labor nurse has been reborn and shares her experiences as a new nurse-midwife, woman, and blogger

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Happens in a C-Section

An anonymous commenter left a comment about something that she was shocked and quite bothered by during her c-section. Here is the portion of the comment that I'd like to share:

After my husband and baby left the room and they took down the sheet, I looked
down and saw that my legs were in "frog" position and people were pushing on my
stomach and looking between my legs. I was so upset that no one told me what
they doing or gave me more privacy (the room was still full of people and I had
made it really clear I have vulnerability issues.) Is this normal practice? Do
you often see medical people doing things to c-section patients' bodies without
telling them? It seems like they should treat you the same as they do when they
do an exam or vaginal delivery.

To answer your question: yes, this is normal practice. How it was done in regards to not informing you, no that isn't normal. At least where I work. And this got me thinking about sharing with everyone what happens when you have a c-section. Seeing that 1 out of every 3 pregnant women end up with one in our country, I think it's important to have an idea of what to expect.

The following is how I've seen c-section preparation done in places where I've worked. Also, if the c-section is emergent things are just happening quickly by numerous nurses and doctors with no particular order with little explanation to what prep is going on. So just use this as a general guide and keep in mind that different hospitals do things differently and emergencies tend to blow some of the normalcy of the preparation out the window.

It usually takes two hours to "prep" someone for a c-section when it's a scheduled event. It doesn't need to because in an urgent situation (not emergent but we need to move quickly) it takes all of 20 minutes if that. But, whatever. I think the two hour prep time is to give the obstetrician and the anesthesiologist some wiggle room to run a little behind. It also makes things easier on the nurse most of the time if all she is doing is admitting you and doing all the prep stuff.

So first thing done putting the baby on the fetal monitor and getting an NST. But most nurses will just leave the woman on the monitor until you head over to the OR. An IV is started, and fluid is begun. Anesthesia likes to have lots of fluid run in before heading into surgery, so at least one liter is run in at a minimum. Paper work crap is done, like the nursing assessment, advance directives, consents, etc. A "clip" is done of the pubic area (it's better to have the nurse do than do it yourself; home razors are full of bacteria and cause microscopic nicks in the skin....a perfect set up for post-op infections, especially for the big girls who have a pannus hanging over the area to be cut.). A foley catheter is put into the bladder to make sure the bladder stays small to reduce the risk of nicking it during surgery. It also is needed after having a spinal because you'll not be able to pee for up to 18 hours post-surgery. Some places are kind and have the nurses put the catheter in after the spinal. I much prefer this because it's kinder to the woman and it's what I'd want if I was the one getting a section. But some places or doctors don't "allow" this because they are afraid that after the spinal is placed that the woman's blood pressure will plummet or the baby will nose dive and they don't want some nurse futzing around with a foley when they want to start cutting. And frankly, some nurses prefer to do it prior to going into the OR because it's one less thing they have to do once they get into the OR; the role of that nurse during the first 10 minutes in the OR are numerous because she's the one setting everything up, being asked (or told) to do 10 things at once. This is anxiety provoking to some.

There are also a lot of medications given to reduce the acid in the stomach. There is also an antibiotic given prior to going into the OR.

Once all this is done, then off to the OR. The OR is cold and warming blankets are given if needed. The woman sits on the OR table for the spinal, which usually doesn't take very long and sets in quite quickly. The nurse listens to the fetal heart rate once you are laying down, the foley catheter is placed if not done earlier, legs are strapped to the table, and then the nurse begins the surgical scrub of the belly.

At this point, the doctors will drape the belly and get into position to start the surgery. They do a test of the skin to ensure the spinal is in fact working. Typically they do this without actually telling you to really make sure you aren't thinking you feel something due to anxiety. If they get no response (and if you have any feeling left at this point you will feel it...they pinch really hard with a surgical instrument) then they get started. The support person is brought in at this point, and sits next to the woman's head. There is a big blue drape that comes up so you are shielded from what the surgeons are doing.

It doesn't take very long to get to the uterus and pull out the baby. Unless, of course, there is a lot of scar tissue from previous c-sections or abdominal surgery they have to work through. The baby is handed off to an awaiting nurse and/or pediatrician. They dry the baby, suction the airway, and hand the baby over to the support person or snuggled up to the woman if it's possible. Some places will then bring the baby to the nursery or leave the baby with the mom.

