C-section This Time....

Updated on February 04, 2011
S.G. asks from Fort Worth, TX
19 answers

My 3 year old was V-birth. 24 hour labor, NEVER got regular contractions, not even when pushing, I had a 7 min. 'break'. All of that I can live with again, but the recovery, I don't know that I can. My Dr. didn't express any major concern with tearing, but it took MONTHS to feel normal again. After 6 weeks I got stuck at the back of the grocery store and physically couldn't walk back to the front the pain was so bad. Couldn't have sex for 6 months (I know, many women say who cares...but I DO). Even now, 3 years later, if I'm up cleaning, cooking, etc. all day I can feel a dull ache.

SO... Im 4 months preg. with our second, and am basically planning a C-section this time. Everyone I know who has only had V-birth is freaking out on me that the C-section recovery will be WAY worse. My Dr. is very compliant, and will go with whichever birth I choose.

I'd be interested in hearing some specific C-section recovery syptoms, length of time, etc. to give me a good comparison on what to expect. TMI is apprecaited!

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answers from Chicago on

I had a planned c-section with my twins. I had a great experience, and after two weeks I felt almost normal again. A friend of mine had three types of deliveries: long labor, long labor then c-section, and a planned c-section. Of the three, she said the planned c-section was the best and easiest. If that's what you would like to do, go for it. I am expecting my third this summer, and I've already told my doctor I want another c-section. no VBAC for me.



answers from Dallas on

I had a c-section with my first and plan on having another one with my second. My c-section was scheduled at 5pm. My daughter was "born" at 5:25pm. I was in recovery by 6 pm and then on to my room. I have no complaints at all. I am very fair skinned and can't even see the scar anymore. My stitches dissolved on their own. Able to exercise and have sex by six weeks postpartum. I took pain meds for 2 days after I was released from the hospital but no more needed after that.

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answers from Tampa on

I had a cesarean with my first. My symptoms are - even after 5 years:

1) Migraines from needing an epidural and spinal block
2) Numbeness from belly button all the way down to the low pubic incision.
3) Anger, feeling victimized and bitterness of the experience
4) Pain if I need to pee or poop due to scar tissue and adhesions

Short term symptoms that were relieved within 3 months:

1) Could not bend, lift or lay/sit/stand without severe pain

2) Body reacted adversely to the major abdominal surgery and I had so much water retention that the hospital thought I had an enlarged heart from pregnancy, or CHF or some problem

3) Could not hold baby without pain

4) had a very hard time getting a stable nursing relationship started with my newborn.

As a nurse, I've seen women die from bowel perforation which resulted in sepsis, infections get so bad skin/fat/muscle had to be removed, evisceration from stitches rupturing, etc... This isn't a walk in the park - this is major abdominal surgery.

I am pregnant with #2 and will be having a VBAC in my home, assisted by a midwife

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answers from Hartford on

I think you are going to find drastically different experiences from each mother who tells their story. I labored for more then 48 hours before I finally had an emergency c-section. I had a rough recovery the 1st couple of days, but who knows how much of that was because I was in hard labor for so long. I felt good after 2 weeks and returned to normal after 6 weeks. I am pregnant again and had planned on doing a vbac, but after much discussion, with my pro-vbac OB, we decided to schedule a c-section. I was able to nurse with in an hour or two after he was delivered. I was up and in the shower with in 12 hours. I could not tolerate the pain meds at all so I was stuck with ibuprofen. I did however have to stay in the hospital a full 5 days after delivery because of a fever, which I'm sure was some type of infection from the surgery.

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answers from Austin on

Why in the world would you even contemplate major abdominal surgery with all the risks involved? Its just not about the recovery. You have a much greater chance of something seriously going wrong, you could get a raging infection, you could even die. I have 2 family members that got infections in the surgical incision and they had to have the incision re-opened and it had to heal from the inside out. Talk about a long recovery and major pain. Your body was made to give birth. The first baby is always the hardest. Don't give birth laying on your back. Hire a doula. Stay up and moving around. Birth is much easier that way. It takes months to make a baby and it takes months for the body to recover but you can bet that a c-section will be a lot harder to recover from.


