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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

a C-section story - Pamela O'Pecko

Thank you to Pamela O'Pecko for sharing her experience with a C-section! I'm featuring several mamas on the blog this month with their experiences with C-section births because I feel like it's something women rarely get a chance to talk about since it's not the norm. I think it's scary and not how moms planned births to go, so it's good to talk about. If you have an experience to share email me at!

  • All photos from Pamela O'Pecko 
  • What was your birth like that turned into a C-section?
    Well, I actually never went into labor. My doctors wanted to induce me because I had gestational diabetes. I went in three days before my due date to start the cervadil (spelling?). The doctor on call inserted it, and I waited for something to happen. 12 hours later - nothing had. I'd had some contractions, according to the monitors, but I never felt any of them. I didn't dilate past the 1cm I was when I went in (and for the previous 2 weeks).

    What did it feel like to think your birth experience would be one way, and have it turn into another way?
    I knew C-section was a risk with the Gestational diabetes. I did everything I could to avoid it. I really, really didn't want a c-section. But when my doctor came in and told me that the inducing had no effect on my cervix, he said we could try another 12 hours.. and I said - No. The whole experience in L&D was miserable. The nurses, the beds, not being allowed to drink or eat anything. Miserable. I just wanted out of there.  

    When he said instead that it would be a c-section, I was completely OK with that. I didn't feel any of the emotions I thought I would. No disappointment, no anger, no negative feelings at all. I guess I just accepted it, and I think that in a way I had been working on accepting it since I found out it was a possibility.

    What was going through your head as they said it had to be a C-section ?

    It was surreal. I knew my baby would be here... soon. I'm not sure I was prepared for that.  

    My husband and I are very "in the moment" people, and while we knew, obviously, we were having a baby, we didn't spend much time thinking what it would really be like to see him.  
    In a way I think I was relieved - My birth plan would not be put to the test (I had down that I didn't want medications or to be cut, and a number of other things I don't recall. I wanted to make it through on Lavender oil and back massages, and I'm sure like many women, I wasn't sure I really could). But I didn't have any bad thoughts about it at all. I wanted a shower before I went in, I knew that. And they let me. Then my doula and husband dried my hair and off we went!

    What do you remember about the actual surgery and moments after?
    The surgery was intense. Nothing went wrong, there was just a lot of feeling. Not pain but 'pressure' they called it! It really felt like someone was trying to yank my lungs out. I had no idea the 'pressure' would be so far up. The doctors told me "He's gripping you with the clamps pretty hard, do you feel that at all" and I said no. They told me to be prepared for pressure... I tried to be.  

    My husband was there holding my hand. I was so scared at that moment. I heard the OB say that there was meconium (spelling) staining and that the cord was around his neck twice. And I thought "I knew there was a reason I wasn't feeling him move around so much".  

    Then he was out and the dr held him up by arms and legs and said "Here's your baby, Pamela". I didn't see much of him and I dont remember what I said. The next I recall, someone said "Dad, do you want to cut the cord". My husband said "Can I?" and left my side.  

    We had already decided that should a c-section be necessary he would stay with the baby at all times so that wasn't a shock. I yelled out to him "Is he breathing" and then I heard two little cries and relaxed. Then I yelled "Does he have hair?" I dunno why that was important to me. And I did see that he had hair when they pulled him out so I dont know why I asked. One of the doctors said "What's that..." and I waited to see what they had found, and another replied "A skin tag I think". No one was telling me what was going on and I was nervous but I figured if it was really serious someone, hubby at least, would say something to me. It was a tiny skin tag on his ear. It's CUTE!

    I felt that they were sewing me up and then I felt the staples, and then hubby was next to me showing me our child all wrapped up snug with a tiny blue hat on. I didn't get to hold him like I wanted. I don't remember but I think they stayed in the room and waited for me, however I am not sure. They transferred me to another bed, and off to recovery we went!

