We have all heard that c-sections are the easy way out. I, and every other c-section mama out there, will tell you that this is not the case. I will tell you, after having an emergency c-section and a planned c-section, it is grueling. The recovery is long. The risk of complications is high, and don’t forget it is major surgery that you are awake and conscious for.
With being a repeat c-section mom, I had two very different experiences. My first one was an emergency with several complications for me. Thankfully, my daughter was born perfectly healthy. My delivery with my first daughter was going to plan, until it wasn’t. They were unable to find her heart rate after trying multiple positions and using an internal fetal monitor. My doctor was in such a hurry to get her out that my bladder was cut. I had to come home with a catheter for two weeks postpartum.
When comparing my two deliveries, there were many differences even though they were both cesarean sections. So for any moms who are going to a have a planned c-section after having an emergent c-section, here are some positive things I have gathered from my experience.
1. You Have More Control
Because this was a decision I made, with the guidance of my doctor and support of my husband, I felt very much in control of my delivery, even though I was under anesthesia. I picked the time and date. Picking your child’s birthday is a weird decision to make! I was also able to have a beautiful morning at home with my daughter and savor our last few moments as a family of three before the new baby joined our tribe.
2. You Know What to Expect
Because I was an amateur when I was having my first baby, I had no clue what to expect from delivery. I really didn’t have an idea what to expect from a c-section because they don’t talk about it in birthing classes, or it is just briefly glossed over! But once my delivery was underway and things went haywire, I was just along for the ride.
With my second baby being a planned c-section, I kind of knew what to expect, especially in terms of recovery. I knew the consequences of pushing myself too hard and doing too much too early. I knew the most comfortable way to sleep and the right surgical binder to wear because I had been through it before.
3. You Can Make a Plan
With a planned c-section I was able to make a plan at work and at home. At the time I had my second daughter, I was working as a classroom teacher. I was able to tell my long-term substitute what day her new assignment would begin on. This was helpful for her and for me!
I was also able to make a solid plan for my oldest daughter instead of making a frantic phone call in the middle of the night to my parents to come over so we could go to the hospital. Because we knew when the baby was coming, we were really able to enjoy our last few days together as a family of three and do special things together and make memories with our oldest daughter before she got promoted to big sister.
4. You Can Better Prepare Older Children
Because we knew when the baby was going to be born, we were able to prepare our oldest daughter who was two at the time. We had a countdown and she was so excited. While she was only two at the time, and probably didn’t really grasp what was going on, she is a type of child that needs to know what is happening and when. This helped ease the transition when her little sister was born.
5. You Can Take Better Photos
While this might seem like a vain reason, it’s valid! With my first c-section, I had labored for over 12 hours before they made the call to do a c-section. I looked terrible. Sweaty hair, no make up, pale. I lost a lot of blood so I just looked ghostly. While we took pictures in the operating room, I don’t share them with people.
With my second delivery, I got up in the morning before I was scheduled to go in, took a shower, washed my hair, and did my make-up. My pictures from that delivery are great and I don’t look like I just had a baby. While the ultimate goal is a healthy baby and mama, great post-delivery pictures are nice too.
Whether your planned c-section is your choice or you have to have one because of a medical situation (breech baby, multiples, etc.), most likely it will go smoother than your initial emergency c-section. You will be better prepared, more knowledgeable, and able to better advocate for yourself and your baby.