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Birth Wishes: STEP SEVEN: Cesarean

Step One:
Step Two:
Step Three:
Step Four:
Step Five:
Step Six:

Welcome to the Birth Wishes series where we are working together to write our birth plans. In this step I'll be mentioning some things you may want to consider in the event of an emergency.  

BEWARE: The following information is more intense than other information presented on this forum. Read at your own discretion. And please know that a vaginal birth is the norm, not the exception. By providing this information to you and having a space for it on your birth plan in the event you do need a cesarean you will be well prepared.

*The cesarean, or c-section, is a surgical procedure in which incisions are made through a woman's abdomen and uterus to deliver her baby. (*Medical Dictionary quote)

In the event something is wrong, such as fetal or maternal heart rates plummet, seizure, very stuck baby that just cannot get out, cord prolapse, etc. you will need a cesarean. It is important to know the risks of a cesarean as well as how it works. My favorite website for information regarding cesarean sections is Morgan's blog at Adventures in Diapering and Beyond:

Morgan has a link at the top that says "C-Section Info" and it provides real life experiences and tips for a cesarean section in the event you find yourself in the operating room. Do yourself a favor and read through her links. You may not end up in the O.R. but it never hurts to know what to expect so the experience can be less frightening.

If you read one link read the one about cesareans and birth plans:

Some cesareans are not as chaotic and rushed as you may think. You may have time to get an epidural, rather than general anesthetic which knocks you unconscious and is used in severe emergencies when getting the baby out immediately may save both baby and mother.

If you get general anesthetic:
-you will not be awake for the delivery
-your husband/partner/family/friends most likely will NOT be allowed in the room
-you will wake up hours later in a recovery room and be on painkillers
-your baby may be in NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) OR if they checked out alright they may be waiting in your room for you with your husband/partner!
-you may be too groggy and out-of-it with the painkillers to remember this time
-your hospital stay may be around 5 days

If you get an epidural:
-you will be awake for the cesarean delivery
-your husband/partner will be allowed in the room
-they'll be sitting by your head
-a curtain/screen will be hiding your abdomen
-you may feel a lot of tugging and pulling but should not feel pain
-the epidural will make you shaky and make your teeth chatter
-the doctor (midwives cannot perform cesareans) will show you baby over the curtain once they are delivered so long as they don't need immediate assistance
-you won't get to hold baby right away but Daddy will be able to go over and take pictures as the nurses check baby over (provided cameras are allowed in your hospital) and gets them cleaned up, diapered and swaddled
-Daddy will get to hold baby right away if baby is well and hold them up to your face; you MAY even be able to hold them yourself!

While a cesarean is major abdominal surgery and you may not be planning on one it doesn't have to be the most traumatic experience. Including information on your birth plan regarding the possibility of a cesarean leaves you with options.

Some things to consider:
-who will be present (if allowed)
-are pictures/video allowed?
-epidural versus general, if there's time to make a choice
-double-layer sutures (this is usually a requirement for VBAC, vaginal birth after cesarean)
-for them to lower screen when baby is born so you can see
-that husband/partner wants to hold baby as soon as possible

Again I really encourage you to watch videos of cesarean birth and to read all the links that Morgan provides on her website. She has pictures and videos as well.

And remember that by avoiding unnecessary interventions, mentioned in previous Birth Wishes posts, you will drastically decrease the risk of needing a cesarean. Natural birth is the safest way to bring your baby into the world and is better for both of you. However I do want to say THANK YOU to modern technology and doctors who perform life-saving cesareans in true emergencies. If you end up on the table with a cesarean scar you're not a failure or any less of a woman. Getting a little help when things get hairy is okay!

One more post to go before we wrap things up and piece our birth plans together! Are you feeling more ready? I sure hope so! Be sure to ask any questions if you're confused or if there's any other information you want to add!
5 Responses
1419501 tn?1320206310
OH this sounds so horrible compaired to the vaginal delivery. I do feel sorry for people who have to get an emergancy c section when they planned a natural birth. But if you want it for what ever reason so be it.. This is just my thoughts
342647 tn?1291107933
Hi as much as I was not a fan of the reasons I had a c-section and do wish to have anatural delivery this time around Ihave to say my experiences especially my second were not as horrible as this.  As my second was a planned c-section I was able to talk to the midwives about what I wanted and be very involved in my birth. My husband was in the room and had the option of where he wanted to stand.  They asked if I wanted a mirror and talked me through exactly what was happening.  Yes there was tugging but not bad and no pain.  They lowered the screen so I could see baby comming out and nurses took video and pics.  I told them I wanted to hold baby asap and skin to skin so as soon as baby was out the ped looked at him quickly while still over belly, cord was cut and then baby was put straight on my chest skin to skin.  It was fantastic and the best I could hope for with a c-section.  After about 20min they asked to take baby and weigh measure and check etc and then husband cut further cord and went with baby for shots etc while I was sewn up and taken care of very nicely. I then was wheeled into recovery after another 30min of sewign and was able to have baby back and breastfeed.  I then had baby on me till when ever i wanted to stop (whcih was never). Hope this shows that it can be great and as close to wonderful as it can be if this is your only option.  
Avatar universal
Woo hoo, LACh! I'm glad your cesarean was more mother-baby friendly and not cold like many of the cesarean births I have heard about and seen on videos. THANK YOU for sharing your story because I think it reiterates that women CAN have a sweet cesarean birth when they have a care provider that listens to them AND respects their wishes in the event all is well and baby doesn't need assistance. The blog link that I posted above was by a woman who had a similar cesarean birth with her fifth (yes, fifth cesarean!). We need more stories about yours because even if a woman finds herself in the O.R. for a cesarean delivery she can know she does have choices and she should be heard.
1419501 tn?1320206310
Aww thats sounds so peaceful for a c'ser... Well as peacefull as it can be lol. I hope if i need to have one its as good as yours..
1083673 tn?1388888638
I  wish my c-section would of been like yours. Mine was a horrible experience and nothing like what I would of wanted. I want a natural birth next time around but if I have to have another c-section I want it to be like this.
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