Planned Cesarean Birth Story
I never wanted to do c-section.
I was aiming for a natural birth, but during the 4th trimester, my baby was in a frank/extended breech position all the way, even after through a failed ECV procedure.
So we had no choice but to move on with a scheduled c-section.
Although I was skeptical about c-section at first, after receiving my healthy baby, it didn’t matter how she was born.
What I thought about natural birth vs c-section
I had such a roller coaster ride of emotions when it came to the choice of delivery.
I heard stories from my mom and aunts when I was younger, and it scared me from having a baby at all.
It seemed that we’re destined to get a tear or hemorrhoid.
And let’s not forget the unquestionable pain you’d experience during labor.
Imagine a watermelon being pushed out of my small vagina.
I thought “No wonder why women scream during labor.”
Okay, many years later, I became pregnant. After doing a bunch of research on natural and c-section births, it seemed beneficial to babies for having a natural birth.
I shall not bore you with the details here. Ultimately, it changed my mind and natural birth became my golden goblet and c-section was the root of all ‘evil’. A little dramatic, I know. Do read on for it changes after I had c-section.
So what did I do? I want a natural birth now but I’m afraid of the pain, right? So I looked up on ways to have a pain-free natural delivery.
And I found it.
I found Hypnobirthing. Once again I will not drone on the details of hypnobirthing.
In a nutshell, it is “…a birthing method that uses self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques to help a woman feel physically, mentally and spiritually prepared and reduce her awareness of fear, anxiety, and pain during childbirth,” according to mayoclinic.
I was ecstatic! As much as it was not pain-free (which was what I found later on), but it was possible to have a peaceful, and tranquil delivery.
There’s still going to be a lot of intense feelings and contractions, these will not go away.
That’s what labor is all about, so all I could do was manage my perception of pain, fear, and anxiety. (which was out of control prior to being pregnant)
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I was hopeful of a wonderful experience with natural birth through hypnobirthing…
Until I found my baby in an extended/frank breech position at week 36. I had to do a planned c-section. I was disappointed.
After seeking a second opinion from various doctors and went through a failed ECV procedure (You may check out my ECV experience here), we were back with the only option which was a c-section.
So we went ahead and scheduled one.
What planned c-section was like
I have to say, the nights and days leading up to a planned c-section was quite nerve-wracking and exciting.
It was a feeling of certainty at a particular time and date that I’ll become a parent, and also the pain that was to come post-surgery.
The night before the surgery, we checked ourselves into a hospital room. It almost felt like a trip to a hotel, where we’d pack our clothes, food, entertainment, and essentials but to a sterilized environment.
So we unpacked, and made ourselves comfortable.
This was when the nurses came in and did a few things.
no.1 She gave me a sterilized body wash and told me to take a shower
no.2 She shaved me down there
no.3 She told me to sleep and will wake me up 2 hours before the surgery to prep me.
And so I journaled my thoughts and feelings for the night and went to bed.
I’m a believer in journaling. I believe with the right prompts, it can direct us into finding a solution to a problem and feeling resolved all on our own.
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At 6am, I was woken up and prep into a surgery gown after I used the toilet and brushed my teeth.
At 7am, I was rolled out of the hospital room.
I did not like them wheeling me out because from here on, I was being ‘handled’.
It was scary, and I was jittery. I could feel the cold wind blowing under my garment and I started getting goosebumps and the shivers.
My husband walked as far as he could next to my bed. He had to stop outside the surgery theater and that was it.
I began to feel alone and nervous when the door closed.
In the restricted area, I was waiting in my bed. They ‘parked’ me towards the wall.
I’m not sure what’s going on. But it reminded me of farmers herding animals from one location to another.
You don’t know what’s going on, you don’t have control of what is about to happen and all your fate is in their hands.
The uncontrollable fear that ensued
Finally I was wheeled into the theater room and boy my fear surged 3 fold.
It was a large square room with the surgical table in the middle. Tools and equipment were on the sides of the wall.
The room had more people than I expected. There were my doctor, the anesthetist, the pediatrician, and 3-4 operating room assistants. That’s 7 people excluding me.
I didn’t realize it took so many professionals to deliver a baby, well I guess it does if it’s a c-section.
On top of the number of people, what scared me further was when I saw them all in masks and gloves.
I did not recognize anyone, even my doctor. I had to ask which was him and they pointed to his direction and he waved.
It was all so sterile and distant, I felt like a guinea pig in an experimental lab.
My body started shivering more, and my teeth started chattering. You know the kind you only see on tv?
I tried to stop it by closing my lips shut, but my teeth just kept moving on its own.
Then the anesthetist began the administration on my back. I don’t remember what I got, but it had the numbing effect that only applied to the bottom half of my body.
The administration was probably my worst experience in going for a surgery.
The needle was huge and it was near the spine. I could feel the large sharp needle penetrating my skin.
Then a jolt of electricity-like shock run across my back.
The numbing sensation slowly kicked in on my lower body and a screen was erected in front of me so I do not see the doctor operating on me.
When I looked up, the huge surgical lamp was reflective, and I could see some blurry reflection that was happening on the other side of the screen.
My imagination could easily run wild, so I tried not to look at it to control my anxiety.
I could not feel the incision, but I could feel a lot of pulling and tugging.
I couldn’t see the doctor, but at times it seemed like he was struggling to take the baby out, I wonder if everything was okay.