Now, during the surgery, most women fell tugging and pressure. But there should not be any pain. Some woman find the pressure very uncomfortable, especially during the expulsion of the baby because the assistant to the surgeon does a lot of pushing and leaning on the belly. And some will have an uncomfortable sensation or even nausea during the closing process when they exteriorize the uterus. This is when they literally take the uterus, tubes, and ovaries out of the pelvis while they suture the uterine incision back together. Some surgeons don't do this. Most surgeons close the uterus in two layers, which may seem like a stupid thing to mention, but if the woman hopes to have a VBAC for the next baby it's important to know this. This is detailed in the operative note, not something that anyone would mention. The risk of uterine rupture is lower with two layer closure than one layer, which is why this would be important to know in the future.

Once the abdomen is closed up, which is done in layers, the drape comes off and then the abdominal dressing is put on. This is the point when the doctor pushes on the abdomen really hard while having the woman frog legged to fish out any large blood clots in the vagina. However, unlike the anonymous commenter's experience, I've always seen the woman being told this is going to happen. There are people that are in the room but they are all busy doing whatever they need to do before they leave the OR so they really aren't paying attention to the manual expression of blood clots from the vagina.

And finally, the woman is moved over onto a stretcher or bed and wheeled to the PACU/recovery area and monitored closely for several hours. During the recovery time, breastfeeding can be initiated.

So there you have it. C-section crash course.


Karen said...

thank you. I'm really glad you put that level of detail in. That's not quite how it is covered in childbirth prep classes around here.

Anonymous said...

I've been fortunate to have two vag deliveries, so this was very interesting. Thanks!

I didn't see it mentioned or perhaps I missed it... when is the placenta delivered? That was my first thought when I read the commenter's passage was that they were delivering the placenta.


Kelly said...

I also wasn't told about the expulsion of the clots, but they didn't take the drape down before then. I wasn't told much of anything, really. It wasn't a planned c/s, but it wasn't emergent either (failed induction, they were sick of waiting and I was too naive to know I could say 'no').

Joana said...

Very Good! I stopped by just to tell that your C-section crash course is the same in Portugal (in the hospital where I work).

curdiemer said...

Very interesting! Thanks for all the details, especially about the prep.

Would you mind explaining the burning smell? When I asked what it was someone just rubbed my nose with an alcohol wipe and mumbled something about instruments.

Congratulations on your graduation!

Myra said...

Yep. You nailed it pretty close to perfect what we do at our hospital. Today was my first day as "Circulating Nurse" on my orientation.
You kindly left out all of the Counts we have to do.... It's going to take me a few more sections in order to correctly identify the kellys, needle holders, babcocks and mosquitos, etc.. (Unsure of spelling as well) :)

Congrats on graduation!!!

Labor Nurse said...

The burning smell is of your flesh. Really. There is something called a "bovie"- an electrocautery device that is used to help cauterize small areas of bleeding.

saraH said...

Thanks for this. i had a feeling they were taking organs out of me, but i wasn't told what was going on at all. my Dr actually said, "if you don't stop crying i'm going to put the baby back." my section was an emergency. I wasn't told about the frog legs either. I am not brave enough to watch a section, so this was good to read.

PE Mommy said...

OMG I am so glad I have never had a csection (though I asked for one with my first, but that was because I was so sick). This baby better turn by the time it comes to that!!

Ethel said...

Labor Nurse, I also want to know when the placenta is delivered. I know it's manually extracted, but how and what do they do to minimize bleeding? Since I passed out, or something, after my husband left the OR with our baby I don't remember a damn thing until I was wheeled into the recovery room. Okay, I remember spewing but all I know about the rest is that I scared the anesthesiologist.

curdiemer said...

Hah, thanks for the info. :)

Labor Nurse said...

ethel, the placenta is extracted immediately after the birth of the baby. Like you said, it is manually extracted- basically scooped out in one piece. Upon the extraction of the placenta, the uterus tries to clamp down. Typically it does this well enough to control the amount of bleeding, but the surgeons work quickly at this point to close up the incision (typically in the lower uterine segment of the uterus) because this helps control bleeding as well. If the uterus does don't contract enought to control bleeding, the surgeons can manually massage it to help get it contracted and medications can be given to cause contraction of the uterus.

