Decided to have a c-section...

After having additional complications with a health concern of mine, my Neurologist, OB, MFM and I pretty much all came to the same conclusion together-a c-section will be the best way to bring our first LO into the world. My husband is on board, so long as I am OK with it as well. I feel pretty comfortable with the decision and think it is the safest option for LO and myself. I have done a lot of research on having this major surgery and some common things to expect. Can you ladies let me know some things that might not be in the books or mentioned "commonly" to expect, some things to prepare for, and some things to help speed recovery? I do plan to BF our LO as well-any complications with that due to having a C-S? TIA!!
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Re: Decided to have a c-section...

  • I had an unexpected c-section, but some tips I have are: You may shake violently after the epi/spinal and after the surgery.  it is from the meds and is normal.  Try to move around as soon as you can after the surgery, but don't push yourself too hard.  Light walking, and just standing and moving will help speed up your recovery.  When people offer to help-TAKE IT!  I tried to vacuum 2 weeks PP, and my incision opened up. I was just plain stubborn lol.  When it comes to nursing, be patient and keep trying.  It is tough in the beginning. And use a boppy pillow so LO doesn't kick you right in your incision-that hurts. Good luck and congratulations!!
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  • Just don't push yourself too hard after, but do move around.  As far as BF I had no problems besides FTM and newborn both learning what to do.  Try different positions.  I couldn't hold DD on my stomach when BF, but the "football" hold or laying down, worked great for both of us in teh first few days.  Just try different things to see what works best for both of you. 
    BFP #1 August 2007, Lost Nov 2007, no heartbeat found at anatomy ultrasound at 19 wks
    BFP #2 March 2011, Baby Girl born November 2011!!!
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  • A c-section isn't as bad as some people will tell you it is.  Make your hopes for how you envision your delivery clear to your OB and remember that you still deserve the birth experience you imagined. If you want your baby to stay with you and your SO in the operating and recovery room then make that known. Most hospitals will tell you that the baby will have to go right to the nursery - if you and baby are both healthy then that trip to the nursery can be delayed for bonding and breastfeeding.  Also I recommend having a little mommy station set up at home with a few comfy pillows, a book, diapers and wipes, burp cloths  and things you will need so that you don't have to get up 4 million times in 5 minutes  

  • The day after surgery is pretty rough, but my experience is that each day after that gets better. I agree with pp about moving as much as you can without overdoing it.

    Also, Colace is your best friend! This, along with lots of fruit, veggies, and water, should help with the dreaded post-op constipation.

    Take care of yourself, take help when it's offered, and you will do great! GL! 

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  • Keep up with yoir meds, find a private LC you can contact if there's not one available at the hospital, and hold a pillow or folded blanket up against your incision when you're getting up and down those first few weeks. Good luck!
    DS1 - Feb 2008

    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

  • Be sure to have a decent amount of granny panties or maternity panties as you will not want to wear any normal underwear as they will hit right at your incision line.  Even my extra large regular u/w that I wore when pregnant didn't work.  I personally LOVED the mesh u/w that you get at the hospital, but some people hate them.  If you find that you like them once you are there, ask the nurse for extras so you can take them home.  You can also run them through the wash, I did!

    Along those same lines, also be sure you have plenty of comfy pants and sleepwear.  Most people post that they liked their yoga pants, but mine hit on my incision so I preferred extra large pajama pants or sweats to hang out in the first couple of weeks.  I had thought that anything that was comfy while I was 9 mos pregnant would work, but it didn't (b/c of where it hit on my incision).  I had to send DH to the store to buy me comfy pants and pajamas...you should see the eclectic collection he brought home!  :) 

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  • My advice is not to be fearful about it.  Many of us have had great c/s experiences!

    Get up and walk as soon as they'll allow you to.  I badgered the nurses to remove my catheter asap after DD was born so I could get up and walk.  I think this definitely helped me heal quickly - I felt great by the time we went home. 

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    anderson . september 2008
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    mabel . august 2012
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  • Everyone has given really great tips so far. I wanted to say though you might start shaking before the drugs even enter your body. i did. It was nerves. 

     I agree about the underwear. We had to go out and buy some because the underwear I had hit right above the incision. I got grannie panty underwear and it worked perfected. It was the same with my maternity jeans too. So I recommend comfie pants.

    DS had to be airlifted to the NICU 1.5 hours away within hours of being born (not related to c/s). We were still able to breast fed. I had to pump... a lot to help my milk come in so it would be ready for him when we were reunited.

    My catheter was left in for over 24 hours probably close to 36. This is because I was excerpting fluids like it was going outta style. I would have been in the bathroom every 30 minutes without it. I recovered just fine.   

    DS was born at 35 weeks 1 day due to severe IUGR and pre-e. Weighed 3 pounds 4.5 ounces and spent 21 days in the NICU.  Our little miracle. 

