Are you afraid of having a c-section? Here are 4 tips if you’re afraid that can help you feel more comfortable with that possibility.
Big thanks to our sponsor The Online Prenatal Class for Couples — take the fear out of a caesarean section by having some information.
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Producer: Drew Erickson
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[00:00:00.170] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys. Welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on episode 179, we are talking about tips for you if you are afraid of having a C-section. So let’s untangle it.
[00:00:19.650] – 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’s tangled, just like my hair.
[00:00:40.570] – Hilary Erickson
Before we get started, two episode you can also listen to, which I will link to in the show notes. Episode 174 is on a similar vein. It was on what to do if you’re afraid of an epidural. So be sure and listen to 174. And in episode 169, I talked to my friend Rachel, who had a very positive C-section experience.
[00:01:00.040] – Hilary Erickson
We do have other C-section podcasts in the 170 episodes that we’ve done, so you can also search for them over on Pulling Curls.
[00:01:10.310] – 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 healthcare 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.
[00:01:45.410] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, tip number one is that it is so, so normal. I have so many patients apologize to me once we get back to the OR. Even in the waiting area where we’re getting ready for the surgery. They’re shaking, their hands are clammy, they just feel so nervous, and that is so normal. Don’t apologize for that.
[00:02:07.480] – Hilary Erickson
It’s just really normal. The reality is that most people who are coming in to have a baby have not had any real medical procedures prior to having a baby. And if you’re having a C-section, you most likely have not had major surgery. And so there’s so much more to expect. Plus, in one of the episodes, I said it’s like a wedding and major surgery at the same time because you also have that giant step of becoming a mom.
[00:02:28.580] – Hilary Erickson
So there’s just like so much on your plate. So totally normal to be nervous. Don’t think that other people are being cool with it, because I can’t think of any patients that were just like, yeah, it’s not a big deal, and really meant it. Like, some tried to act cool, but then we’d get to the or. And they would not be cool or everyone was just nervous.
[00:02:47.100] – Hilary Erickson
So don’t feel like it’s unusual to be nervous for this. The next tip I have is that there are lots of ways that we can try and make you comfortable if you tell us what is wrong, because, again, everyone thinks, well, it should be obvious that I am cold in the OR. Right? But some pregnant women are still hot in the OR. FYI, the operating room is chilly.
[00:03:06.560] – Hilary Erickson
We keep it that way because it’s less likely to grow germs. Plus, doctors have several layers on when they’re performing surgery. And of course, we need the doctors to not sweat into you. So that’s why the operating room is kept pretty chilly. But if you are feeling cold, then tell us.
[00:03:22.430] – Hilary Erickson
We can put warm blankets on you. They can actually put in warm IV fluids that can help circulate through your whole body and warm you up. So there’s lots of ways that we can help issues that you have if you really want to see the baby be born. A lot of people feel like they’re missing out, and so they want a clear drape. Or we can take the drape down for a little bit, all those different kinds of things.
[00:03:41.140] – Hilary Erickson
Now, I will say we had clear drapes for a while, and we were, like, starting. And so I would ask a patient, would you be interested in a clear drape. So you can see the baby come out? And they’d be like, yes, 100%. The beauty of these is that while they’re starting, the drape.
[00:03:54.180] – Hilary Erickson
Is up. Once we’re close to baby coming down, we can take the drape down. It’s just got a clear layer. So obviously, germs aren’t passing to your insides.
[00:04:02.400] – Hilary Erickson
But I had so many patients that we would get close to the baby coming out, and they’re like, no, don’t take it down. I don’t want to take it down. Which, again, is totally fine. If you think you want XYZ for your labor and then you get to it and you do not want that at all, tell us. We definitely don’t want to take the drape down, and you get super sick.
[00:04:22.530] – Hilary Erickson
We do not want that. So tell us exactly what you would want. Tell us what you’re feeling so important. The next one is holding your baby in the operating room. Has well, this is just part of it.
[00:04:33.990] – Hilary Erickson
A lot of times, people are like, I want to do skin. I want to breastfeed while I’m in the operating room. But the reality is you may not have breastfed before. So there’s some issues with, like, how am I going to breastfeed? How is all of this going to work out?
[00:04:45.020] – Hilary Erickson
Plus, you are having major abdominal surgery, and there is literally no other surgery that we would be like, why don’t you try and breastfeed during that? Oh, you’re getting your appendix emote. Why don’t we just try and breastfeed during that? Right? No.
[00:04:56.600] – Hilary Erickson
Most of the time, we put you to sleep. Now, there’s reasons that we don’t put you to sleep. A whole article on the pregnancy nurse on the difference between general and spinal. But there’s a lot of reasons that we don’t put you to sleep. But breastfeeding can be awesome if you want to give it a shot.
[00:05:10.380] – Hilary Erickson
And you need a supportive partner and usually a supportive anesthesiologist in order to give it a try. Sometimes we do skin to skin, but some moms, they’re like, here, hold the baby, and it’s just too much. Again, major abdominal surgery. We wouldn’t make you do it during an appendicitis, so why are we making you do it now? Just tell us, right?
