I don't proofread my posts before I publish them... cause I keep my thoughts au naturale.

Monday, June 25, 2012

C-Section After Vaginal Birth

So I know there's a such thing as a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), but I've never heard too much about a CAVB- I don't know if that's a real term, but I'm assuming that would be a cesarean after vaginal birth.  Well, having now been in that boat, I thought I'd write about my experience with it.  It goes along the lines of a blog post I read called "10 Things I Wish Somebody Had Told Me About C-Sections."  (I did not experience everything she mentioned.) You can google until your fingers fall off about what a c-section is like, but you're not likely to get the full picture.  And I got feedback about them from several friends before mine so that I could have reassurance it wasn't going to be the worst thing ever.

Well... it was the worst thing ever!  Let me preface by telling you again that this was a cesarean after having two children vaginally.  Now, I know that many women tear and I've heard the horror stories of vaginal birth where women have torn an unGodly amount and couldn't walk or sit for weeks.  I know many women have pushed for so long they ended up with a c-section in the end.  So yes, I know there are a lot of horror stories with vaginal birth.  I did not have that problem.  Although my labor with my first two was extremely long, I didn't tear with either and the healing process was extremely fast.  I was up an hour after birth.  With my first, I took a bath and was excited at being able to shave my thighs because I could actually see them!  With  my second, I opted for a shower.  Upon coming home, I was pretty much back to most normal activities right away.  In fact, with my second, I was pulling up carpeting a week after birth.

Okay, so that's my preface.  Vaginal birth doesn't scare me and I would never hesitate in my decision to have another child if it was solely based on the birth itself.  Unfortunately, now that has completely changed.

The only part of the c-section that wasn't horrible was the surgery itself.  I was told to arrive at the hospital at 5 am and they prep you, get your IV in, get you on fluids, fill out paperwork, have nurses talk to you about what's going to happen during the surgery and by the time 8am rolled around I was ready to go.  You are given a spinal (like an epidural, but it's a one time injection instead of having you hooked up to a tube in your back.)  Once the doctor establishes it has kicked in, he starts cutting.  The whole process is very quick and boom, there's your baby!  Of course my son was big and the doctor needed assistance getting him out by way of some guy pushing extremely hard on my ribs and stomach, but since I was numb it was just uncomfortable.

So boom, there's the surgery.  They cut you open, sew you up, show you the baby and then you go to recovery for 20 minutes, then on to your room.  That's when the hell begins.  You are pretty much bound to that bed for the next 8-12 hours.  You're hooked up to a pulse monitor, blood pressure monitor, catheter, pressure boots and IV.  You can't move, you can't feel a lot from the chest down.  So, every so often you have nurses come in and change your pad, press on your stomach to check your uterus and clean you down there- very humiliating if you don't like being completely helpless.

After about 8 hours I asked if I could try to get up.  I got to enjoy a whole standing up, turning around and sitting in a chair two inches from my bed.  At 2:15 am the catheter was removed (thank God.)  At 8:30 the next day the IV was removed after I insisted they had promised it was only in for 24 hours.  Next came the bp cuff, heart monitor and finally the boots- mainly because I kept kicking them off.

You can barely move, I couldn't stand up straight, the furniture and bed in the hospital room are so uncomfortable that there was nothing I could do to not be in pain.  In fact, the pain in my rear from sitting on the hard furniture was at times worse than the c-section pain!  The nurses are in and out all night, you can't sleep because of the discomfort... worse hospitalization ever.

Now fast forward to being home.  You're not allowed to drive until you can successfully press the brake and gas pedal and turn your body to see behind you.  You're not allowed to pick anything up over the weight of your baby.  So pretty much, I'm bound to my house and can't even do much there.  I'm a stomach sleeper, but I'm stuck sleeping on my back for at least 3 weeks.  I'm constantly worried about my incision splitting, so I avoid doing too much.  Although today is the sixth day after my surgery, I haven't had any pain medication since day 4 and that was only once.  It is really hard to stand or get off my bed, but as long as you don't do it quickly, it's tolerable.  Then there's the swelling!!  Because of the 4 bags of fluids they give you (pitocin and something else), you swell from the knees down.  And this isn't mild swelling, this is painful, I think I have elephantitis swelling.  My feet hurt worse than the c-section area!  It hurts to wiggle my toes and my legs feel like hard plastic that can't be budged.

Well, there you have it.  If something else awful comes up, I'll be sure to share, but I think I've highlighted the things that I have been most upset to find out.  Most doctors in smaller towns will not perform VBACs and I asked my doctor if it made a difference that I only had to have one because my son was breech.  He said no, once you have one, that's it.  So, if I ever decided I wanted another child, I'd have the option of going through another hellacious cesarean or driving 90 miles to have a doctor who will allow a VBAC.  Of course, I'm not even close to making that decision anytime soon, it's just unfortunate that I'd have to.

Hopefully I haven't completely terrified you, but I feel honesty is what women want in medical situations!


  1. I wish I would've chimed in to tell you about the pain and horrors of a c-section.
    I had one child vaginally and that was the plan with the second but after an hour if pushing and him not going anywhere, there was no other choice but surgery. I knew nothing about it. I was terrified. The doctor told me nothing about it, I was just rushed over there. Halfway through the surgery I could FEEL them and started screaming. They injected me with more pain killers and gave me oxygen. After the baby came out, I passed out from exhaustion. In the recovery room, I couldn't stop shaking and shivering. This lasted about an hour.
    My first attempt at walking and the next day. I was so dizzy, I couldn't stand without assistance. My legs were still numb too. It took forever for me to walk the length of the room.
    At home, it was impossible to move because of the staples. I was scared if getting them caught on something and ripped out.
    A year and a half later I still have pain from time to time at my scar.

    1. Wow, that sounds horrifying!!! Are you done having babies then? It sounds like the doctors where you went weren't that great. My wound healed well and 6 months out I don't have any pain or problems, but I still don't want to do it again... if I have another, VBAC for sure!

  2. Ohhh nooo! I'm sorry it was so bad. I really wasn't lying to you. My first was horrible but, my second scheduled c-section was a walk in the park. I didn't have any of what you are talking about. No swelling, I could stand up straight, I didn't need pain meds after day 1. I guess we are all different. -Crystal

    1. I guess everyone sees it differently. Plus of course our bodies are all different. I think my biggest issue was the helplessness and 6 weeks of not being able to do anything. I hated that. Six months out I feel fine and have no pain or anything, but I still don't want to go through it again. I believe you and don't think you were lying! I know a lot of people who have horror stories from vaginal births whereas I didn't mind mine at all!

  3. I have a 12 month old bavy who i delivered vaginally and now im 8 months pregnant with my second and my doctor is telling me i may have to do a csection because the baby is breach at 35 weeks. I am so scared of csection