It’s c-section awareness month and I have been thinking back to my c-section just under 21 months ago. Going overdue, being induced and then failing to progress were in my opinion the classic cases that led to my c-section. I received the best care from the staff at the hospital before, during and after, and I don’t regret the experience. Myself and my baby were safe, which is the most important priority. As it’s c-section awareness month I wanted to share a few truths about c-sections from my perspective and my experience.
They are common
Unfortunately more than you think. 1 in every 3 births is via c-section, which is a huge statistic and one that needs to be brought down. In my NCT group 4 out of 7 of us had a c-section which is more than 50%. If you’re reading this please don’t be scared by this fact, as this will vary between different groups of people.
Nobody wants one
True, unless it’s planned or for medical reasons. I was a huge believer in having a water birth in the birth centre at my local hospital. In reality how many people get to the birth centre? Not many in my experience. Having a c-section was something I was really afraid of, however it happened and it was the only way that my baby would be delivered safely. I don’t look back at the experience with regret or sadness, although that could be because a lot of time has passed.
It’s major surgery
This is something I was told repeatedly by the doctors and midwives at the hospital. It is major surgery through many layers of skin involving many stitches. Being a new Mum, with the pressures to care for a newborn and still continue to maintain some level of normal life, you need to rest as much as you can afterwards, and lean on others for support.
They are a relief
At the end of my 60-hour induced labour being informed that we could go for a c-section or wait another 4-hours to see what happens, was a relief. I was just glad that it would be over soon and that I would be able to meet my baby. I think that my husband who had slept in a chair for 3 days was also relieved that it would be soon be over too.
The first walk
Within 24 hours of having your c-section you will be made to get up from your bed and walk. I was really nervous about this, and it literally felt that I was being torn in two. I remember shuffling around the ward and having a really painful shower. However the more your walk and move around the easier it gets.
Recovery is painful
Rest, rest, rest, and take the painkillers. As we have c-sections when we are awake do we see them as not major surgery? We then have a million things to do afterwards meaning we tend to over-do it. I know that I did. It took me about two to three weeks before I felt that I could walk properly, and then another 6 weeks before I started to feel nearly 80%, so take it easy.
Breastfeeding is hard
I think that everyone will have different opinions on this, and it’s hard anyway without having had a c-section. I remember for the first few weeks I could barely lift my daughter, as I had completely lost my core strength and muscles. This made feeding really difficult to the point where I was so close to giving up. However investing in a My Brest Friend feeding pillow was life-changing.
I had to inject myself for 10 days after my c-section with Clexane each side of my belly button to avoid any blood clots. I remember being quite nervous about doing this, as I never had to inject myself before. If you’re worried about it, or can’t stand needles then get someone else to do it.
Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, you will need it. Ask family and friends to help you as much as possible with your baby, but also ask them to help you round the house, and cook you dinner. I couldn’t lift anything for weeks, and I really appreciated my Mum cleaning our bathroom twice.
It does fade
My daughter is 21-months old, and my scar is now a thin pink faded line. It was only the other day I realised that it had really faded. It’s something that will be there forever, but that’s my battle scar for having a baby.
Everyone who has had a c-section will have had a different experience, different birth story, differing opinions and a different recovery. I think that my recovery was harder and longer due to the 60-hour induced labour, and I know people who have had an easier or harder recovery. However your baby is born, a c-section is still childbirth, it can be planned or it can be an emergency, they happen for a reason, and will have saved many lives. Also they may seem scary, and the thought may be scary, but they are actually ok.
Was your child born via c-section? I would love to hear from you.