First I just want to start off by saying that a c-section is a perfectly normal way to have a baby. It may not be an ideal way but you should never feel like you have to explain or justify how your baby got here into the world.
Towards the end of my pregnancy with Claire I had a feeling that I was going to end up having a c-section. I can't really explain it, but around 35 weeks pregnant I started reading blog posts about c-sections so it wouldn't seem so scary and foreign to me. Call it mother's intuition but I felt like it was going to happen and it did. To read more about why you can visit this post on Claire's birth story here. Hopefully this can help someone else who is going to have a c-section.
1. Probably a good first step for any mom but especially if you are getting major surgery done is to make sure you have a great doctor. I love my doctor and it is so important that you do. I did have to go through my fair share of doctors because of my miscarriages and fertility issues. Once I found my doctor I felt like it was just the right choice for me. I honestly thought I would be most comfortable with a female doctor but that ended up not being the case. My doctor is Dr. Timo Hoggard out of Premier Family Medical (In case you live in Utah county and you are looking).
2. Learn as much as you can about the hospital you are delivering at. Schedule a tour if you can, call the nurses and ask them what their polices are on husbands eating meals and spending the night. Some hospitals have rules where the husbands can only eat one meal for the time you are there, which is crazy, especially for a c-section delivery because you are at the hospital for 4 days usually. Find out if you are staying in the same room you are delivering in, because if you are changing rooms you can't unpack right when you get there and you have to wait. Also learn about any financial responsibilities you may have, some hospitals require you pay a certain amount before you get checked in, some don't. It probably all depends on your insurance so make sure and go over that thoroughly.
3. Hygiene. The incision happens right by your bikini line and they will shave a good chunk of the area if you aren't already shaved. I personally prefer to prepare for this at home because I don't like how hair grows in after it has been shaved by an electric razor. I was going to get this taken care of but Claire came earlier than expected so I had to have itchy hair for a little while. As far as the rest of your body, if you are more comfortable with no hair make sure and take care of it at 37 weeks, that way if your baby does come early you wont have to worry about it.
4. Surgery. The actual surgery is really short. As soon as they got the epidural in and it started working my doctor went to work. From the time he cut in to the time Claire was out into the world was about 10 minutes, maybe less. The anesthesiologist on staff that day was wonderful. He gave me a play by play of everything that was happening the entire time. I was so grateful for him, so if you don't have someone like that tell your husband to either take really good video or just tell you what is happening so you know. I don't know, it happens only once so I really liked being informed the entire process. Afterward it took my doctor about 20 minutes to stitch me back up and I was holding my sweet baby in my arms. I have heard it can take longer for this depending on what method your doctor uses to close up the wound.
5. After Surgery Care. You wont be given any solid foods for 24 hours. I was given liquids but even water I had a hard time keeping down that first day. I learned my lesson that I wont allow for any visitors except grandparents (meaning my parents and my in laws) until the next day. I guess I am allergic/ have some sort of reaction (I don't know if allergy is the right word) to IV's/anesthesia and throw up for a while until it's out of my system. If you know that this is you take time for yourself and only have people there who you are comfortable with. You wont be able to stand that first day either, my nurses had me stand for the first time the next day and it was the worst thing ever. So don't push yourself but once you start standing make sure and take short walks around the hospital so you can get back to moving.
6. Pain Management. Make sure and stay on top of your pain. The nurses will be busy so its important to let them know if you need medication and when. I was prescribed perkaset and ibuprofen and took them regularly. My doctor also prescribed a stool softener for the gas build up that happens. Take the stool softener, I had my first bowel movement two days after my surgery and after that each one got better, so ask for a laxative of some sort because the gas build up can be painful. An ice pack will be your best friend. I loved having an ice pack after the surgery, I kept having them fill it up with ice because it felt so good on scar. When we went home Zack stopped at the store to get a few things and picked up an ice pack and it was the best thing he ever did, I used it for about a week and a half at home during the night.
7. Seek help and take help when it is offered to you. You wont be able to do a lot of basic human functions by yourself for a while. The nurses helped me shower for the first time after surgery, which was the next day. Zack helped me with using the restroom, rolling over and standing up. I also couldn't pick up the baby out of the bassinet that she was in. I had to have someone hand her to me each time I wanted to hold her/ needed to feed her. Basically I couldn't do much of anything without someone's help. It made me very vulnerable which I am usually not at all, but made me grateful for the loving people that go into the nursing profession each day.
Stay tuned for part 2, coming sometime. For now I decided to do this post in two parts because there is a lot to cover.