C-Section Secrets: 5 Things No One Tells You About Cesarean Sections

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I have three sons, two of which were born via planned cesarean section following the near-death, traumatic birth experience I endured with my first son.

Something about my pelvis not being equipped to squeeze out big heads. Or something. They never really could explain why he got stuck in the birth canal and had to be, in the eloquent words of my doctor, “ripped out,” causing my uterus to rupture and require 40 external stitches and over 50 internal ones to repair the damage.

But they did determine that the ripping-out experience is what led to my blood loss, and my dropped heart rate and blood pressure, and my need to be saved by the emergency department, which led to them advising me not to have another child for three years and to always and forever have a c-section if such were to occur.

After struggling with secondary fertility, I did just that for babies two and three.

But my c-section experiences were each different, and each good and bad in their own ways, and nothing like what I expected.

Think a c-section might be in your future? Here are some things moms who've been there want you to know.

(Note: Every woman in America who is expecting to give birth at some point in their life should prepare for the possibility of having a c-section, because when push comes to, er push, it might be the thing to save your baby's life.)

They hurt plenty. I remember that, prior to my first c-section, I felt like it was kinda going to be a breeze. People had this attitude like ‘It's just childbirth' about the entire procedure. Only, when I actually woke up and let the pain meds wear off, it was easy to see that, yes, I had a baby, but I'd also had my belly sliced open by a knife.

C-sections are abdominal surgery, so prepare yourself to feel like you've had abdominal surgery on top of all of the feels being a new mother brings with it. You're not likely to be writhing in pain on the floor (although, depending on a number of factors, including your pain tolerance and your practitioner's skill level, you might be), but you also won't be planking in your living room seven days post-op either.

You don't absolutely have to have another one.

But, you might.

For me, it was a heavy-handed, planned c-section for subsequent children situation. I went to more than one doctor, and each of them took one look at my chart and LOL'd at my VBAC and midwife suggestions. I was lucky to be alive, they said, and so was my baby.

Having a natural-birth experience was not more important to me than living to see my babies grow up, so c-section it was. But for those who wind up on the operating table for other reasons (a breech baby, for example), having a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) can totally be a realistic option for you and your medical practitioner to consider.

{ MORE: 5 Unexpected Ways a Doula Can Provide Support }

It's a surgery so they, um, do some uncomfortable stuff. Like shave your lady junk, and strap your arms to the table, and often don't let your partner into the room until you are all set to go with your spinal placed. Probably you've seen the sheet thing before, where your head and spouse are on one side, and your lower half and the medical staff are on the other.


Thing is, it doesn't have to be this way. Well, it kinda does, but it doesn't mean that you can't ask to be more involved. Like, you may be able to take photos (if you want photos of your open insides) or see the birth (some hospitals will lower the sheet for you to see them pull baby out).

Your partner may still be allowed to cut the cord , and you may be able to watch while they weigh baby. Every hospital treats these things [differently], so when you create your birth plan consider the possibility of a C-section so you can let them know your preferences and discuss the possibilities — unless you have an emergency c-section, because then, all bets are off.

It may be your first, powerful experience with mommy guilt. Some women feel like they've somehow let themselves, their spouse, or their baby down if they can't do the whole pant-pant-pant-push thing. It's normal to feel a little cheated or a little despondent over the birth experience if it ends in a c-section, but you shouldn't.

Every birth experience is worthy, and if yours resulted in a healthy newborn and your own life, the only thing you really need to feel is grateful!

It may save your baby's life. There is a lot of talk in the media about unnecessary c-sections being done by doctors just so they don't get sued.

Sure, there's probably some truth to those claims, but, more honestly and real, for the average, everyday woman out there, the c-section they had truly saved their life or that of their baby. There may be instances when it was done as a precaution, but let me tell you, as someone who didn't get a c-section when I needed, if I could go back and do it over, I would beg them to give me one.

I'd rather not have nearly died in labor, I'd rather not have had to lay flat for days to recover from the experience, I'd rather not have had my son affected by it, and I'd rather not have had my husband and my parents scared out of their minds because of it.

{ MORE: Coping with Traumatic Birth }

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What do you think?

C-Section Secrets: 5 Things No One Tells You About Cesarean Sections

Amanda has been wowing the Internet since 2008 when she launched her pretty-much-useless guide for parents, parenting BY dummies. As it turns out, her parenting advice is not generally useful for more than a good laugh, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need! Amanda spends her offline time (which is embarrassingly limited) running a photography business, working as a social media director for a local magazine, writing freelance articles about stuff she loves, wrangling her 3 little Dudes ... More

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  1. Veronica says:

    my first 2 were csection and so will this one…the wort part of it all for me is the recovery…first time it took a month of heavy pain meds just to tolerate getting up n down and i couldnt sleep on a bed, second was just a few weeks..fingers crossed i get a quick recovery this time around

    • Tami says:

      You will heal a lot faster, I actually had 5 c-sections. With every one I healed faster then the one b/4. I was 40 when I had my last one, I sprang back faster then ever.

  2. Yelena says:

    So, what are the 5 things? Where are they listed?? Also who didn’t already know this stuff? Its the basics of a C-Section. Ive never had one but I already knew everything listed here.

    • Cody says:

      I didn’t know any of these things because my “birthing class” didn’t talk about it. Also I was very determined to have a vaginal birth. I never did any research and ended up having an emergency one. You would be surprised how difficult it is to find information and how few people talk about it because it’s so taboo.

  3. Nicole says:

    I do not understand why a c-section is not ‘birth’. When I have people look down on me for being ‘lazy’ and having my son via c-section, I point out there were not my doctor. And I am glad they were not my doctor, because my son and I would have been dead since labor went horribly wrong. But I was laid up far longer recovering than someone who got to deliver vaginally. Don’t mock me because my son had to take the bypass route. He still got here, and he is wonderful and healthy and happy.

    • Annie says:

      A c-section is surgery and can be very scary.Anyone who is not a mom wouldn’t know how hard it is to make that decision. There are medical reasons why it could be needed and all kinds of things could go wrong.It’s a woman’s choice how she wants to have her baby.It’s no one else’s business so long as both mom and baby come out of it healthy.That’s my opinion and I’m sure other moms would agree.

    • monika says:

      Nicole Please don’t listen to those idiots becuase having a c-section doesn’t makes you less of a woman. I am pregnant at the moment and even though am still at an early stage my doctor have already plan that c-section will be my frist option. They know the reason for that hence I will never question their reason. I never had it done before but due to my history they figure that’s the best possible way forward. I am hoping and praying and looking forward for that day to arrive in meeting my healthy little man or lady. How happy I will be, I can only sit and day dream at the moment. You owe no one any explaination as to why the doctor decided on letting you have a c-section.
      People on a whole are opinionated and always ready to pass on unwarranted remarks about someone else but in principle it’s not adversely affecting their lives. No wonder I never listen to people or get caught up in their ideology where my life is concern. I live and let other’s live.

      • Cody says:

        Exactly well put Monika. I’m one of few I know who had to have a c sec. If I had given birth to my son before the time of c sections we both would have died. C sections save lives whether anyone wants to believe that or not. Yes it hurt for a while thinking I didn’t do things the “right way” but 16 month later I have a healthy boy and another on the way. I know I have to have a repeat c section and I’m fine with it.


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