How to mentally prepare for a C-section?? — The Bump
C-sections

How to mentally prepare for a C-section??

I was informed that my chance of having a C-section is at around 95% for the health and safety of my baby. I'm bummed as I was hoping for a VBAC since this is my first but I have had medical issues that more then likely will interfere with a vag delivery and also baby is measuring big and her head will more then likely not fit through my pelvic area. 

How does one mentally prepare for a surgery like this??

I'm terrified of surgery in general and this was my biggest fear besides not being able to take her home right away. 

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Re: How to mentally prepare for a C-section??

  • I had to have an emergency c/s and I've heard that being able to prepare for it is so much better. The surgery itself is not bad...you'll be so excited to meet your LO! The day of the surgery and first day PP is the most difficult...it will literally take you 5 minutes just to get out of bed (the nurses will guide you so you're not straining your stomach muscles). But, each day that goes by it gets easier. Take your pain meds and you'll be fine. I am 3 wks PP and feel great!! GL!
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  • I had a fantastic recovery and remind myself everyday that I am grateful I didn't tear badly or have the after-effects associated with a vaginal delivery. Emotionally I'm still heartbroken over my scheduled c-section but at the time I kept focusing on the fact that I would much rather have the higher risk ratio be on my than my LO. Vaginal was too risky with my footling breech baby. I recently met a mom who delivered that way. Her baby nearly died, had to be resuscitated, and she didn't get to hold him for more than a day afterward. Thinking about her story makes it easier for me to come to terms with my delivery. 
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  • Focus on the fact that all that matters is a healthy mom and healthy baby.  Repeat it over and over to yourself.
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  • imageRootBeerFloat29:
    Focus on the fact that all that matters is a healthy mom and healthy baby.  Repeat it over and over to yourself.

    This--definitely!  :-) 

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  • Does your hospital by chance offer a c-section class? I know they are not common, but my hospital has one and I actually found it really reassuring.  I actually felt excited afterwards! If not, a tour of L&D where you focus your questions on the procedure might help?

    Just know going in that within a few minutes of everything starting, you'll have a baby there with you! 

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  • Thank you everyone,

    I feel a little bit better. I have talked to a few of my friends who had to have one and I've pulled the books back out and really read the sections on c-sections.

    I know its the safest healthiest option for baby but I feel really sad about it because I feel like I will be missing out on the one thing I'm supposed to be able to do no problem... I just don't want to put her at risk for being sick and not being able to come home right away because she gets something from me that could be avoided.

    Also scheduling a c-section means that baby has longer to grow and develop. Dr was going to consider induction at 36-37 weeks depending on measurements because she wanted to support my decision for a vag delivery but now if I have to have one anyways, as long as baby doesn't show distress, she can stay in longer and grow.

    Reminding myself that its for her that I am doing this is probably the only thing that is going to get me through it. I have time to prepare and hopefully stay away from the horror stories. She is my little surprise and I don't want to ruin it by being selfish.

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  • I am confused, you say you wanted a VBAC, but it's your first child? I don't understand that.

    In regards to your original question, I think just being aware and asking questions puts you ahead of the game, so to speak.

    Honestly, having a c section wasn't terrible (medically). I recovered well, with no complications. The hardest part was the emotional let down that I could not have a vaginal birth. However, if I had been told in advance a c section was a possiblilty for a medical reason, that would have given me time to prepare for it.

    My advice? Make sure you have cooked some meals ahead of time, and stock your freezer. Make sure your partner has some time off of work and will understand you can't do much physically the first week or so.

    Buy some comfy, non maternity clothing. Like nursing tanks, or regular tank tops. And stretchy pants. Slip on shoes or flip flops for the hospital. An abdomninal binder helps, too.

    best of luck!

     

    b/w=FSH 15.6, AMH 0.4 surprise natural BFP on 3/12/11
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  • imageSaphrineDragon:

    Thank you everyone,

    I feel a little bit better. I have talked to a few of my friends who had to have one and I've pulled the books back out and really read the sections on c-sections.

    I know its the safest healthiest option for baby but I feel really sad about it because I feel like I will be missing out on the one thing I'm supposed to be able to do no problem... I just don't want to put her at risk for being sick and not being able to come home right away because she gets something from me that could be avoided.

    Also scheduling a c-section means that baby has longer to grow and develop. Dr was going to consider induction at 36-37 weeks depending on measurements because she wanted to support my decision for a vag delivery but now if I have to have one anyways, as long as baby doesn't show distress, she can stay in longer and grow.