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answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm suprised that so many found c-sections a breeze to recover from. Mine were both difficult, even terrible. The first was an emergency. They insisted on inducing me (something else I was against) because I developed preeclampsia the last week of pregnancy. Also, I was a week past my due date and DS was estimated close to ten pounds. Thirty six hours later I was only at 7, in extreme pain, and sick from a bad reaction to the epidural. It did not work to relieve my pain, but almost shut down my breathing. One of the nurses dislodged my cathedar about 20 hours in and it never felt right again. I wasn't allowed to get up because of the nausiating anti-seziure meds being dripped into my arm. Both arms were bruised from shoulder to elbow from the BP cuff attatched to me for the duration. When the doctor took me for the surgery, I was ready.
They gave me a spinal since the epidural failed, but it WORE OFF during the surgery. The first cuts were numb, then suddenly I felt it. I screamed and writhed in pain as a nurse pressed a gas mask into my face to knock me out. I stayed awake but was spaced out. They left my cathedar in for more than 36 hours after that to allow me to remain in bed. I still nursed my son, and was able to hold him in bed next to me. The pain was almost beyond words. I felt like I had been severed in half at the waist. They kept me in the hospital for 5 days after the birth and gave me 2 percoset every 4 hours with Ibuprofen every 6 hours. The sent me home with a script for more than 30 pills, which I took. My mother took a week off work to stay with us. I could hardly walk. I remeber holding the handle in the car, gritting my teeth in agony over every swerve and bump. Same car experience for DS two week appt. I slept on the couch because the movement in the bed with hubby hurt, and I was afraid he would bump me. I could not watch anything about hospitals on t.v. for a time and cried a lot. I told you the whole lead up to be clear that the csection followed a sick, stressful labor.
The next doctor threatened death of the fetus to scare me into compliance for the next csection. I thought my pregnancy went pretty well, but again I went past the due date and they thought the baby may be another 10 pounder. They said my placenta may fail at this point and baby had to come out. I cried on the operating table -not convulsive hysterics, but more like a steady stream of tears and sniffing I couldn't stop. I didn't want to do it. They put an anti anxiety in my IV and proceded to stick me a good 4 times in the spine before they got the spinal in the right place. DD was 7lbs11oz. My pressure dropped so low after the surgery they had to keep me in IC for a few hours. I was so nausious and vomiting I couldn't hold my baby for a few hours. I was sick for at least another 12 hours, and the nurse gave me something that knocked me out. I was up the next day this time, and it was still very painful. Definitately better than the first time. I went home on day four, still taking 2 percoset every two hours. I stayed in our first floor bedroom, and the abdominal pain was manageable with Ibuprophen after two weeks. But the intense low back and leg pain from the nerve damage caused by the spinal was not better. I had a terrible limp and was hardly mobile. It was more than six weeks before the nerves healed. I have a barely visible scar, but there is a roll of scar tissue that creates a sort of shelf above it. It feels achey/sore there at different times of the month.
I will never be able to have a non-surgical birth from now on. This, and the horrible recovery, means I probably won't have more. It seems most women (and doctors) find the csection to be a breeze compared to traditional labor and delivery. Well, I can't speak personally to the difference, but my experince was far from pleasant. Both times.

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answers from Dallas on

I had a c-section. It was easy! I had the c-section at 10 am and was up walking that night. I was on pain meds for the first 3 days and then on tylenol after that. I have had no issues and my scar is nearly invisible 3 years later. I don't have muscle issues. I don't have a pooch.

I had no "need" to have a vaginal birth. I knew from the first day my dr consulted with me that I would have a c-section. I had had several D&C's because of prior miscarriages and it would not have been safe for me or the baby to go full term. I really did not care how my baby girl got into this world as long as she got here healthy.

