It seems like you might be able to help me with something that’s been on my mind. My husband and I are THINKING about a third baby. I’m about 85% there; husband is 100% on board with the idea. Most of the “cons” about having a new baby are completely eclipsed by the presence of New Baby! in the “pro” column, except for one: THE IDEA OF A THIRD C-SECTION FILLS ME WITH DREAD. (There’s no option here of a vbac – uterus is wacked.)
Dread is the only way to describe it – I’ll be thinking about all the wonderful sparkliness of a new pregnancy, beautiful belly, new baby, calling our families to announce the arrival and the name, introducing the baby to the big brothers, etc., but THEN – thud.. I remember how it feels to head into the hospital for a scheduled section. Reporting at the crack of dawn, nurses treating me like i’m there for [insert banal surgerytypeprocedure that’s the opposite of birth], painful epidural with no natural adrenalin to help me through it, and that terrible look of fear on my husband’s eyes over his surgical mask when he is finally allowed into the operating room. Anticipating the recovery doesn’t bother me so much, but the time before and immediately after the surgery (EXCEPT for that magic that comes when the ob finally digs out the baby) is just…dreadful to contemplate.
From your posts surrounding Henry’s birth, it seems like you just sailed through this without a hiccup. What is your secret? Is my dread just weird and misplaced (because what is literally a three-hour (maximum adventure) (from check in to delivery) is NOTHING compared to the crazy goodness of a new baby? Is there something you focus on to calm you and redirect you? Do you have tips/suggestions for making the experience less “surgical” more “major life event”? or when going in for a section are you a) just plain excited for the whole event or b) recognize it without inquiry as just a means to an end?
I don’t think my dread is enough to keep us from having a third, but it does kind of dampen my enthusiasm a little. Does any of this sound familiar or am I crazy?
One reason I don’t dread it TOO much, I think, is that I’ve had very good c-section experiences. My first one was the worst because it was after a tiring labor (um, as opposed to a refreshing and invigorating labor), and also because I didn’t know what to expect and I hate that. Even so, it was a good experience overall, especially because of the Relief Factor of being done with labor. The surgery went well, I recovered well, I healed well. I was up and walking around (slowly) the next morning. The nurses warned that the breastfeeding “cradle hold” might bother the incision area, but it didn’t.
My second one, the whole pregnancy I was thinking, “Yay!! I don’t have to go into LABOR this time!!” and that was such a happy thought. Then I got to the week of the c-section and went “Ack! I have to have surgery!” Well, but it went great again. The epidural was more uncomfortable to get without the distraction of contractions, but I was also getting really excited about seeing the baby, and I had a nice nurse who brought me a heated blanket and let me squeeze her hand. And again, the surgery went well, I recovered well, I healed well.
My third c-section was my twin pregnancy, and I think I would have done it MYSELF if need be, I was so desperate to be done with that pregnancy. I was so uncomfortable, I didn’t even CARE, and also it was so funny and exciting to be in the operating room with the TWO little newborn stations and TWO pediatric nurses and so forth. And the twins were so big and healthy (7 pounds 4 ounces and 8 pounds 2 ounces), it was a party atmosphere, with the OB actually WHOOPING as he pulled out each one. I was even MORE familiar with the procedures this time, and felt like I could almost relax into it, knowing each thing that would happen and when.
And my fourth c-section was especially fun for me because I hadn’t been expecting to be back again, and certainly not so SOON.
I shouldn’t portray this QUITE so unicorny. During one of the c-sections (the third), the anesthesia wore off (or “ran out” or whatever the correct verb would be for “ceased to work”). Then it wore off (or whatevs) AGAIN when I was in recovery. And after another c-section (the fourth), the epidural drip came disconnected and had made a nice big puddle under the bed before anyone figured out that my “normal post-surgical discomfort” was more like PAIN. However, and this is just my own personal experience and doesn’t mean it’s the same for anyone else, I found this pain to be significantly less than the pain I had experienced even in EARLY labor, so for me this didn’t dampen things much.
And, like you, I have a wacked uterus. So part of my happiness and not-minding-the-c-sections, I think, is this feeling of wonder: like, because I live NOW instead of back THEN, I get to have babies. It’s like this amazing medical thing to me, that I can participate in childbearing ANYWAY.
And part of it is that by nature, I’m more inclined ANYWAY toward c-sections. I like the calm and the predictability and the schedule, and the soothing way it all seems to be just another day’s work for everyone.
I make it a more “special occasion” by talking it up. I think sometimes the hospital personnel get so accustomed to the procedures, and it’s so much a part of their usual jobs, they forget it’s special too. If I say to the nurse, “I’m so excited! I can’t believe I’m about to see my BABY!” and if I say to the OB, “Oh, this is such a happy day!” and so on, I find they usually respond and get into it a little more.
Paul doesn’t go in with me. He gets pale and sick if one of the kids gets a papercut, so he waits at the newborn nursery. I think this takes a lot of pressure off of me: I can close my eyes or say “Oof” or whatever, without having to worry how it will seem to Paul. The first two c-sections, I went in by myself; the second two, I brought my mom. Both ways were nice; when I didn’t have my mom, a nurse stood with me so I didn’t feel lonely. Plus, everyone feels super sorry for the woman whose husband is such a wuss, so I get everyone on my side early in the hospital stay.
One of my best tips for “things I’m dreading” is to think: “There will come a time when this will be over and I will be looking back on it with relief.” It’s so comforting to think of Future Me ALREADY THERE, happy and Done.
I also like the Oblivion approach, which involves saying “La la la!” and not thinking about it until the hospital wristband is in place and it’s too late to panic much.