What I Learned
Ok, so I promised a good, bad, what I learned kind of post when I wrote Jack’s birth story. I’m itching to put the finishing touches on Xander’s birth story so I better get this post out of the way.
In case you don’t know me, let me tell you that I research EVERYTHING. Having a baby was no different. Epidurals, natural birth, car seats, breast pumps, swings, pack-n-plays. I researched everything that had to do with having and bringing home a baby. Well, not everything. I skipped one thing. C-sections. Sure, I joked with my husband that I would never talk to him again if I had to have a c-section because our baby had his ginormous head (seriously, Jim has a huge head). Sure I knew that about 30% of all births are by c-section. I just never thought that I would wind up with one (let alone 2) c-sections. So my advice? Do a little research even if you don’t think you will ever need a c-section. And not just c-sections. If you are planning a med-free birth, know your options in case something happens and you wind up needing meds. Or if you are dead set against an induction. When you are 2 weeks past your due date and your doctor says your baby needs to be born, you will feel better if you have done a little research.
What else did I learn? Well, I learned to tell the doctors what I wanted and needed. I had no clue until after Jack was born that I could refuse the catheter until after my spinal was in. I didn’t realize that after I was back in my room that I could tell them to take out the catheter so I could get up and walk. When I had Jack, L&D was crazy busy. The residents basically forgot to write the order to have my cath removed and finally a nurse had to ask a full 24 hours after Jack was born. The problem was I didn’t know that it was supposed to come out about 12 hours after the surgery. I would have insisted. When I had Xander I insisted on getting out of bed about 8 or 9 hours after he was born. I had to convince my nurse but because I demanded it, she took out the cath and helped me walk around.
It also took almost 24 hours for me to get food. At first I just wasn’t hungry but then it was (again) because the orders weren’t written. When I had Xander, I was insistent on eating dinner (just 4 hours after X was born). I didn’t want to wait another 24 hours. I told everyone that I could. I told so many people that I actually wound up with three dinner trays.
One of my biggest regrets with my first c-section was that I didn’t get to see Jack until he was cleaned up, checked out and wrapped in a blanket and had a hat on. I just assumed that I would get to see him before they checked him out. I was wrong. When I had Xander, I told my doctor before we ever made it to the OR that I wanted to see him as soon as he was born. As they were prepping me, I heard the doctor tell all the nurses “Don’t forget Amy wants to see the baby before he goes to the warmer.” I actually got to see him twice before he was wrapped up. They showed him to me right away and again right after the NICU team gave him a clean bill of health.
Some things that my hospital does that are awesome:
My nurse (both times) explained EVERYTHING that was going to happen. And the nurse was within my eyesight the whole time I was in the OR. She wasn’t there to assist. She was there for me.
They don’t strap down your arms as a matter of general practice. You have to put your arms straight out so you don’t touch the sterile field and they tell you that if you start touching or flailing, they will strap your arms down. Of course I followed instructions and I didn’t need my arms strapped down.
They absolutely encourage breastfeeding while in recovery. They recognize the importance of nursing soon after birth and both times, my boys were breastfed within an hour of their birth. With Jack, my nurse was the one who reminded me to nurse him. They also realize that it’s hard to nurse just minutes after a major surgery so they help A LOT. I don’t think I actually held Jack as I nursed him the first time. Pretty sure the nurse held him.
My husband was allowed to watch our baby being born. He stood up and watched as Jack was pulled out.
I held my baby for the first time as I wheeled from the OR. (My only regret here is that my husband had already been sent down to recovery but after Xander was born I could see why. The ORs are small and there isn’t a whole lot of room. Jim would have been in the way as they were transferring me to a gurney). I was beyond shocked when I was settled on the gurney and handed my baby. For some reason I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to hold him so soon after surgery.
I don’t really have anything *bad* to say about my c-section. I learned a lot from it and when it came time to Xander’s birth, I knew exactly what I did and didn’t want. Not only from a c-section birth but for a VBAC too. I’m not a big fan of birth plans, they just aren’t my style, but as soon as my doctor and I decided on a c-section with Xander, I was able to tell her and the nurses exactly what I did and didn’t want. And I owe that all to my experience with Jack.
All in all, I have to say my c-section was a great experience. The doctors and nurses worked to make it just as special as any other birth. They remembered that we were people. People who were welcoming a child into the world. Almost three years later, I can’t thank them enough.
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