Congratulations on your pregnancy and good luck with your decision! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I had a vaginal delivery with #1 -- went back to spinning and aerobics at 2 weeks after (28 hour labor, only 35 minutes pushing, tearing with sutures, etc), but it took months for me to run without feeling like pressure down or my insides were falling out (I actually had some vaginal prolapse but once I quit nursing and my hormones returned to normal it went away) and I didn't have sex for maybe 3 months after. With my #2 baby, I had an induction 1 week late, then an emergency c-section after 20 hours as I never dilated beyond 7.5cm. Recovery time was 6-8 weeks till I could exercise, couldn't lift my toddler (who was 17 mos old), felt like my front was splitting open, etc. and STILL didn't feel good to run for months after though started having sex after 8 weeks (so 2 mos instead of 3). Turns out son had a 6 inch umbilical cord so he couldn't progress for delivery. Oh- and the shaking, chills you get in the OR plus the fact that I puked after they pushed on my lower chest to expel the baby and due to the anesthesia, all while strapped to the gurney and with your hands tied down is NOT my idea of a super good time. Also, have to mention the SEVERE gas pains in my shoulders where I could not get comfortable for 3 days at the hospital -- and cried constantly due to the abdominal surgery...and the fact that the hospital and doc forced narcotics on me post-surgery as well. YECH!

I am currently 25 weeks prego with #3 and am planning a VBAC for May. I do not like the idea of being cut open and I plan to have 2 more kiddos after this one and did not like the suggested wait time of 18 mos after a c-section to get pregnant, increased risk of uterine rupture with each c-section, increased risks of infection, etc. that is offered with repeat c-sections. Obviously if I fail to go into labor on my own TWO WEEKS POST-DATE, they will have to do a c-section. Inductions are contraindicated if you have had a c-section.

If you end up with the c-section, have someone there to help you for about 4 week to do the heavy lifting, help with your 3 yo, do the driving (as you are not supposed to drive after the c-section for a few weeks either), etc. I had my MIL move in with me for 3 weeks after.

Best wishes and ultimately it is YOUR decision.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I've had 1 c-section and two vaginal birth (one with an almost 4th degree tear) and I would choose the vaginal birth every single time. I hated my c-section recovery and it was a planned c-section not an emergent one. I had severe swelling, lots of pain, couldn't sit up with out feeling like my guts were gonna spill out and couldn't even pick up my baby in the middle of the night without being in pain. And from what I've read I had an easy recovery! If your body took that long to heal from a vaginal birth think of how long it will take to heal from major abdominal surgery. Not to mention I hate how my body looks now and knowing that I will never get rid of the c-section stomach shelf without cosmetic surgery breaks my heart. Are you done having children after this child? If not do you realize that there are risks to future pregnancies after your c-section? Including secondary infertility, placental abruption, placenta acreeta and even stillbirth.

It is your body and your birth but make sure you are truly informed about all of the possible risks to yourself and your baby before you make the decision.

Remember that every birth is different and there is no guarantee that you will experience any trauma with another vaginal birth. A c-section on the other hand you are guaranteed to be recovering from major surgery while trying to care for both a newborn and an older child.



I've had 1 c-section and two vaginal birth (one with an almost 4th degree tear) and I would choose the vaginal birth every single time. I hated my c-section recovery and it was a planned c-section not an emergent one. I had severe swelling, lots of pain, couldn't sit up with out feeling like my guts were gonna spill out and couldn't even pick up my baby in the middle of the night without being in pain. And from what I've read I had an easy recovery! If your body took that long to heal from a vaginal birth think of how long it will take to heal from major abdominal surgery. Not to mention I hate how my body looks now and knowing that I will never get rid of the c-section stomach shelf without cosmetic surgery breaks my heart. Are you done having children after this child? If not do you realize that there are risks to future pregnancies after your c-section? Including secondary infertility, placental abruption, placenta acreeta and even stillbirth.

It is your body and your birth but make sure you are truly informed about all of the possible risks to yourself and your baby before you make the decision.


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answers from Phoenix on

Have had 3. they were all a breeze.

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answers from Modesto on

hello ,

this is fully your're decision... go threw all of the pro and cons of each... i had a c section... the recovery was hard all the gas and cramping... the hardest part was the second day.... they urge you to try to walk to loosen all the air in your're stomach (gas)... after that it all gets better. recovery for me only took a week or so. but no heavy lifting for a couple of months.... not sure about the v birth....there should be no judgement it's your're body and you will make the correct decision when the time comes....



answers from Augusta on

my first was born via tramatic vaginal birth. and my second emergency c section. My C section recovery was MUCH faster than my vaginal birth.

