WARNING – Do not read this post if blood or surgery makes your squeamish. Or if you do not want to hear details or see photos of before, during & after major abdominal surgery.
So everyone, grab your snacks, your cup of tea. And settle in for another Story Time here on TheMakeupMumma blog 🙂
Today, as you can see by the title, I’m going to be walking you through my Cesarean Section (C-Section) for my now 18-month old little boy Leo.
I did touch on the day he was born in my Becoming a young Mum @ 22 years old post back in May. But I figured I would go into some more detail of the actual surgery, my recovery and now my body after baby.
Obviously with all pregnancies, everyone’s body goes through some battles, from conceiving, to carrying a baby for 9 months and then birthing the baby (however that happens for you) – And everyone is different.
For me personally, I put on a lot of weight; I had multiple babies worth of amniotic fluid, which is not normal, and a big 8lb 10.6oz bubba boy growing in there, which is totally normal!
My pre-baby weight was lower than the average for my height. So I did require to put on a little extra than others, but not 10kg extra than the average.
I started pre-pregnancy at 46kg, and the day I delivered Leo, I weighed in at around 70kg. So I put on almost 25kgs total 😐
In the end, I did get diagnosed with Pre-Eclampsia; my diagnosis came from next level swelling, high blood pressure and extremely high levels of protein in my urine. This article explains it a lot better than I can, but its dangerous for both mum and baby.
My Pre-Eclampsia diagnosis along with the size of Leo resulted in me being scheduled for an emergency C-Section.
Emergency C-Section aside, my entire pregnancy, I was opting for a C-Section.
Personally, it was just going to be the best option for me, my body and my baby.
I had many discussions with my obstetrician about my views on child-birth, my concerns, my medical history and my mothers medical history. (My mum could never deliver naturally, her body just didn’t dilate the way its supposed to, resulting in some very traumatic labour stories on her part, all ending in c-sections – that I did not wish to relive)
So after all these discussions, and of course the sole fact that it was my choice, I had opted for an elective Cesarean Section that my obstetrician would book me in for after 39 weeks.
But of course, my body had other ideas and the pre-eclampsia came along 2 weeks before my due date, and 39 weeks on the dot was the date for Leo to come along, which was totally fine by me!
I was completely over being pregnant, and was dying for this kid to come out 🙂
Day of the Surgery
So on the day of my scheduled surgery, my obstetrician came to see me about an hour before my 8:00am time slot in the theatre. He explained to me what was going to happen, start to finish (leaving out the needle info, as I’m super not comfortable hearing about that stuff) and made sure I understood exactly what was going to go down; with me, the baby and afterwards in recovery.
As I wasn’t delivering in my pre-planned hospital, my afterwards plan had changed a little, and Leo was not going to be allowed with me in the recovery suite for skin-to-skin. He had to go with his Dad back to my room whilst I spent 30-45 minutes in recovery waiting for the feeling to return to my feet as per hospital policy 🙁
Once Rick had arrived at the hospital and I was all prepped for surgery, they wheeled me up into the pre-op room, attached the IV to my cannula and briefed me on the surgery timeline and what would happen with the baby immediately after delivery.
They checked to see if Rick would be cutting the cord, and if we wanted him washed up straight away etc.
Once we understood and verbally agreed to everything, I got taken into the freezing cold theatre, without Rick (he had to wait in the hallway). And sat up on the bed, ready for them to give me my Spinal Tap.
I remember sitting there with a pillow on my tummy just thinking, “it’s for the baby, the needle is just for the baby” – And reminding myself I get anaesthetic before they even come near me with the big needle lol! And the beautiful nurse holding my hands just said all the right things to me in that moment and made me feel so comfortable. She even gave me a kiss on the forehead and said ‘good job mumma’ after the needle was done. Such a personal touch, I loved it!
[Disclaimer: I may have tattoos, but I have a huge fuck-off fear of needles. I can’t even get a vaccination without having a mini-meltdown. I turn in to a hyperventilating hysterical child when anyone even suggests a needle. So I definitely had my big girl pants on (metaphorically) that day to get through the Spinal Tap without any tears!]
Once the Spinal Tap was done; I was laid back down on the bed, and I felt this wave sensation of warm water being poured from my boobs to the tip of my toes as my entire body went numb.
The nurses then proceeded to place ice all over my legs and stomach to check my level of numb-ness – I couldn’t feel a god damn thing, it was such a strange yet awesome feeling! Ha!
Once they confirmed that I was good to go, Rick was allowed in to sit by my head and wait for our little boy to arrive 🙂
I do recall instantly having this huge wave of dizziness and nausea hit me like a truck and all I did was glance at the anaesthesiologist sitting opposite Rick, and she just said ‘I got you’ and injected something magical into my IV and immediately I felt relief. She was an angel! <3
I have to say, I fucking love my obstetrician. He knows I’m a stickler for details, and the only part of the C-Section that I wasn’t looking forward to, was not knowing what was going on behind that curtain whilst my son was being delivered.
