Thursday, April 5, 2018

Happy Cesarean Awareness Month!

Cesarean sections represent 32% of all deliveries in the United States. This means one out of three woman become a mother via c-section. A little less than two years ago, I became one such Mama.

My C-Section Experience

The basis for my birth plan was to get her out safely, healthy, and an epidural. I informed my family that if they didn't put the baby in there and they weren't helping get her out, they were more than welcome to hang out in the waiting room during delivery. Fair game during labor.

My due date came and went. And went. And went. My doctor scheduled an induction for nine days after I was due and I did everything I was able in hopes of going in to labor - bouncing on an exercise ball, going for walks, spicy food, pineapple, you name it I tried it.

When I went in for my induction, I wasn't any closer to going into labor than I was when the induction was scheduled. Zeros across the board. My daughter didn't want to come out and she was staying put. Mama was 41.5 weeks pregnant and more than ready.

Long story short, I was induced, spent an extremely uncomfortable night hooked up to machines, I got my epidural, my water was broken, things progressed beautifully, and we were told she'd be born later that day! So I took a nap.

My doctor woke me up from my nap to check on Teacup Human and that's when her heart rate dropped. I don't remember much, but I remember not being able to breath, being given an oxygen mask, and my doctor saying "We need to get prepped for a c-section now."

I remember being terrified and asking my mother-in-law where my husband was and for her to call my mom as they wheeled me out of my room. They got me in the OR and informed me I would need to be completely put under anesthetist. I prayed harder than I have ever prayed, took a moment to wish Joe was there, they put the mask over my mouth and I was out.

I woke up two hours later in my hospital bed, shaking and vomiting. Joe was by my side and the first words out of my mouth were "Is she okay?" When he told me she was perfect and healthy I demanded to know where she was and where he had been.

She was in the nursery and he had been at Starbucks. Before you come at him with pitchforks and fire - the doctor had told us we still had hours to go and I was napping. Starbucks was less than three minutes from the hospital and they had just pulled into the parking lot when his mom got a hold of him. He and his father raced back to the hospital and he was running up to OR doors just as they were closing. The nurse wouldn't let him into the room and wasn't able to tell him much, just that she had to go and would update him soon. Given how scared I was, I could only imagine how terrified he and our families must have been.

After convincing Joe and the nurse I was fine, they wheeled in my daughter and placed in her into my arms. I immediately starting crying and thanking God that we were both okay. 

What I Learned

It was fast. They had Teacup Human out in less than a minute. I don't know how fast they move if it's not an emergency and a planned c-section, but they were not playing.

Cesarean sections are a legit surgery. When I went home, they told me to clean my incision carefully, not to go upstairs or downstairs (with the exception of in the morning and at night for bed), not to lift anything heavier than my daughter, no driving for two weeks, and to keep an eye out if for puss and oozing aka infection. Also, here are some serious meds to help with the pain. I spent days on our cough only getting up to pee. Even when I went in for my six week checkup I wasn't completely healed.

Comfy clothes are the best clothes. I lived in sweats for weeks - though to be fair because of who I am as a person this might have been the case either way. I rolled my pants so they sat just under my incision and worse baggy shirt to ensure minimal rub because . . .

It hurts. Okay, this is more of a given and not necessary something I "learned," but it was p-a-i-n-f-u-l. It was painful to move, painful to get up, painful to sit down, painful to laugh, cough, sneeze. No matter what I did, I found a way to irradiate to the incision.

You can guilt your family in to doing {almost} anything for you. Granted, my family would have helped me with anything I needed but I feel like my c-section got me special-special treatment. "Sorry, honey. The doctor said I'm couch bound. I guess you have to let the dog in after he's been running in mud / change this exceptionally poopy diaper / get me another snack - yes, I'm still hungry. I'm breastfeeding and need extra calories!"

I would do it all again in a heartbeat. My daughter is my life. And if I had to go through all that terror, pain, anxiety, and worry again to ensure she was safe and healthy? I would do it a million times over.

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