Iris said...

Thank you for the crash course! That was pretty interesting.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this.

Do they routinely give meds that make you feel "fuzzy"? I remember suddenly feeling foggy ad confused and later I wondered if they gave me a med for some reason.

Also, how do they transfer you onto the stretcher or bed? I can't remember this part, but I assume i didn't help. When do they change your gown, or do they at all? I don't remember this, either.

Do you find that women who come in a for a planned c-section are more self-consious about being exposed because they aren't in the mindset of labor, or is it the same as women who have vaginal deliveries? I remember feeling so humiliated about lying naked in this cold room full of strangers.

I have been wanting to ask these questions and it's great to have someone who can answer them :)

Anonymous said...

Very informative!! Just because you read the surgical report doesn't mean you know what actually happened, thanks for clearing that up. Is it normal to see the lower uterine segment bulging above the internal os???

Labor Nurse said...

the anesthesiologist may give you meds like versed or valium after the birth of the baby if they think it would help quell some anxiety. Some just like to give it to make the mom sleepy.

I think the self-conscious thing depends on the woman, but I think it's logical that women who have scheduled c-sections may be more in a mindset to worry about being exposed. But I am sure some women in emergent situations are as well- imagine that there is a cord prolapse and you are on your hands and knees with your butt in the air while the doctor or midwife has their hand in the vagina to try and keep pressure off the prolapsed cord all while being wheeled down the hall to the OR.

I have no idea about a bulging lower uterine segment above the internal os. The lower uterine segment is the part of the uterus just above the cervix, and the internal os is the "inside" side of the cervix just below the lower uterine segment- so not sure what this looks like or if it is common.

Real said...

I remember one time being in OR with a doula client of mine who had tried for a natural birht, but finally got an epidural and somewhere on day 2 was getting a cesarean. It was rough emotionally on her because she had wanted a natural vag delivery.

But she was a trooper. While she was all numb with the drape up and her baby over in a warmer with her husband--she hadn't even SEEN the baby yet and nobody had told her whether it was ok or anything--the doctor (and it was a WOMAN ob!!) said something like, "Your peritoneal muscles are beautiful." And "It hardly looks as though you've had a baby."

I just thought that was really crass considering they were poking around in her naked body which she could neither see nor feel. AND to tell her that it doesn't even look like she had a baby when she's been numb to the delivery and hasn't even seen the baby yet. Really rude.

Aubrey Kinnaman said...

This was a great short course in c-sections. I ended up having one after "failure to progess", 26 hours of labor following my water breaking with presence of meconium. My midwife, doula and I tried everything we could but she just wasn't coming out the way i had planned. Although the csec wasn't bad, nor was recovery, I will never understand why someone would choose it. To be so detached from the birth process was not what i wanted. Thankfully, i could initiate nursing with assistance from my husband while they were finishing up. I only wish every woman could have had the experience i did, if it has to happen.

Anonymous said...

I came across this blog:

and I was so upset I sent a scathing comment that wasn't posted. She did post my follow-up comment about my c-section experience.

Labor nurse's entry about c-sections is so much better. I felt that the blog I linked went out of it's way to scare women. Why would someone in her position give such an exaggerated, disrespectful, and panic-inducing account of c-sections? The last thing women need is to be thinking this horrible thing lies ahead of them when labor isn't progressing. And if you need a planned c-section, how do accounts like this help you have a good experience?

I like that labor nurse promotes healthy birth experiences and "tells it like it is" without needlessly scaring women.

Labor Nurse said...

Dear anonymous, I just read the post you listed and I can see why it would scare people. But I think it was meant to show that c-sections are major surgery with serious risks- a counter to the article she first quotes about how horrible and risky vaginal birth is. The point I got out of it was that language, how one describes things, can highly color your perception.

Frankly, how she describes how a c-section is performed by the surgeon (something that I only vaguely touch upon in my post- my focus was the prep that is done and what to expect in that sense) is fairly right on. Muscles are torn, uterus are pulled open. I've even seen surgeons and their assistants pull on the muscles by hooking their fingers underneath and leaning their entire body back- essentially using their weight to rip the muscles open. It's pretty graphic, if you ask me, and it helped me understand why there is so much post-op pain involved for so many women.

