5 of the Craziest Things You'll Feel During a C-Section

Mom Moment 155

It's been a while since I last had a cesarean procedure. Actually, it was five years ago almost to the day, since my youngest just had his birthday. As time goes on I find that certain aspects of pregnancy and childbirth are becoming harder and harder to remember (this must be how subsequent pregnancies happen, right?), but thanks to some postpartum note-taking, I have some pretty vivid memories of how that C-section felt.

Now, I wouldn't recommend a C-section -- it's no fun to recover from major surgery while taking care of a newborn -- but as we all know, sometimes they're unavoidable. And despite what you may have been told, they're not always awful. They are, however, weird. REALLY weird. Whether you've got one scheduled, you're just kind of curious, or you want to swap memories of your own time on the operating table, here's what I remember as being the 5 craziest things I felt during my C-section birth.

The epidural. The worst part about having the epidural put in had nothing to do with the needle (I remember it stinging, but no pain), it was the fact that I was hunched forward on the table with my gown pulled open in the back. I don't want to think about what my squashed butt looked like under the fluorescent lights, is all I'm saying. Anyway, the first thing I felt when the meds kicked in was a wave of warmth running through my lower body, and a tingling in my legs before they went dead.

But later, as the surgery got underway? There was a cold sensation of running water that slid down my back from the inside. This was not unpleasant, just extremely strange. (Horribly, some women have reported similar symptoms associated with arachnoiditis, a PERMANENT condition that can be associated with epidural steroid injections.)

The pulling. I had this idea that a C-section involved surgeons cutting a giant incision, then easily lifting the baby out without even touching the edges of the body, sort of like that game Operation. Yeah, it's NOTHING like that. It's almost violent, actually. I remember being rocked back and forth while all sorts of movement and pressure was happening around my midsection.

The barfy part. I asked the anesthesiologist ahead of time what I could do to help keep any nausea at bay, and he said they'd do their best but that the surgery involves manipulating the uterus -- and in some cases, taking it all the way outside of your body -- and it often makes people sick. As it turned out, I only felt queasy for a little while as they were patching me back up and it wasn't bad. If you're worried about this, talk to your doctor, because some will do prophylactic doses of anti-nausea medication like Zofran.

The itchiness. Oh god, the ITCHING. That's the histamine reaction of morphine for you, and I had it something fierce in the recovery room. They treated me with a dose of Benadryl pushed into my IV, which helped almost immediately. Weirdest of all was the feeling of the Benadryl instantly kicking in: like a big whoosh of allergy-medication-brain.

The moment when you see your baby. This is the part that makes everything else not just okay, but absolutely magical and perfect. Here's what I wrote about the moment when my baby emerged:

One of the anesthesiologists suddenly said something like, “Okay, here he comes!” A surgeon peeped over the drape to tell me the baby was almost out, and asked John if he wanted to see. “Um,” John said, looking totally freaked out, and I whispered, “Do it!” So he did, he stood up and looked over the drape and then there was a lot of movement and the unbelievable, indescribable sound of a baby crying.

Dylan was crying in big lustful wet gasps and so was I, the tears ran straight down my face and puddled in my ears and I was sobbing and asking if he was okay and one of the anesthesiologists said he was fine, they were just taking him to be suctioned and checked on. John stayed with me for a few moments, then he was allowed to go over to the pediatrician’s station where Dylan was being attended to.

Soon John was back, holding Dylan close to me, and Dylan was crying and still sort of goo-covered and absolutely, unbelievably beautiful.

Yup. It may not have been the birth experience I'd originally hoped for, but I wouldn't change a thing.

If you've had a C-section, what's the weirdest (or best?) memory you have?


Images via Linda Sharps

delivery, c-sections

155 Comments

To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

NatAndCo NatAndCo

I had an unplanned c-section, and because of a previous condition they had to put me under for it. All i remember was panic as the anesthesiologist tried to explain what they were doing and then her yelling at everyone in the room to shut up so she could talk to me. Not the most wonderful of experiences but thanks to her i went under chuckling.

Ashley Bagley

After spending 3 days in full blown labor on the 3rd day at 8pm my blood pressure and fever went sky high. I was rushed into an emergency c-section. I was shaking, hungry, cold, and tired. But I never got nauseated. I felt a lot of pulling and pressure, I was almost asleep, yes I said asleep during my c-section, and they said he was out, and they took him over to the pedatric table to clean him up. They told me he had all 10 fingers and all 10 toes. My husband went over to see him and brought our new baby to me and we both started crying. When they were putting things back in my stomach, and repairing the damage, I felt the worst pressure, and then major pain in my chest, but I was just too tired to say anything. It subsided and when they finished they wheeled me back to my room where I got to hold my beautiful baby boy Caleb. I am pregnant again, and a little nervous about a second c-section, but I get to schedule it at 38 weeks! In the end it is all worth it.

Misty Deffendoll

My first c-sections was almost four years ago. It was a nightmare. I was due July 19th  and wasn't progressing at all. I was induced on the 21st and went through 10 hours of labor and only dilating to 3cm. Her heart rate was dropping so they decided on a c-section. By this point, I had already talked them into an epidural. We went to the o.r. and they gave me a spinal. They kept checking me and asking if I could feel anything and I could. Eventually, they just started. I felt everything. Layer after layer I could feel the sharp pain of the knife and the ripping of the deep layers. When they finally pulled her out it felt like someone dropped a piano on my stomach. They held her up and tried to distract me but I didn't care. It was the saddest experience ever. I waited all that time to see my baby and by the time she was out I just didn't care. They gave me morphine and I just fell asleep! Once I woke up and finally saw her, everything was okay. I wasn't nauseous during the procedure and didn't even have the itchies.

