Is it possible to love your cesarean as much as you’d love a vaginal birth (and possibly even more).
Today’s guest is my friend Rachel.
Rachel is a marketing specialist at Get Away Today who recently had a c-section, which she loved! She’s going to share her perspective on how great a c-section can be, because you don’t often hear a lot of great experiences when it comes to c-sections.
Big thanks to our sponsor The Online Prenatal Class for Couples — it has an entire chapter on cesarean sections — so, even if it is not your plan it’s important to know what COULD happen (and it can take a lot of fear out of that situation as well.
Grab my free C-section tips here:
In this episode
Why Rachel ended up having a cesarean section
What surprised her about her cesarean
How recovery went in the hospital and when she went home
Other things that might interest you
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other pregnancy podcasts:
[00:00:00.160] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on episode 169, we are talking about having a positive C section. Let’s untangle it.
[00:00:19.760] – Hilary Erickson
Hi, I’m Hilary Erickson, the curly head behind the Pulling Curls Podcast: pregnancy and parenting untangled. There’s no right answer for every family, but on this show, we hope to give you some ideas to make life simpler at your house. Life tangled just like my hair.
[00:00:40.840] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, guys, today’s guest is actually my rep from Getaway Today. If you’ve ever seen any of my Disneyland content, I use Getaway Today to book my Disneyland trips. So she was pregnant and I knew that. So, of course she took the online prenatal class for couples and she ended up having a C-section. We talked to each other every once in a while, so it was just fun to see her go through the whole thing and I thought she might have a unique perspective. I want to introduce today’s guest, Rachel.
[00:01:08.290] – Hilary Erickson
Do you feel prepared for your delivery? In just three short hours, you can be prepared for the confident, collaborative delivery you want. You’ll know what to expect and how to talk with your health care team. And there are no boring lessons in this class. I’ll use humor stories from my 20 years in the delivery room to engage both of you. I love how Alyssa told me that she found herself laughing at things that used to sound scary. Most of all, you guys are going to be on the same page. From bump to bassinet. Join the online prenatal class for couples today. You can save 15% with coupon code UNTANGLED. You can find the link in the show notes.
[00:01:43.540] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, Rachel. Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast.
[00:01:46.180] – Rachel
[00:01:47.340] – Hilary Erickson
Oh, my goodness. Your baby’s asleep. So we had to just jam in this podcast before she wakes up.
[00:01:51.610] – Rachel
We’re gonna get it done.
[00:01:54.560] – Hilary Erickson
Alright. How old is your baby? Just so people know how far out from all this you are.
[00:01:58.860] – Rachel
She will be four months next week, which is just crazy to me.
[00:02:02.730] – Hilary Erickson
[00:02:04.760] – Rachel
It’s not like my pregnancy was 6000 years and now she’s started getting so big.
[00:02:10.330] – Hilary Erickson
I feel like yeah, I would say those last four months of pregnancy went a lot slower for me personally.
[00:02:15.000] – Rachel
Oh, man. All of it. All of it was bad.
[00:02:19.120] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, so why did you have a C-section?
[00:02:21.240] – Rachel
So she was breach. She was breach at my 20 week appointment and just when I was in my big anatomy scan, they were showing me everything and she was just crunched up right down at the bottom. And the tech was like, there’s room for another baby in there. I don’t know what she’s doing. But she was breached there and she was breached the whole time. They were like, oh, she’ll flip, she’ll flip. And she just didn’t.
[00:02:45.190] – Hilary Erickson
How interesting. Now, I will say that honestly, because she was down there from like 20 weeks on, it makes me feel like, I don’t know, that aversion…. So did they offer you aversion?
[00:02:55.000] – Rachel
They did offer me aversion and I opted not to do it because, I don’t know, I’m kind of weird in my brain. I was like, she’s there for a reason. She’s comfortable. I don’t want to disturb her and have her early, and I don’t want to go through the pain of an aversion. So I chose not to do that.