And in almost all of the c-sections I've been in the doctors are all discussing everyday things about themselves. I find that this can be very disrespectful of the woman. I've also seen some doc's talk with their patient the whole way through, and the women seemed to respond well to that.

I am glad that you found I don't scare women, however. My feeling is that half the battle is decreasing fear- less fear leads to a better experience no matter what the situation.

Aubrey Kinnaman said...

Ok. I thought it was just my doctors. THey were talking about what they had for breakfast, their morning jog, what they were doing that weekend, the newest steak restaurant in town (which i heard had fantastic scallops). I just felt like "hello, woman having a baby!" The nurse was very concernced because i wasn't breathing well and my pulse was very low. Docs went about their business like they were having a sandwich or a stroll in the park. i found it very odd but i guess it's that way with everyone

Jody said...

...yep we do our sections almost exactly the same. Except the scrub person is the one who does the Hard Deep massage to clear out all clots. This is done after the suturing is finished.

The most shocking thing to me in seeing My first Csection was when they place the uterus on top of the mothers abdomen and suture it.
Amazing but scary stuff. I'm sooo glad I had all vag deliverys myself.

It always blows my Mind that some women would prefer a section. Not me!!!

mommy2bex3 said...

this post got me to delurk and ask a question. i'm pregnant with my third baby. my first was a cesarian because of failure to progress and maternal fever (baby was 9 lb, 9 oz, with a huge head). second time around, the doc convinced me that "failure to progress" was something that often repeats for a woman and i was nervous about a big baby again, so she was a scheduled section (baby was only 7 lb, 7 oz). this time i would love to try vbac, since i'm not as certain baby #3 will be as big as the first. at my due date, i'll be 17.5 months from the last section (there was 2.3 yrs between the first two). am i crazy to even bring up vbac? do you think it's unsafe to try? i would appreciate any advice. thanks!

Labor Nurse said...

you can certainly bring it up but I think you'd be hard pressed to find any doctor agree to an attempt at VBAC in your situation. The ideal candidate is a woman who has only had one c-section more than 18 months ago, with two layer suturing of the uterus, for reasons like breech or fetal distress (ie, not pelvic/fetal size issues or "failure to progress"). The risk of uterine rupture in this ideal candidate is typically quoted as <1% (I've seen anything from 0.4 to 1.2%) The risk of uterine rupture in a woman with more than 1 c-section is greater than this, but what it is exactly I don't remember. Let's say in your situation the risk of uterine rupture is 2%- for doctors this risk is too big to take on- remember many don't even want to take on that <1%!

So I guess the bottom line is that you can by all means discuss VBAC but don't be surprised if you are not given this option.

Sharon said...

Labor Nurse, thank you so much for this. My water broke and they started me on pitocin. 24 hours later, I was only 8cm dilated with a swollen cervix. At least that what I was told. Is that possible? So, I was given a C-Section or risk infection decision. I chose the C-Section. What I want to know is there a way I can tell if I had the 2 layer suture, besides asking the doctor? Is it on the discharge papers? For my second child, I would like to try VBAC. Again, thank you, I very much enjoy reading your blog.

Labor Nurse said...

Sharon, yes, a swollen cervix is certainly possible. You can find out uterine suturing in the operative report in your medical record at the hospital. Just contact the medical records department, they will have you write a request (or fill our a form) stating you want the operative report from such and such date. Some reports will say something like, "Uterus was closed in the usual fashion" which means then you would have to ask that specific doctor what his/her usual fashion is.

lcsw mom said...

I also work in healthcare and I have to say that most providers are fairly cavalier about patient nudity. Particularly for women. I've never understood why they feel it is no big deal to walk in unannounced on a pelvic, or have some five to ten people coming in and out of a laboring woman's room. I find it deeply disturbing and undignifying for a woman. It's as though a woman is used to or should be fine with being displayed for all to see. It really makes me angry to see such a degree of insensitivity to a vulnerable woman's dignity as a person, not a patient with a vagina.

Andria said...

Hello, great article. Im having a c section in May and have been extremely terrified.

