To me having a c-section is the worst and scariest possible way to have a baby. Any tips on how I can make this a somewhat happy experience? I am also really worried about the effects of all the drugs on the baby's ability to breastfeed (and my ability to make milk). I'm also worried about possible complications for me, including post partum depression.
Real moms

I have no help at home other than DH for a week or two, so I really need to recover fast. I also have a couple of logistical problems I'm going to need to solve: we sleep on a waterbed and have no normal beds in the house (DS sleeps on a futon on the floor - there is an extra futon I could sleep on, but that would also be at floor level), also there is no main floor bathroom in our house so I will need to climb stairs every time I need to use the facilities. Any ideas on how to deal with these problems would be welcome.

In general: what can I do to make a planned c-section a positive experience instead of the negative one I so very much fear it will be? Any tips on how to get myself back to normal as quickly as possible? - Carolyn

I can't advise on c-section, but as for the bed, there are two things you might look into. Both cost money, but considering that you will be recovering from surgery, I think it would be worth the cost. Either buy (or borrow) an aero bed--the kind that is the height of a normal bed--for something like $150 US, or rent a hospital bed for a week or two. I have no idea how much hospital beds are, so that might be a really impractical solution. Ask friends or relatives to lend you a twin bed with a frame so it's off the floor.

Also, have DH bring in some gallon jugs of water for your hospital room and drink as much as you can post girlfriend who had a last-minute C-section told me the drugs really made her thirsty. You'll want some good water there for you. - Kathleen

My c/s was not a planned one. But I think you can make it a very positive experience anyway. Take your favorite music with you and a portable walkman style CD player. Listen to the music and relax while waiting for your c/s to begin. They will let you listen to it until you have to go to the c/s room and maybe even in'll have to ask.

Ask you OB to set up a meeting with the anesthesiologists at the hospital ahead of time so that you can talk about the types of anesthesia available to you. You won't necessarily have the same anesthesiologist the day of your delivery, but you need to make an informed decision about what kind of anesthesia is best for you. Probably an epidural or a spinal, both will allow you to be awake for your delivery. I think being able to "participate" in your delivery and meeting your baby right away would probably help you a lot. I did not meet Keegan until later because I had a general and I wish I could have been there awake for his birth, but truthfully it was not all that devastating. I had him all to myself in the middle of the night and that was more heavenly then anything I could imagine.

You might want to have a special evening the night before with your husband and con, kind of a party to celebrate the next day's big arrival. You will find having your delivery date being known really kind of neat.

Let's see, as to post delivery I really found it to be not bad at all. I had no miserable constipation to deal with and could sit any way I wanted. The nurses were excellent with offering advice on pain medication. My advice is don't skimp in the first 24 hours. I was up and showering in less than 4 hours. And I was using only Darvocet and Ibuprofen in less than 12 hours. But I took them faithfully. I can't remember exactly but I think I did not need anything by the end of the first week.

Breastfeeding I would not think you will have any problem given you just recently weaned your son. Your breasts will know what to do. Just start immediately after delivery. The nurses will help you given you will need a few extra pillows.

Your c-section scar will be low and transverse. Mine healed without any problems.

Don't pick up son. You must sit down and have him crawl into your lap. That will help keep you from pulling anything. I would make the suggestion that you have several hours post delivery that is just for your husband and you to be with the baby. You need a special quiet time for yourselves and then the next day welcome family. After you go home try to maintain a low visitor flow at first.

Now the tricky bed question, I have a waterbed but I slept on a regular bed for the first couple of weeks. I don't recommend trying to get in and out of a waterbed until you really feel comfortable with your healing. It is something only you will be able to judge.

I like Kathleen's suggestions, but you might consider also looking for a cheep frame at someplace like Goodwill or Salvation Army (charity ran stores) and just buying an inexpensive mattress. Then just give them back to charity when you don't need them anymore. Or in borrowing one, maybe you could ask to put a note up at your church to see if anyone would be willing to loan you one for a month or two. People would probably love to help a new mommy with this dilemma. - Beth

As a mom who has had 3 c-sections, I'm here to tell you that while I also would much rather have had a vaginal birth, my last planned c-section was pretty awesome. The first two were unplanned, and I had an epidural. If you have a choice - I would recommend going for the spinal anesthetic. I had the "shakes" really bad with the epidural, and not at all with the spinal. If it starts to make you feel nauseous while on the table, let the doctor know, and they can put something in the IV to make it go away - almost like magic! LOL!