[00:03:14.730] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, I think all of that is odd, especially because she had been there from like 20 weeks on. Now, if you would have had a full gymnast, it was like one time head down, one time butt down, one time head down. You might want to just be like, let’s get head down and go for it. So people that are wondering, aversion is when they use they, like, use their hands and their forearms to try and get the baby to move because they have an ultrasound and they just push on your belly. They’ll say it’s not painful. That might be a lie, and they just push to try and get the baby. It’s mostly just a lot of pressure. There’s nothing sharp, but they really are pushing on your belly, which is not everybody’s favorite when they’re pregnant.
[00:03:49.390] – Rachel
Yeah, I was a C-section baby also, and my mom had me and she did try to do the aversion, and it obviously didn’t work. So that was another reason that I was like, “no, I don’t want to deal with it. I’m just going to let her be.”
[00:04:04.260] – Hilary Erickson
Did your mom have all C sections?
[00:04:06.070] – Rachel
No. So my older brother was a vaginal birth, and then I was breach also, so I was a C-section. And then she did a VBAC with my little sister, and then my little brother was also breach, so he was a C-section.
[00:04:18.670] – Hilary Erickson
Oh, interesting. Yeah. And as a side note, they don’t do breach vaginal delivery, so that might be a lot of people on here will be like, “my local home birthplace will do breach vaginal.” They don’t, they don’t in the hospital. Their medical malpractice does not allow it. And they will get in so much trouble if they have a known breach delivery that they just let happen. Like, that would be a big no. Just so you guys, the listeners know. Okay, so when did they decide, “okay, we’re having a C-section.”
[00:04:46.230] – Rachel
So I think it was like 34 week appointment-ish. She was obviously still breach. Her head was right in the middle of my ribs, which was awesome for me, but she never, like, would drop or anything. And so they said if by 37 weeks she wasn’t flipped and we didn’t do the aversion, then you would do the C-section. And then she just never flipped. So I just knew that we had got it scheduled before then, just to have it on the calendar. But I was like, I’m having a C-section, I knew that it wasn’t changing.
[00:05:24.110] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So all very normal, like what you’re hearing. How early did they schedule your C-section? Like a month before?
[00:05:30.000] – Rachel
I think we had the idea. She gave us a time frame of when we could choose to do it. She wanted us to do it before 40 weeks because she didn’t want me to go into labor with her. If I did, then she said it would be fine, but ideally we didn’t want to have to do the labor part of it. So it was about a month before that we scheduled the C-section.
[00:05:50.550] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And so great to plan, right?
[00:05:53.400] – Rachel
Yes. For my personality, especially, I was like, great, I love to know what I’m doing and when I’m doing it and how it’s going to happen.
[00:06:02.260] – Hilary Erickson
And a lot of people pick an elected C-section because they know that it’s going to be Wednesday at 03:00 P.m., and husband can be out by 05:00 p.m. And be back to their other kids or whatever.
[00:06:13.500] – Rachel
[00:06:14.040] – Hilary Erickson
All valid. Okay, so you get to the hospital for your C-section. How did you feel when you got there?
[00:06:18.480] – Rachel
I was nervous. I’m not going to lie. Like I said, I love to have a plan. I love to know what to expect. But besides getting my lips and teeth out, I’ve never had like, a major surgery or anything. And when I had my lip and teeth out, I was put to sleep. I put to sleep. It’s not the correct term, but I was knocked out, and I knew I’d be awake for the C-section. So I was pretty nervous just because I had never really been in a traditional OR before. So when I’m nervous, I get really shaky. And so I was in the prep room, whatever they call it, and I was shaking really bad, but I was also so hot because I was nervous. I was like, really sweaty, but also super shaky. So every single time a nurse came in or like, my doctor came in to check on me beforehand, and they were like, are you cold? You need a blanket? I was like, no, I’m so hot. But they didn’t let me drink any water beforehand because they didn’t want anything to happen during the surgery and have that be an issue.
[00:07:16.170] – Rachel
So I was like, sweating, but everyone thought I was cold. But the prep before the C-section, I would say, was the worst part for me. Just the build up to going into the or. It was nerve wracking, for sure.