Misty Deffendoll

My son will be 1 in less than two weeks so that's the last c-section I had. It was scheduled at 38 weeks. I went in early to be monitored and all that boring stuff until the doctors arrived. I remember being so nervous. With my first one, they gave me time to sit and cry (I was upset because nothing was going as I wanted -- natural, unmedicated, vaginal birth) but with this one, I knew what was coming and I feared that the meds just didn't work for me. I remember them wheeling me into the o.r. and since I was the only woman there that day, EVERYONE watched me going down the hall so I tried incredibly hard not to cry. Now, with my first one I didn't feel the epidural or the spinal but this one was the worst. I felt pressure, but more like someone digging a knife into my back. I told the anesthesiologist about my previous experience and she said she'd make sure that didn't happen. And it didn't! I was laughing, joking, and talking through the whole thing. At one point, I got nauseous and she was able to fix it. They pulled my son out and I just cried. The first thing I said was, "Oh my god, he looks just like his sister!" and then I got nauseous again and threw up (eeek). They gave me morphine, of course, and once I got back into the recovery room I was itchy as hell for an entire day! Two completely different experiences, but both were beautiful.

JS0512 JS0512

Oh, Linda, you made me cry at work.  My first C-Section was an emergency, as I had been in labor for 48 hours and 36 minutes and her heart rate was dropping.  The spinal didn't work right and I felt them cut in to me, but they realized it and knocked me out FAST.  My second was much "easier", and this time I did throw up and was so, so itchy, but only my face.  And, yes, the tears.  My ears were full of them.  Totally worth every single second.  But I never did regain feeling around my incision.  So that's strange to me.  To this day, I'll scratch there and don't feel anything.  And....the flap of skin!??!  WTF is that about?

nonmember avatar Cindy

First time the spinal was done on top of a previous epidural I had to manage back labor pain. I think they overdosed me because in the OR the anesthesiologist leaned over my face to ask if I could feel anything and I alarmingly told him 'no, and I can't breathe either.' He asked me to take a deep breath so I tried. Them he said, 'you are breathing fine, you just can't feel it.' Okaaaaay. That was pretty creepy. And my arms even went numb! The second time around, I fell asleep in the OR - I think the dr dosed me due to the baby being stuck and them requiring a crowbar, vacuum and practically climbing g I side me to pry him out. Thankfully, the brought me 'to' before the little man made his official appearance. Good times!

zaksm... zaksmommy12

My water had broken before I even went into the hospital. After no food, rest, or drink for 22 hours and pushing for three hours with nothing happening but a huge gushing rip, I was wheeled into the back for an emergency c-section. It was 2 in the morning and the doctors were all yawning. Luckily I never saw that but my fiance told me after our son was born. The doctor kept sticking me asking if I could feel anything and of course I did. He seemed shocked. Finally they got the epidural right and started cutting. The told me it was going to feel like someone was standing on my chest and sure enough it did. It took my breath away. They then pulled out my son who was so stressed out that he wasn't breathing. I could hear them spanking him and pumping air into his lungs for what seemed ever with nothing happened. I was so scared that I started crying. Then finally he took his first breath and I was so relieved. They brought him over and I thought they said 'it's a girl'. Which freaked me out even more after planning so long for a boy. But luckily I was wrong. My fiance and the baby left the room and they began cleaning me out which I felt everything. I told the doctor who once again seemed surprised. This time they just knocked me out. Next thing I remember is the nurses yelling at me to wake me up. I was in so much pain and could barely keep my eyes open that I wasn't able to hold my son for 12 hours.

nonmember avatar jessica

My son was turned side ways and they tried to have him turn when i pushed after awhile his heart rate would drop when i would push so i had to go for a C-section. They took me back and layed me on a table (since i still couldnt move from epidoral) and the one doctor was like now where is that needle after looking for 5 min he lifts me up goes oh there it is why didnt you tell me it was in ur back ....i couldnt feel it. No one told me here he comes i didnt know till i heard him crying. I was fine most of the surgery till the medication wore off and i started feeling everything. The one doctor started rushing around and pumping all kinds of stuff into my iv trying to make me go away. Thats the only time i threw up. Then apparently when i was in the middle of talking my eyes rolled in the back of my head and i passed out. Didnt wake up for like an hour then the rest of the night is a blurr. The healing wasnt bad for me i was a fast healer and by the 3rd day when i went home i had very little pain

B1Bomber B1Bomber

The only thing I could think when I threw up was "I wonder what that looks like to the surgeons?" I mean, heaving organs while they try to stitch you up must be weird...

nonmember avatar KateMac

The post-morphine itching: yes! The WORST. I was clawing at my face. It was horrible. The one I really wasn't prepared for, though, was the post-surgery shakes. I didn't stop shaking for a long time. My husband thought I was cold, but I wasn't. I just shook uncontrollably. I guess it's a common reaction.

I don't know why, but I had the same Operation-style fantasies of delivery and so was unprepared for the wrestling match I got instead. I don't know if you've ever seen the BBC sitcom, Coupling, but one of the characters is having her C-section and she tells her partner, "It's a bit like being a washing machine." And I thought, 'Ha ha, that's funny.' And then it was happening to me, and I realized: Nope, not a joke. TOTALLY ACCURATE.

1-10 of 155 comments 12345 Last