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Friday, June 6, 2014

A C-Section: It's Not That Bad

When I first found out I was pregnant, I started to think about how I wanted the birth to go.  OK, well I had actually decided how I wanted my birth to go when I was 5, but that's beside the point.  I knew I wanted pain meds, and I didn't want to be induced, and I'd really prefer to not have a c-section.  As we went through pregnancy, that changed a little.  I decided I wanted to try without medication.  I definitely did not want to be induced, and I still didn't want a c-section. 

So, when we learned Anna was breech and there was a high likely-hood that I'd need a c-section, I did everything I could think of to get her to flip.  After a few weeks, however, I had to start looking at the reality of a c-section, and I had to wrap my head around it.  I was lucky. 

When I walked into the doctor's office last Friday, she told me we were going to do a c-section that day.  Then, she immediately started to say, "Don't feel guilty.  This is not anything you could control."  I was able to cut her off and tell her that I didn't feel guilty.  I knew I'd done everything I could to prevent a c-section, and this was just the way things would be.  That made everything that followed a lot easier.

My c-sec was a bit different from many in that it was an emergency.  I was one step away from needing general anesthesia and I was lucky to just have an epidural.  That said, there are a few things that happen when your c-sec isn't planned.  First, things move VERY fast.  I went from one nurse setting up monitors to six nurses prepping me and Hans for surgery.  Then there were more nurses and some doctors.  It was a whirlwind.  Not only that, but there's a certain order to things that changes when it's an emergency.  The most noticeable change was that, in a non-emergency, they insert a catheter AFTER you receive numbing medications.  Mine was inserted before.  (Yes, they insert a catheter if you were unaware, and yes it hurts a lot). 

The actual surgery is just weird.  You can't take a deep breath because there's a giant, gaping whole in your stomach.  The meds make you feel weird, and you're essentially paralyzed from the waist down.  When you come into recovery, you feel weak and sick.  Your blood pressure probably dropped at some point, and you may have vomited or possibly just dry heaved.  Fun, right?  After that, you have every pain medication you could ever want available to you.

 I opted for Touradol (sp?) for inflammation and morphine for pain.  I'm not big on meds, but I'm glad I took these.  Sure I felt drunk from the morphine, but I truly feel the pain that first night would have been unbearable otherwise.  After that, though, things weren't too bad.

I first got out of bed around 10:00 that night.  It was painful, and I was shaky, but it felt good to move.  By the following morning, I was able to get out of bed with just some assistance from Hans, and I was able to shower on my own (Hans was nearby in case I felt woozy).  From that point on, my goal was to keep moving.  If I stayed in bed, I'd stiffen and I'd swell.  If I walked a couple of laps around the nurses station just a few times a day, I'd feel much better.  So that's what I did.  That first day I walked twice.  On Sunday I walked a few more times and I walked down to the front of the hospital to get a little sunlight.  By Monday, I was up and packing my bags to leave the hospital.

Now I'm a week out.  I have to be careful not to overdo things, as I still wear out faster than usual.  And I can still feel some incision pain from time to time (like when a dog jumps on me).  And I'm still not allowed to lift heavy items (a rule I'm struggling to keep).  But I'm also still walking.  And I'm already back to driving.  And I'm off all pain meds.

A c-section was not what I had planned.  It was not the most fun thing I could do.  However, I've experienced much worse.  Oh, and if you're pregnant and lamenting a possible c-section, here are some fun things I got to avoid by having a c-sec:

- Pooping on the table
-Vaginal Tearing
-Broken tailbone (yes, that can happen during labor)
-Separated pelvis (that can happen)
- Pooping on the table (it bears repeating)

So, don't worry about a c-section.  It could be so much worse.

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