This is my first child and due to a chronic illness, MS, my OB and PCP feel a c section is best for me.

How rare or common is death during a c section or post op? I am a huge hypochondriac with severe anxiety, woot, and have been stressing out!

Oh, and the meds they give you to numb you during, do they interact with a lot of meds? I have to stay on my medication, Copaxone, during most of my pregnancy. Im worried it may interact with the meds they give me =/

Labor Nurse said...

Andria, I really can't say whether your meds will interact with anesthesia. As your pregnancy progresses you could always request an anethesia consult and discuss this with them in advance.

Death due to a c-section is very unusual- I'm not sure what the actual percentage is but my educated guess is that it is less than 1%.

Stassja said...

I've just stumbled upon your blog from a link on another blog, and so far I'm really enjoying it. Will be adding you to my subscriptions for sure!

Thank you for this post. I have a somewhat technical question for you, just for curiousities sake. I totally understand if you're too busy or whatever to answer. :) Anyways, I had a c-section with my son 14 months ago, it was not scheduled but not emergency, I'd been pushing for four hours and his head had been visible, just short of crowning, for two of them. Tried the vacuum to no avail. During the section there was alot of pulling, tugging, shaking and so on, which I understand is normal, but I was thinking the other do they get a baby out that's already started down the birth canal? Surely they can't push him back they pull? Bring out an arm first? I'm just terribly curious about how that works out in practice, if you happen to have seen a similar c-section.


Anonymous said...

is it normal to not close all of the layers inside of you, during a c-section? the doctor that delivered my daughter did not close all of the layers and i have suffered with terrible pain for almost 2 years. i went to several doctors to see why i was in pain and until i had a surgery (for the doctor to look around and see whats wrong)no one had an answer. what he told me broke my heart. my organs are all over the place covered with scar tissue because of not closing the layers. i have to have a hysterectomy because the damage is to severe to fix. im only 19 and i cant believe that a DOCTOR did this to me! Is it legal?

Anonymous said...

Very interesting yet it just terrified me more. I just don't know how I can go through this with out being dragged kicking and screaming.

Stassja said...

Anon, I always thought that surgery would have to be the scariest thing ever. And surgery while awake? Oh hell no! Then I got appendicitis, and went into surgery without a second thought because I felt horrible and just wanted it over with. It was similar with my sons c-section (which was unplanned, but not emergency), I was so worn out, in every way, and I just wanted to be done and have my baby. (After two days of pitocin, insane contractions for hours, and 4 hours of pushing. I was COOKED.) As much as I didn't want a section, and as much as I still dislike that it happened that way to this day, the surgery itself wasn't bad in the moment.

Anonymous said...

Thank God for this,
Yes indeed that is what happend to me everything you said right on ...mine although was unplanned, ..nerves of course, i did suffer a panic attack in the middle of the surgery sewing me up,
i go into another c-section my 2nd one this will be DEC-29TH,08...
I was wondering do they give you anything is asked for nerves? before the surgery? and also my blood pressure did plummet and my heart was erratic after everything was said and done and i was in the RR for like 5 hours, have any idea what happend? maybe allergic reaction to the spinal ???

thanks bunches Holli`

Labor Nurse said...

I can only speculate as to what happened during your first c-section. Blood pressures dropping is probably one of the most common side effects of spinals and epidurals. There are ways to counter this side effect (and prevent it, hopefully) by loading up the woman with a minimum of a liter of IV fluid. The IV fluid continues to be given very fast once the anesthesia is in place. If the IV fluids don't do it, then medication is given to boost the blood pressure.

As far as getting something for the nerves ahead of time- I have yet to meet any doctors willing to do this. It is typically the anesthesiologist who would give this ok but I have never seen it done because that medication (something like versed) will cross the placenta and affect the baby. Baby could end up sedated at birth and need respiratory help, which we prefer not to be the case. Just have a c-section puts baby at higher risk of have respiratory issues, so adding something else to that risk isn't a good idea.

However, as soon as baby is out and you still feel you need something- ASK! By all means you can ask for something and most will get it.

As far as being in recovery for 5 hours- it may have been for a number of things. Sounds more like a blood pressure thing for you, but a woman could end up in the recovery room for an extended period of time for bleeding, incision problems, vital sign instability, pain issues, or just plain no space yet on the postpartum floor!

