6 Things I Wish I’d Known About Having a C-Section


My first son was delivered via c-section at 35 weeks after an ultrasound revealed he ceased growing due to placenta previa. I knew early on in my pregnancy that it was a possibility I wouldn’t be able to deliver vaginally, but being in denial, I never bothered to ask what the recovery process was like if I did indeed go under the knife.

I figured, by comparison to pushing a baby out and getting ripped from the rooter to the tooter, a c-section would be a cake walk.

Sitting in my OB’s office, hearing that I was heading over to surgery and would have a baby by happy hour, I was scared and ill-prepared.  I didn’t know what I was in for, exactly. I just figured they’d wheel me in, I’d lay there like a corpse, and then hours later I’d be sitting up in bed, holding a baby, looking glowing and happy in an adorable robe like Rachel in Friends.


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This is, after all, major surgery. I mean, my husband saw my intestines being pulled out, for crying out loud. If that doesn’t buy you a night out by yourself when the baby is older, I don’t know what will.

If you’re thinking that a c-section is a possibility for your next birth, perhaps my ignorance can spare you a few headaches and worry. Here are some things I learned:

1. The operating room is as cold as the polar ice caps and the stuff they put in your IV only makes it worse. With my first c-section I was shaking so much I was convinced the anesthesiologist would miss his target with the spinal block and I’d come out of surgery a paraplegic. I had absolutely no idea my body was capable of shimming that fast. Watch out, Shakira, those hips don’t lie. They’re scared shitless.

2. Think you won’t feel a thing? Think again. While you won’t feel them cutting or feel pain, no one told me I’d feel all this tremendous pulling as they pried my son out of my body cavity. My OB warned me “Okay, you might feel some slight pressure.” Slight? This is not a flu shot, people. I don’t call the sensation of someone yanking a bowling ball out of my loins a slight sensation.

3. Don’t say no to drugs. They get you pretty doped up in surgery and at first I willingly took the hard core pain meds they give me. But at around 28 hours post surgery I felt pretty good and thought, “Nah, I’ll skip meds this shift.” Bad idea.  Worst idea I’ve ever had. You’re not only dealing with the pain of getting your insides ripped open and sewn back together, but you’ve also being visited post-delivery cramping because the baby isn’t paying rent anymore. They tell you to stay one step ahead of the pain. I prefer to be a football field ahead.

4. Your ability to laugh like a normal human being will be put on hold. Ditto for sneezing, pooping and coughing.  The advice is to hold a pillow over your incision if you need to perform any of these actions, and though it may help a tiny bit, you’ll still find yourself making modifications. Your sneezes will become the tiny, restrained kind that only Disney Princesses can attain. While in the hospital with my son, my husband cracked a hilarious remark that caused my body to produce such a high-pitched hyena snicker that the nurses went running to call the psych ward.

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5. Think your intestinal tract was screwed up when you were pregnant? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. With my son, I didn’t take a dump for seven days. SEVEN. POOPLESS. DAYS. Mass quantities of fiber didn’t get things moving along. Five days after delivery I finally got the urge and 50 sweaty minutes later, I came up empty. It was as if the kids climbed up the ladder of the high dive, tip-toed out to the edge of the board, took one look down and said “No way in hell, lady” then made the slow, shameful climb back down. Arm yourself with some goodies like apricot nectar and prune juice.  Think “retirement home beverages”.

6. The area around your scar will never, ever, ever get feelings back. The skin around my incisions still has very few nerve endings, four years after my last c-section. That area will still get itches that I can’t scratch, but I power on, digging at it like a meth addict. I have high hopes I might regain sensation, but at this point, I have as much chance as Lindsay Lohan staying out of jail.

Yet, despite knowing all this, after my first born, I still had another baby via cesarean. Being prepared for what was to come definitely helped ease my jitters. That, and sneaking a case of prune juice in my overnight bag.

Related post: I Refuse To Feel Shame Over My C-Sections

About the writer

Gina holds the titles of wife, mom, former dancer, blogger, butt-wiper, paper-airplane maker, princess costumer, snack connoisseur, pillow fort architect, and house D.J. You can read more of her babbling at Full of it, follow her on Facebook and Pinterest, or holler at her on Twitter @totallyfullofit.


Brigitte 1 month ago

36 hours of labor for a vaginal delivery…baby #1. Four years later it is time to deliver baby #2, since she measured and weighed more than her older brother a C section was the only choice. I claimed it God’s gift to child birthing vs my first experience. Granted the discomfort on day three sucked and no one warned me ahead of time. Bottom line when my daughter was six weeks old I was back to bowling and doing anything I wanted to pain free.

Heidi 2 months ago

My experience was fantastic…very little pain, was walking around that same night, all i needed was ibuprofen for the pain. The poop thing was the only bad part but I hear the same is true for vaginal births.
Almost 3 years later I have feeling in that area and my doctor did an awesome job with the cut..such a tiny scar.
I’m pregnant with my 2nd an electing a c-section again. I highly recommend

vicki 2 months ago

Its true about not getting feeling back. It’s been 16 year and still no feeling and some days it will start inching like hell.