    Reminding myself that its for her that I am doing this is probably the only thing that is going to get me through it. I have time to prepare and hopefully stay away from the horror stories. She is my little surprise and I don't want to ruin it by being selfish.

    I think it's good that you said this.  There are c/s horror stories, and a lot of the women on this board have them, but at the same time, most of those stories are from emergency c/s.  Almost everyone, from this board and IRL, whose planned c/s story I've heard has had positive stories.  As long as you know you're doing what's best for you and baby, you'll be fine.  Yeah it's uncomfortable and hard because you really can't do a lot, but it's really not bad....and I had one of those horror story c/s you are trying to avoid hearing about!

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  • I had an unplanned c-section, and it was a great experience.  After laboring all day with no progress, my LO's heart rate was starting to drop, so we made the decision to have a c-section. 

    My advice would be to go at it with a positive attitude.  My OB was great about talking over the procedure with me and answering my questions.  He put me at ease.  Then, the last question I asked him was, "So, when do I get to cuddle with my little one?"  :)  He gave me a rough time line (we had to wait for a few people), but that was what I focused on the whole time...whenever worry started to creep in to my thoughts I just told myself, "Just a few more minutes and I get to hold my baby!!"  I also told the nurses and DH that I wanted to stay as positive as possible and they were great at encouraging me. 

    FWIW...from the time we left my labor room to the time I got to the recovery room...it was only 45 min!!  I was cuddling and BFing my little one less than 30 min after he was born.   That's my feel-good-happy c-section story :)

     

     

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  • I had a C-section and was honestly shocked by how good of an experience it was!  I went to my 37 week OB appt at 36wks6days,and they found that I was having a number of problems (increasing blood pressure, low amniotic fluid, and LO was breech).  I was sent to the hospital immediately and LO was delivered by C-section the next morning.

     

    I was upset & scared that night because I had really been wanting an unmedicated, vaginal birth.   Ultimately, though, I realized that a healthy LO & a healthy mommy were all that was important... and that it really didn't matter how we got to that point.

     

    The surgery itself was much less painful/traumatic than I expected.  I was nervous, but my OB & anesthesiologist were talking and joking around with me the whole time (except for when I got to meet my LO, obviously!)  LO & DH went to the nursery so she could be weighed, have blood drawn, etc as my doctor finished closing my incision, but they were back with me in recovery within about 30 minutes, so I didn't really feel like I missed out on anything.  It is major surgery, so there is some pain afterwards, but not nearly as bad as I expected.  I was out of bed and walking the hospital halls with assistance by 8 hours post-op, and the next morning I was able to get up and walk the hospital by myself.  (My hospital really encourages you to get up and moving ASAP.)  I took Percocet & Ibuprofen regularly for about a week, then was able to stop the Percocet and gradually weaned off the Ibuprofen over about 2 weeks. I'm now 7 weeks post-op and went running for the first time in over a year last night :)

     

    Overall, it's really not as bad as I expected.  My birthing class included a tour of the operating room & recovery when we did our hospital tour, so I think it did help that I had some idea of what to expect... maybe see if you can do something similar?

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  • i am getting ready to have my 3rd. my first son i was in labor for 31 hours and had to have a c-section. my second son i was in labor for less then an hour and we had to have an emergancy c-section. this time we are doing a planned c-section.

    i wont lie the first day and the day after are a BIG pain. my husband had to stay home with our oldest when i had our second because we didnt have a babysetter for him to stay at the hospital with me, but i had him on sat and was home monday. when i had him i think the most painful part was the day after i had him they had me stand and take a couple steps... its not so much as painful as frustrating because you are still numb from the spinal, so you cant tell if you are moving to fast or to slow... the nurses laughed at me because i kept saying sorry. i got to keep my lil one with me in my room the whole time.

    tell you what tho by 5 weeks after the baby i was back at work. the only thing you have to watch out for is lifting and they will tell you nothing heavier then your baby

  • I'm going to be having my 4th scheduled c section.  I agree that the first few days of recovery kind of suck, but they give you pain meds that make it manageable.  You also don't have all of the issues of worrying about pads with ice or tucks or stuff like that.

     Now I'd never choose a c section over a vaginal birth, but there are a few benefits that you can focus on to help you feel better.  With a scheduled c section you aren't all exhausted so you can bond with your baby more because your body hasn't been in labor for hours so you don't need to keep sleeping.  You can make sure you have everything you want in your hospital bag and you can make sure any arrangements are set in place.  A scheduled c section isn't full of all the unknowns  that you face in a vaginal delivery.  The procedure is pretty much predictable.  

