“Mom guilt. Consolation prize. Not a natural birth. Easy way out.”
These are all phrases I have heard women say when “C-section” is brought up.
What the actual heck?!?!
Do we, as a society not realize exactly all that goes into a surgical birth? Because I truly believe that if we step back and look at all that goes into a c-section (and all that comes out too) we would have more respect for the process and the women who give birth this way.
Allow me to shed some light on the often unforeseen realities of this surgery.
It actually IS a major surgery. MAJOR. They literally take your uterus out of your body. But then it’s life changing! You get a baby at the end!
I dont know of any other major surgery where they basically give you a prize.
The recovery is no-joke. Things that many take for granted such as carrying my older child, driving and walking up stairs are out of the question for the immediate recovery period. It makes for a good excuse to take it easy!
And if you forget to slow down, your body will tell you but heads up! You probably won't like it.
Your arms will be stretched out to the sides and possibly strapped down for the surgery. Laying down on the operating table totally exposed with your arms stretched out. It is a weird feeling.
You may get extremely nauseous or vomit. This is completely normal and completely awful.
For the record, puking while having to lay on your back sucks. The anesthesiologist typically is right next to your head through the whole procedure and usually pretty on top of helping you through that with suction and a vomit bag.
They are your new best friend.
You will notice pressure and tugging as they are performing the surgery. The anestheia doesn’t numb you from feeling pressure and during this surgery, there is a whole lot of it!!! It can be extremely uncomfortable.
Let me rephrase that… It can actually HURT!
Some area hospitals have the option for a clear drape so you can watch the procedure. If this is your thing and you can handle that at least.
If you have a support person in the OR with you and pick the clear drape, make sure they’re able to handle that as well. They will see much more than you will and I promise that your medical team doesn't want your support person suddenly becoming a patient right alongside you.
An alternative to this is to ask your medical team to drop the drape when the baby is delivered. This may be a good “happy medium” for everyone.
Your baby will be born relatively quickly (5-10 min) but the repair takes much longer (30-45 min). They seem shocked that the baby is out so quickly and then wonder what is taking so long when they are still in surgery for the repair.
In an urgent or emergent cesarean, they deliver the baby VERY quickly and general anesthesia may be used.
The OR is often very COLD. It’s a sterile environment and everyone but you is covered in sterile gowns and hair nets and gloves and basically a ton of layers.
Everyone but you.
So, as the patient on the operating table, naked, you may feel cold. You may even shake. Hang in there! If you took a birth class and practiced any coping tools for contractions, this is a great time to put those to the test!
Think long, slow breaths, visualizations, scents (if your local hospital allows this) or music.
Coughing, vomiting, laughing sneezing etc. can feel like your insides are trying to come out after the procedure. Things like holding a pillow over the incision can help mitigate this. It will get better!!!
Bowel movements are something that you may have taken for granted prior to surgery. Many women experience constipation post surgery as their bowels had to be heavily manipulated in order to get the baby out.
Most likely, your provider will prescribe something to help with this. My advice? Listen to your provider! The last thing you want is to be constipated.
You will still have postpartum bleeding just like you do after a vaginal birth. I wish the surgery could totally spare women from this but it unfortunately doesn’t. You still deal with the dreaded month long (sometimes more, sometimes less) postpartum period.
So, to everyone who thinks a C-section is the easy way out, think again!
These women who have gone through a C-section are warriors! This means of giving birth is still tough and intense and a big deal!
Let’s stop mom-shaming around the means in which we all give birth already!
You with me?!
It 100% sucks.
Except for the times when you really don’t want to share your cookie and the bathroom hideout was just occupied by your other child who has a stomach-ache. Now that house with the extra bathroom is on the must have list… anyways…
If you’re nodding your head right now, know you’re not alone. Between my two kids, we have 2 anaphylactic allergies and 5 intolerances and counting.
Our list of things to avoid (assuming I even remember them all) currently includes peanuts, tree nuts (aka all the other nuts out there), corn, dairy, soy, coconut (no, it’s not always lumped in with tree nuts), something in hummus although we aren’t sure what that is quite yet, eggs and clearly I’m forgetting some.
So basically we’re rabbits, but I can’t fail to mention the Costco size box of Cheerios we go through every week.
My point is, it’s a lot to keep track of and it changes the way we live life. Many people don’t understand the stress families in these situations are under on a constant basis.
"Many people don’t understand the stress families in these situations are under on a constant basis."
→ Bringing a new baby home or going through a crisis where people offer to bring over food? Gulp. It’s not so easy to accept their meals.
→ Heading to a potluck? Better bring your EpiPen, your own meal and energy for CONSTANT supervision.
→ Samples at Costco? Hard pass. Try explaining to your toddler that they can’t eat the candy every other kiddo is chomping on. No thanks.
→ Toddler birthday parties? Nope. Make sure to come prepared with an allergy friendly treat for your child and watch them closely!
→ Family dinner eating out? Better be careful! Most times it’s just easier to eat at home. Going through the menu with the manager feels exhausting and defeats the purpose of a quick and easy dinner.
Sound stressful? It is. BUT, it’s a great scapegoat for introverts (like me) and picky eaters (my husband cough* cough*) to get out of those awkward invitations and the soggy casserole your well-meaning neighbor offers to deliver.
So, how do we help these families?
Side note... If you have someone in your life with an egg allergy, try out these chocolate chip cookies. They are AMAZING! Even if you just want to eat the dough, I dare you to make these. You may never go back to any other recipe! If you need some allergen-free snack options check out the Enjoy Life brand. They have everything!
How do YOU navigate food allergies? How does it change the way you live on a daily basis? Comment below! I’d love to get your insight!
Author, Kristina McMurtrey, is a passionate doula who aims to see families supported regardless of their unique way of navigating pregnancy, birth and parenting.
North Cascade Doulas provides care for families looking for Labor Doulas, Placenta Encapsulation and Childbirth Education Classes. We support all parenting philosophies and birth plans.
We specialize in :
(natural) unmedicated birth / (surgical) cesarean birth / epidural birth / induction / planned induction / planned cesarean / VBAC / TOLAC / waterbirth / multiples / breastfeeding / bottle feeding / formula feeding / NICU / PPD / PPMD / bed rest / high risk / low risk / advanced maternal age / miscarriage / IVF / and more.
Areas we Serve:
We serve Whatcom and Skagit Counties and the neighborhoods of Alger / Anacortes / Bellingham / Big Lake / Birch Bay / Blaine / Bow / Burlington / Clear Lake / Custer / Everson / Ferndale / Glen Haven / La Conner / Laurel / Lynden / Mount Vernon / Sedro Woolley / Sudden Valley