Anonymous said...

I am glad we do things differently where I work. I am a CBE and labor nurse. I appreciate your reminder to never be cavalier about women's birth experiences, whether "natural", or at the most extreme other end: crash c/s. I do find most of the time, we Do explain, step by step what the lady will experience during her surgery, from the very fast onset of the spinal (which alone can freak a person out, feeling paralyzed and even unable to breathe, at times) to the tugging/pulling and pressure (I explain when they feel this to try and envision the birth of their child as this is what is happening at the time when they feel they can't handle it at all).

I also explain when we are expressing clots afterward, and what they will feel. I hate that a lady is so exposed during the scrub and manual expression afterward, but truly there is no other way to do this. I do strive to be respectful at these vulnerable times, however.

Also, when the baby is born, we slide the warmer to a point where the mom can see her baby right away and watch as we weigh, take measurements, and give shots, do vital signs etc. I invite the s/o to accompany me for the first bath, so he/she can take pictures and be with the baby at this time, not stuck away. Some elect to stay with the mom in the OR during this time; others come with me (the bath is given in an "ante" room, next to the OR. I invite the s/o to take as many pictures as they can so mom can see these later. I always say "PHOTO OP"! at these times.

Finally, when the mom is being "repaired", I swaddle the baby and hand the child to the s/o, who can sit by the mom's side and let her see and touch her baby. This helps distract her from her surgery and gives her rightful time to bond with her baby right then and there.

We don't have a PACU or recovery room, per se; the mom, baby and s/o go back to the patient room where her circulating nurse will stay with them for 1 hour without leaving. At this time, we put baby skin to skin with mom in her bed, if she feels up to it and work to initiate breastfeeding ASAP.

Very different experience than described here. I am glad of it. But I am re

I am reminded to keep the human touch in there when present for birth, whether vaginal or by c/s. Good post. Just know, there ARE better ways to do this!!!! And some of us do try hard to make this happen.

deb, a childbirth educator and L and D nurse.

Anonymous said...

PS I am the above poster and I have done it "both ways".....I had a very difficult OP/forceps vaginal birth and planned c/s for breech. Recovery for both was not a piece of cake, but I had the right attitude I think, in that I got up and moved early on. By day 5 after my c/s I was walking 2-3 miles for exercise again. Sore, yes, but very strong and happy. It does help to have the right attitude and trust in your health care providers, in that, I was lucky. The recovery from my vaginal birth was actually more painful as I did sustain a 3rd deg perineal lac and that is not a picnic either.

Just another perspective.


Labor Nurse said...

thanks for sharing how c-sections are done on your unit. I really wish our unit could adapt to being more baby and mom friendly during this surgery, but there are several things at play. One of the biggest things is space. Our ORs are fairly small and so there just isn't the space, not to mention the set up to do all that baby stuff so mom could see. Actually, the baby is taken to the nursery once deemed stable (most of the times, quite quickly) to do baby stuff while the repair/closing up is done. We also borrow an RN from the NICU to attend because we can't usually spare an L&D RN to get tied up in the OR (on top of the circulator and scrub RN already in there). I've seen other places with this same issue of just plain technicality, not to mention the issue of "it's just been the way it always is" attitude.

Not saying I agree, but there are so many factors involved in how things are done.

Anonymous said...

Labor nurse,

Thank you so much for such a detailed description of a section! I am currently 20 weeks and will need to (and would prefer to) have a section.
The problem is that I am absolutely horrified at the idea of being exposed and have anyone look at my privates. I know that I should just "grow up" and deal with it" but I have managed not to have any gyn examination to date and bubs seems to be ok.
My question to you is whether the catheter can be super-pubic instead and whether I can refuse to be exposed and placed it the "frog like position" described ? How likely is it that the OR team will support my wishes?
Thanks again.

Labor Nurse said...

Anon, I've never seen a suprapubic catheter as an option ever for a section. This would require surgical placement, actually, and I can't imagine any doctor agreeing with this. However, if you are someone who already has a suprapubic catheter because of medical problems then of course that would be used. So to get to your other question, the only way to put a catheter into the bladder for the surgery would be the frog leg position.

Monica said...