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  • Oh, and out of 3 c sections so far only once did I not get to take my son home right away and that was because they delivered him before 39 weeks.  Even so, he's now 6 and has no issues despite the fact he wasn't ready yet at birth.
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  • Just to clarify terms from your original post - VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Caesarean. For the first, you just call it a vaginal birth.

    imageSaphrineDragon:

    I know its the safest healthiest option for baby but I feel really sad about it because I feel like I will be missing out on the one thing I'm supposed to be able to do no problem... I just don't want to put her at risk for being sick and not being able to come home right away because she gets something from me that could be avoided.

    Regarding the bolded part above - address these feelings BEFORE LO arrives. Since you are planning a c-section, I would imagine it would be easier to do address them before. Mine was unplanned, and I kind of felt like I was in mourning about this for a little while. It detracted from my ability to really enjoy DS's first days of life.

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  • Thank you for posting this. I had an un-medicated vaginal birth with my son but due to a medical issue the safest way to deliver my daughter is going to be a scheduled C-section, and I've been having a hard time getting used to the idea. I know it's best for her and for my safety, but I'm nervous. Reading all these responses is helpful.
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  • I also want to thank you for posting this. This is my first pregnancy and I'm expecting twins. I felt very strongly about having as un-medicated a birth experience as possible, and as soon as we found out we were having twins that all went out the window: C section chances go up to 50%, if delivering vaginally they want you to get the epidural in case the second baby needs to be internally turned or if you need an emergency C section, you have to push in the OR, etc. I had mostly made my peace with this, and now my presenting baby has been breech since 30 weeks, so I have a C section scheduled in two weeks. My emotions have been so mixed about it, as yours have, and this thread has really given me hope that I can still have a peaceful and beautiful birth, even though it will be nothing like I had anticipated.

    So a great big thank you to the original poster and everyone who has replied. You've truly helped me worked through a mental block I've been having. 

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  • Trust your doctors. C-sections are very routine at this point and are done alllll the time. Having one that is planned is even more of an advantage because there isn't a scary rush like with an emergency section.

    During the procedure, mine was completely painless and honestly the whole thing was just more awkward than anything else and was over before I knew it. I was literally lying on the table joking with my OB as he got me all stitched up. The first couple of days suck, but they will give you good drugs to manage the pain.

    Your health and the health of your baby are the most important things, so just focus on that and you will be just fine. If you are anything like me, 6 months from now it will seem like a distant memory. If we were having more kids, I would have absolutely no hesitation about a RCS.


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  • I had an emergency c.section in May and I was not prepared for that. I wish I did. Best advice is ask to the nurses for ice packs to put on the incision it helps with the pain, take your meds at regular hours. Don't expect to walk a lot for 3 days and from your body for the first 4 weeks. I felt dizzy the first few days so I only got up to use the restrooms or get my baby. Get help from your family when you go out from the hospital. You will need it! The c.section went really well I keep good memories from it especially the first time my baby and I made eye contact. I am a little relieved that we will plan a c.section for the next baby unless I go into labor before my due date. For my 1st he arrived at 41 wks + 4 days (not kidding). I was induced because he didn't want to arrive. He couldn't as he has his ombillical cord around the neck. Then he was fine. Good luck and concentrate on having a healthy mom and baby. it's the most important thing.
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  • I had an emergency c/s with my first.  I was tremendously upset afterwards because I knew there was no way I would ever be allowed to try for a VBAC.  But, I eventually came to the realization that this is just what is best for the health and safety of both me and my baby.

    I'm not doing anything specific to prepare for it.  I know that the recovery from this one should be much easier this time as I won't have been in labor for 15 hours beforehand, and I won't have an episiotomy as well, just the c-section itself.

    I think it will be weird once I get in there, to be not having labor pains when they go to do the spinal, but that is the only thing so far that makes me a little nervous.  Other than that, I'm just hoping they will be able to go in right over the scar that I already have, and that they get me sewn up quick so that I can get to hold my baby.


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  • I had a scheduled C-section with DS and I was so nervous that I was going to feel the incision.  As I was holding my husband's hand and bracing myself, I heard my OB say "OK just move the bladder over about 3 inches"  My husband and I just looked at each other and bursted out laughing.  They were already in and ready to get my son out!

    About 2 minutes later I heard the greatest noise in the world - my son's first cry!  It was wonderful!

    You will be fine- focus on the fact that in about 15 -20 minutes from the start of the CS you will be holding your LO. 

    Also, you will both be going home at the same time - you will just have to stay in the hospital a couple of extra days.

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