The anesthetist was next to my head, chit-chatting with me. I think they noticed how nervous I was and was trying to distract me.
I did not help my case by asking her to bust the myth in my head that she confirmed it not being a myth.
If you watch Grey’s Anatomy, there’s an episode about a doctor’s mishap, leaving gauze in a patient and sewing them up.
I asked if it’s an exaggeration and she confirmed that it indeed happens in real life. @@
The arrival of the baby
The anesthetist reported the status of the baby. My fear went away when the pediatrician took over and inspected my baby.
It was a relief!
I remember looking at that little scrounge up face thinking “Oh my god you look so ugly… but it doesn’t matter, I love you so much…”
I did not get to embrace my baby immediately.
She was then placed in a little device to give her optimal oxygen environment. Her vitals were steady and only needed assistance for air.
She did not cry at the beginning. Her feet were pointing up in the air, due to being in a frank position for so long.
They took her away and I saw her 6 hours later.
My doctor removed my placenta and sewed me up.
Then they wheeled me and ‘parked’ me at the same spot next to a wall like before.
Even though I did not do much during the surgery, somehow I was so tired from all that intense scare and nerves.
I fell asleep and was glad it was all over.
What it’s like post-surgery
I slept for the next 6 hours after surgery. Maybe it was the fear, maybe it was the anesthetic, whatever it was it knocked my out.
When I came to, I could feel some tingling sensation coming back to my feet.
When the anesthetic waned, they took off the catheter and I had to begin using the toilet.
I dread. Because every movement was excruciating. A sharp pain shot through my abdomen when I move my legs, lift my head or stretch my arms.
The only way to be able to move from toilet to bed and back was with a lot of assistance.
I would take deep breathes, heave myself wherever I can and hold my breath, and wince each step I take.
It’s about 10 steps to get from the toilet and back, but the whole affair would take minutes.
My husband was there to give support and help. He was my rock when I was at my weakest.
What help you’ll need
You definitely need help in getting up and down the bed and the chair, going to the toilet, and not carry anything heavier than your baby.
And besides going to the toilet, this might be embarrassing but necessary for me. You need to have someone you are comfortable with to clean you when you’re done with business no.2 (in my country it means pooping).
It is embarrassing, I know and maybe you’d go through the pain to do the cleaning all by yourself.
I could barely bend to reach where I needed to clean. So I was very grateful for my husband and what a champion he was during my 1st week of recovery.
He only had to clean my private area in the first day or two depending on your pain threshold.
We’ve crossed that boundary, there’s really nothing to be embarrassed in my relationship anymore. Shy*
Road to recovery
After discharge, my body was very sensitive in the 1st 2 weeks.
I had to take many mini-steps to get from one point to another slowly.
The worst was sitting down, and getting up from a chair and bed.
It generally takes 6 weeks to be healed on the surface level.
I’d still have 1-2 appointments with my gynecology to check on the shrinking of the uterus, and removal of the stitches. Which was a bitch, but at least the pain was a quick second.
Apparently, the wound inside takes longer to heal. Because the doctor had to sew through 8 layers. That’s another fact I learned in this process.
So the 8 layers of skin/organ needed to heal thoroughly takes another 6 weeks to 3 months. But during this time you no longer feel the wincing pain on the surface.
I did not have a smooth recovery during this stage, because my cat had jumped on my abdomen twice with all its weight!
Ever since then, I noticed some pain here and there in the scar. Now I have a keloid in the middle about 2 inches long =(.
I have another inch of smooth skin with the scar marks. This shows how my scar would look like if I had taken care of it better and not lie open for the cat to jump on me.
It was too late to regret now. sigh.
Tips to give the next c-section mom
I have to admit it was silly of me to take my c-section recovery lightly.
I did not understand my scar better, and did not look up on ways to care for my scar, and such.
With the dark protruding keloid that emerged on my abdomen, it is a constant reminder of what I did not do.
- understand your scar. There’s a difference between keloid scar and hypertrophic scar
- look up on scar care
- loo up on what food to eat to encourage scar recovery and what food to avoid to prevent keloid formation. (I’m from Asia and there are certain types of food or fish that could aggravate the scar)
- and avoid having any animal, baby, or husband lie on your abdomen for the first 3 months. Okay maybe 3 months is an exaggeration, but you get my point. Basically avoid any pressure on the abdomen as long as possible, because as much as the surface is healed, you don’t know how far the 8 layers have healed.
What c-section scar is like 1 year later
It’s been slightly more than a year since my c-section. As I’ve mentioned above I have a protruding keloid about 2 inches long and a 1-inch smooth scar line on my right.
The surface no longer hurt, but I could feel slight pain when my cat or baby stands or bounces on my belly.
Occasionally the scar itches.
and out of all the skin, the scar where the keloid formed is sensitive to touch.
My skin near the scar is no longer the same like before surgery.
Last note on planned cesarean
Now that I’ve done a planned c-section, I no longer think it’s ‘not good’ for the baby.
Sure I missed out on a natural birth, I do hope I could experience a tranquil natural birth one day, but so long as my baby is healthy and safe, I am happy.
Overall I had a pleasant experience with the planned c-section.
And if I had to go through another c-section, I’d rather have a plan one than an emergency one. And an unconscious one if I was given a choice!
I post regularly on home making, overcoming challenges as a new mom and emotional mastery.
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