliveries until I had gone through it. Spinal blocks are an anesthetic that is in a need and it goes into the spine and administered once. Where as, an epidural goes into the spine with a catheter so they can have more control on the amount given-it is a continuous anesthesia.
My first I had an epidural like I had mentioned earlier, I was still able to feel very uncomfortable pressure but no pain. My second baby I had a spinal block because it was a quick procedure. With that I didn’t feel anything, not even the pressure, it was pretty nice. When I had my twins I had another epidural because it was a longer procedure, they needed it to be a continuous dose so the anesthesia didn’t wear off.
Why has c-sections in US increased?
In the U.S., c-sections have increase significantly since 2000; 7.2% in 2000 to 31.0% in 2017. That is a huge jump. I have asked a doctor at the last hospital I delivered at, because I could tell they tried to avoid c-sections as much as possible. I liked that, but at the same time I feel like they looked down at me because I have had 2, like it was my fault.
But anyways, she said she thinks it’s because it’s faster, planned (in most cases), and more cost effective. But, I thought it was a lot more due to anesthesia and everything else.
Well, it turns out that doctors get more money if they perform a c-section. I came across this study . It talks about the study they did, and the conclusion was that the rapid increase was the reimbursement that doctors get from the government.
I’m sure there are more reasons, like mother’s requesting one because they feel more in control with knowing with their baby is coming, and ease the anxiety of not knowing when labor is starting.
There was a lot I didn’t know about having a c-section until I had one. But, still every time I had one, each delivery was different. So, I hope with all of my experience this helps you understand the whole process of a c-section, what to expect, and what to do to get ready for your baby to arrive.