[00:05:28.200] – Hilary Erickson
Because everybody is different. So the only way we know how you’re feeling is if you tell us. And you don’t have to be like, I don’t want to hold my baby. Just be like, hey, can dad hold the baby for a little bit? Or even if dad’s overwhelmed, because that is okay, too.
[00:05:41.340] – Hilary Erickson
Baby can go to the warmer. We have a nurse who’s responsible for that baby. It’s not like you’re on your own, so you just have to tell us what you want. I would like to see my baby after birth. And then tell us what you want when you’re overwhelmed by the baby trying skin to skin or whatever we’re trying to do.
[00:05:56.450] – Hilary Erickson
So there’s lots of ways that we can make you comfortable, but only if you tell us. That’s what all that roundabout tip was. Tip number three is that anesthesia is totally your buddy during a surgery. So as your labor nurse, I then become the circulator in the OR. So I’m no longer really your buddy.
[00:06:12.850] – Hilary Erickson
I’ll come peek at you. I’ll come tell you how cute your baby is. I’ll come tell you we’re almost done. I’ll come chitty chat with you. But I’m not really your buddy anymore because officially I am the surgeon’s buddy, because if he needs anything, it’s my job to get.
[00:06:25.450] – Hilary Erickson
It also my job to count all the different things. So I’m just kind of like facilitating the whole surgery. That’s the circulator’s job. So anesthesia is going to be up there at the head of your bed. They’re going to be the ones that you tell.
[00:06:37.740] – Hilary Erickson
And I will say that there is a special breed of anesthesiologist who chooses to do labor and delivery. They are different than maybe the anesthesiologists who choose to do trauma. In fact, at the hospital I most recently worked at, those were two entirely separate different workforces. So if you did trauma, you did not do labor and delivery, I think just because of how they took call and it was a big group and all these different kinds of things. But most anesthesiologists are so excited to be there with you.
[00:07:02.570] – Hilary Erickson
This is one of the funnest parts of all of anesthesia that they get to do. They’re super excited to be in the OR. For something so fun and exciting. It is way better than, like, a total knee or anything like that. So they want to make you comfortable.
[00:07:15.810] – Hilary Erickson
A lot of them have smaller kids. They just enjoy being around people who are similarly aged to them. So they are your buddy. They’re going to be the ones that you tell what you need, what you don’t need, all those different kinds of things. So I think that’s something that can be really comforting.
[00:07:29.560] – Hilary Erickson
A lot of people are like, well, he’s the doctor. No, they really are your buddy while they’re up there. And they really try to act the part most often. Fingers crossed, you get one that’s like that. And then tip number four is to take a prenatal class.
[00:07:41.410] – Hilary Erickson
So many people just try and ignore the c-section. In their minds. They don’t want to know anything about it because they think if they learn anything about a c-section, they will end up having a c-section. And that’s not the case at all. The more you’re completely in the dark and it’s just a scary thing sitting next to you.
[00:07:58.220] – Hilary Erickson
One third of patients in the United States end up having a c-section. It is in your car when you go to labor and delivery, that chance, and you don’t want to leave. That just as like a scary thing in your life. You want to understand it a little bit and be ready for it if it were to come. I’ve had so many patients who end up having a cesarean section from my prenatal class who are so grateful that they actually actually went through that chapter and were a little bit prepared when they went into the OR.
[00:08:24.020] – Hilary Erickson
They knew it was going to be cold. They knew there was going to be a lot of counting. They knew all these different kinds of things. The video really is just like 15 minutes, so I’m not like shoving c-sections down your throat. Although I have a lot of information on c-sections, especially if moms are choosing to have a c-section or their baby’s breach, they know they’re going to have a c-section.
[00:08:41.810] – Hilary Erickson
So take a prenatal class and one that includes information on c-sections. I will say a lot of doulas have prenatal classes and they do not have enough experience on c-sections to really teach it. In my estimations, because I have been in hundreds, maybe even thousands of c-sections, I just have seen more. So I can tell you a little bit better than they could. Just a little pitch for a labor and delivery class taught by an experienced RN.
[00:09:04.790] – Hilary Erickson
Anyway, those are my four tips for a c-section. I would totally recommend going back and listening to Rachel’s podcast about how positive her experience was and how much she enjoyed it. I think a lot of people who find out their baby’s breached, it’s not turning. It’s like a worst case scenario for them, whereas Rachel just had such a good experience and I want you to know that that is often the case. And sometimes I think even c-sections are more, quote unquote, magical than vaginal deliveries, because the mom is just laying there waiting, and then that baby comes and it’s just like glitter sprinkles everywhere.
[00:09:36.730] – Hilary Erickson
It’s just magical because they’re just waiting, and then they appear like magic. If you guys have any other questions about c-sections or things that you’re afraid of, go ahead and find the post for this episode over on Instagram. I would love to chat about it with you. Because information is key in this one, right?
[00:09:52.780] – Hilary Erickson
Don’t miss it. We have great episodes coming up. The first one is about three habits for healthy eaters, and then the next one is five things to expect when you go home after having your baby at the hospital. So stay tuned.
[00:10:03.010] – 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.