Pregnancy Tips

9 Important Things to Know About Having an Emergency C-Section

9 things about having an emergency c-section

Having an emergency C-section isn’t really something you can plan for. Because of this, this post isn’t really going to be like my others. This isn’t something to read when looking for tips to help you with something on your mind (packing your hospital bag, finding a toy that teaches your child something specific, etc.) This post is really more for everyone. Because as much hope as you have in yourself to get through a vaginal birth or as easy of a pregnancy as you could have, you can’t keep something from going wrong. Trust me, I’ve had 3 emergency C-sections and I only have 3 kids. Because this is one thing that really is uncontrollable, I felt that making a list of tips from my experience could be beneficial (to at least one person). With that in mind, here we go.

baby being born by C-section
baby being born by C-section

1) If you try a vaginal birth first, you’ll feel like you’re recovering from a vaginal birth AND a C-section.

My first C-section was because my eldest son’s head got stuck. This wasn’t determined until after 2 hours and 40 minutes of pushing and him getting part of the way down there. I still had to deal with my cervix going back to the right size. I still had to get the accursed abdominal massage. I still had to pretty much recover from a vaginal birth even though he didn’t make it all the way out of there. If your C-section is brought on by something going wrong while trying a vaginal birth, you’re pretty much going to be recovering from both.

2) Even if you don’t start it out with an attempted vaginal birth, some things in your recovery will still be the same.

Pro-tip: Take your stool softener like it’s your life source. My nurses referred to the first poop after birth as the “pop can poop”. Otherwise it’s the size of a d@mn pop/soda can. Even once you’ve had that first BM, keep taking your stool softener. Poop #2 is very bad as well. You’re still going to have mesh undies and a spray bottle. They will be your best friends. Keep them by the nearest toilet at all times.

The labor shakes that you may have during a vaginal birth might start up in the Operating Room. It happened to me in the OR with my first but my 2nd was far, far worse. It was a mixture of the meds and an adrenaline rush. I shook like crazy, like a grand mal (tonic-clonic) seizure but I was fully awake and aware of my situation. They also wouldn’t let me hold the baby until the shaking stopped. It lasted SO long too.

3) OR Reminders

The OR table will seem oddly small. It very much felt like I was going to fall off of it both times. Also, if you’re getting a spinal block, they’ll brace you in a sitting position against a stand. Once it’s in, they’re going to get you laying down as quickly as possible. Somehow, my heart rate monitor got tangled up in the stand that was holding me up so they couldn’t let me down right away. They had to rush to untangle it, the nurse then grabbed my already fully-numb legs and the anesthesiologist hooked his arms under my armpits and spun me SO FAST to get me laying down before I fell off the table. This all took about 3 seconds. Spinal blocks work FAST.

4) Make recovery easier for yourself.

I was blessed with a bassinet with storage space underneath. I kept all necessary diapering materials, a few changes of baby clothes, some of those tiny, 2 oz. premixed formula bottles, attachable nipples, and a bottle of water for me underneath there for both births. Only having to get up to pee was wonderful. My bassinet was on wheels too so I could easily pull the baby close to me (right up to my side of the bed) when he needed something during the night without having to walk even across the room.

5) Have. Your. Boppy.

Or any pillow really, by your side at ALL times. When you feel a cough, sneeze, hiccup, laugh, etc. coming, grab your pillow as soon as you realize it, and hold it firmly against your incision. Trust me, if you don’t, it’ll feel like your incision is going to violently rip open. Save yourself from that.

doctor performing a C-section
doctor performing a C-section

6) Fill your prescriptions before you go home.

You will need them. Don’t go home with the intention of getting them later. You can easily get wrapped up with the baby or any number of other things and forget. Before you know it, you’ll be out of medicine and running out your current dose. Don’t risk it.

7) It’s okay to grieve the loss of a vaginal birth.

It’s an idea and a plan that you’re had in your head (possibly for decades) and lost in the blink of an eye. That hurts, I know, and it’s okay to feel that way. Talk to someone, work through your emotions, and process it at a comfortable pace.

8) It can happen to anyone.

Even a repeat birth where all previous births were easy vaginal deliveries, something can still go wrong. An easy, uncomplicated pregnancy can still end  up in an emergency C-section. There’s lots of reasons why you may need a C-section, especially an emergency C-section, and therefore the possibility of having a C-section is always there. This brings us to…

9) It’s not your fault.

You can be told this hundreds of times before you actually start to believe it. And that’s ok. You’ll accept it when you’re ready. Take as much time as you need.

Why did I write this?

I wrote this post for a reason, because I worry that there are other moms and soon-to-be moms that thought the way I did while pregnant with my first. The moms who don’t have a C-section on their radar. I thought it was only something for those “cord wrapped around the neck”, “breech baby”, or “heart rate dropped” situations. I thought that babies just come out vaginally because that’s how it happens and that’s what moms do. I’d heard of moms whose baby’s shoulder got stuck on mom’s pelvic bones but they still delivered vaginally. I never expected that I’d need one because his head would get stuck (Isn’t that why there are cone head babies if not because of this exact reason?) or because my cervix would give out (I honestly didn’t even know that was a thing before #2 was born). I don’t want to scare other moms out there. I want to prepare you for all possibilities (because that’s how I am) so that you don’t get scared should this happen to you.

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9 C-section tips every woman should know

About Me

I'm a mom of 3 boys who loves to share parenting tips (especially for babies), crafts, little eater friendly recipes, and mommy-centric bullet journaling tips and layouts.

(1) Comment

  1. Great!! It’s so useful

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