Five years ago I had an unexpected c–section. I wasn’t one of those women with an elaborate birth plan, but I just always assumed I would have a natural birth. (And by natural I mean the baby would come out of my vagina, not giving birth without an epidural). So when my labor wasn’t progressing and the doctors were worried about the health of my baby, a team of doctors rushed in to prep me for a c–section. As I was being rolled into the OR, I realized that I knew nothing about C–sections and never even considered the possibility that I might have one. I was very unprepared and the whole experience really threw me for a loop. Correction, it threw me on my ass… for six weeks. I wish I would have been better prepared so I’m sharing with you the things I wish I would have known BEFORE I had a C-section:
Clean as a Whistle
Two days after my C–section I was convinced that my incision was infected even though the doctors kept saying everything was fine. I had a horrible burning sensation down there and eventually called my sister from the hospital at midnight and made her come over. When she was helping me to the bathroom she said, “Oh wow, did you get a wax before coming to the hospital?” I had no idea what she was talking about until she told me I was “clean as a whistle” down there. And that’s when it all came together. I asked a nurse and she said that somebody in the operating room takes a brand new Bic razor and cleans up shop, if you know what I mean. No water. No shaving cream. Just you and a Bic. So heed my advice and go get a wax about two weeks before you’re scheduled to give birth, even if waxes aren’t your thing. You’ll thank me later.
I’m sure your friends are lovely, but just be prepared for one of them to say something really dumb. Somebody is going to come over with a you-just-had-a-baby-lasagna and make your day but will then say something to immediately make you lose your carb craving. It will go something like this:
“Your baby is beautiful. You look great! You’re part of our club now…even though you didn’t have to do it the hard way. (laughter) Speaking of, are you sad you didn’t get to do it the real way?”
Don’t let it bother you. They’re most likely not trying to be hurtful. But this would be a perfect time to ask her if she still needs to cross her legs every times she sneezes.
Supermodels and other fancy people talk about C–sections like it’s the easy way out. Like they’re checking into a spa for a facial or something. Because of this, a lot of people forget that a C–section is major abdominal surgery. And that requires major pain killers. Unfortunately, the most common side effect of said pain killers is constipation. The nurses will make you pop some stool softeners but that’s not going to solve your problem. You need to call in the BIG guns because the last thing you want is to be straining right after having abdominal surgery. So when you open up that room service menu, make sure to order prune juice with every meal. And chug it like it’s the wine you’ve so desperately been wanting to drink for nine months. Cheers!
I spent a lot of time thinking about my labor and how I could have done things differently to have avoided a C–section. I thought about it so much that I even tried to have a VBAC with my second. After 22 hours of labor I ended up with another C–section scar under my belt….literally. But guess what? It doesn’t matter. In a few years, nobody (including you) will care how your baby came out. Just like you have no idea if any of your friends were breastfed or who learned how to talk and read first. Because in the end, what matters is that you and your baby came out of it healthy.
Jennifer Curnes is a stay at home mom of two living in Chicago. When she’s not counting down the minutes until bedtime you could find her eating Nutella out of the jar with a spoon or writing about it at http://nutellaoutofthejarwithaspoon.tumblr.com