Having a c sizzle. A cesarian section. The baby coming out the sunroof. The "too posh to push", exit signs here, here and here.
I never thought I would have a c section, but here I am. There are definitely a handful of cons but a butt load of pros. Speaking of butt load... wait, I'll get to that later.
My first thoughts after having had a c section was that the word 'birth' didn't resonate with me. I found myself pausing to think of how to describe how Oscar came into the world. I didn't give birth to him, because for me that involves me doing something. I did nothing. I led down on the hospital bed and did nothing. Perhaps had I had contractions I would've considered the ordeal to be much more like a birth, but to me it was like having a boob job. I led down, got sliced open, had something surgically removed, was stitched up and sent to recover. I didn't get to hold the baby, see the baby or go home with the baby. No part of it to me felt like 'birth'. I've had many a woman say to me not to discredit myself and that I did give birth and be proud but, I am proud. I don't mind that I didn't give birth to him. Or at least, I don't mind now. When I first had him I felt like I had failed at carrying a baby and that I could only do it for 35 weeks. That my body wasn't good enough to last the last five weeks. But it was for the best that he came early because God forbid I had carried him longer and something serious happened. I don't mind what happened because it got him here safely. At first I wished I had given birth but in hindsight, I am pretty smug I didn't! I didn't get any contractions, any labour and didn't have to push a baby out my lady end!
My scar is healing really nicely and although the area still feels numb, really weird to touch, and sometimes if I let Oscar walk or balance on my stomach it can hurt if he's on the scar, it doesn't bother me whatsoever. It is low enough that you can't see it when I wear underwear/bikini and they did an awesome job to dodge my tattoo and stitch the skin back up so that it still all matched. Annoyingly, which is very vain and particular of me, the scar isn't in a straight line. It has a curve to it which looks really funny. I know that that really doesn't matter and medically it's perfect but the OCD demon inside me wishes it was straight.
The plus side of having a c section, assuming you didn't try to push first, is that your lady bits are still intact. The babe came out the sunroof. The times I have read about fourth degree tears makes me shudder! I didn't have to use any of the cold packs, no aloe gel pads, didn't have to wee using a bottle full of water to soothe the burning sensation. I didn't get the 'ring of fire' as described by many women as the moment the babies head has fully stretched... down there.
HOWEVER, and I am purely blogging about this because my God if someone had warned me I would've thanked them to the high heavens, the worst part of my entire experience... forget the scar, forget the needles, forget the spinal, forget the painfully engorged boobs, forget the pain of sneezing or laughing... my worst pain was my a-hole. Yes, ladies and gents, all though I fucking hope it's only ladies reading this, my butthole.
I lost 1.2 pints of blood during my c-section. Luke and the nurses were actually joking about how much blood was on the floor and his shoes and the nurse joked he would need new theatre crocs because of how covered in blood they were! Luckily I didn't catch wind at the time of what they were saying otherwise I would've freaked out. But, Luke kindly filled me a week or so later. Because of this blood loss I was classed as anaemic which meant I was then put on iron pills that I had to take two a day for the next 8-12 weeks. What they failed to mention about the tablets is that an imbalance of fibre:iron makes your poos hard as bricks. I was literally shitting bricks. (Can't believe I'm blogging about this) but holy hell, I would literally dread going to the toilet, cry when I was in there from pain, wipe blood and then feel sad the rest of the day. At my six week check up the doctor asked very briefly how my c section was and if I was on any contraception. It was the most vague check up I'd ever had considering I'd had major surgery. Much to my disappointment, it was a male doctor with whom I had my check up with. I informed him that I had "hard stools" just to avoid saying shit, poos, turds or dumps. His reply, 'well I can certainly take a look at that for you today if you like'. OH okay sure I'll just hop onto this bench and show you my asshole, kind stranger. I politely declined and said please can you just give me a stool softener and maybe some cream, specifying that I was breastfeeding. He gave me Laculose and Anusol. Got home and the Anusol stated it couldn’t be used by breastfeeding mothers. Thanks PAL. The Laculose was meant to be a stool softener but the damage had already been done, I was in agony. I decided to take matters into my own hands and ask my good old friend Google. Google told me I needed more fibre in my diet so I looked up high fibre foods, I went and bought high fibre bread, high fibre cereal, you name it, if it was high fibre I bought it. I ate so much high fibre food in desperation, on top of a high fibre supplement drink, that I gave myself the worst stomach cramps and constipation. I was utterly fooling myself. I had OD’ed on fibre.
The moral of this story is anticipate this happening before it does, I wish I had asked for the Laculose as soon as they gave me the iron tablets. It took a L O N G time to heal. It was hands down the most painful and long-lasting after effect of my entire pregnancy/motherhood journey.
Ok, ok enough talking about my butt. I’m so sorry if that wasn’t what you wanted to read but my Goodness me if I could have avoided that entire situation I would’ve. If you ever bump into me please don’t remind me you read about my b-hole on my blog. I’m writing this to be a good samaritan!
