Monday, November 28, 2011

C Section

I wanted to share what it was like for me to have a C Section. Mike and I hadn't really read a lot about it and weren't really prepared for me to have to have one. It was a shock when I wasn't progressing and the Dr. finally decided I needed one. Once I was told that was what was best everything went really quickly. Multiple Dr's came in to talk to me or to do things to me. A nurse came in and shaved the area where the incision would be. This was a little odd because I couldn't really see what she was doing and I'm not sure who was in the room at this point but whoever was there was seeing it. (since starting this post I saw pictures today and found out pretty much everyone was there).  Mike was given a shirt, pants, mask and cap to put on. I had to put on a hair net type cap.

Once I was ready to go they wheeled me down the hall and into the operating room. Mike got to stay at my side the whole time. I was glad he was there because I have seen lots of hospitals where the dad has to wait till the mom is on the table and ready. The nurses and some other people probably residents or interns lifted me and pulled me onto the operating table since my legs were numb from the epidural. The position they put you in is very uncomfortable. My arms were out to the sides and my head was on a pillow thing. I had IV's, a blood pressure cuff that went off every few minutes, a pulse ox monitor on my finger and the epidural catheter in my back. They also had me wear an oxygen mask until after Caleb was born.

There were lots of people in the room, I don't know if that is normal but I assume there were more people there because Stanford is a teaching hospital so there were attendings and residents and some people that seemed to just stand around and watch. The only people I could see because of the curtain across my chest were the 4 anesthesiologists. Most of the time one of them attended to me and the rest stood around and chatted about who knows what but not me. Before everything started Mike and I asked the resident closest to us how long the surgery would take and he said the baby will be out in 20 min but the surgery can take between 1 and 2 hours. I was a little shocked because I had no idea it took that long.

The first thing i remember once the Dr came in and the surgery started is the horrible smell of burning flesh. Mike and I were both caught off guard by it. Later we asked and the Dr told us they use a scalpel to cut but then they cauterize any bleeding that happens and that was the smell. It was about 20 minutes in that the Dr. asked for the table to be lowered and tilted with my head down slightly so they could get Caleb out. I could feel them pulling and pushing but no pain of any kind. Once Caleb was out Mike was able to go straight over to him and see him get weighed and cleaned up on the warmer. Caleb was crying for a little bit but not tons. We heard the Dr say something that neither one of us knew the meaning of until later. He was explaining to the resident that Caleb's cord was wrapped around his neck 2 times and that it was rare to see. (of course he used big medical words we didn't know). Mike came back and forth between me and Caleb to tell me about him and then he was able to bring him over to me. Mike and I were both tearing up getting to see him for the first time. He was so quiet and had his eyes open really big looking at me. I gave him a kiss, we took a picture and a few minutes after that he had to go to the nursery. Mike left at that point to stay with him which was one of the few things we had talked about before even going to the hospital was that I would want Mike to stay with him and not me.

After they left a bunch of the people in the OR left as well. The group of anesthesiologists went down to just one resident who apparently was on call because he was answering his cell phone the whole time. Laying on the table was really uncomfortable. My back and shoulders started to get really sore and I was freezing cold especially my right hand since it was the one hooked up to all the monitors. I could also feel the cold liquid as it entered my epidural catheter and ran down my back, i think they did that a handful of times.  The sounds of the surgery were also surprising to me. I could hear things, I assume liquids, hitting the curtain at my chest and I heard them staple the incision at the end. I also felt a little uneasy at one point when I heard the Dr counting the instruments and gauze and heard him ask about a pair of scissors. I heard him ask everyone to look for them and to even look at their feet. They did find them thank god but it wasn't what I wanted to hear. This part of the surgery seemed to take forever and I remember asking the anesthesiologist a couple times how much longer or how far they were.

After I was done I got moved onto another bed and then taken to the recovery area in L&D. That is where they found out I had an infection and started the antibiotics. They also massaged my abdomen t ohelp with bleeding or something. This is one of the most painful things they had to stop even touching my abdomen at one point because I was so sore. I was in recovery for around an hour. My mom and sister were able to come see me for a few minutes but because it was past visiting hours they all had to leave. Mike came and saw me and at one point brought Caleb with him but I was in so much pain and having problems I couldn't hold him or anything.

The last major thing that happened was when Mike was with Caleb in the nursery and the nurses were getting me settled in the postpartum room, which I didn't have to share because I had a C section. The nurses were moving me from one bed to the other and I couldn't really help so they slid me over on this air mattress thing. Then when they had to remove the air mattress they had me roll to one side and then the other. When I rolled to the second side I was unable to breathe it felt like my throat had closed up. I was gasping for air and the nurses had to give me oxygen and just before they were about to push the emergency button I was able to take a breath and start breathing again. Nobody knows why I stopped being able to breathe but once I could again they didn't seem to worry anymore.


  1. I had a c-section with my first but I was not awake when it happened. I've never really had anyone describe it so thank for this post it helps explain a lot of what I missed. I hope you have a speedy recovery and that people help you lots. The more time you take to recover the faster you will heal. Congrats on your son, he is beautiful.

  2. I had an unexpected c-section with my first child 6 months ago. Very similar experience as you had, including the off-putting counting of instruments with one going "missing" for a short while which to me felt like an eternity! Of all the things they talk about in doctor code, they seriously couldn't find a way to keep that info from us?! I wrote about my c-section remorse on my blog a month or two ago. Thought you might be interested in checking it out.

  3. All the information are really nice this is very valuable information for all. Thanks for sharing such amazing post.