The Scoop on C-Sections

Some women opt to have a cesarean weeks in advance, and some have a surprise one at the last minute.  There are many different reasons to have a c-section, including: convenience; wedged in baby; backwards baby; upside down baby; previous c-section; and baby in distress.  Many women get a complex about having a c-section; like their baby’s birth doesn’t count as much as another woman’s, or that other people tell her how “lucky” she is to have had her baby that way.  But the truth is that c-sections aren’t cheating, and there’s nothing “lucky” about them.

My optometrist planned her daughter’s birth.  Tanya works hard at her job, and she doesn’t have the time to wait around on maternity leave for a possibly late delivery.  She scheduled a c-section to happen right around Evelyn’s due date.  She worked until Friday, took the weekend off to finalize the nursery and get her bills paid, etc., and went in at 9am Monday to have Evelyn.  Some women opt to have c-sections for medical reasons.  Sometimes the baby is exceptionally big, and the doctor will tell the mother she should schedule a c-section before the baby gets too big to squeeze out.  Occasionally, a woman has physical problems, like scoliosis, that may cause a doctor to encourage a non-vaginal birth as well.  The rest of the c-sections, for the most part, happen on the fly.

No matter why you have a c-section, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re a real mother, who had a real birth of a real baby.  And as for you “cheating”?  The recovery for the mother is usually more difficult for a c-section than a vaginal delivery.  You’ve had major surgery – you’re gonna be a slow walker for a while.

Here’s how a c-section might go for you:

  • Anesthesia.  This will completely numb you from the middle of your back and down.  You will be totally awake for the surgery.
  • Operation.  Once you’re all numbed up in the operating room, the doctor will take about 10-15 minutes to make the incision and pull your baby out.  You’ll barely feel anything – most women feel a slight painless “tugging” sensation.
  • Baby’s here.  The doctor will take roughly 45 minutes to stitch you back up.  During this time, your baby will be weighed and checked out.  They will probably put your baby on you at some point during this time, so you can hold him or her.
  • Home sweet hospital.  With a c-section, you spend twice as many nights there after the delivery, as you do with a vaginal birth – usually four nights.  You may feel like you live there by the time you leave.
  • Bedridden.  For the beginning of your stay at the hospital, you will stay in bed, and pee through a catheter.  After a day or two, the nurses will force you to get out of bed and use the toilet like a big girl.  Walking from the bed to the toilet could very well be the hardest thing you’ve gone through yet.  But eventually, you’ll get there.
  • Recuperating at home.  For roughly two weeks, you should lift very little, and go for easy walks around the neighborhood.
  • Having feelings.  The area around the incision may remain numb for months after the surgery.  Thanks to modern medicine (and the popularity of bikini bathing suits) your incision will probably be horizontal and so far down that only your partner will ever see it.

As for the complex some women get about not having a vaginal delivery – you and your baby are healthy… that’s all that matters.

Plus, your baby doesn’t come out looking all squished and wrinkly.

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