Next up on the hideous list of c section after math, the injections. On top of the sexy white socks I was put it during and after surgery to reduce blood clots, I also had to have an injection once a day for 10 days. This could either be in your leg or stomach. After the hideous injection I had in my thigh before surgery I chose the stomach. I could never in a million years inject myself so Luke did the honours. We had to alternate between the left and right side of my stomach. We decided beforehand to ‘count to two’. If I ever have to do something I hate, I do it on the count of 2. I think I saw it in a film, or maybe on How I Met Your Mother. But three seconds is too long and you’re more likely to chicken out so two seconds leaves you enough time to prepare but not so much that you have time to overthink it. I hated them, every single one. It was a sharp stinging pain but we just got on with it.
I had dissolvable stitches which at first glance I thought was a pube so I pulled it and it tugged at the skin. It was the grossest thing ever. I do not advise pulling anything you may think is a pube, a stitch, a fibre, anything. Just leave it alone. I had a white bandage on for the first two days and a nurse would come in every time they checked on me and draw using a biro around how much the bandage had bled, they didn’t explain this to me until the third time so when I looked down I had no idea what had happened. I thought it was a dark red edge of dried blood which was so confusing and weird. Until I saw her draw with a pen on the third time. You’d think someone would explain first hand if they’re drawing on your pubic area with a biro.
They encourage you to move around as much as you can, I got a wheelchair because I needed to go down the hall so was quite far to walk so soon however I once buzzed the nurse while Luke wasn’t with me, for help to get into the wheelchair as I needed the toilet. She told me she wouldn’t help me and that I should try and walk there. I thought she was joking but she actually made me get up. Apparently moving around encourages the blood to flow around your body which in turn, aids the healing process.
My first shower in hospital was a sight for sore eyes. Luke helped me with absolutely everything. I leaned on him the entire time and moved slower than a snail. He was so patient with me! It hurt to do the smallest thing and crouching over gave me the most relief. It felt so good to be clean! A shower heals everything. A hangover. A break-up. Major surgery. I was so glad I had a thoroughly packed hospital bag and had everything I needed. My most valuable item was probably a shower poof, it just made me feel so much more pampered and thoroughly clean than a bar of soap.
Once the dressing came off everything felt so much better. It was like a huge sticky plaster and as soon as that came off there was nothing to tug and move around if you bent over. It made the area that was sore seem bigger, because it was such a big plaster. But when it came off, the only area that was sore was the scar itself and a small area around it. I washed the scar really gently as you aren’t supposed to use soap on it for 6 weeks (I think) so just rinsed water over it.
I refrained as much as possible from sneezing or laughing. I swear every time I sneezed it felt like my insides had ripped open. I found tickling my nose, breathing in and out rapidly and wiggling my fingers around seemed to stop a sneeze - I can’t guarantee this will work for everyone as it is not medical nor normal for a human being to do. It’s just what I did. I would also want to cry if something made me laugh so avoid talking to or being around morons at all time. Very hypocritical seeing as I was wiggling my fingers and tickling my nose all day.
Hopefully if you have a c section you’ll have a supportive team around you and I was lucky I did. Everyone bent over backwards for me which was amazing. You’re advised not to hoover or drive for 6 weeks. I was hoovering after a week (panicking about bringing the baby home) and was driving after 4 weeks. I remember the nurse holding the door for me, and I was so overly polite, as I was quite far away, that I did a light jog towards the door and said thank-you. She stared at me like I was absolutely mental. I just healed fast! I felt human really quickly after the operation. I remember wearing fluffy socks in the NICU and ice skating around the room, sliding around on my socks. It was the easiest (and fastest) way to get around whilst moving as little as possible. Sounds absolutely ridiculous now, everyone must’ve thought I was a complete tosser.
I’ve mentioned before my cluster feeding corner packed full of snacks, drinks, movies and pillows. This applies for c section recovery too. Get everything prepared! To A) annoy those around you less by having to beg less every time you want a drink or snack and B) you have to move less. It’s a good idea to use your stomach muscles as little as possible, if I wanted to be sat upright I would use several pillows and cushions to prop myself up, and if I wanted to lie down I would remove them one by one, lowering myself, thus not having to use my stomach muscles. If I wanted to get off the bed, I would twist to one side and slide off the bed, avoiding sitting up.
I wore my maternity jeans for A LONG time after my c section. Not just for size but for comfort. The last thing you want is a zip going over that strange numb sensation or anything hard and metal crumpling over anytime you sit down. Leggings and maternity jeans were the best for this. I never wanted to throw them away. I miss you maternity jeans. I would also suggest keeping stocked up on big ol’ pants. Normal pants for me, sit juuuuuuuust above my section so anything tight and lacy would just irritate it so badly. So I rocked the high waisters for a long time!
All in all, I would say a c section is nothing to fear. However, do take this with a pinch of salt. This is just MY opinion. I did not have any contractions, I didn’t go through labour and had I gone through all that only to end up with a c section - I definitely would’ve been pretty pissed! I also didn’t have a baby to look after, to pick up, to soothe, to breastfeed. I was able to rest, get a few full nights sleep (besides using a pump every 3 hours). Everyone heals differently but the point of this post and its optimism is to reassure you that if you get told you need a c section, that you are prepared, calm and know that you will survive! It will suck a bit but you’ll get through it!
I will definitely opt for a VBAC (Vaginal birth after cesarean) for my next baby but I can tell you now I am terrified for labour, contractions and the ring of fire. If anyone wants to tag me in a blog writing about the optimism of labour, please do so!!
The healing process!
7 months Post partum. Pls excuse my leopard print pants.