December 2012 Moms

planning for an unplanned c section...

I had been planning on a med free and natural birth throughout my whole pregnancy.  Everything has been fantastic and no issues. However, we found out at my appt today (38 weeks), that my amniotic fluid levels are very low.  I have no progress toward labor besides her head being engaged, and the baby is posterior. Induction really does not make sense, and the doctor wants to get her out.  We discussed it, and he didn't pressure me too much, but we decided that a c section would be a better and safer choice than induction.  I am disappointed, but baby's health is what is most important. It's exciting to know I'm going to meet my baby in the morning, but scary too.

My question is... what can I do to prepare for the c section in such a short amount of time? What different things will I need to pack in my hospital bag? What did others experience as far as recovery if you've had a c section?  I had not even really educated myself much on this, but am frantically doing so now. I hope some of you can offer some real advice and expectations. Thanks.

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Re: planning for an unplanned c section...

  • i'm sorry things won't go as you had hoped. I can't offer first hand experience, but I can make suggestions based on what I have seen friends and family go through.  

    At home, try to make sure that things you will need for baby are in one place that are easy to get to - diapers, wipes, clothes, burp clothes, etc.  this will be especially important if your home is more than one level.  Keep as much of your needed stuff as possible in the area where you will be (such as in the living room if you plan to be recovering on the couch). 

    Have/pack things that are loose - even if it's cold outside where you are, some maxi dress type clothes will be great so they aren't touching your incision. If you can run to the store you may consider picking up some loose or nursing night gowns. 

    Keep up with your pain meds - my sister wasn't asking for her meds soon enough and she was having terrible breakthrough pain. She had a really tough recovery until she got the timing of the meds down. I've heard others say this as well.  

    Good luck tomorrow!!!  

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  • Pack more clothes since you'll have a longer stay than you would with your vaginal birth. I actually wore mostly sweatpants and tank tops. I just made sure they were pants that wouldn't rub on my incision (which is really, really low).

    Stay on top of your pain meds! I made sure to ask for them, and made sure I took them right on time once I got home. Don't be a hero!

    Walk as soon as they let you. I made sure I walked back and forth to the nursery whenever they needed to be taken back or picked up. I also walked around my room a lot. It sucked to get out of bed, but I think that moving helped me out a lot.

    I didn't have a belly band, and I've thought about getting one this time, but I'm still undecided.

    And keep your positive attitude! I found that the attitude of whatever gets baby here safely helped me not beat myself up for having a section.


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  • I'm sorry you have to deal with this. But like you said it seems to be the best choice for LO. Everyone I know said to make sure you have granny panties so you don't rub anything on your incision. Also like PP stated, take your meds on time. Try not to be super woman and give yourself time to heal. Good luck and can't wait to hear all about LO.

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  • I think in most cases, people aren't hoping for a c-section. However, when you look at the situation, it's about safe and healthy birth for both you and your LO. 

    My advice is the following:

    1. Relax as best as you can, but allow yourself to be a bit upset if necessary that you aren't having the birth you had hoped. While this is the first time this is happening for you, your OB has done this before, most likely a number of times. Take solace in knowing that they (nurses, doctors, support staff) know what they're doing.

    2.  Pack enough clothing. Unlike a vaginal birth, with a c-section the surgery will occur (most likely) right around your panty line. Thus, it's best to have underwear that are for lack of a better name, granny panties. You want underwear that will go above your incision site, as to prevent from any discomfort. 

    3. Don't balk at meds. It's okay to take the pain meds. Everyone has different pain tolerance, and if you need it, TAKE IT!  

    4. You can still breast feed if you have a c-section. You can still bond with your child not too soon after delivery. Ask for help in recovery from either the nurses or lactation consultant. It's doable!

    5. Use your signficant other to help you. It's hard at first to get up, especially the first 48 hours or so. Ask for help. Nurses, staff, and your family members are there to help.

    6. While recovering, WALK WALK WALK! It sounds like the opposite of what your would think is the way to heal, but it does help. Get up as soon as you can, and walk around. It helps with healing and also helps with #7.

    7. Take the stool softeners and don't be scared to pass gas/have a BM. A c-section is surgery. Your insides are moved around, and often as a result gas pain and constipation. Walking helps, as does drinking prune juice. My friend just delievered via c-sec for her 3rd and ended up in such severe gas pain during day 3 she ultimately had an enema to elevate the pain. Not pretty at all.

    8. Take it easy once you get home. I'd stay at the hospital as long as you can, to get the extra help. Once you do get home, take it easy. Watch the stairs, don't lift things that are too heavy, and take meds if you need them. 

    I know that's a lot of information but I know you and your LO will be fine. Good luck! 

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