[00:07:28.770] – Hilary Erickson
So, like, from when you got to the hospital until you got in the OR.
[00:07:31.590] – Rachel
Yeah, just the whole monitoring of the baby, getting everything ready and sitting in that cute little hospital gown.
[00:07:38.960] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, because that is a long time. Usually we ask people to get there 2 hours early. That gives you time to get admitted. One of our main goals is to get your lab work over to the lab so that they can run, like, platelets and stuff. There are certain things they want to make sure okay. Before we start a C-section. So that’s usually why you have to arrive so early. And it is a lot of just hurry up and wait and 5 million questions, just like everybody. Okay. Did anything surprise you about your C-section?
[00:08:06.040] – Rachel
A couple of things. I was surprised at how fast it was. Like, everyone said that it’s going to be so fast, and so I knew going in, people said it would be fast. But I think we went into the or. Like, 7:45, 7:50 in the morning, and my daughter was born at, like, 8:02 in the morning. So they got her out so fast, I couldn’t believe it. And then it was like a half hour, 40 minutes for them to stitch me up, and then we were done. I couldn’t believe how fast it was, but it also kind of felt like time stood still because you’re just laying on this table, you can’t see anything, and then of sudden, you have a baby screaming, and you’re like, “oh, my gosh, that’s my baby.” And then another thing that surprised me is… obviously, I couldn’t feel anything, but I could feel that they were tugging down whatever they were doing. I could feel a lot of tugging and a lot of pressure, but no pain, which I was grateful for. But it was a little bit unsettling to be able to feel all of the tugging that they’re doing and not being able to see it.
[00:08:59.590] – Rachel
But, I mean, it wasn’t bad by any means.
[00:09:02.470] – Hilary Erickson
Did you want to see it?
[00:09:04.410] – Rachel
No. My husband, he loves to watch surgeries and all the gross medical stuff that I do not like. So he took a lot of pictures that I’ve looked at since, but I have to disassociate myself from realizing that that’s me on the table. But it was pretty cool to see. I mean, bodies are amazing, obviously, if they’re able to create this beautiful little baby and then get it cut open.
[00:09:32.660] – Hilary Erickson
I think most people would be shocked at how ungentle all surgery is. It is just a lot of Home Depot moves. Just how you put your toilet flange in is very similar to how we put…. It’s a lot of tugging and pulling and yeah.
[00:09:54.260] – Rachel
So that was surprising to me. And then I thought the other thing that was so surprising was after we, like, went into my room that we were staying in for the next couple of days, I feel like we had a little bit of time to just be together with the baby, and then we had our families come visit and everything. And then after everybody had left, it felt like it had only been, like, a few hours. It was probably six or seven, but the nurses came in like, “hey, let’s get you walking.” And I was like, “no, what are you talking about?” So they had me signed up and they obviously assisted me to the bathroom. I go to the bathroom and everything and get my catheter taken out. But I was like, “do you know what just happened to me? Like, I just had my stomach cut open and I just gave birth to a baby and you want me to walk?” But it was I was glad that they did that so soon because it helped me to realize that I wasn’t as fragile as I expected myself to be. Which I think in turn helped me to recover faster than I maybe would have otherwise.
[00:10:55.620] – Hilary Erickson
Yes, it is weird. So how many hours do you think it was? Because they’re starting to get people at like 6 hours.
[00:11:01.510] – Rachel
I want to say it was seven or eight, maybe six. I don’t know. The whole day was just a blur.
[00:11:09.340] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And a lot of it kind of depends on your timing. If you’re asleep and it’s 02:00 A.m., most nurses aren’t going to be like, let’s wake her up to go.
[00:11:17.510] – Rachel
It was for sure the evening of the day I had her. So it was probably seven or 8 hours after we got into the room and everything.
[00:11:25.840] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Okay. So after you got home, were you glad that you had made the choice for a C-section? I mean, sort of. It got made for you?
