A lot of expectant mothers are looking forward to having a natural childbirth. But the word that you may need to deliver the baby by cesarean section (C-section) might make you feel a bit disappointed. Your visions of pushing the baby out of your womb may suddenly be replaced with worries about surgery, being in the hospital longer than you expected, and the recovery. This article will help you see what to expect from C-section and finally see the beauty in it.
Why Cesarean section (C-section)?
There are three reasons for a C-Section:
- Scheduled C-Section. Your health provider may secure a schedule for the procedure ahead of your due date for a few causes that may necessitate a C-section:
- Infections. If you have a genital herpes infection or if you are positive of HIV, it is a call for a scheduled Cesarean section because the virus can be transported to your baby during a normal delivery procedure.
- Macrosomia. Babies who are more than nine pounds and fifteen ounces are considered larger than usual. There’s a greater possibility of a difficult delivery. Your doctor may schedule a C-section to secure you and your baby’s safety.
- Mother’s medical condition. A chronic state of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or a kidney disease that will make vaginal delivery dangerous and stressful to your body, a Cesarean section may be the safest option to give birth.
- Baby’s health. It may be dangerous to pass through your birth canal if the baby has an illness or congenital health issue.
- Obesity. Mothers who are overweight and obese increase their chances of having a C-section because of other risk factor associated obesity like gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Breech position. If the baby is butt-first or feet-first and cannot be rotated, your doctor might pronounce that you need a C-section.
- Placental issues.
- Previous C-section.
- Other complications.
- Unscheduled C-section. There are cases that the need for C-section is not determined until you are in labor. Few common reasons can be:
- Prolapsed umbilical cord. When the umbilical cord descends into the birth passage in advance of the baby and compressed as the baby is coming through. This can cut off the baby’s oxygen supply.
- Uterine rupture. There are cases, like mine, during my third birth giving, my uterus tears on my eight months of pregnancy and I had an emergency C-section.
- The cervix is not dilating after 24-26 hours for the first time mother and fewer hours if not your first time to give birth even if you are having contractions.
What happens during the Cesarean section?
Scheduled or last minute resolution, Cesarean section procedure is direct and follows a scripted game plan. The procedure itself is just about ten minutes or less and another thirty minutes to stitch. Let us take a look at the step-by-step procedure that you should expect:
First, they will ask you to sign consent forms. Anesthesia will be prepared by the anesthesiologist and will be injected in your back which will make you numbed from the rib cage down. Next, they will let you drink a Bicitra, a chalky kind of stuff to neutralize your stomach acids. Next, you’ll be provided an IV to provide fluids and other medications and a catheter to collect urine. They will then send you to the operating room, where your partner can opt to come (in scrubs and a mask as well).
When in the operating room, a curtain will be placed across your midsection so you won’t see what and how they do it. A nurse will shave enough of your pubic hair for the incision, which will be just about the same length of your middle finger. Then that same area will be washed with an antiseptic solution.
Soon you feel a painless prodding, a signal that the baby is being prepared for the position of coming out. And before you know it, you will hear and see your precious baby. Note that once they started the incision, the baby can be delivered in just two minutes or as lengthy as half an hour, depends on the circumstances.
After cutting the umbilical cord, the doctor will then remove the placenta and do a quick check of your reproductive organs. You will be stitched up using absorb-able stitches in your uterus which doesn’t need to be removed. The skin will then be closed with dissolving stitches or surgical staples. Stitching you back can take up to half an hour because the layers of the muscle have to be realigned and be closed. They may give you antibiotics to make sure that you won’t have infections and oxytocin to manage to bleed and support the contraction of your uterus.
You’ll be given time to meet and greet the newest casting in your life. Some mothers have the opportunity of nursing their baby right away. Some may have to wait in the recovery room. But do not worry, you will have plenty of time to nurse and bond with your baby soon enough.
After the operation, you will also be given a few minutes to spend with your partner, a moment when both of you can marvel and decide what would be the baby’s name. You may even experience nausea or a series of shakes. You’ll then be brought to a recovery room where your heart will be monitored and wait until the anesthesia wears off of your body.
The recovery stage
- DAY 1. If there is no complication, you will be moved to a recovery area where you will be offered to have ice chips in a polystyrene cup which will really taste like heaven after the stressful surgery and delivery. Then a liquid diet will be introduced to you until you progress and the doctor says you are ready for real food.
- DAY 2. In the morning of the second day, your catheter will be removed and that means you need to walk to the bathroom and back. This is a good motivation to engage in physical activity. It may be painful but you need to increase your activity as much as you can as it will help regulate your blood circulation, regain your bowel function, and get back to the baseline sooner. You can even take a shower with mild soap. Wear a pad for bleeding which will last for several weeks after delivery. They will remove your IV as well and you will be asked if you have passed gas. Do not be ashamed to tell because passing gas is an important milestone after surgery.
- DAY 4. You may be getting ready to go home by this time. You will be taught how to take care of your incision and keeping your wound clean and not disturbed. You will also be advised not to lift or carry anything heavier than the weight of your baby, not to climb stairs, to not drive a car, to avoid having sex, not to use tampons, and douching until after six weeks.
- WEEK 2. You will need to see your doctor around this time to for a postpartum check-up. Your doctor will examine your incision and make sure that is is not swelling and it doesn’t have any signs of infections.
- WEEK 4. You can be moving more comfortably at this time. You can take a longer walk and be able to move faster. Remember that our body may recover differ from the others depending on our genetics. The key is to listen to your body, if it hurts, make sure to slow down; if you feel tired, take a rest.
- WEEK 6. You’re likely to be fully healed by now. Your uterus probably went back to its normal size and you can now resume all your normal activities, including making love with your partner.
Bear in mind that even though Cesarean section is considered as a major surgery, at least it is the happiest kind since this kind of surgery will not take away one of your inner body parts but you are gaining a baby instead. C-section is very safe. In the end, the greatest birth is the one that is safest and the one that will deliver a healthy baby.