    Aside from L&D, recovery was the most miserable thing about my experience. I was ok, and baby was ok, but he was right next to me and two nurses and my husband were standing there with their backs to me an no one was letting me see or hold my child.  

    He had low blood sugar so they gave him some formula from a cup and it went up fine. They kept talking about how adorable he was, and I got more annoyed. It felt like I was there for two hours but I know that can't be right. I think one of the nurses noticed I was upset, because she finally came over and let me hold him and put him to my breast. He latched right away and we spent a little bonding time. I spent the rest of the time there trying to move my legs!

    What challenges did you experience with C-secion and/or recovery?
    Really, the only thing was that I didn't want to be in the hospital that long. Hospitals are for sick people. I had a baby, I wasn't sick. I hadn't slept since the night before I went in to be induced. I wanted my bed. I wanted to see my dogs and cats. I wanted to take my baby to his new home. When they took me to my room, I told them we were leaving a day early (that is how long I'd have been in if my birth were vaginal). They took me at my word, and sure enough, we were discharged one day early.

    What things did you not like about a C-section?
    The catheter. And not being able to clean myself up for almost 24 hours. It was weird to have a nurse clean me.

    What did you find was a good thing about C-sections?
    For me, it was all pretty easy. I got up a few hours after the section because I had pulled out my IV and the nurse needed to clean up my bed which was covered in blood. By then I was able to move my legs. I told her to just bring a chair over and asked everyone else to please just leave the room, and I got up and sat in the chair while she cleaned my bed. It wasn't easy, it did hurt, but I was able to do it just fine.

    Look at that peanut!

    What is your advice for someone going into a vaginal birth?
    Have a plan, but don't be afraid to change it. Get a doula if you can, even if you have a c-section they are awesome for support and not too costly. Don't feel like you have to impress anyone or do anything for anyone else. You are there for you and your baby. That's it. The rest does not matter.

    What is your advice for someone having a planned C-section?

    It's still a birth. Celebrate it like one.  

    Take the pain meds as you need them, but get up as soon as you are able and move around. It will hurt but not as much as you think it should.

    What is your advice for someone recovering from a C-section? What helped you the most?
    Move, move, move. The sooner, the better. Take that bassinet for a walk around the halls. Take a shower as soon as you're allowed. Don't over do the stairs, but don't be afraid of them either. My incision leaked a lot while it healed. That was a little scary so I called the on-call doctor at the hospital. Don't be afraid to do that, they are there for you.

    What did you not expect with a C-section that happened?
    All the pressure, in my chest, that was weird. That the pain wasn't all that bad, that was a little weird too. I think mostly though, it was how relieved I felt when I heard that he had been in meconium stained water, and had the cord wrapped around his neck twice, that we had done a c-section. Even though I knew babies were birthed fine that way every day, I was glad we didn't take any chance for any sense of pride or accomplishment that I wanted to have.

    Anything else you want to add?

    My c-section turned out to be a wonderful experience. I really fought against it my entire pregnancy, but I am not the least big upset with having had one.  

    My little boy is perfect in every way. He's amazing and I could not be happier.  

    I know that my future births will be c-sections, and I'm 100% ok with that. I thought I would feel like I missed out on something by having a c-section. Something that would bond me with other women. But the truth is, I don't feel I did. I didn't miss out on a single thing. I got to breast feed him as long as I was able (and having a vaginal birth would not have made me more able). I got to room in with him. I got to bring him home on the same time schedule as if I had delivered him vaginally. I had a perfect birth, and I could not be happier.  

    And next time, I know what to expect, and can make appropriate plans and not have to spend 12 hours in L&D being miserable in those horrible beds with no food or water (Well, I'm sure I'll have restrictions there for surgery but I can handle them at home in comfort).  

    It was a beautiful birth!


  1. I like your c-section story. Cesarean Section is an operation where incision is made in the front wall of women’s abdomen. For safe and healthy childbirth c-section is a best way in now days.

  2. All the information are really nice this is very valuable information for all. Thanks for sharing such amazing post.