So he talked me through the whole thing, explaining what he was doing and telling me ‘you’re gonna hear this’ and then ‘this is going to happen’ and then ‘you’ll feel this, but don’t worry’ – It was so comforting, and awesome for me to kind of visualise what was happening behind the curtain as I couldn’t watch myself.
Rick got to look over a few times to see, and once they’d gotten to the baby, they dropped the curtain for Rick to watch him being delivered.
There was only a couple of things that I actually ‘heard’ during my surgery, which were:
- A huge gush of water when they broke my waters followed by a ‘Wow that’s a lot of fluid, no wonder you were swollen’ HA!
- The high-pitched, could never forget even if I tried, screams of our little boy taking his first breath Earth-side; and
- All the nurses goo-ing and gaa-ing about how cute and chubby this little boy was that they just met
I was dying to lay my eyes on this kid that were all gushing about, once they cut his cord, cleaned him up and wrapped him in a blanket, I FINALLY got to see my little boy.
Well let me tell you, he was not little!! He was a chunky little sumo baby that I could not believe was inside of me 5 minutes prior. Holy shit, there was definitely no way he was coming out the alternate route. Shit!
All 8lb 10.6oz of this chunky monkey was grown to perfection inside my body, and hand delivered safely by my incredible obstetrician just for Rick & I to love on for the rest of our lives. We were so grateful and so happy to have such a calm and amazing delivery experience.
After 10-15 minutes of cuddles, which felt like 30 seconds 🙁
Rick & Leo got taken back to my room whilst I was taken to post-op recovery.
I got extremely dizzy and nauseous again once they took me upstairs, so I needed a couple more doses of the good shit the anaesthesiologist gave me in the theatre. And I was thirsty AF! So I drank around a litre of water as well.
The nurse elevated me to a sit up position on my bed, to help with the dizziness and to make it easier once the anaesthetic wore off, as sitting up would have been painful 30-45 minutes later, so we were just getting a head-start 😛
Once I could vigorously wiggle my toes, she said it might be time to take me back to my room.
[Now mind you, I was trying with all my might and body strength to get those toes moving, from the moment I left the theatre, I knew I needed toe movement to be taken back to my baby. So I’m using all whole brain power to move them, nothing was happening obviously LOL, but I was trying my hardest haha! 😀
It took around 30 minutes, until the nurse was happy with my progress before she took me back to my baby.]
Once back in my room, I got to do skin-to-skin with my little boy, and give him his first breastfeed. I was extremely lucky in this department, as Leo took to breastfeeding like a duck to water. He found it, latched on and did not let go. The boob was now his home, and he was loving every second of it.
(I never got mastitis or had any sort of issues with breastfeeding, thank god. I was definitely lucky there, as I’ve heard some horror stories)
Having Leo at 8:33am in the morning, meant Rick could be with us ALL DAY and into the night before he had to leave and come home. (Which totally broke his heart, he really didn’t want to leave us there. He’d only just met his son, and he had to leave him so soon after, it was really difficult)
But having all day together was amazing. So much bonding time as a family of 3 <3
Now, me trying to be a hero, decided at 4pm that I no longer wanted to have this disgusting catheter in, I wanted it out as it was making me uncomfortable.
The midwives told me, if it gets taken out, within 30 minutes, I have to get up and go to the bathroom. I was like ‘oh sure, no worries’ – What a fucking idiot I was.
I was smart enough to get a morphine shot right before I *attempted* to get up; but that did not help much I’ll tell you lol
Getting up for the first time, is best described as half feeling like someones taken a chainsaw to your abdomen, and half feeling like you need to hold your insides in every time you take a step ha!
I was hunched over like a granny, shuffling from my bed to the bathroom (utilising the wall, the nurse and any other solid surface I could get my hands on).
Once I got there, I felt like a fucking champion, like I’d run a 14km marathon without breaking a sweat. But then my next mission, was to try to sit down on the toilet….
Do you know how many muscles you need to use in your stomach area alone to sit down on the toilet? About 17, according to Dr Google. And all 17 of my muscles were screaming bloody murder at me, as I tried with all my might to not scream in pain whilst I sat down.
Once I was down, I was good. But then panic set in when I remembered I had to stand up again.. And walk all the way back to my bed, and *try* to get up onto my bed again.
Fuck me, I thought ‘you know what, I might just live here now, on the toilet, in this public hospital, forever‘ HAHA! Dramatic, I know.
Once the first toilet trip was done, I was feeling a bit more like myself, an incredibly swollen, still looking 7 months pregnant self, but at least feeling a little lighter than before 🙂
Next step was to shower, now I don’t know about you other mumma’s out there, but I did not want my poor fiancée to see me in that ‘state’ with blood gushing everywhere, a seeping open wound under my still looking pregnant stomach, suffering in the shower for the first time post-birth. (I also didn’t really want a stranger midwife doing it though either..) So I had to suck up my pride, and let him help me.
