Some c-sections are planned and others aren't, but for the most part, moms are awake during the surgery. A surgery is scary in itself, but being awake and fully conscious of what's going on, now that's a new level of scary. While the surgery is scary, it is also the birth of a baby. Most moms-to-be want to be awake. That's a moment no parent should have to miss.
Being awake while being completely exposed to a room of mostly strangers is pretty awkward and slightly terrifying. It's also like that dream where we show up to school in our underwear...awkward. There's no manual to being awake during a C-section or really any surgery at that matter.
There are horror stories on the internet of women who feel their surgeries so that's often a common worry for moms. Although that's extremely rare, despite being numb to pain, moms often still feel movement, sensation, and pressure. Doctors dig around, move organs, and stretch the uterus along with the slicing.
Many moms feel the pressure on other body parts such as the ribcage when the uterus is being stretched to remove the baby. That is incredibly uncomfortable.
Although being awake during a surgery can be considered some women's worst nightmare, it is something that many moms choose to do. It's the birth of a baby and something that shouldn't be missed if the mother doesn't have to. The moment that first cry is heard, all of the awkwardness, fears, and uncomfortable sensations disappear. They don't matter at all in comparison to seeing that baby for the first time.
15 Feel Completely Anxious Knowing What's Going To Happen
Having a C-section is major surgery, but it is also the date of a lifetime where mom will undoubtedly meet the love of her life! It can be more than easy to worry about the surgery, our own health, and baby's health during this time. Being awake means hearing if something goes wrong, everything the doctors are talking about, and thinking.
My mind was going a million miles an hour while I was on the operating table.
In the operating room, there are usually several different conversations going on all at once. There are doctors and nurses that focus on baby and ones that focus on mom. The overall feel of the room is busy so it's common to have anxiety in that setting.
I was one of those moms who read anything I could find about newborns, labor and delivery, and pregnancy. I spent the first few minutes of my surgery wondering if I could wiggle my toes, how much I would feel, and about all of the possible complications that could happen. My anxiety was at level 100.
14 Feel A Calm Before the Storm
Whether the surgery was planned or not, it can still be really scary for mom and dad. This surgery will be the birth of your baby, that's so exciting! This whole situation is a whirlwind of emotions, and there usually isn't a great deal of time, if any, to process the situation.
While laying on the operating table and waiting for the anesthesia to kick in and for surgery to start, there's a calm that sets in. Maybe it's the numbness from the anesthesia or maybe it's the mind hitting pause and letting us breathe and really enjoy the beautiful moment of baby's birth.
Laying on the operating table, it's easy to find some peace and take a deep breath before surgery begins. Appreciate the cleanliness of the operating room because once baby is born there won't be anything clean for a good four years at minimum. It's one fleeting moment of quiet to take in a whole lot of chaos that probably just happened and will happen for the next 18 years.
Enjoy this prep time the surgical team needs to process and prepare, although it's incredibly difficult to contain one's excitement for the birth of her child!
13 Feel Awkward Just Laying On The Table
The birth of your baby: a show starring you, your significant other, all of your inside organs, and an entire surgical team. This intimate moment just got a little more crowded. Until that baby is out, mom is the sole center of attention. Not to mention everything below her chest, literally everything guts included, is completely exposed to everyone in the room.
That's pretty awkward, "Hey doc, how does my liver look? See any good movies lately?"
There are a million different delivery table stories and anecdotes about pooping on the table, but I have yet to hear some guide to the C-section and what's normal or abnormal. That's probably because it's a major surgery and varies with each and every patient. This isn't exactly a time to make small talk because someone is literally getting cut open, right?
Although small talk or the awkward cloud in the room shouldn't be what's on a patient's mind during surgery, it can definitely be a thought that pops in the back of mom's head while on the table.
12 Feel Terrified At The Thought Of Surgery
Surgery in itself is scary. There can be serious complications and risks, although unlikely. But being awake during surgery can be utterly terrifying. Hearing baby's first cry is definitely something no mother wants to miss, but being awake to be sliced open and have the uterus stretched beyond belief is another story.
Being awake doesn't distance you from being sliced open. You are fully aware that someone is slicing you open and digging around inside of you. Many moms fear that the spinal block won't work and they'll feel this dreaded pain. Knowing everything that's going on and going to happen can be extremely terrifying as you're awake during a surgery.
If you aren't one of those moms who reads the horror stories about labor and delivery and surgeries on the internet, major props to you because I totally was. This combined with watching Grey's Anatomy repeatedly definitely freaked me out about being awake while I was cut open. I thought of every ridiculous story on the internet and even the Youtube video of a C-section I had made my husband watch for me just in case.
