What it’s like to have a c-section

People say that c-sections are the easy way out. Well, I can assure you that they are NOT.

Having a c-section is insanely hard.

First, you are wheeled to this bright, sterile room. All the doctors are in their scrubs, masks, gloves, and shoe covers. All you can see is their eyes. Your husband takes your hands as the anesthesiologist tells you to bend over and not move, while he’s sticking a needle inside of your spinal cord. All the while, you’re thinking “What if something goes wrong?” and “Should I really be doing this?” The anesthesia is in and they have you lay back. Your husband has to leave the room. The curtain goes up just under your breasts so you can no longer see your body. Your arms lay out straight and you have an oxygen mask on your face. Your whole body is trembling against your will, because of the fear or the adrenaline or whatever it is. The doctors start to scrub your body, and they are not gentle. They insert the catheter. They wrap the compresses around your legs to prevent blood clots.

And then your husband is back and he’s holding your hand. The doctors keep asking “Can you feel this?” and you say no each time, so it’s time to start. You see, when you get a spinal block during a c-section, it doesn’t make you numb. You can’t feel pain, but you can still feel pressure. You can feel that your legs are there, but you can’t move them. Then they start to press and pull on your stomach. You don’t realize it at the time, but they are tearing through all of your skin and muscles. They make a small cut and then tear the rest because it heals easier. They move your intestines to the side and cut into your uterus. And then a doctor presses hard right under your ribs. To the point it almost becomes painful and you’re just about to ask her to stop.

But then you hear the cry. The cry that makes all other sounds stop dead in their tracks. The cry of your beautiful new baby. You see her taken over to get weighed and measured. Your husband clips the cord.

But when you have a c-section, you don’t get to see your baby right away. You don’t get to hold her. You have to be stitched up. So while the doctors were taking her away, you are lying there on the bed getting put back together. They stitch you up, and it doesn’t take all that long.

But you’re not done there. Now comes the really hard part. The healing. You can’t walk for several hours until the anesthesia wears off. You can’t move without hurting your stomach. You can’t cough. You can’t even cry because you miss your baby. It all hurts too much. You take tiny little baby steps with your catheter bag in one hand and your IV in the other hand down to the NICU to meet your baby and then to nurse her every few hours. You’re afraid of the nurses telling you she’s hungry because that means you have to walk again and it hurts so bad to do it. But you do it. Because that baby is more important than your pain. You can barely even hold the baby because everything hurts and you’re so tired. You limp weakly to the bathroom after struggling to get out of bed. The baby is finally in your room again and you have to take care of her alone now. It’s hell to even sit up. How do you jump up at every cry to tend to a baby? You have to use six pillows to make it comfortable enough to nurse. Not to mention it takes your milk longer to come in because you didn’t labor on your own.

And then you get home. But a c-section doesn’t just go away. It lasts forever. You will be in pain for weeks. Afraid to stretch too far or even take a bath. And then the glue starts coming off of the incision, and it’s scary. You have to peel it off. It’s stuck in your hair and it hurts. You peel it off hoping that it’s healed and your stomach isn’t just going to rip open.

But then a few weeks go by, and things start to be okay. You can move normally and care for your baby just fine. The bleeding stops, and you’re healed.

But a c-section isn’t just a major abdominal surgery. It’s a lifestyle change. You can’t do things the way you used to. It hurts to wear pants over your belly. An area three inches above and three inches below your incision is pretty much numb forever. You have to be very careful not to get pregnant right away to prevent complications. You have a very high chance of having to have c-sections again in future deliveries. You have a scar forever.

But I am so happy with the way things turned out. After everything I went through. My baby was safe and I was safe. That’s all that matters. And now, the place where she entered the world will be forever engraved on my body. And I love it.

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