Preparing for Motherhood:Labor & Delivery-The Unexpected

Guest post by Bree from The Mom with Moxie

No one expects, or wants, things to go wrong during labor and delivery. But as I learned, things happen, and expectant mothers (and fathers) should be prepared for the unexpected.

When I was in labor with my son in 2006, I ended up having to have an emergency c-section. My entire pregnancy was ideal and I was in optimal health but, I¬†unexpectedly found myself in a situation where my “birthing plan” went right out of the window.

I remember it like it was yesterday. The baby was 1.5 weeks late, and my OB/GYN decided to induce labor with Pitocin. After several hours of labor, the baby’s heart rate dropped repeatedly and I wasn’t progressing as fast as my doctor would like. The baby was in distress, and my husband and I (along with my doctor) decided that a cesarean (c-section) would be the best option – both for me, and the baby. While my son was born safe and sound, and I’m sure I have the cesarean to thank for it, the unexpected surgery really threw a wrench in all of my post-delivery plans.

One thing you should know about me is that I am a list maker. ¬†I love the thrill of crossing things off as they’re completed. So, as you can imagine, I had every “things you need after you have your baby,” list available. Not one of those lists included what you might need if you had to have a c-section. I had read nothing on the healing process, or what I would need. Granted, it’s not really all that different than what I would need after a vaginal birth, but it is different. The main difference was that for a week after, I couldn’t sleep lying down. I had to sleep in a lawn chair, next to the bed. My abdominal muscles were so non-existent that I couldn’t lift anything heavy. And, my incision was placed, just so, that I couldn’t wear anything but pants with an elastic waist band for weeks.

While having a c-section is no one’s ideal birthing situation, it happens. Here are a few things that made my post cesarean recovery more bearable:

  1. The first and most important is a great support system. The three days I was in the hospital were hard. I couldn’t get out of bed for the first two. Without my husband there to hand me the baby when he needed to be nursed, I don’t know what I would’ve done. He was my arms, my legs, my everything.
  2. Pant’s with elastic waists and open front gown’s (muumuu’s, really). Sure I wasn’t the most attractively-dressed woman, but I was comfortable and could nurse easily. Plus, I didn’t have anything rubbing up against my incision.
  3. A comfortable chair or couch, that doesn’t sit too low on the ground. You’ve never experienced discomfort, until you’re trying to get up from a low-seated couch – with NO abdominal muscles.

These three things, along with prayer and patience, helped me immensely. Hopefully it’ll help you too, if you find yourself in an unexpected labor and delivery situation.

Bree is a wife, mother and has a full-time PR & Marketing career. You can find her at The Mom with Moxie where she blogs about “surviving the chaos, with a little bit of imagination, and a whole lot of prayer.”

2 Replies to “Preparing for Motherhood:Labor & Delivery-The Unexpected”

  1. Pingback: How Exciting!
  2. I too ended up having a c-section unexpectedly with my first delivery and was really not prepared for it. In addition to the items Bree listed above (I can definately second that the elastic or drawstring pants and comfortable chair are a necessity post c-section) it is also important to consider that you are typically not permitted to drive a car for at least two weeks and like she said you are not supposed to pick anything up heavier than your newborn for 4 – 6 weeks post surgery (at least this was what I was informed). This means you cannot pick up the carseat, push a vacuum, pick up a laundry basket, etc… This also meant if the baby had to be taken somewhere (like to his first two doctors appointments) someone had to be with me initally to drive and so that they could also help me with carrying the carseat. My husband had to return to work after the first few days home so it was a great help when my mom or mother in law could come and help around the house or go with me somewhere.
    Also, just a side note, I ended up electing to have a repeat c-section with my second child and it was so much easier than the first. I was completely prepared for what was going to happen and I recovered so much faster.

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