There were so many reasons that led to me opting for a natural birth. To me it just seemed, well, natural. I had done a lot of research and watched a lot of pro-natural birth documentaries and I had simply decided that the natural route was the one to take.
Plus, at a government hospital there is no such thing as an ‘optional’ Caesar, your choices are natural birth or natural birth. So, my choice was an easy one 😉
With all the above being said – Arabella (and life in general) had other plans for me, and after 29 hours of going through labour and all the motions of natural birth, I was rushed into the operating room and had an emergency C-section.
As I had planned for an all-natural birth, I had done next to no research on Caesareans. I had quite literally no idea what to expect during and after the op (momma-to-be if you are planning on a natural birth, take my advice here: do your research on the alternatives, just in case your birth plan doesn’t go accordingly!)
I have put together a list of things that I wish I had known that happen before, during and after a Caesarean C-Section.
- You turn into a human vibrator
I’m not talking about a slight tremble, I’m talking about full on uncontrollable shakes! This is because of the anaesthetic, blood loss, adrenaline and the shock your body feels when it is cut open. I was shaking and shivering so badly that the Department Head shouted at the anaesthesiologist for allowing me to lie there like ‘that’, they had to give me something because the surgeon couldn’t stitch me up I was shaking so badly!
- You can feel everything
Whilst you feel no pain, you feel literally everything else. You can feel the surgeons slicing and dicing, poking and prodding and moving your insides around, and then stitching you up after. It is quite unsettling, but one heck of an experience.
- Babydaddy isn’t allowed in the room…
Now, when you have an optional or scheduled C-Section, the father is allowed in the room, he gets dressed up in the scrubs and looks all handsome and stuff. Holds your hand and encourages you and all that jazz. But when you have an emergency C-Section, there is none of that. This is obviously due to the ‘emergency’ side of things – there is no time to dawdle while daddy gets dressed, and no time to narrate the process in a family friendly way. Forget a camera to capture the moment! Daddydaims had to wait outside throughout the operation.
- …But that doesn’t mean you will feel alone
What boggled my mind was the sheer amount of people in the operating room. There was the anaesthesiologist, his assistant, the surgeon and her two assistants, a nurse, the Department Head overseeing the whole thing, the paediatrician and to top it all off – 6 interns watching from the side-lines.
- You may have some side effects that come from natural birth
Wait, what? That’s right! Even though I didn’t actually have natural birth, due to how long my labour went on, I had quite a few of the common side-effects of natural birth. Heavy bleeding (enough to soak an entire pad in an hour!) The cramps and remnants of labour pains truly suck, and if you are anything like me you will pretty much be in constant pain. And boy oh boy – for a while after – your bladder is your enemy!
- Will. Be. Blood.
SO MUCH BLOOD! Bright red, clot-containing blood will be pouring out of you for the first few days after your op. It gradually changes from the blood to discharge, but can last a couple of weeks so make sure you have heavy-duty pads. How ever many you have now, double that amount and you should be fine!
- You, yourself, turn into a baby
This is something I truly was not prepared for. I could not even lift my self up, never mind get out of bed and look after my new born baby! I needed the nurses assistance to simply sit up, feed Arabella and get in and out of bed. I felt so useless, and so sore.
- They don’t discharge you until you poop
Aha! This is a good one. Now, I was a naughty girl here and told a porky to be discharged and go home (do NOT do this!) I had no idea just how important this part was. You are required to successfully poop before they let you leave, this is because they need to make sure your intestines are functioning properly and that your internal organs are still intact. Also they need to know they didn’t accidentally stitch your poop-hole up! Oopsie.
- You will be eina. Very, very eina.
Again, something I was not prepared for. The amount of pain you are in is gobsmacking. I had just been through labour and major surgery; my body had taken a major beating! My stomach was so sore, my scar felt like fire, and I was having afterpains like a bitch! It’s difficult to describe the pain, it was just like a constant period cramp, that seemed to get worse but never better. I was on pain killers 3 times a day, every day, for a whole month after my C-Section.
- The guilt
I must admit, I felt terrible for not giving birth to my daughter. I felt guilty – like I wasn’t a ‘real’ mom because I didn’t have a natural birth experience. I felt like my body had somehow failed me – I am a woman and woman’s bodies are designed to have natural birth – are they not? I feel like I denied Arabella the ‘proper’ entrance in to this world, and sometimes wonder if our (already strong) bond would be stronger if I had had natural birth. Even today, almost a year later, I sometimes feel guilty for not being able to give natural birth, but the feeling is slowly fading.
C-Sections are NOT for sussies
Looking back, I am seriously ashamed of myself for considering a C-Section to be ‘the easy way out’ Nothing could be further from the truth.
Whilst I can’t compare a vaginal birth and a Caesar, obviously because I haven’t had a natural birth, I can say that I take my hat, pants and shirt off to any woman who has had a baby – in any way.
You are no less a mother, no matter how your baby entered this world.
If you want some more technically and medically correct information on what you may be in store for, here is a link to a super informative article!