I don’t often share my birth stories because I’m a Doula. I’m a Doula down to my bones. I eat, sleep (what is sleep?), and breathe Doula. And part of that means keeping my own experiences as just that- mine. Your births will be yours and I will never allow my own personal experience to cloud, inform,
or take away from yours. I hold a unique role at your birth and I take that responsibility and honor seriously. A piece of my ability to hold space for you is to keep my own “ish” at bay.
There is also something extremely sacred and intimate about the dance our body creates, the song our voice sings, and the rhythms that flow at a birth. I find it deeply personal and private for me, even though it’s my livelihood and I witness yours!
All that said, for the sake of education, I’m more than happy to share that I had an unplanned Cesarean Birth for one of my children. As a seasoned Doula, it’s one thing to support a client through birth- of any kind- but it’s another to experience it yourself! (All you parents are like, “Gee, ya think?!”)
There’s a whole slew of things no one tells you before you have a baby. Here are 8 things I wish I knew before I had a Cesarean Birth:
• It’s cold AF in the OR. It’s not you- there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s just plain cold in there.
Like, c o l d.
• There’s a lot of tugging... as in, you sort of feel like you’re being pulled around a bit. From a bystander perspective, it doesn’t look like it as much, however when you’re laying there don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re being pulled back and forth, in place!
• It doesn’t hurt. Of course discomfort is relative. And every body is different. You feel pressure- and various things happening. But not Pain.
• Though seemingly counterintuitive ahead of time, the advice to ‘rest as much as possible and get up and move’ make way more sense when you’re in recovery. Both are necessary to heal!
• A soft and mildly weighty pillow over your incision scar can feel wonderful anytime, and especially when you need to laugh, cough, or heaven forbid, sneeze. (For the love of all that is holy, don’t sneeze. Kidding. But also not.) Also when you stand up it can feel good to hold the pillow against your incision as you rise or lower to sit. (Some people love a Belly Band for this purpose. To each their own!)
• Air out your incision. In the movies people are always dressed after they have a baby. IRL, try to give your incision (or perineal tears for that matter) as much fresh air and/or sunlight as possible. Same goes for your nipples if you choose to breastfeed.
• Don’t overdo it. Trust me. If you’re feeling great, and you’re wondering why everyone is telling you to lay down and rest, and all you want to do is tidy up the kitchen or throw that load of laundry in that’s been sitting for a week, D O N T. Turn around, walk back to bed, and lay down. Have a visitor throw in the laundry. Or better yet, hire a Postpartum Doula ;) Regardless, don’t overdo it. You just had major abdominal surgery and you’re caring for a newborn. Your body needs rest and healing takes time. Don’t mess around!
• Take a stool softener like Colace. You can thank me later. ;)
So there you have it. I guarantee if you ask other parents who have had Cesarean Births for advice, they will happily share every iota of knowledge they gleaned for themselves. There is no shortage of tips and tricks. But if you’re scrolling the abyss and looking to quell your anxiety or feel a bit more prepared for a Belly Birth, these 8 tips have you covered.
Image via @feelinghomeagain of @ziggyash IG