This is my personal story about the birth of my daughter, who was born via planned c-section just 15 months after my emergency c-seciton of our son.
Our firstborn came to us via emergency c-section and 15 months later we were having baby number two! My doctor highly recommended a planned c-section this time around for me because the risk factors would be a little higher for having a vaginal birth while still in the healing period from the first surgery. So we picked a date and planned around that. It was great! No more worrying about going into labor (not really, I still worried she’d come early), no more worrying about who’s going to watch our toddler or day of the week or crazy time of day we’d have to head to the hospital. It was set. The time we would arrive at the hospital, the time the surgery would begin, and the approximate time we would have her in our hands. Along with all the planning for our son back home. As well planned as it was, a few things couldn’t have been predicted.
I couldn’t sleep the night before, I was too excited and nervous because I knew exactly when we would finally get to meet our little girl. In some ways I was even more nervous about the surgery because the first time around I was exhausted from labor and we were all in state of emergency. This time I was walking into it with fresh energy, despite not having gotten more than 20 minutes of sleep the night before.
We arrived and started prepping for surgery. When we finally made it to the surgical room, my husband had to wait outside while the nurses inserted the Spinal Anesthesia. I thought the Epidural injection was painful in my first delivery, but boy was I wrong! Basically an Epidural is done during regular labor and is inserted into your back in a similar capability as an IV, where the anesthesia can be dosed multiple times, and a Spinal is more like a single injected dose. They tried the Spinal a few times before actually getting it right. Imagine having a gigantic bowling ball (your fully grown baby bump) and being told to lean forward with your back arched while sitting down on a surgical table and trying to still breathe. That was hard enough, then feeling them poke me between the vertebras of my spine!! Holy hell it was horrible! That’s the truth. I’m sorry if this scares you but that’s the reality. I wouldn’t want to go through it again but I’d take a few minutes of hell to have my child in good health any day!
Once that was over, everything proceeded normally. My husband joined us in the room, the doctors and more nurses arrived, and the surgery began. Our little girl came out without making much sound, usually they come out crying. I couldn’t see past the curtain so I wasn’t sure if they had her yet, all I could go by were my husband’s eyes and the conversation between the doctors. They called my husband over to cut the umbilical chord just as he did with our son 15 months before and they brought her to me for a brief moment so I could see her then took her back. That’s when they explained to me that she had swallowed some fluid and would need to be in the NICU during our stay at the hospital but she was fine otherwise, perfect even!
I was a mess that first day, and not mentally. I was confident that our child would be fine. The medication left me nauseous from the moment they pulled her out. When they brought her to me I was out of focus, part of me didn’t care as much at the time but that was mostly because I knew she was in good hands and I wasn’t in the best state. On the way out of surgery they even wheeled me into the NICU to show me how she was situated, which they don’t normally do so I was grateful. But it was the weirdest thing seeing my baby, who I had felt no connection to, all connected to tubes and wires. I don’t know if it was the nausea, my strong trust in their medical care, the fact that I hadn’t really gotten a good look or feel of my baby yet, or some version of postpartum depression but I knew it was a wrong feeling from the start.
They got me situated in a room and I vomited several times for the remainder of the day. They explained to me as soon as we got to the room and I told them I was feeling nauseous that it was a common reaction to the spinal tap. I was eager to feel better so I could pump and see my baby for real and I was dying to eat but they wouldn’t let me have anything except crackers until the nausea was gone. It felt weird to be so far away from her and be comfortable with it but I had confidence that once we spent more time together we would bond more and everything would be okay. First we both needed to be physically okay.
Compared to my first birthing experience, where I went through a day of labor and had to have an emergency c-section, my recovery was much smoother this time, with the exception of the nausea reaction. I was able to get out of bed on my own and walk that same day. It was still a little difficult and painful, I mean my abdominal muscles were just cut and sewn back together, but it wasn’t as bad as going through a day of contractions prior to the same surgery. In my first recovery it took me almost 3 whole days to be able to get out of bed. And things that took me weeks to be comfortable doing before I was able to do much sooner, like pooping LOL! And the bleeding period was much shorter as well. Sorry but there’s no such thing as TMI, too much information, anymore!
The next few days at the hospital I was between pumping and being wheeled over in a chair across the Maternity Ward to see our daughter in the NICU. It was weird pumping without actually nursing a newborn baby to get your milk flow started. I was okay pumping once I got the hang of nursing with my child before, but this felt backwards. She started improving in the NICU and by the end of the second day they told me that I could nurse her for the first time. Poor thing kept fighting through some cables of her IV in her arm, which made it distracting for both of us. It’s hard enough to nurse with an IV in your arm, and mine was painfully bleeding through at the time, but now we both had wiring issues. Luckily my milk came in and we did well when we were able to align our schedules. It wasn’t easy coming down to the NICU between pumping for her and her nap times, exams, doctor visits..etc. And the nurse on our last day there didn’t communicate with me at all so we only got to nurse a few times on the second day. I was worried of how things would go once we went home, it was hard for me with our first child to get the hang of things, I was bleeding and scabbing. Nursing at home was little of what I expected, complicated. She had adjusted to bottle nipples and although I was able to nurse a little, I had to supplement her with formula for a few days before we got a good flow and pattern going together. But we did it. I got to nurse her for a full year before weaning, it was great!
To add to some of the confusion we went through, my husband picked up some version of the flu the week prior to her planned delivery and was terrified of getting our newborn sick. That was something we didn’t get to plan for. He even went to the doctor and got heavy medication from his doctor to be well on our special day but it took a little longer than expected to run its course. I was lucky enough to not have caught it but I did catch my own cold from being practically naked the cold hospital between the pumping and nursing. By the time we came home our son was a little sick too, with mostly a runny nose. It was a miracle our little girl didn’t catch any of it with only days of life and a little bit of breastmilk in her system to boost her immunity. So in some ways, maybe it was good she was in the NICU and away from us for a her first few days.
As for that disconnected feeling I felt, I had it for most of our stay at the hospital. It was nice to be near her and hold her but around the nurses it felt weird, like I was holding someone else’s child. I guess it wasn’t til we were home spending our nights together, changing diapers, nursing, holding her pacifier in place and rocking her to sleep that I really felt like she was ours. I still don’t know if I went through any version of postpartum depression, it’s possible, but I pushed myself to overcome it and I made myself aware of it. If at any point I felt it was more serious I would have consulted for help. And now our little baby is a year and a half, a perfectly healthy little toddler, and we’re madly in love!
My name is Paula and I’m a mom of two scrumptious cuties. Thanks Mommy Blog became a project for me to help guide other new moms and current moms through any of my own personal experiences and struggles. My hobbies include singing, doing jigsaw puzzles, baking, designing and trying to stay creative.