With in a month I was pretty much back to normal. I do have numbness on and surrounding my c section scar. but I didn't have as much pain as I did with my daughter.
Nursed with no problems even after my son was in NICU for a week.



answers from Dallas on

I have had 2 c-sections and had a good experience with both.
With my first, my c-section was scheduled b/c my son was very large, but we believe it was divine intervention that we had that scheduled. If I had had a vaginal birth, neither my son nor I would have survived considering the issues we had during birth (nearly detached umbilical cord). Since we had such trouble with his birth and he had some significant issues after birth, he earned a spot in the NICU. I always wondered in the ease of my recovery (I was up walking the halls just a few hours after surgery, essentially as soon as I could feel my feet) was just intense motivation to get down the hall to my baby or because it was just not as bad as people said it would be.
With my second, the recovery was a bit more intense, however I was at the grocery store 5 days after having my c-section.
Many women that I know that have had to labor for many, many hours and then have a c-section report their recovery being horrible, so I'm conviced that there is a definite link between those two things. It's a totally different situation to go in and have the surgery when you are relatively well rested, relaxed and ready instead of laboring for 15+ hours and being rushed through it because of an emergency.
Good luck and just remember that you at least have a beautiful baby to take home after surgery which is more than 95% of surgical patients have!



answers from Miami on

I have 3 children and pregnant with the 4th. My first born was a c-section because I stopped dilating at 7 cm. My recovery time was fairly well. My doctor's orders for the first two weeks post surgery was the following: no driving, no lifting anything heavier than my newborn baby, no going up and down stairs needlessly, obviously no sex (until my follow up appointment and got the "okay"), no tampons, and rest as much as possible because the more activity you do, the heavier you bleed. I did not have staples with any of my c-sections, and my scars (since I've had 3 of them) were all bikini cuts and the old scar was always cut out with a new one in place and the scar line is hardly visible. My doctor is the same doctor I've had all along so his orders applied with all of my c-sections. I tried a VBAC with my second child but was unable to get past 9 cm due to cervical swelling so my only option, unfortunately, was another c-section. My doctor told me that because I had had 2 previous c-sections at that point that all future pregnancies would be scheduled c-sections. The hospital doesn't allow VBAC's and my doctor refuses them as well. So, with third child, it was a scheduled c-section and my current pregnancy will be a scheduled c-section as well.
I had an epidural for my first c-section and it went fine. No complications post surgery. With my second, I had a spinal. I wasn't given an option so whatever the anesthesiologist at the time usually gave was what I got. I had no complications from that. With my third c-section, I asked for an epidural but was given a spinal, again, I didn't have a choice. With my spinal for my third c-section, the anesthesiologist gave me morphine in my I.V. Big mistake. It made me sick on the operating room table, made me sluggish, and made me feel like I was floating in the clouds. It was terrible. I also experienced numbness from my neck down with my second spinal. I had not experienced this symptom with my first spinal. It was an unpleasant experience. I could not feel myself breathing. I did not like my second spinal. In addition, post surgery with my second spinal, I experienced a week long spinal headache and tremendous back pain where the injection had been made. I was in more pain with my head and my back than my actual incision. I was given percoset for my pain management as it did not make me nauseated or loopy feeling.
When you have a c-section, they will shave your pubic area, you will get a catheter (which is removed once you get feeling back into your legs). I was in post op for an hour after my surgery which means I was closely monitored for excessive bleeding and any post op complications for one hour with my first and second but with my 3rd, I was in post op for 2 hours because my uterus would not contract. If it's your first c-section, you might be put on a liquid diet while you are in the hospital. Once they remove your catheter, you will be expected to get up out of bed and begin walking. When your abdomen is opened up, you get trapped air ( gas) in your body. You would most likely feel it in your back and shoulders and the only way to get rid of it is by walking around. You can expect to be in the hospital for 2-3 days depending on any complications that may arise. You will be expected to have an bowel movement before you leave the hospital so be prepared for a suppository (don't worry, you can ask to do it yourself) or ask for a pill. You will be expected to drink lots of fluids and they will measure your urine each time you use the toilet. You will be in pain for at least 3 weeks but I promise, it gets better each day. The first two weeks will be the hardest because of your fear of breaking open the incision but as long as you don't do more than your doctor wants you to do, you will be okay. When you have to have that first bowel movement, bring a pillow to the bathroom to lean over it. It does help. I've always had a hard time urinating after the catheter is removed so ask for a water bottle to help stimulate the urge. Because I've never had a vaginal birth, I cannot say that one is easier than the other. I only know c-sections but you have to put it in your mind that every pregnancy, labor, and delivery is different for everyone.

