/ #family #c section 

My C Section Experience

Last year, I gave birth via elective c section. At the time it seemed like a difficult decision, but in retrospect, I’m really glad I did it- so glad, in fact, that for subsequent births, the only way you will catch me giving birth vaginally is if it’s in the back of a car on the way to the operating room.

My c section wasn’t planned, but it wasn’t a complete emergency either. Because baby was a week late, was getting too big and not able to move as much as it should, the doctors gave me the option to either be induced or have a c section. I chose c section because I didn’t want to be induced, then go through 20 hours of labor only to end up having a c section anyway. I have heard that story too many times. I thought, why not just get it over with nice and fast? The baby was already a week late, and my heartburn and aches and pains were just out of control. I wanted him out YESTERDAY!!

So we rush to the hospital, only to have to wait 5 hours before they operated. They gave me a gown to put on and, strapped a bunch of monitors and equipment on me, and put an IV in my arm. The IV was horrible. I have what you would call a low pain threshold… and a completely irrational phobia of needles. For the duration of the wait I was brimming with anxiety, not about how the surgery will go, the knife, or how my baby will turn out…I had faith that all that would turn out fine. But inside I was dying about the thought of that needle going into my back…..

pregnancy_hospital_waiting_cesarean_anxious

During this 5 hour wait, I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything. Not even ice chips. This was incredibly hard. I remember how other moms used to tell me that being thirsty while waiting for the surgery was unbearable, but I never really thought much of it until now….It just kept getting harder and harder. I begged my husband to give me a sip of his drink, I begged the nurse, I begged everyone. I had thoughts of secretly going into the bathroom and drinking the tap water from the faucet.

When the time finally came they rolled me into the OR and had husband go into another room to wear scrubs. While he was away, they administered the spinal block. Everyone says that the spinal doesn’t hurt, and that it’s pretty much just a small pinch. The anesthesiologist told me that it shouldn’t hurt and it usually doesn’t, unless your spine isn’t completely straight. At first they gave me a shot to numb the area. People say this shot isn’t too painful, but I almost cried (did I mention I have a low pain threshold?). Then they gave the second shot- the spinal. I felt it go in deep, and then there was this sudden sharp pain and pressure that seemed to last forever. It literally felt like they were pumping boiling water or some stinging poison into my spine that wouldn’t stop. I jumped and screamed and everyone yelled at me and told me to be still. So I dug my fingernails into the nurse who was standing in front of me so that I could hold onto her. I would have preferred it if my husband was standing there, but she was sweet and really supportive. As soon as it was over I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. The worst was over. But I have to say- it did really suck.

Then they laid me down on the operating table, put a catheter in, and started pinching me on the stomach and hips asking if I feel anything. I didn’t feel the catheter go in or the pinching. My husband came in right in time for the operation and sat next to my head. They put a cover up over my stomach so I wouldn’t see anything. During this entire time I was shaking and my teeth were chattering. They told me it was because of the medicine and how everyone does that. I asked them to put a pillow under my head because I had severe heartburn, and it was totally coming up.

They started to operate and I felt a little bit of tugging. My husband started talking to me about random things to distract me from it all, all while taking pictures of my blood and guts hanging out of my stomach. After what seemed like a few minutes, the doctor said, “wow look at all that hair!” I heard a loud cry, and my heartburn instantly went away.

Then I saw a little baby with a head full of black hair being whisked away by a nurse to the area next to the operating room where they clean and weigh and bundle up the babies. My husband went with the nurse. I was so fascinated watching them that I completely forgot I was still being operated on. They were stitching me up when they brought the baby back and held him close to me so I could kiss him. He was so cute! He was like the perfect present, and I just wanted to quickly get out of the operating room so I could hug and squeeze his cheeks.

Many moms who go through C-sections don’t feel as if they have a close bond to their babies because of them being taken away right after making their appearance. I have heard stories of mother’s resenting their babies and even refusing to see them. I know that it’s typically recommended for immediate skin to skin contact right after birth, but I didn’t mind one bit as I knew he was in good hands with my husband following the nurse and taking pics of him whilst he was being cleaned up, warmed up and weighed. I’m sure my baby didn’t mind either. If he did I’m sure he has forgotten by now. No harm done.

cesarean_birth

They finished stitching me up in no time, and put these huge gauze pads over the stitches. They also put these huge pads on these granny stretchy underwear and put them on me. The whole thing from start to finish probably took about an hour, but to me it didn’t even seem like 20 minutes because it was so exciting (minus all the needles).