Tiffany 6 months ago

I’m sorry, but no. They do not take your intestines out during a c section. What your husband prblly saw was your placenta. Unless your intestines are damaged they stay inside. I do agree that a c section is a major surgery, but lets be real having a baby is a major medical procedure.

Christie 7 months ago

That was your experience. Mine was nothing like that. SO GLAD I didnt deliver vaginally! (I had two c-sections).

Trish 7 months ago

So very true. Although I was one of the unfortunate ones who DID feel the incision (I think they call it an epidural window). I was screaming when the cutting started, and they kept telling me I shouldn’t be feeling anything. I assure you I WAS. And then 4 days later my incision became infected (pouring out orange fluid when I stood up) and I had to have it cleaned and repacked every day for 3 weeks (so much fun toting a newborn to THAT every day). Crazily enough, I did opt for another section with my second, and this one was so much easier (didn’t have the 20 hrs of labour beforehand like the first time), I left a day earlier than scheduled – feeling great.

Sandee 7 months ago

I had my first two by C-section and my third natural and I think the natural was way worse

Jess 7 months ago

The worst thing about a c-section is having to go hours before being able to hold your baby. That was true torture.

Linda 7 months ago

I too had two c-sections. I did experience the same as you, however I would do it again in a heartbeat. Getting that healthy baby is the end goal. At least I could sit on my bottom when my room mates couldn’t because of their vag birth. I was up and going within 24 hours. For those of you with bowel issues, look up a harris flush.

Jodi 7 months ago

They forgot #7: People are jackholes and love few things more than shaming women who have had C-sections.

Becca 7 months ago

Omg, the laughing sucks. My boyfriends brother stopped by for a visit and made me laugh so hard I would of punched him lol. I needed pain meds so bad after that. I had an emergency c-section with my son so lucky for me most of my epidural was done in the labor and delivery room. Now, with baby no.3 my doctor is recommending a c-section and for some reason it seems so much more terrifying.

Tara 7 months ago

Don’t forget about the whole “internal organs that shift back into place all at once, making you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster and going to puke” thing.

Kim 7 months ago

I had a c section 2 weeks ago – first baby. I was shaking so bad in the OR. I wasn’t cold. It took a long time to get the spinal in – I kept feeling shooting pains and I was positioned wrong. Throwing up is a thing too. Had a bowl next to my head and they had one of those dental suction things.

I was on a stool softener 4 times a day and managed to have my first poo 5 days after birth.

I had no idea this numbness around the scar was normal! I’ve been thinking what the heck??

Nicki 7 months ago

You are completely on target about all of these. I had already delivered 6 babies naturally and then Here comes Joe…I got to the hospital dilated to 10 and the nurse checked me right before the doc got there…said I feel the head and walked away. The doc got there 15 minutes later…He said I feel something..I replied..Yeah a baby head…He said nope feet…He tried to turn him but it didn’t work. That was my first of 3 c-sections.

beverly 7 months ago

i went thro 4 hrs of labor but my blood pressure kept going up so high they ended up doing emergency c-section an i was put out , my pressure still kept going up they said..was hurting so bad couldnt laugh..

Karen 7 months ago

Oh and I had 2 C-sections…first one emergency and not planned…I have 2 healthy, beautiful children who I am thankful for every day…and who cares if I can’t feel a section of my stomach?

Loralie 7 months ago

I’m glad I’ve had surgery before! Whenever you’re on painkillers post-op, prune juice is a must.

Melpub 7 months ago

I had three C-sections. The feeling around the scar is that of the jaw a few hours after you’ve been to the dentist–when are those nerve endings going to feel something? Nevahhhh! This is a very accurate description of the process. I gave birth in German hospitals and they made me do exercises, for which I hated them, but they were right! So right! Do ’em, gals.

Lyndzai 8 months ago

Spot on! The yanking and pulling during delivery, the shaking so bad I wouldn’t have even been able to hold my baby even if she hadn’t been rushed to NICU, the ripping feeling while laughing and total fear of pooping. (Take the stool softener pills they give you!) I demanded a vbac for a second and danced out of there after she was born. Compared to the c-section it was a walk in the park!

wendy G 8 months ago

Oh and if you can have a full anathestic, its much better

wendy G 8 months ago

Had ac section 28 years ago and still have no feeling in or around my scar, os take note, it never ever comes back

Lady T 11 months ago

Lol this really made me burst out laughing…. This is my first time having a c-section and I am beyond scared…No one mentioned to me the very cold room and all the tugging of my body ..man I dnt think I’m ready for this, but while reading ur description of things, I’ll be sure to take notes and prepare myself

shylin 12 months ago

after 1 year 4 month im starting to feel pain and pressure in my scar


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