10 Things You Might Not Know (Or Want to Know) About a C-Section
The useless curtain, the eerie numbness and the vacuum effect: the c-section process is a surreal experience.
-Cathy Hale, MommyQ
When I had my first child in 2004, I was in labor for about 12 hours and only 4 centimeters dilated. I was running a fever of 102 degrees and things were getting complicated quickly, so my doctor decided to perform an emergency c-section. It was the first time I had ever been admitted to a hospital and the first time I’d ever undergone surgery. Let me assure you, I wasn’t mentally prepared at all.
The most vivid memory I have from my first c-section was how incredibly fast they got my son out and how it seemed like an eternity for me to get stitched up. While I’ve heard tons of horror stories about the epidural, mine wasn’t painful because I was in labor. The whole sitting still thing during active labor was much worse than the pain of the shot. Well, the first time I had the shot. Yes, I’m one of those lucky ladies who had to get two epidurals, because they missed the first time. I think my husband was much angrier about that than I was.
A few years later in 2007, I had my second son and he came into this world via a planned c-section. Now I’ve had two – one while sick and painfully in labor and one with a fresh pedicure, styled hair, make-up and no pain. So which was worse? Well, they were surprisingly similar experiences.
1. Creepy Numbing Sensation
One of the wackiest and most uncomfortable aspects of the c-section was the fact that after the epidural starts working, you can move your upper body and wiggle your toes, but you can’t feel your legs or midsection. At no other point in your life do you want to move your legs more. Trust me. As soon as they tell you your legs won’t move, you really want to move them. I found that paralyzing sensation quite disturbing and awkward. It’s not something some of my friends remember as vividly, but it really bothered me.
2. Just a Flimsy Curtain
The next thing I noticed as they were prepping me for surgery was the only thing standing between me and the ickiness about to ensue below was a flimsy curtain. It wasn’t even thick like wool or a tapestry. I would’ve felt better if it had been some kind of brick partition or possibly a door like you’d find on a wall safe. I like my organs just fine, but I don’t like them enough to be that close to them when they are visible.
3. Don’t Look into the Light
I discovered another odd thing as they were prepping me for the c-section, which other moms have also noticed. When you are on the operating table (flat on your back), there is a big light fixture overhead. The doctors and nurses move that light around as needed. If the angle is right, the light acts as a mirror and you can actually see the reflection of your body in the light fixture. Do you see where I’m going with this? It’s very possible to see things you don’t want to see. Hence the advice, don’t look into the light.