[00:11:32.820] – Rachel
Yeah, I had to. But honestly, I loved having the C-section. When I would tell people that I was having the C-section, a lot of people surprisingly, a lot of people kind of acted like it was the end of the world for me. I would say having a few sections, they would just say, oh, I’m so sorry. That must be so hard. I can’t believe it. Is there anything that you can do? And I was like, It’s fine. But I think I was lucky to have the perspective growing up that C-sections do happen with my mom and with me being a C-section. Like, I always knew that that was a way to give birth. Whereas I think a lot of people think it is a different some people would say that it’s not as good way or not as magical way to have to give birth and have a baby. But I really felt like for me it was great. I’m kind of glad I didn’t have the option at first because it does seem like a scarier option because it is a full-on surgery. But I really liked knowing when I was going into the hospital, I liked knowing that I wouldn’t have to go through the whole labor process and I wasn’t going to be tearing down there.
[00:12:46.240] – Rachel
Just for my personality, I like to have a plan and know what I’m getting into, especially when it was my first baby. Just because it seems so new and so scary, because it was bringing a human into this world. But I just thought it was really great for me. And the recovery, I felt really lucky, went very well. I was moving around pretty quickly. I couldn’t get on the ground to change my baby diaper very quickly, and my husband had to get up and get her out of the bassinet. And that for me for the first couple of weeks to feed her in the middle of the night. But I feel like I recovered really well. And my OB, she was so funny. She had three elective C-sections with her babies, and she said she’s like “I call it the vaginal preservation procedure.” She’s like, “I can jump on a trampoline and my sister can’t.” So it was nice, but there wasn’t any trauma in my vaginal area because I had a friend who had a baby right before me, and she totally got into different spots and had to go to pelvic floor therapy and all this stuff.
[00:13:43.240] – Rachel
So my incision was pretty painful and sore for a while, but I didn’t have to go through that other side of things.
[00:13:49.530] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, it’s surprising how many OBS picked have an elective C-section. What was the worst part, you think?
[00:13:58.840] – Rachel
I was really sore for a long time, and with it being my first baby, I don’t know if that’s how vaginal birth is, too, but I’m still used to being able to do things on my own, that it was kind of hard for me to not be able to really do anything. So that part of recovery was hard, just kind of being helpless. One thing that was kind of surprising to me is like, I don’t know if I would feel this way if I had a vaginal birth or not, but people always talk about how magical birth is, and I was like, I don’t know if I would classify a C-section as magical. It was very special. It was a really wonderful experience for my husband and I to be able to have that together. And I’m so grateful that my baby got here safe. But I think the hard thing is I don’t know what it’s necessarily like to have a traditional, quote unquote, birth. But I was fine. My baby’s here, and my baby was safe, and everything was pretty easy. So as much as that might be kind of not a setback, but hopefully what I’m looking for, I don’t know.
[00:14:58.450] – Hilary Erickson
It’s a negative aspect of it. Although I will say it would be interesting if I polled my people “how many people thought their birth was magical?” It would probably be a low number.
[00:15:08.060] – Rachel
Well, that makes me feel better.
[00:15:10.760] – Hilary Erickson
And maybe once your kids older, you look back and it is kind of magical because you can’t believe that the kid that’s 18 used to live inside your body and you pushed them out. So that seemed like it had to have been magic because it couldn’t be anything else.
[00:15:25.390] – Rachel
But yeah, that’s a good point.
[00:15:28.460] – Hilary Erickson
And what was your favorite part? Just the planning ahead?
[00:15:31.060] – Rachel
I love the planning ahead. That was so nice. And just how quick it was was so amazing for me. Because we got to the hospital. I think we got there at 5:30 in the morning. And she was born just after 08:00 in the morning. And then we were in our room by 9:30. So I didn’t have to go through hours and hours and hours of labor and pain and contractions and not knowing when the baby is going to come. I knew exactly what was going to happen from the moment that we got there to when we got into our room, which was really nice to me. And it’s nice that I don’t feel like I have to go to the bathroom all the time. Nothing has changed in my downstairs area.
[00:16:08.470] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, that is very nice. That’s not something I experienced. We all have downsized. All right. Anything you learned in the Online Prenatal Class for Couples that helped you with your C-section? You think?