I couldn't even watch it myself because of the blood, how was I supposed to have that surgery myself while I was awake?
11 Feel Hyper-vigilant About Not Missing Anything
Despite the painkillers and anesthesia, an over awareness of our surroundings during surgery can often happen. Looking back it's difficult to remember the whole picture. You're more likely to remember significant bits and pieces. But during surgery, I was completely aware of all of the different faces, conversations, and preparations going on around me.
Maybe it was the adrenaline rush that comes when you have an emergent surgery or maybe it was from the shear excitement of getting to meet my baby. I was extremely aware of myself laying on a cold metal table. I found relief in the familiar face of my OBGYN and reassurance from the anesthesiologist who kept a conversation going with me to keep my mind off the fact that someone was literally cutting me open.
As an obvious and enjoyable result of being numb below the waist, I was no longer able to feel any contractions including the horrendous back labor. This gave me back my ability to focus on something for more than 30 seconds and was such a relief. I had never been so happy to have a complete thought. That clarity helped me be more aware of my surroundings and everything going on and really take in the situation.
10 Might Feel Nerve-wracking Before The Surgery
YOU ARE ABOUT TO MEET YOUR BABY. Isn't that the phrase we spent the last ten moths fantasizing about? It's happening. Any moment now, we're going to hear the wonderful sound of baby's first cry. The nervous butterflies you get in your numbed stomach are about 100 times what they would be before a big date. Obviously, we are going to be nervous before meeting the love of our life.
Being awake during a surgery is nerve-wracking for other reasons as well. For one, it's being awake during surgery. Many people worry about feeling the surgery despite the anesthesia. That's a totally terrifying thought. Moms are always nervous about complications or issues with the surgery.
We also often worry about our partners who could faint themselves from seeing the surgery. Blood is definitely not everybody's best friend. This can make mothers nervous as well having to worry about not only herself and her baby, but also her queasy husband.
9 Can Feel Somewhat Confusing
After 12 hours of labor, cervical checks, and contractions suddenly being wheeled from a labor and delivery room to an operating room can be extremely confusing. They throw medical terms at you like "having variables," "transverse," or "compressed cord."
In the middle of labor, it is extremely difficult to fully listen and comprehend everything the doctor and nurses are explaining and why it's important for mom and baby.
In the operating room, the medical staff won't have a great deal of time to chat and will probably continue to provide as quick of an explanation as possible for the things depending on the emergence of the situation. It can be confusing to hear the jumble of medical terms or doctors talking as they go through the surgery.
One struggle that moms often deal with is the loss of going through a traditional vaginal birth if they had their heart set on that. Being awake during surgery means being able to think. The mind loves to wander just where we don't want it to. So it can be confusing as to why that opportunity of a vaginal birth was taken away and what the complications are and what they really mean for both mom and baby's health.
8 Feeling Self Conscious After 3 Months Of Not Shaving
During pregnancy, I think we can all attest to a lack of shaving. Seeing over that baby bump, especially those last couple of months can be nearly impossible! Pregnant women struggle to tie their shoes. Is it really necessary to shave our legs and groom our lady parts when a baby is about to pop out any moment? It's not like the baby will be judging our hairy legs or stubble.
Too bad with a C-section, there is an entire surgical staff that is getting a front seat view to mom and all of her unshaven parts! The surgical staff will often shave mom where they plan to make the incision so at least that part will be shaved, right?
Even though no one is going to be paying attention or judging you on whether or not you shaved your legs, it is definitely a concern some of us may have while on the operating table. We are still women.
7 The Surgery Feels Like Tug of War
Despite being numbed, there is still some feeling and sensation involved in a C-section. You should not be able to feel the cutting at all, but you might feel the doctors moving around inside you. -Insert skin crawling here.-
During the surgery, doctors move and even take out some organs in order to get the baby out. The uterus takes the most "beating" being sliced and stretched to get the baby out. The numbness will not cover the pressure mom feels of this.
During my c-section, I could feel a sharp pushing in my ribcage. It literally felt as if they were trying to deliver my son through my chest. It was not necessarily painful, just extremely uncomfortable. This is a normal part of many C-sections because we are awake during the surgery and not fully put under.
We still are able to feel some sensations. The pulling and stretching of the uterus is required for the doctors to safely get the baby out and deal with the placenta. It literally feels as if the doctors are playing tug-of-war with your uterus. It feels as if by the end of it the uterus could be used as mom's new diaper bag.
6 Feeling Overwhelmed By The Process
The operating room is insanely busy. There are a bunch of different people performing different tasks all in order to prepare for the surgery. There is a team for mom and another for baby. All of these different people are bustling about and chatting.