Ask your doctor to hold the baby up as soon as it is born. I didn't have this with the first two, and I loved seeing her all fresh out of the oven, as my DH says. I nursed my baby in the recovery room at the urging of the nursery staff - she was hungry. It was the very first time I had ever breastfed, and it was wonderful. She latched on right away! As for the pain meds - don't skip any because you are feeling good. I did that and the pain always caught up to me. Lily didn't seem affected at all by the medications that I was taking. Just let your doctors know that you will be breastfeeding, and find out what he recommends.

As for your bed, I had a waterbed with my first child, but chose to sleep on the sleeper/sofa for the first couple of weeks after the baby was born. - Polly

I ended up with an emergency c-section after little success pushing Jonathan out. I did not find it a horrible experience, and seemed to recover pretty quickly. They showed him to me immediately after he was born, which was awesome. My husband stayed with the baby while I was in recovery, and took video of them washing him, rolling him down the hall, etc. It was fun to see later, and made me like I didn't miss much. I had an epidural, and was able to breastfeed Jonathan within a couple hours of the birth. The first couple of days I definitely recall using my upper body strength to move out of the bed. Our bedrooms are on the second floor, so I slept on a futon in our TV room for about a week. I didn't have any problem going up the stairs, but I kept it to a minimum just to make sure I wasn't pushing anything.

For me the only real downside was a lingering sensation somewhere between my belly button and the incision that I didn't know how long would stay. I've now found in a book that it can take 9 months or thereabouts to "fully" recover, even though I think the bulk happens fairly quickly. I was given 8 weeks off for "disability", although I sure didn't feel disabled after the first few weeks. - Karen

I had 3 c-sections. From the first and third I recovered great, but the second was not so good. I can tell you the difference. With one and three I requested (got to ask or you won't get) pain medication as much and as often as allowed for the four days in the hospital. I took 2 percoset every few hours. It allowed me to get up and WALK, WALK, WALK. That makes all the difference. By the 3rd day I was feeling great. When I got home stairs were no problem.

And maybe TMI, but do your best to have a bowel movement as early as possible - within 3/4 days. Make an effort. It can help you avoid horrible gas pains later. - Vicki

You should definitely be well hydrated ahead of time. I lived on one level for a full week each time and limited stairs strictly as instructed. I guess in your case you could consider a portable commode, as unpalatable as that may sound. You really do not want your incision to rupture. Take pain meds as instructed. Do not try to be a martyr. Rest when baby rests! I insist that is a must! Good nutrition and proper rest is essential for healing. I also stumbled upon an idea with my third c-section to use support panel panties over underwear as a light binder of sorts for support of your incision once you are up and about. It really keeps you from feeling like your going to split.

Walking is important as others have stressed as well. I never really had any problems with PPD, however I was very hormonal and weepy, but I just attributed that to being a new mom. The c-section never hampered breastfeeding at all. I held each child in the operating room, and nursed each child right in recovery room. Each of them latched on right away and nursed every 4-6 hrs from birth on and was great sleepers. You just need to position baby and yourself so that you are comfortable and not stressing your incision. I used a pillow over my incision in the hospital, and a nursing pillow or boppy type pillow at home.

I had an epidural with my first c-section, but all spinal subsequent to that. I would recommend a spinal. I had a real problem with vomiting after the epidural, but not spinals. I was also concerned that I wouldn't be able to wiggle my toes afterwards or walk right away until DH reminded me that I wasn't going anywhere right away anyway. I didn't realize that I shouldn't wait until I was really in pain to ask for something. Ever since then I always kept track of the time and asked for my meds when they were due, so that it wouldn't build up to such discomfort.

Now as far as bowels, that was another story. With my first they mandated that I take a Dulcolax tablet. Well I was in more discomfort trying to rush to the bathroom with diarrhea, than if they had just left me alone. When I got home I had such terrible gas pains that it would stop me dead in my tracks. So with sections two and three I refused it and was just fine. I went in my own time and just made sure to eat fiber and stay well hydrated. With my last one however, things just wouldn't get moving no matter what I did. I ate so much fruit that my tongue was so irritated. I finally did take a Dulcolax suppository before things finally started to get moving. -

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