So what’s your birth plan? It was the number one question I kept being asked during both pregnancies. My answer was always ‘I don’t really have one’, I just want my baby to arrive earth side safely! Most times the body language I’d read from those asking gave me ‘well your crazy!’ vibes or I got awkward silence or told I needed to have a plan.
Personally I never wanted to create birth plan or have set in concrete my idea of what I wanted to have happen in case it got taken away from me for reasons beyond my control. I’m thankful I took this stance and educated myself on both birth scenarios. My first cesarean was due to preeclampsia and the second only 12 days ago was due to second delivery only being 15 months after my first cesarean section. My first pregnancy took 2 years to become a reality which you can read about here the second pregnancy was a surprise having struggled for so long which I wrote about recently here
Having had 2 c-sections so soon after one another and while still fresh in the memory bank I thought I’d write for my fellow expectant mummies about what to expect and some advice that has helped me both times
WHAT TO EXPECT
In preparation for surgery I had a shower using betadine, and had a IV placed in my arm so fluids and medication could be administered then I walked to the surgical room.
You sit on the surgical table hunched over with your chin buried as far as it can go into your chest while the anesthesiologist makes 2 injections to help numb the area before giving the epidural. It’s not painful more of a weird sensation that you most defiantly can not react to, the heat begins to shoot down your legs and as quickly as they say it’s over you are laid on your back by the rest of the surgical team.
The hospital robe is cut away as they wash the abdomen and prepare for surgery. A catheter for your bladder is inserted and by now there is no feeling or pain in that area.
During this preparation process all I was trying to do is stay calm and center my focus on my breathing there are nurses doctors assistants anesthetist moving around as you lay still and it can be stressful however usually during this time the anesthetist explains what will happen in the 8-10 minutes that are to follow…
You will feel tugging and pressure you are not allowed to touch anything your hands must stay to the side all the time he checks in with how you are normally by creating conversation more so than directly asking ‘are you ok’
There was a window I could look out to the sky was blue and the trees swayed in the wind. I could calm my nerves because of that scenery. This time around we had music playing it felt a little like out of a scene from a movie or tv series like Grey’s anatomy. In the room everyone was chatting asking about our lives, if we liked France, what did we decide to name baby, I sang a little to some of the music playing from memory a bit of Jackson 5 and the Beatles helped distract me.
A curtain is raised ‘good bye big belly’ I thought, the doctor said “see you soon”. It was only at this point Alex could enter the room and sit next to me there was to be no touching me or anything else in the room because he wanted to cut the cord, he sat at my head waiting to be called upon. This was after a 2nd attempt to get surgical gloves on his big hands which saw him having to leave the room and the doctor having to wait on him to take baby out I think at that point because I was so impatient to meet her I dropped an F bomb all normal language in any type of birthing scenario I imagine.
Alex sat back down next to my head and I started to have flash backs and cry.
We were so close to meeting our little one
who’d caused my pregnancy insomnia, gave me 1 little stretch mark that pissed me off the day I spotted it! at times in my belly made me feel beautiful as a woman
and sometimes horrible about my inability to do regular things like put on my shoes. I had a lot of can’t be F’d days while pregnant and a lot of uncomfortable kicks that made me randomly hit Alex in the dead of the night. I looked at Alex who told me he loved me a few seconds later I heard a suction noise, and then a cry I finally got to meet her as they dropped the curtain and I saw Alex cut the cord, she was perfect like her brother was 15 months before.
I gave her a quick kiss on the head and she was taken from the cold surgical room to be checked by the pediatrician just next door and Alex followed her. The following 10-15 minutes felt like an eternity there was more pressure this time higher in what felt like my ribs like I was hit in the chest my arms were feeling so fatigued from having not moved for the past 20 or so minutes I stared out the window thanked God and was ready to join Alex and un-named baby in the recovery room for the next 4 hours.
In that time we decided on her name Skye Esmèe Tulou was 3.999kg 52cm long and perfect.
Nothing quite prepares you for ‘that moment’ there is no greater joy no words to express, I felt heaven on earth when I met her
POST OP RECOVERY ADVICE
Be prepared to have to stay in hospital for 4-5 days post surgery take all your creature comforts.
loose clothes are all you need I lived in dressing gowns kimonos and nighties.
There is no eating or drinking allowed straight after surgery I was so thirsty.
Take a water spray can to keep your mouth from drying out and to use to spray yourself to cool down the recovery room is kept very warm for your new born.
That first evening dinner is very light like ridiculously light! having not eaten since the night before and all day since surgery I wanted a big salad and freshly squeezed orange juice. The doctor explained after surgery your organs go into shock and freeze from being exposed so if I tried to eat normally the food would not pass through my body and I would end up vomiting it all up. So that night I had pumpkin soup without salt, pepper, bread sour cream all the things that make it delicious.
You are monitored regularly post surgery there is no real rest as midwives constantly come in and out to check your body temperature, blood pressure and that you are bleeding (yes you bleed after a c-section just like a vagina birth).
My abdomen was sore, it felt bruised, pain relief helps take the edge off but doesn’t completely take away the pain especially if you decide to breastfeed you are given the bare minimum.
Take the medication on the hours you are suppose to, don’t wait to feel in pain.
Ask for ice to place on abdomen and around incision it really helps relieve pain.
Drink a lot
The day after surgery try to walk a little just in your room the sooner you walk the quicker you recover
You will walk hunched forward for the first week or at least until the stitches or staples are removed don’t try to stand straight in the first couple days
Do physiotherapy daily to help with blood circulation.
Try to avoid coughing sneezing keep lungs clear dry throats at bay and dust away.
Be prepared for a slow and steady recovery.
Husbands partners boyfriends be patient.
Mothers be kind to yourself enjoy the bed rest and cuddles you will have in those first few weeks before you know it you will feel normal again.
Always living, learning and evolving