And, I never got any infections.



answers from Johnson City on

I have never had a c section but I had a vaginal birth and I tore from one hole to the other in my case I was up and walking around within an hour even with all the stitches and went home the next day I had a great experience with my vaginal birth and would never want to have a csection my sis in law had to have a c section because her baby was breach and she said it was the worst thing she ever experienced she couldnt laugh or even sneeze without crying and now she said she will not have any more babies because of it its your dicision of course I just wanted to give you some scenerios every women and pregnancy is different and whatever you decide will be right for you good luck and congrats


answers from Los Angeles on

Both of my kids have been c-sections. I was dilated to 9 1/2 cm when my son's heart rate started getting really low so they took me for a c-section. It hurt for the first 3 days and getting out of bed was hard, but after the 3rd day, I started feeling better. It also hurt to laugh, sneeze, or cough. I was discharged home with vicodin and motrin, but only ended up using the motrin for about a week after I left the hospital. Getting out of bed was a bit tricky for about 2 weeks, and so was going up stairs. And I didn't like the fact that I only got to see my son for a few seconds before they took him away and finished closing me up. Then I had to recover in a different room, so I didn't get to hold my son until 4 hours after I had him.

I had my daughter 2 1/2 years later and she was a scheduled c-section. My recovery from her was a piece of cake. I was up walking around that night. And I delivered her at a different hospital that keeps the mom and baby together during the recovery time, so that was great. I could see my baby the whole time and I even got to hold her really soon after giving birth and I was breastfeeding within an hour of having her. The only thing that was worse this time was the epidural. It hurts when you're not in labor. I also felt really hot after I had my c-section but the nurses said it's totally normal because of the change in hormones. When I left the hospital, I only used motrin for about 2 days, then I was fine. I also got really constipated this time and had my incision come open slightly, but nothing that needed antibiotics. So just make sure they give you stool softeners and gas pills.

I'm now 7 months pregnant with my 3rd baby and the only thing I have noticed is that I do get a little achy at times around my incision site.

I really liked being able to schedule the birth of my baby, it was convenient to have my son packed for his grandmas house, and my husband could schedule his vacation time from work, so it made it easier for everyone. The only thing is that it was hard to sleep the night before. I was anxious and excited and nervous. Congrats on your second baby!



answers from Dallas on

I have never had a vaginal birth but have had two C-Sections and I did not think that they were bad recovery at all. I made them let me get up and walk the same day as surgery (it was a bit of a fight with my second one not sure why they were so tough on that). It is a little uncomfortable for the first week or so (adjusting to getting in and out of bed, getting up, etc..) but other than that I was completely fine. I personally felt back to normal in just a couple of weeks.



answers from Nashville on

My first c/s recovery was horrible< but I think that's because it was an emergency c/s after 2 hours of pushing and no progress. my second c/s was scheduled and the recovery was a breeze. I was up walking around a few hours later.




answers from Denver on

I think each person and each birth is different. I have only had 2 c-sections - one emergency, one scheduled as it was only 15 mos later... Both recoveries were rather quick - w/i a week I was back to "normal". I was able to get out of bed at night and breastfeed my first once home from the hospital... I also was able w/i a few days/week to pick up my daughter (in a cast at the time for hip dysplasia) after coming home w/ my son. Both times - especially the second, there was some swelling in the area - puffiness... but after a few months it goes a way, and it's more numb than painful (as long as it doesn't get infected). The scar is so low no one sees it... they don't cut any muscle so it's just skin and tissue...

I haven't delivered vaginally (although it was my "plan") and so there is not the "wear and tear" in that part as you had. I would guess, the vaginal delivery recovery depends on how much tearing and internal moving around happends in each delivery. Either way can go well or not so well...

Good luck w/ your decision and enoy the little baby whichever way he or she enters the world.

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