Even if you're not expecting a c-section, it can be helpful to know what could possibly happen should one arise. Knowing what is normal can help alleviate fear as well as helping you make informed decisions.
Here are some things I wish someone had told me before my first c-section:
*Shaking during the c-section and first hour of recovery is common. Warm blankets may help you to relax. I found the shaking to wear off as the spinal wore off and I was able to move my legs.
*Not being able to feel yourself breathe can happen during a c-section. You're still breathing, you just can't feel it. If it happens to you, remain calm and just let the anesthesiologist know how you're feeling. He/she can reassure you that you're doing fine. With future c-sections, inform your anesthesiologist before the c-section that you had a problem with the spinal rising too high so they can try to avoid it happening again.
*You may feel incredibly cold during your first couple hours of recovery. As the spinal wears off, the coldness fades as well.
*Intense itching after a c-section is very common. I've heard it to be related to the duramorph pain reliever in the epidural/spinal. If you experience this, talk with your nurse about options for relief.
*The nurses may try to take your baby to the nursery while you're recovering for an hour or so. If you want to have your baby with you at all times, then you are going to have to speak up! If the baby and mother are healthy, then there is no reason for them to be separated.
*The sooner you walk, the better. Getting up and moving actually helps you to heal, as well as helping to get your bowels moving again.
*Really bad pain in your shoulder or arm in the 24-36 hours after a c-section is also common. Trapped gas is the cause for that one and boy does it hurt! Make sure you're up and getting around when you can and it will help a bit with that.
*Your milk can take a week to come in. Again, it's normal, but also frustrating. It's still possible to have breastfeeding go well even if your milk delayed. You can try tube feeding while the baby is latched on that way baby is learning to latch and your milk is being stimulated to come in.
*While you are recovering, the nurse will check your uterus by pushing on it to see whether it is clamping down as it should. If it's not clamping down, they will massage your uterus and it might hurt a lot! You can help things along by massaging your uterus yourself too. Ask your nurse how to do this.
*Nurses may not always remind you about pain meds. With the some of my pain meds., i.e. Percocet, the nurses weren't allowed to remind me that I was able to take them again. So have your husband or whoever will be there with you help you stay on top of when you're due for meds. again.
*Being in pain can make healing more difficult. It's possible for pain to further delay your milk from coming in. So take it easy and try to keep your pain under control with meds. and rest.
*It's okay, and it's normal to have feelings of remorse over not giving birth vaginally. Even with a planned or elective c-section, you may still find yourself feeling like you "missed out" on something. What's not okay is when other people make you feel this way. Surround yourself with people that will love and support you as you heal.