When you find out you’re pregnant, usually you don’t think you will have to have a c-section. Being pregnant with triplets, it was a given I would have a c-section as my babies would be very premature. I actually had mine at 33 weeks and 4 days gestation!
But I had questions – and worries – and some of these may resonate with you, or you’ll think, what the hell?! These were my main 10 questions about having a c-section.
1. Do I shave?!!
My bump was huge, so it wasn’t like I could really do anything in that region anyway and I actually really wanted to get a wax! In the end, that didn’t happen, and you get told not to shave in case you catch infection (through any cuts etc). I was told that they would shave my pubic mound if they needed to, in theatre, (but in the end they didn’t). But ladies, don’t worry about it! They’ve seen it all – plus for me, out of sight, out of mind!
2. What if I need a drink?
You can’t eat or drink on the day of your c-section. So come midnight it was nil by mouth. All I kept thinking was having a drink. I really hoped I would be the first person of the day to deliver. It turned out I was the last. So I didn’t have anything for 17 1/2 hours! Extremely thirsty, I was really grateful it wasn’t summer! Bit of advice: when you do get to drink again, try not to drink really quickly! I kept downing water, after water. Then I ended up throwing up all over my ward!
3. Pain from spinal block – how bad is it?
A few years ago I had to have a spinal tap, to remove some fluid from my brain. This was the most horrendous moment of my life and from then I always said I would never have an epidural – never thinking I’d need to have a caesarean. During my spinal tap, the student nurse missed my spine. Needle went into my bone 3 times and twice in my nerves. So as you can imagine, I was terrified it would happen again! Luckily it was completely fine. The team were fantastic and helped calm me down and it was over really quickly. So it really isn’t that bad.
4. Will I feel anything?!
What if the spinal block wears off? What if I can feel things?! Will I feel the surgeon moving my insides to deliver my babies?! Well, I didn’t feel a thing. They sprayed some cold spray on my body and then after my block they sprayed it on me again, and I couldn’t feel a thing! It was a very strange feeling. I also couldn’t really feel them doing anything; maybe a bit of tugging, but honestly, not much at all. I didn’t even know they had started my caesarean until they said the first baby will be delivered in a minute!
5. Catheter!! Will I feel that?!
Quick answer: no! But I was so nervous about having that, as I had never had one before. It’s also something you don’t really think about and then it’s like, wait, what? But you are having surgery! So of course, you need one. Also, when it comes out, you can feel it a tiny bit, but it’s not painful or anything. It’s just quickly removed.
6. My organs get moved about?
Yep! I wondered what that would be like, but truthfully you can’t feel anything. Plus, when you’re pregnant, with one baby or multiple, your organs move to accommodate your growing baby/babies. Some women can get diastasis recti, which is where they stomach muscles separate. Luckily I didn’t have that, but like every woman, organs do take a bit to get back to their usual spot, as the uterus contracts and goes back to its original (non pregnant) position!
7. How do I get stitched up? Stitches? Staples?
I also hated the thought of staples and I ended up having 17 of them!! Going in was ok, but then a week later I didn’t really like having them taken out! I thought I’d be left with little dot scars across my belly, but I don’t at all. Firstly, I did get stitched, which everyone does, as these are deep stitches to close your stomach from the inside. I actually didn’t realise I had staples until I had to get my bandage off!! I know that sounds crazy, but I had a really great bandage, which was attached to my PICO machine. So when the surgeon told me how he was putting me back together I was that out of it, I didn’t even realise what he was saying!
8. What will it be like going to the toilet?
As mentioned previously, you have a catheter, but how bad is it when you have to use the actual toilet? It is tender to even walk and can be difficult at first to sit on the toilet. I found I could have a wee ok, but bowel movements were non existent! Literally the most painful thing about having a c-section, was trying for a poo afterwards!! (I know TMI, but no one tells you these things!) Omg it was just awful!! I wish I had mentioned it earlier, but I felt embarrassed! Luckily after about 5 days, it started to get better!! Seriously most painful thing ever!! If you find you are constipated, tell a midwife or nurse and they can give you something to help. Also, take orange juice with you!
9. I have to inject myself?
Something I didn’t know about was having to have daily injections, for a week, after my caesarean. These were to help stop getting blood clots. I tried. I did. But I just couldn’t do it! When I did, I actually injected just under my skin, as I hadn’t pushed the needle all the way in! This resulted in a little bruised lump, which wasn’t great. I was lucky that I was in hospital and the amazing, kind midwives helped me out when they had a couple minutes to spare. Otherwise, I know I wouldn’t have taken them! I’m sure you are all not as bad as me in having these!
10. What will my scar be like?
A colleague said I can ask for a lower incision. So then the scar isn’t on my stomach. This was such amazing advice for me, and that’s what I asked for. So my scar is nicely hidden on my bikini line. Thanks to my PICO machine it is now nice and flat, though a bit on the left side is slightly raised. At 11 months post surgery, it is still a bit red and I still don’t have full sensation. Though I have noticed that is slowly coming back. For months my stomach still felt numb, but that’s because nerves have been cut and they also have to heal. You need to heal. You need to rest. If you don’t you can get infected and it will take a lot longer to get back to normal. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor where they will do the incision.
I was in hospital for 4 days and then I got discharged. I luckily then lived in hospital for two weeks, to be near my babies. Having a c-section is hard! It is painful after the spinal block has worn off. (I admit, morphine helped a lot, for the pain!) Then it is weeks of recovery, while also having to look after a new baby/babies!
So though my questions may seem a bit random, I had no idea about anything! But never be afraid to ask questions. What would you add to my list?