WOW!!! I am going on my 3rd C-section next month. I had no idea they did I am so glad I know this now. You would think after the first couple babies you have you would be well aware of procedures and what not but like they say every pregnancy is different

Morgan said...

Interesting. I've had 4 c-sections, but no one has mentioned fishing out blood clots with me frog-legged.

Marcy said...

Thank you for this description, so thorough and professional, I really appreciate it.
I had 3 c-sections, and was so very relieved when told I'd need them (1st was just decided day of, next 2 were scheduled) as I was afraid of labor. At the time of my c-sections, I was blissfully and completely unaware of what a c-section entails, and I *loved* my "deliveries." I really enjoyed them and talked and laughed with my husband and the dr throughout. During the 1st one (when I was in shape!) my ab muscles were apparently really strong and my dr called over a man in the OR (I don't know what his role was there) to help her pull the baby out and they were tugging so hard it seemed like I was swinging like on a hammock in a typhoon and at one point the man's elbow came jutting under the curtain onto my chest and my husband and I were laughing. There were parts I wasn't thrilled about that you touched upon here (the smell of burning flesh, the nausea, the nudity) but the staff were all so nice and I was just thrilled to be taking such an incredible joyous adventure. I look back on all 3 experiences with such fondness. After my 3rd, someone mentioned to me taking organs out and resting them atop the body during c-sections, and I could not believe any such thing was done, so I asked my dr at my post-op check-up if she had done this and I was so surprised when she said she had! That's when I researched what a c-section actually entails. I am glad I didn't know details before as that would have worried me, but now I am fascinated. In fact, I am in school to (hopefully) become a L&D nurse. Thank you aain for this info.! : )

Angie said...

I just stumbled across your blog. I'm going in for my 4th c-section in February. I knew most of what you wrote about except for the frog position. Eek! Well, I suppose it works well to remove most of the blood because I've only ever bled for a week afterwards and very lightly at that.

My only wish is that the baby could stay with me longer or the entire time. My third baby had to go to the NICU for breathing problems and we were separated for 6 hours. It was awful! I've never had a problem initiating breastfeeding with any of my babies though. Overall, my c-sections have been pretty positive experiences. I would have loved to deliver vaginally with #1 and #2, but it wasn't meant to be for me.

Aubrey Kinnaman said...

Out of curiousity... what is keeping you from a VBA3C. YOu don't have to have Csections just because you've had them before. There are doctors out there committed to giving women a vaginal birth. I'm a VBAC and plan to deliver any day now a full term frank breech baby vaginally.

Christine Elmer said...

Wow! So I've had three c-sections at this point and thought I was a pro at knowing what's going on. After your detailed answer I realized there is a lot I miss ( I have panic attacks durring c-sections and spend much of my time trying to keep calm) its actually very interesting and I liked that you did this. My last c/s I remember them asking me can you feel this, no can you feel this, no ok and what about this, ouch! Yes lol they did something and the next time I felt nothing. One of my c-sections they brought down the blue drap and I too was spread out on the table without any covers. I was embaressed and spoke up and said umm could some one cover me please. I didn't want to be in the mirror or look down and see my bare self lol the nurse was very good she heard me and said oh sure and draped a cover over me. I felt much better.

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Betty said...

Here in the UK C Sections are done different to that of the USA in that a mums arms are never strapped down as this practice has never been done in the UK.
As that kind of restraint is illegal here.
Also most hospitals here don't use armboards they just lay the moms arms on her chest and mom is free to move her arms.
As you see in this video here of a mum having her C Section in a London NHS hospital

Notice also they let her partner stay with her in the OR while she got her Spinal.
The few hospitals that do have the armboards just lay IV arm on it but the arms are not strapped or tired to the armboard and mom can still move her arms if she wants.
Moms here are also given their babies right away to hold in the OR and many moms also have skin to skin in the OR.
Although not many C Sections are done here without the curtain in most C Sections the curtain is lowered for the mom to see the baby being born if that's what she wants.Also some hospital have a low curtain where you can see the OR staff but not the actual OP.
Also some C Sections here are done under general anesthetic if the mom is very nervous(although most mums chose to be awake) unlike the US where GA is not done at all anymore. So it is different here in the UK to the US and it seems hospital in the UK treat women better than US hospitals.