Planning for an Elective C-Section

I can’t believe I’m 5 months postnatal, it’s has just flown in in a whirlwind but the best whirlwind! I had my beautiful baby girl in late August bringing our lovely little family to a family of 5 including a little doggie!

It has taken me this long to sit back & reflect & write this blog as I am now only beginning to feel like me again after a pretty rough pregnancy & first few months post partum!

I had an emergency c-section on my first little girl in 2016 after 45 hours of labour but I was just delighted my beautiful baby girl arrived safely……all 10 lbs 8 oz of her!!!! Unfortunately the labour set me up for a pretty rough pregnancy this time which I hadn’t expected, I had to finish work in late May, three months before baba arrived due to anemia, SPD, bursitis & carpel tunnel (the list goes on!!! 🙈) at least this gave me the opportunity to rest which was great as that’s all I could physically do, couldn’t even look after my toddler which was tough!

I had hoped for a Vbac all along (vaginal birth after a cesarean) but at 34 weeks I just couldn’t take the back/pelvic pain any more and the thought that I could go over to 42 weeks so I gave in and decided the best option for baba & I was to go for an elective cesarean, all of a sudden I felt calmer knowing I would have a date & I could manage the next 4 weeks! Having a date was gold to me then!

This also gave me the opportunity to prepare myself for the operation and also set up childcare for our toddler. We had the most special day before our big day came we wanted to treat our little girl before she became a big sister so took her to Imaginosity in South Dublin which was pure magic for her at 21 months!

Making my planned cesarean more personal….

Having the date meant I could plan what I wanted for the birth of my baby girl & work with my consultant and anesthetist on making it as much like a natural delivery. My consultant lowered the screen as baby emerged out so I could see her & baba could ease out at her own pace (we couldn’t see anything bad just the top of her body). This enabled delayed cord clamping too and this also meant we could see the sex ourselves which was so magical. We did skin to skin in the theatre too for a few mins which I wasn’t able to do on my first baby. I also brought my own cellular blanket which I had slept with so it had my smell on it, so she would still feel close to me when they took her away during theatre. Doing all of these felt I was more in control also giving me more confidence going in.

What I packed for a cesarean

Having an elective c-section meant I could pack my bag with exactly what I needed so I didn’t need a Labour ward bag, I just packed my handbag with essentials for that morning & straight after for baby & I, we brought in my suitcase from the car once we had our room after baba had arrived, a small bag was easier to bring around.

For me

  • A little jewelry bag so I could pop everything into & put in my hubby’s pocket to keep safe while I was in surgery (I had my Chupi one!) they let me keep my wedding & engagement rings on as my hands were swollen from my carpel tunnel & eczema, taped them for surgery
  • I packed a comfy nightie for when I got back to the ward, a nightie I could slip on over my head as you won’t be able to get up for few hours with the epidural. Also bear in mind if you are thinking about breastfeeding pack a nightie that you can open up or clip down.
  • A little wash bag so I could freshen up from my bed after although you may not feel up to it for a few hours

For baby

  • A warm hat as it’s cold in theatre
  • They will dress the baby once back in recovery so pack a babygro & vest, I always buy up to 1 month size so I know they will fit ok! I packed these into a freezer bag with a nappy so hubby knows what to grab
  • I pack everything in freezer bags as per Teresa’s hospital bag blog, click here to read. Teresa has the best tips, I find the freezer bags so easy find what we need when hubby is trying to dig out clothes!
  • A few cellular blankets to swaddle baby

I packed everything as normal then from our hospital bag post with few small additions;

  • Pack 5 sets of pjs as you will be in 4/5 days
  • I always got comfy pj bottoms that will come up high over the scar as it will be quite tender
  • Lots of big granny knickers soo they too will come over the scar!

What to expect

I had done my pre-admission the week before where I meet the anesthetist & they did bloods & history so it was all covered off so when I was due to come in or before if I went into Labour they were all set to go!

Now I was all set to check in at 8am to the Coombe but my little lady had other ideas so we checked in at 3am instead!!! On check in they give you all your bands & a sexy gown to wear, your hubby will take all your belongings so bring a neat bag! Here you will remove all your jewelry also.

After being checked in the nurse called my consultant straight away & she arrived in 10 minutes so we didn’t have to wait long but everyone was so calm, it was a much calmer experience than my first section, the team in the Coombe were so good to keep the room calm & be by my side until my hubby was allowed in. You will get your epidural when you get to theatre sitting up, it’s a slight Bee sting & you must stay completely still but once in you won’t feel anything from tummy down. They will then lie you down & put up a screen so you can’t see anything going on but midwife & anesthetist will be beside you. Here they will insert a catheter until after the birth. They will do checks to ensure you can’t feel anything before they start, once they are all ready they will bring your partner in who will be gowned up & will be brought in to sit at your head which is a great comfort knowing they are beside you. You will feel a tugging & pulling sensation but this is normal. It all happens so fast then with the whole procedure taking 40mins, you will be taken to recovery for an hour after to check all your vitals after the operation, it was here I got to do more skin to skin & my first feed with baba 💘

One tip is to do something that will make you feel good before you go in, As well as all the grooming, I washed my hair before going in to hospital mid-contractions (I had to wait an hour for my parents to get up) and I felt so good for it afterwards as I felt a bit more like me with fresh hair & it lasted until my last day in hospital.

Note – you can’t wear nail polish in surgery so go with clear varnish if your looking to do your nails!

There is very little info on what to expect for an elective section but I came across a great blog from Irish Baby Fairy, click here to read, this really helped me know what to expect.

🌟Tips for after the birth🌟;

  • Get hubby to come in as early as he can if he hasn’t left to help you lift baba in & out of the cot as you can’t move out of bed!
  • You will have a catheter since surgery but it will be removed in the first day all going well, after this your nurse or your hubby can help you to the shower, take all the help as it is so hard to walk or stand but you will feel great after the shower & fresh pjs/nightie
  • Take your time, recovery can be tough so go easy, try walking around in the halls by day 3, I had awful spasms in my neck this was due to trapped air that had traveled up during surgery, tell the nurse as they can give more pain relief for it.
  • Take all the help when you get home as movement will still be slow, let hubby mind you, set yourself up with a feeding station in comfy chair & coffee table! I set up changing stations at different points in the house so once I came downstairs in the morning I didn’t have to go back up as it can be tough initially.
  • I got the bellyband & found it great for support after about 2 weeks once scar had healed a bit, this helped support my back also.
  • Get out for walks even short one down the street in first week as it will help you mentally, it’s a long 4 or 6 week stint without driving so little walks locally are a great lifesaver!
  • Keep taking pain relief to get ahead of the pain as it can be quite sore if you let forget to take it!
  • Wear leggings for first few weeks, I put on my maternity jeans in week 2 this time around & I got an infection in my wound even though I was killed washing it & doing everything right, stick to soft fabrics!
  • Soak up all the lovely cuddles they grow so fast!!!

Best of luck & most importantly enjoy the magical day of meeting your new baba

A ✨