Some C-sections are planned, meaning moms most likely have heard about the procedure during previous doctor's visits, mentally prepared, and probably have done their own research. In the moment though, it can still be incredibly scary and overwhelming to be on the operating table for real, in real life.
C-sections also often happen in urgent and emergency situations. Surgery is scary. There's blood, IVs, possible complications, and needles. In emergency situations especially, a surgery can be overwhelming. There is little time to get informed about what is going on. In the moment, it can be difficult to mentally prepare for a surgery, especially a C-section. Many women view a C-section as "an easy way out of labor" or "missing out on a natural delivery." For those counting on the traditional labor and delivery, it can be hard to cope with having a C-section.
5 Getting Excited To See The Baby
It's time! Baby's birth is exciting whether it happens in labor and delivery, an operating room, or even the backseat of your car on the way to the hospital. IT'S THE BIRTH OF YOUR BABY! Who wouldn't be excited?
Being awake during surgery is a major benefit because you get to experience baby's birth just as in a traditional vaginal birth. In most situations, your partner will still be able to be by your side and witness baby's birth and even take pictures.
That first cry is the most beautiful and unforgettable sound for a parent. The anticipation for it is incredible. It literally feels like hours have passed since being cut open and hearing the cry and seeing baby. This is the moment we've spent the last ten months waiting and planning for. It's the moment you officially become a mom (possibly again). It's the first meeting with baby. It's a date with the love of your life. It's so exciting!
4 Feel Embarrassed About Our Exposed Bodies
It may sound slightly vain, but there is definitely a self conscious feeling while being on the operating table. Mom is completely exposed below the chest. That's pretty scary for some women. There is a surgical team, who just because they do this everyday doesn't mean we do, who can see all of us.
Many women struggle with their body image in general, but during pregnancy it can be even worse. Now all of those fears are magnified being naked and exposed for an entire operating team.
Every flaw and insecurity is right there on display, and we're audience to our own surgery. The surgical team definitely isn't going to be judging us on our pregnancy weight gain or whether or not our toes are painted, but that doesn't mean women don't worry.
The only thing that anyone is concerned with is the safe delivery of baby and mom's well being. Your partner will probably also be in the room and will be totally focused on that same thing.
3 Feel A Certain Amount Of Pride
That proud moment that comes after delivering your child still happens during a C-section. Being awake during surgery requires courage. It takes a great deal of strength to be awake while someone cuts you open and hands you your baby. The second they hand you that baby is the most pride you will ever feel in your entire life. It's the greatest feeling.
Not only did you just conquer child birth, but you rocked at being awake during a major surgery. Not everyone can do that. Being handed that baby is a parent's proudest moment. That beautiful baby is the reward for dealing with all of the needles, poking, and prodding. He or she is the prize for handling someone cutting you open, stretching your uterus out beyond belief, and digging around in your organs.
Having a C-section is in no way taking the easy way out of childbirth. It is just as prideful a moment as going through hours of labor and contractions. In fact in some situations, moms still deal with contractions before surgery.
2 Makes Us Reflect On What's Important
Somehow being on the operating table being cut open and about to meet baby really puts everything into perspective. Towards the end of pregnancy, every mother wants that baby O-U-T! We're sick of peeing every 5 minutes, getting kicked all day, and puking at our favorite foods.
Serious situations always seem to remind us that we are human. We are breakable. Being scared isn't a bad thing, it reminds us that we have something to fear and worry about. Worrying is something we'll be doing our entire lives as parents.
We are completely exposed and AWAKE. That's a woman's worst nightmare. Although for a fleeting moment we may worry about our unshaven legs or the extra pregnancy weight, we know what the big picture is. It is easy to recognize what's important. It also reminds us that we have more to worry about than ourselves.
For us control freaks, this is a largely humbling experience. We have little control during a C-section. For one, we cannot even move anything from the waist down so there's definitely no control there. We control even less about our situation.
1 Feels Like Christmas Morning
We all know that feeling we experienced as kids on Christmas morning waiting to open our presents. This is so much better. It's the moment you spent the last 10 months fantasizing about, if not longer. It's something we've pictured and dreamed about. It's the reason we spent the last ten months swollen, nauseous, and as our baby's punching bag.
We finally get our bladders back! There is seriously no greater moment than seeing your baby for the very first time!
The sound of baby's first cry after birth is seriously unforgettable. It's something moms remember their entire lives. Being in an operating room during the birth of your child can be scary. Many surgeries are a result of a complication or risk during labor and delivery. This just puts so much more pressure on that first cry. The first cry and seeing baby are such a joy and relief to a worried mother.