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  • Thanks for all the great advice ladies! I appreciate it :)
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  • Steal as much mesh underwear as you can from the hospital.

    Take stool softeners beginning the day before surgery.

    Get up and move every day, but don't overdo it. 

    A boppy or nursing pillow is a must. 

    Don't be a hero...take your pain meds on the schedule. It's important to stay ahead of the pain. 

    You will probably swell up a lot post c/s b/c of the fluids they pump into you. My doc was more than happy to give me a diuretic to help me shed the water weight. Know that might be an option. 

    I was super worried about breastfeeding. It was really no big deal post c/s, except for some minor incision discomfort! My milk came in just fine. Just keep baby on your chest as much as possible (ideally skin to skin) and put him/her to breast every two hours. 

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  • I agree with everything everyone else said.

    Depending on the doctor c-section moms are sometimes routinely given a sedative either before or during surgery. My current OB doesn't do this but the one I had with DS1 did. I was relaxed but it made breastfeeding harder. I had no idea until my current OB got my surgical records. Talk with your OB and see what they do.

    Some things are going to be hard to do when you get home. Anything that involves bending at your waist wont be possible at first. Before you leave for the hospital make sure you move things like pads to where you could reach them when you need them. With DS1 I'd left mine under the sink and had to yell for my mom from the toilet to reach them. I also normally keep my shampoo on the edge of our tub instead of in the shower caddy. This was something else that I thought to move beforehand with DS2.  There may be other things in your home like this so plan a head and move things.

    When you go in to have your c-section you will have to get to the hospital early and will probably have a lot of downtime. Tell your nurse that you want to breastfeed and would welcome any help after surgery. You could also ask if a lactation consaultant would be able to come to recovery to help you. 

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  • I had horrible gas pains in my neck.  At first I did not know what it was but the nurse said it was because when I was opened up air gets inside and causes the gas pain.  Luckily there was a pill I could take for it.

     No one told me the nurses and doctors were going to check my uterus the day after my surgery.  This sucked this was worse than getting out of bed.  To check my uterus they came in and pushed on my stomach right above my incision.  I wanted to slap the nurse upside the head when she was doing this.

     Buy a stomach binder.  This was a huge help in being able to get in and out of bed and walk around.  It kept everything in place.  I truly believe that I healed faster because of it.

     Wear slip on shoes to leave the hospital.  I did not want to bend down to tie anything or put anything on.

    Some people told me to bring a step ladder to get into the car if you have a truck or SUV.

    Hope this helps.

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  • I had scheduled c-sections for both of my breech babies, and I have to tell you that it's not that bad.  I thought I had it easy with my first, but this time was even easier.  

    Being a FTM was hard for me, but my c-section experience was actually great.  

    m/c - Dec 2005, DS - March 27, 2007, m/c - Oct 2009, DD - Feb 20, 2012

    Proud mother of two breech babies:)

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  • I must agree with PPs...it really wasn't bad for me at all (but everyone is different).

    I knew nothing about c-sections going in. I had 18 hours of labor before my doctor decided that LO was breech. So my whole experience wasn't really thought through in my mind. And actually---it was probably better that way. Don't overthink it because you'll probably scare yourself for nothing. Take things as they come and focus on the baby. Like they say with vaginal delievery---you forget about the pain quickly.

    Like said, everyone's experience is different. But if it helps the hospital failed to give me any pain meds afterwards and I did fine. Not saying they wouldn't have been nice. I didn't know I was supposed to have them until my 2 week PP check up. My doctor was LIVID.

    Your hospital should supply you with a binder. Ask for an extra one to take home with you just incase. This thing was a lifesaver for me! My first one got kinda yucky from PP bleeding so having a back up was great.

    The most server pain I can remember is getting in and out of bed/couch/etc. It helps a lot if you can pull your legs up before turning to one side of the other. And if you can pull your legs up and have your DH/SO pull you up by your hands. The least you have to stretch/move/turn those muscles in the beginning the better.

    I didn't have any issues at all with BFing right after. My milk was probably a bit delayed but LO latched just fine.

  • Relax!  Best decision you ever made. If I go through it again, I will remember not to stress about it so much.  Worst part was epi but only because I was scared. And I hate Ivs. Otherwise upon reflection, I am so so glad. Compared to many of my friends experiences vaginally. Do take it easy when you get home.  And take whatever the hell you want to the hospital. Second time around I will ignore requests to pack light :). Have fun!  
  • In addition to what everyone has said, I was FREEZING cold in the OR. Not right away but once they opened me up and all the way back to my room. It wasn't that big of a deal, they get you hot blankets to warm up your top half but I was surprised by it and I hated that I couldn't warm myself up easily because I couldn't move. Just a heads up!

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