I’ll tell ya, it was an experience for the memory books lol – Me crying in the shower because I was embarrassed he was seeing me like that, him laughing at me because I’m ridiculous, and then me laughing followed by yelling at him, because laughing feels like a thousand knives in my stomach.
All pain aside, once I was up, I was 1000% happier than being stuck in the bed not even being able to reach into the crib to pick up my baby.
(P.s. Those hospital cribs suck, especially for c-section mummas, it is so god damn hard to get your hands over the side into the crib to pick up your bub – They definitely need drop sides on them, cause it was my biggest struggle, I pretty much had to stand up every time I wanted to pick up Leo)
I think that was my main motivator for dragging my ass out of bed 12hrs before they wanted me too. I knew Rick was leaving and I was going to have to call on the midwife to pick him up every time he cried. So I had to get myself up & moving, so by the time I was alone, I was capable of at least getting him up and down when he needed me.
The first night is a total blur, there was not a lot of sleep happening – Leo was windy from all the amniotic fluid he swallowed during delivery, hungry because you know, who isn’t after a day like that, and of course; even when he slept, I just laid there staring at him LOL! <3
Day #2 & Beyond
The next day, and the following days, my mobility and movement only improved.
I ended up being discharged on the Monday, day 3 post-surgery. Which is a lot sooner than most C-Section mumma’s.
But I had an amazing obstetrician who supported my every wish, and knew how isolated and unhappy I was in that hospital bed.
He also knew I had a minimum of a 5 person support system at home ready to provide around the clock care for myself and Leo. So he knew I was in capable hands, and with the at-home-midwife coming to check on me twice in the first week after discharge, he was not worried 🙂
The day I was discharged, out of curiosity and probably vanity, I weighed myself.
I still looked 6 months pregnant, so I assumed I’d only lost Leo’s weight, and maybe a little fluid. But I was down to 56kg! in 3.5 days I had dropped 14kgs! I was shocked and amazed at the female body and what it is capable of.
Now in no way was I ready to just jump back in a bikini, but I was definitely proud of what my body had achieved after growing a human for 9 months, going through major surgery and coming out the other end with some stretch marks, a gnarly scar and a beautiful baby <3
Tip: Compression tights, any kind you can get your hands on. (High-waisted preferably)
I cannot give them a bigger shout out, they saved me after my c-section. The day I left the hospital, I just wore a comfy dress, and every single step felt like a huge jiggly mess and like my stomach was going to fall out of my vagina. It was the most uncomfortable feeling.
So as soon as I got home, I sucked myself into a high-waisted pair of compression tights that I had used up until 3/4 through my pregnancy for support. And voila! No more jiggles and no more feeling like internal organs were going to spontaneously drop out of me! Winning! 🙂
I’m not going to lie, for the first 6 months after having Leo, I hated my body.
I was so hard on myself, and thought everyone was lying when they said I looked great.
I think I naively thought, once the weight came off, my entire body would look the same way it did before baby, just with a scar.
No, even with all 25kgs gone, and being back into my Size 6 jeans – Everything was squishy, covered in stretch marks, and definitely not looking pre-baby-like at all!
Everyone told me the whole ‘love yourself’, ‘you just had a baby, give it time’, ‘be proud of your stretch marks’ etc – And I knew they were coming from a good place; but most of the time I just wanted to say:
‘Please fuck off, and let me feel shitty about myself for while’
In a way, I had to ‘mourn’ my old body. Not that I worked very hard or looked after it much before I had babies, but she was a good body, I liked her and we had some good times together. And now she looked beaten up, and not like herself. And I felt shit.
But eventually I got over that and adjusted to my new ‘me’ – Fake tan covers up the stretch marks, eventually the squishy bits aren’t so squishy anymore, and your internal organs return to the original position. I had adapted to my new mum body. But it definitely took a good 12 months for me to actually feel happy looking at my stomach in the mirror. So you’ve gotta give yourself time! 🙂
In hindsight, of course I look back and think my body is a badass bitch for going through what it did and coming out the other side, still resembling a body that could one day rock a bikini again. And I did, I got there.. It took 8 months for the fear to disperse enough before I forced myself into swimwear, but it happened & I haven’t looked back since.
Now I’m going to bombard you with some pics of me and my beautiful little boy from the first few weeks at home; learning & adjusting to each other and just loving on each other every single second <3
So just to come full circle of my birth story, I would not change a single thing.
Yes, I had major surgery, and it wasn’t easy in any way. But I had a calm & peaceful delivery for my little boy, in a room full of love and positivity. And my recovery was definitely not as hard or traumatic as some people.
I love my birth story, and am proud to tell it to anyone who asks! 🙂
I am not ashamed of having a cesarean section and I am deeply offended by anyone who thinks I took the “easy way out” – Giving birth either way is fucking hard, and we are incredibly strong women to go through it, whichever way we do <3
So love your birth story, be proud of your body & its incredible achievement.
And don’t let anyone make you feel shit or insecure about how you delivered your little bubba Earth-side 🌏