This is my personal story about the birth of my daughter, who was born via planned c-section. Our firstborn came to us via emergency c-section and fifteen months later we were having baby number two!
This post does include a little bit of sensitive material.
It is not meant to scare you, only to describe the details and emotions of my experience.
Deciding on a Planned Cesarean
My doctor highly recommended a planned c-section for me. The risk factors of having a vaginal birth while still in the healing period from the first surgery held higher risks.
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 when we rush to the hospital at whatever day or time.
It was all set, it could all be planned out. 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.
My husband manages to capture me in weird moments – LOL.
Too excited to sleep
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 I was exhausted from labor and we were all in state of emergency. I didn’t have time or energy to worry or feel nervous about the surgery.
This time, I was walking into it with fresh energy, despite not having gotten more than twenty minutes of sleep the night before. And I was very anxious but very excited.
Spinal Anesthesia vs. Epidural Anesthesia
We arrived before 7am 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 to help ease the pain of contractions by numbing the lower body. A needle inserts a catheter into your lower back in a similar capability as an IV so that the anesthesia can be dosed multiple times.
A Spinal is a single injected dose that numbs the lower half of your body much quicker than an epidural and is usually used for certain surgical procedures, such as planned cesareans.
Both are injections are inserted between vertebras of your spine so your back has to be stretched out for this process. However the insertion area of the spinal is slightly higher, where there is slightly less of a gap between vertebras and the process can become a bit tricky.
Getting the Anesthesia
The nurse tried to do the Spinal on me a few times before actually getting it right and I was really struggling.
I had just been brought in to a very cold, very sterile empty room while sitting on a cold surgical table with bright lights directly pointed at me. And my husband wasn’t allowed in the room. Needless to say, her hesitation made me very anxious and worried.
Imagine being told to lean forward with your back arched while sitting down on a cold surgical table. All while having a gigantic bowling ball (your fully grown baby bump) 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.
Not that I’d want to go through it again, but I’d take a few minutes of hell to have my child and 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.
This part was basically just like my first c-section. My husband was right there along with me and the blue curtain was up. There were a bunch of people working on my lower half, none of which I could see or feel.
Not long after, I could kind of tell they had pulled her out already. I didn’t know if to be relieved or nervous because the doctors didn’t say anything right away. They continued directing to each other about the entire surgery proceedings.
Our Little Girl
Our little girl came out without making much sound. 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.
Soon, they called my husband over to cut the umbilical chord, just as he did with our son fifteen months before. While he was gone, I did hear her make a few crying and whimpering noises but nothing consistent.
Without saying much, they brought her to me for a brief moment so I could see her and then took her back. It was definitely a quick hello but she was sweet and calm. She had long pointy fingers, a full head of dark hair, and chubby red cheeks.
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.
The doctor had already removed plenty of fluid as she was being pulled out but needed to be cleaned up and monitored for precautionary measures.
They assured me that she was fine otherwise, perfect even!
mixed feelings after Surgery
I was a mess that first day at the hospital, and not mentally. Despite having some level of anxiety, I was confident that our child would be fine.
But the anesthesia must have left me nauseous.
I was feeling off from the moment they pulled her out. When they brought her to me I was out of focus. As desperate as I was to see her and know that she was okay, a part of me didn’t care to hold her close right away.
When they told me she would have to be in the NICU for the rest of our stay I had mixed feelings.
On one hand, I felt comfort in knowing that she was in good hands. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t get to bond with her right away and she would be pricked at prodded.
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 sincerely grateful. But it was the weirdest thing seeing my baby, who I had felt no connection to, all connected to tubes and wires.
I felt guilty for being selfish and wanting to relax a little. Guilty for wanting to recover from the jitters of surgery (emotional and physical thanks to the shakes of anesthesia).
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.
But I didn’t feel like I was in the best physical state and I didn’t want to label this feeling yet. I wasn’t allowed to hold my baby yet anyway so I wanted to rest up so that I could have some energy to be able to bond with her.
We didn’t get the greatest quality pictures in the NICU and, for me, they’re a little hard to look at. They make me emotional. But these are amongst the few first pictures of my little girl, they are a part of her and a part of me.
The first Day of Recovery
I didn’t quite realize that I was actually nauseous, and not just having the shakes or butterflies, until we arrived to my new room. I mentioned it to the nurse and she assured me it was a common side effect of the anesthesia and handed me some barf bags.
I vomited several times for the remainder of the day.
It delayed my healing and milking process a little. 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 at the same time. 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.
Recovering From A Planned C-Section vs. an Emergency C-Section
Compared to my first birthing experience, where I went through both labor and an emergency c-section, my physical recovery was much smoother this time. With the exception of the nausea reaction, of course.
I was able to get out of bed on my own and walk that same day even though it was still a little difficult and painful. My abdominal muscles were just cut and sewn back together so you obviously don’t just “bounce back.” 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 last time, 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! We’re moms!
You can read more about my Postpartum Recovery After A C-Section in this article.
Breastfeeding Struggles And Concerns
The next few days at the hospital I spent my time 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. Once I got the hang of nursing my first child and had milk flow, I was okay pumping. 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, my meal times, my visitors, my nap attemps..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 about how things would go once we went home.
It was hard for me with our first child to get the hang of things. My nipples were bleeding and scabbing from our struggles for a few weeks. After my milk came in, we did really well, but my milk flow completely stopped within a few months.
With my previous issues, I was worried about struggling with her.
I would have to go through these struggles at home, without any nurses or lactation consultants to help us. Plus she had adjusted to bottle nipples while at the NICU, which complicated things a bit. And my milk had only just started coming in.
On our first few days home, I was able to nurse her without much issue. She asked for more milk and I had to supplement her with the formula bottles that the hospital gave us. But once we got a good flow and pattern going, I tossed the formula.
Spoiler Alert- We made it to a full year of breastfeeding without any real problems! And we only stopped by choice so I was very grateful.
Something We Didn't Plan...
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.
And 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.
Finally Getting to Bond with my Little Girl
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.
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.
If you ever feel disconnected to your child or have any doubts about being a mom, I urge you to find someone to talk to. You are not alone and there is nothing “wrong” with you! You can get help simply by opening up.
Becoming a Family of Four
One of my biggest worries has always been how our son would react to having a baby around. He was always such a sweet and amazing little boy and was so great with me during this pregnancy.
But at almost a year and a half, he didn’t understand much. My biggest concern was that I never wanted him to feel replaced or like he was losing us.
With this delivery being so planned, I had planned how and when they would meet- at the hospital, some point after the delivery. He came to visit me once and was a little nervous seeing me on the hospital bed. But the whole NICU situation threw us off.
Instead, he got to meet his little sister when we brought her home. I expected some sort of aggression or resentment but he surprised me and warmed my heart. His instant reaction was to pet her! And he was so gentle with her!
He was the sweetest big brother!
Having our two kids meet and interact has been quite the journey.
Next thing I knew, I was a mom Raising 2 Kids Under 2 and, boy was that a fun time!
And now our little baby girl is a year and a half, a perfectly healthy little toddler, and we’re madly in love!
Keep Record of Every Part of Your Journey
The transition into parenthood is a great one, you go through so many emotions and physical changes. Your love grows in ways you didn’t know imaginable.
Writing my stories is one of the best ways for me to journal everything, even if they’re not always “perfect” or all that “pretty.” I keep records of my motherhood journey with my blog, my photo library, and even a few photo albums I’ve made with journaled text.
I highly recommend creating a journal or a keepsake for you and your family to look back on. You could even have multiple records for Pregnancy, Birth, First Year, Childhood…etc.
You’re going to appreciate it in the long run!
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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.