Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In Photos: What to Expect During a C-Section

If you're getting ready for a c-section, here is what it may be like.:

On the day of your babies birth, you will be asked to arrive 2 hours before your c-section is actually scheduled to start. During that time you will be monitored, prepped, and get a chance to talk with the doctors and nurses who will be performing the c-section.

Around the time your cesarean is scheduled to start, you will walk (or be wheeled if you prefer) to the operating room. During this time, your husband or birth partner will dress into scrubs and will wait outside the operating room as the anesthesiologist does your spinal.

A nurse will insert your catheter and hook up a ton of wires to your chest. Your legs start to feel heavy quickly, and before long you may not feel them at all (or at least feel no pain). A sheet is then set up to shield you from the view of your operation.

Your husband enters the O.R. and sits upon a stool next to you, (behind the screen as well). Behind you is your anesthesiologist who is carefully watching your monitors and making sure you are doing well.

As your operation begins, you will hear casual conversation between the doctors and nurses about all kinds of things. You probably won't even realize that they have already started operating on you!

About 5-7 minutes after your husband joins your side, you start to feel some weight on your belly, like someone is sitting on you.

Your nurse tells you you're going to feel some pressure (too late), and you might utter an "ow!" but it's at that moment that your baby is pulled out and you will probably hear her cries. You may feel a huge relief as the baby's weight is no longer pushing on your ribs, but you will probably feel no pain.

Your doctor may suction the baby's mouth before she's pulled out of the womb, and will then hold her up so you can see her.

Your baby is then taken over to the baby warmer where she will be suctioned again and may receive some oxygen to help her pinken up a little.She will then be weighed, measured, foot printed, and given a vitamin K shot (and possibly Hep. B unless you sign a waiver). Your husband can most likely stand next to baby and hold her hand as she's being attended to.

While your baby is being cleaned up, you may start shaking. Let your anesthesiologist know how you're feeling so they can reassure you everything is normal and so they will know how to best help you feel better. If you find yourself nervous or shaking badly, you may find that a warm blanket across your shoulders helps you relax a little.

After what feels like an hour, (but is really only 15-20 minutes), baby is diapered, swaddled and finally brought over to you to see. If you're feeling well enough, you may even be able to hold your baby as the doctor is finishing your stitches. Baby may cry, or she may just fall back asleep.

About 30 minutes or so after your baby was born, the doctor is done stitching you up and you're ready to go back to your room (or recovery). My husband and I have captured a family photo on film during this time.

Having a c-section isn't pleasant, but eventually it's over and you and Baby are recovering and starting your new life together as a family.

*C-Section routines very depending on the hospital, state, and even country. My experiences are based on 1 unexpected c-section after laboring, and 3 cesareans that were scheduled. All 4 (now 5) of my c-sections were performed in the United States.


  1. I have had 4 c sections too. 3 were elective. I live in Nz and we were allowed a camera in theatre but my husband wasn't allowed to take photos of the actual procedure which was a pain because I really wanted to see how it happened! It's great that you have those pics! Some things were the same as we do over here, and others were different e.g we don't have our babies foot printed. With my last 2 babies I went to a private hospital and my husband and I were given lemonade ice blocks to suck on in recovery which I thought was cool :)

  2. Also I'm wondering if you ever had much bruising? This only happened to me with my second c section and I was black ad blue all over my pubic bone for weeks!

  3. Widge- No, I've never had bruising from a c-section. Do they know why you had so much bruising from your second?

    Lemonade ice blocks sound great! I had a coke about an hour after getting into recovery with my 3rd, but lemonade blocks sounds great!

  4. My first was a section. You've pretty much summed it up here!

  5. Great post! Very informative and I love the photos! I was very drugged (not sure why?) but I don't remember much at all! This helps, just in case I'm having another C in 10 weeks (and 1 day)

  6. I've been having the hardest time getting on your blog!! I kept getting an error message!

    Anyway, this was such a great post...filled with valuable information. It is scary to not know what to expect. Both my c-sections were emergency situations so I remember everything just being very rushed and I was so scared the first time around. No one told me my arms would be tied down and that really freaked me out. I also remember asking the OB "can you tell me when you start to cut so you can make sure I'm not feeling anything?". and he laughed and said, "I've already made the incision....I'm assuming you didn't feel it". Thank GOD!!! And I did get the shakes and I was also extremely itchy on my face.

    With my 2nd c-section I had to be put under general because they couldn't get the spinal in right and it was an emergency situation. I remember sobbing and being so disappointed but obviously I knew it had to be done.

    That's amazing that you were able to take pictures of the baby being delivered!!!!

  7. I keep getting error messages too so I havent been able to visit alot. Maybe its IE. My duaghter had a C section and mine have been all natural. I think I would be scared if I ever had to have one that way!

  8. Weird! Thank you for letting me know. If it ever happens again that the page won't load, but if you're able to access my profile, please send me an e-mail. I'm glad it's working now! Thanks ladies!

  9. I agree, this sums it up beautifully. As you said, routines may vary depending upon where you live, but this is a terrific overview.

  10. Very helpful! You summed it up perfectly! I don't recall mine taking so much time though. I was quite drugged up and can't remember too much. I just remember being sooo thirsty (side effect from the meds) that all I could think about was getting some water. I couldn't even speak. I also shook after my section. My face even twitched on its own for about an hour after the surgery.
    I'm about to have my 2nd csection and I'm sooo nervous!! Last time I only had 2 hours to mentally "prepare" for the csection...this time I've had 9 months and I'm worrying myself sick! ;)

  11. Hey Morgan! I don't know if this is the case for everyone but the images don't load. ???

  12. I am disappointed :( for some reason your photos are not showing up in your post. I would love to see this story in it's entirety.

  13. Wow! I will say that it did seem like our 2nd baby came out pretty quick but I swear it was MUCH MUCH MUCH longer than 30 minutes after before I was all stitched back up (or glued, I guess). I need someone to stand there for our next section and tell me "only 10 more minutes!" even if they're lying to me and it's really closer to 30 minutes!!! I kept telling my hubs I HAD to know how much longer it was going to be - even asked the anesthesiologist a few times but he had no idea. Once he just said, well it looks like they're getting close.


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