Tuesday, 30 August 2016

C-Section FAQs.

Despite knowing Violet was breech for the majority of my pregnancy, I hadn't quite prepared myself for having to have a c-section. At my 34 week appointment, my midwife said bump had turned and was officially head down ready for the birth. I was so incredibly relieved and excited to think there was a good chance I could have the natural water birth I had planned. Unfortunatly, that wasn't to be and after 30+ hours of labour, Violet was still in fact breech and I was whisked off for an emergency c-section.

I thought I'd put together a little FAQ on c-sections with a few things I wish I had known before heading into hospital.

What does a c-section feel like?
I had a spinal block (more about that later) which meant I was completely numb from the top of my bump down. This obviously makes the procedure completely pain free, but that doesn't stop you for feeling something. I felt a lot of tugging, stretching and pressure whilst they got Violet out, but after that I was pretty unaware of anything happening. It was in no way uncomfortable, just a very strange experience.

What anaesthetic will I have?

As far as I'm aware, they can offer either a general anaesthetic or spinal block for a c-section. I had the latter, which was easily the thing I was terrified of the most. In fact, it was absolutely fine. You are given a local anaesthetic to numb the area, which stings a little but means you can't feel a thing when the larger needle is inserted. The block acts in a few minutes and makes you feel very heavy and as though your legs are no longer attached. It's actually quite funny when you touch your legs and can't feel it! It lasts around 6 hours and as soon as its worn off you can get up. Due to the loss of feeling, you will have a catheter inserted as you have no control over the feeling in your bladder - very glamourous! I also had a cannula inserted to give IV fluids throughout the procedure and giving easy access should you need any blood.

How long does it take?
Violet was out within around 5 minutes, but what I didn't realise was how long it takes to sew you back up. I was in theatre a further 40 minutes while they stitched me up. It was a long 40 minutes, while I could see and touch Violet, I couldn't cuddle her or do skin to skin as I'd hoped, until I was off to recovery.

What does the scar look like?
My scar is around 5-6 inches and sits just below my bikini line. It's pretty neat and tidy and appears to be healing well. The surgeon used dissolvable stitches, so I had nothing removed after the surgery. My midwife removed the dressing, five days after my surgery and checked to make sure the scar was healing well.

What is the recovery like?
I'm now almost 6 weeks post-op and getting on quite well. You are advised not to push the pram until at least 2 weeks, and then no further lifting or exercising until at least 6 weeks. You are also not insured to drive until 6 weeks post-op or until you are safe to do an emergency stop. I found that I thought I could walk for miles like I was used to, but then 5 minutes in I would be struggling. Take it slow, it certainly gets easier.

I found the first three weeks, really tough both mentally and physically. It was quite difficult coming to terms with having a c-section and no amount of "at least you're both healthy" makes it easier. A mixture of hormones and a guilty feeling of "why couldn't I do the one thing my body is made to do?", makes it really difficult. But once my hormones settled and the pain was more controlled, I started to feel more like me again. I've also read lots about c-sections and other people's accounts of their experience, which has been a huge help.

Any extra advice?
Take regular pain relief, never underestimate the power of paracetamol!

If visitors offer to give you a hand at home and clean your kitchen, then let them. And if they're expecting a brew when they pop round, they know where the kettle is.

Lastly, don't take any negativity around c-sections to heart. You grew and carried a baby for nine months, that's pretty incredible. And by no means is a section the easy way out, you've probably gone under the knife to ensure you and your baby are safe and no body can take that away. 
Have you had a section?

Katie xx



  1. No way does a C-section sound like the easy way out, anyway of giving birth is amazing and hard work. People that say c-sections are easy are stupid and uneducated.

    I know I've said it loads but congrats again, that picture is so beautiful!! xx

  2. Anyway of giving birth is difficult! There's only so long you can be in labour before getting that exhausted that you need help getting the baby out! Your amazing and everyone else who has had a c-section is just as amazing. Congratulations!! xx

    Yasmina | The July Journal

  3. I love this post Katie! I never really knew the process of a C section which is a possibility for me because I have a heart condition. Your post definitely makes it seem a lot clearer in my mind, so thank you!

    Hope you and Violet are doing well, she is beautiful! Xx


  4. This was a really great post to read! So informative and honest :) I knew you weren't supposed to lift or do anything strenuous during recovery but I had NO IDEA that you weren't supposed to push your pram for 2 weeks, my goodness! I'm 19weeks pregnant and finally starting to think about the kind of labour that I'd like, I know things don't always go to plan so It's nice to be able to read posts like this and hear about other peoples experiences!
    I hope you and the little one are all good xx

  5. Thank You Katie for this post I had a csection nearly a year ago and people didn't realise how much you can't do neither did I and I will admit I hated it. I am not one of these people who can sit around and do nothing. I am glad you have made a postive post about it and not the fact that you was angry or upset you couldn't have a natural delivery.

    Charlotte x



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