After being wheeled to our room, I spent a lot of time holding Valentino and just staring at him in awe. Me and hubby would take turns holding him and kissing him and booping his little nose. He was so little and cute that I just wanted to smother him with kisses and squeeze his cute little cheeks and play with his cute little baby toes.

That night my parents and sister came to visit and brought cakes and food. I was not allowed to eat solids yet, but hubby ate dinner that they brought, everyone had cake, and we gave a bunch of cake to the nursing staff. I just drank water. Maybe I drank a little more than I should have because I started vomiting it up. The nurses said this was a side effect of the meds, and told me to go easy on the water.

Later that night the nurse helped me stand and walk to the bathroom. That was excruciatingly painful. Everywhere hurt, but I wasn’t bothered by it because the baby kept me happily distracted. And to me- needles are WAY worse.

On the third day we went home. It was so exciting getting baby dressed, putting him in the car seat, and going for our first drive together. Stepping inside the house felt so good after those few days in the hospital. I was feeling good, and could walk and go to the bathroom by myself. The first shower I took felt really good also, after going 3 days without showering (I was too weak to shower at the hospital). My pain was much better, although sometimes when getting up I would have this sharp unbearable pain in my lower stomach which is apparently normal for everyone who has a c section.

Some things I wish I had known before having a c section and some things I would have done differently:

  • I would NOT have eaten fast food on the way to the hospital even though we were in a rush. It made me so thirsty that I would have sold my husband for just a sip of water.

  • I would have showered right before going to the hospital, as I’m finicky about showers and didn’t like taking one in the hospital.

  • I would not have packed so much crap in my hospital bag that I didn’t need. Looking back, I think I only used a few things from that bag. Next time I wouldn’t pack any toiletries, makeup, nightgowns, bras, slippers and underwear. I didn’t need any of it. The only things I used out of that entire bag were Chapstick and a brush to comb my hair. The hospital gives you these special super big and stretchy underwear along with these huge maxi pads. They also give these special sock/slippers that prevent you from falling. They provide toiletries, a comfortable hospital gown, and anything else you could want. I’m not sure all hospitals are like this, but Fairfax Hospital in Northern VA was fantastic.

  • I would have asked the hospital staff for extra underwear and those huge pads to take home with me. They were so convenient and comfortable. I couldn’t wear my regular underwear because the top of it stretched right over my stitches and it would hurt having it on. The hospital maxi pads are amazing because I bled so much that regular pads didn’t help any (unless I wear like 4). The amount of bleeding is unreal. I didn’t think it was possible to lose that much blood. It’s like having your period but 100x worse. TMI sorry guys.

  • I would have let the nurses in the hospital care for baby while me and husband got some sleep. Next time I will definitely do this because once you go home, you can pretty much say goodbye to sleeping for at least the first two to three months. So catch up on sleep while you can. The main reason I didn’t give the baby to the nurses to watch in their baby nursery was because I was worried that someone might steal him. This recently happened in a hospital in Quebec I think, but chances are really slim that this would ever happen in the US nowadays, especially in Fairfax Hospital. They have these wristbands attached to mom and dad, and something attached to baby’s umbilical cord that they have to scan to see if it matches before they give the baby to the mom or dad. But it’s good to get to know your nurses so if a fake one comes along (like they did in Quebec) you can spot them out.

Would I have another c section? Absolutely! The worst part of it for me was the spinal block, but that compared to hours and hours of labor and contractions was worth it. Although the recovery time for a c section is a lot longer, it’s nice to be pampered and spoiled while recovering. I also loved how I was thoroughly medicated, at all times.

Thank God for modern medicine!

About: Leila Rahmanian and Salar Rahmanian

Leila Rahmanian is married to Salar Rahmanian. They live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have three wonderful kids, two boys named Valentino Rahmanian and Caspian Rahmanian and a beautiful daughter named Persephone Rahmanian.