A few years ago I had the experience of having a Caesarean Section to deliver my twins. Many people have asked me what a C-Section is like and this is my experience that I had with it.
My doctor informed me that if you are in labor when the C-section is preformed the C-section becomes riskier. Because it is safer to do a C-section before labor begins, he recommended that we schedule one between 37-38 weeks (I was scheduling a C-section because the baby who would be born first was breech).
It was a very strange concept to me the night before my C-section that tomorrow I would wake up and have my babies. Most women wait for the “surprise” of it so it was a very strange feeling knowing when they were being born! We went into the hospital around 7 am and filled out paperwork. I was then hooked me up to some monitors and IVs. They inserted a catheter (a horrible experience indeed), and then gave me an epidural. I asked if they could do the catheter after the epidural and they said they could not, though I’m still unsure of the reason why.
A couple hours later we entered the OR. I was completely numb from the waist down. They put a curtain up so I couldn’t see what they were doing. I could feel a very dull, faint tugging sensation. It was a very surreal feeling knowing they were cutting into me and pulling my babies out and having just a faint, distant tugging feeling. There was no pain at ALL during the C-section procedure. I could not feel them cutting into me in any way. Part way into the delivery I began experiencing a terrifying sensation in my left shoulder. It felt like I was being stabbed over and over. It was very sharp and constant. I began to panic thinking something was wrong. An army of doctors ran over to me to get the situation under control. They administered something, though I am still not sure what. At the time I thought it was a medicine to counteract a potential reaction but perhaps it was a painkiller. The stabbing pain subsided. Soon thereafter, though, I began having breathing problems where I felt like I could only breathe in half way. I was so terrified that I could not even focus on the joy of my newborn babies, who were both out. The doctors wheeled me to the side of the room to try to get everything under control. Within a few minutes I was feeling okay again and could now enjoy my babies.
After the procedure a doctor came in and explained to me that the uterus has a nerve connection with the shoulder and the pain I felt was a referred pain from my uterus. (This makes sense because one sign of an ectopic pregnancy is a stabbing pain in your shoulder). I wish someone had told me that at the time, I could have handled the situation much better, however I don’t think they knew it at the time.
They put me on a morphine drip for the next few hours following the surgery. I could push a button at my leisure to release morphine into my IV. I tried to be conservative about pushing the button because I was breastfeeding and did not want to pass it on to the babies. Slowly the epidural wore off and the pain of my uterus contracting (shrinking back to size) and the incision were very intense.
They explained to me the importance of standing up after a C-section. I tried to stand up and almost instantly passed out. I tried again a couple hours later and did it successfully and was now mobile. When I say that I was mobile, let me explain it was not a normal mobility. I moved at a very slow pace with one foot barely in front of the other, hunched over, because of the incision pain. However I was able to walk and that was a good feeling.
My hospital stay is a bit of a blur. I can’t remember exactly how long recovery took after the C-section. I couldn’t vacuum or do much for the first week or so so I loved having my mom around to help. After that I felt okay enough to get things done but didn’t feel comfortable not babying my stomach area for quite awhile, which may have been partly mental.
Overall I found the C-section experience to not be very pleasant. I’m glad the option exists for when it is medically necessary and I made the right decision to have a C-section with that pregnancy. It allowed for a safe delivery and I’m very grateful for that! However with my next pregnancy I opted to do a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section) which was a very great experience! And I plan to continue to do VBACs as well! Every woman has a different delivery experience and story; this is a recountal of my experience with doing a Cesarean section.