[00:16:21.460] – Rachel
I was so appreciative since I knew going into it really like going into taking the class that you do, that I was likely going to have a C-section. Some of it was helpful, but I knew that I wasn’t going to need it. But I was so grateful to know just how the hospital works because, like I said, I had never really had a surgery before or any major hospital stage or anything, so it was good to know that I’d be in different rooms for different times and that it would take this long to do this and you’re going to feel this and this and that. I just loved having as much preparation as I could with it still being the general information, because of course, everything is going to be different for every birth. But I loved having just the general knowledge of hospitals and what is expected and what the nurses are going to do and what the doctors are going to do, and everything happens.
[00:17:14.560] – Hilary Erickson
I will say the vast majority of people have never had a medical procedure before they come to give birth. And I think a lot of people think that it’s only them, everyone else. What surgery do other people think they’ve had?
[00:17:26.590] – Rachel
I don’t know.
[00:17:27.480] – Hilary Erickson
There is a good number of breast augmentation, but that is actually very different than, like, hospital surgery because it’s just done in your plastic surgeon’s office. But so many people are nervous and so many people have no idea how the hospital works or they think their OB is going to give them the epidural. There’s just a lot of things that the normal people, they’re just like, well, of course my OB is going to do everything. “Don’t they see the baby after?” A lot of people are like, “I have to pick a pediatrician? I already have a doctor.” It’s so different. Anyway, I was so impressed by how you were just like, “it’s a C-section, it’s fine.” And I was like, “this is awesome.” Because I think we think, well, everyone’s going to hate having to have a C- section, but that’s not true. Like, some people prefer it and I think we have to remember that everybody is different and what people want is different and that’s okay. Yeah. Good thing you can give birth in several ways, right? Because we don’t need to be the pioneers on the plain anymore.
[00:18:22.470] – Rachel
Thank heavens for doctors, because, yeah, if we didn’t have modern medicine that we do today, that could have been a really tragic first for us. So, I mean, I’m so grateful that we had the option to do a C-section and I’m grateful that I have the option to do future C-sections if they choose to or do a VBAC if I want to. But as of right now, I’m, like “I’ll do C-sections all day long.” Not all day long. It wasn’t awesome. I prefer not to have surgery, but I did really enjoy my C-section, so this is awesome.
[00:18:55.080] – Hilary Erickson
All right, guys. So if you’re having a C-section and you’re like, “how could I ever be happy about this?” You can be. You can just look at it like, “this is what’s going to happen.” And I honestly haven’t seen thousands of birth. I think there are just as many times as they are that it’s just as magical. Like, when that mom sees that baby across the drape for the first time, I always get like, little chills because it’s just like she’s just sitting there waiting. Whereas, like, after you have a baby, you’re like, push, you’re like panting, you’re sweaty, you look like simba. It’s just different. But it still can be just as magical. So glad your little Lennon’s here safe and sound.
[00:19:29.160] – Rachel
Yes, me, too. She’s been so fun. She’s the best.
[00:19:33.260] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks for coming on, Rachel.
[00:19:34.740] – Rachel
Thank you, Hilary. You’re the best.
[00:19:36.430] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. Like I said in the episode, I think it’s so easy to think that everyone would feel XYZ about something specific when in reality, that’s just not true. Everybody thinks differently and that’s why it’s so important to communicate what your wants and needs are in the hospital, because you think that everyone wants to be told everything about a cervical exam, when in reality, a lot of people want to be told absolutely nothing and want nothing to do with it. They just want it done. So I hope you guys enjoyed this episode. If you are having a C-section soon, hopefully it calmed some fears. I would love to know what you guys thought about Rachel’s perspective. Find us over on Instagram and let’s continue the conversation over there.
[00:20:13.630] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode. The Pulling Curls Podcast grows when you share us on social media or leave a review. If you do, please tag us so that we can share and send you a virtual hug. Which, frankly, is my favorite kind of hugging. Until next time, we hope you have a tangle free day.