Moms Who Had an Unplanned C-section

Updated on May 23, 2008
H.L. asks from Royal Oak, MI
40 answers

Question:
A good friend of mine just gave birth a day ago to a wonderful and healthy baby boy. The problem is, after many hours of labor and two hours of pushing, she ended up having a c-section. She is very, very upset about this and I want to do something special for her. I was hoping those of you who went through a similar experience may have an idea of a special gift, etc that you would have appreciated after your experience. I am looking to spend $25-$50.00.

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So What Happened?

Wow! Such wonderful responses! I visited her last night and she told me the whole story. The baby's heart rate fell and he was sideways.
She is doing much better now that a few days have passed. Her in-laws are staying with her until next week, then I am going there with pre-made dinners and will help with some housework. I really really appriciate all of you taking time to respond. I am actually printing out your stories to let her know she is not alone, that her feelings are real and that it will get better.

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N.W.

answers from Detroit on

The same thing happened to me! After I recovered a little, my husband arranged for me to have a mani/pedi right in my hospital room. Depending on where she delivered, some hospitals offer "spa-like" services. After being in labor for that long...she will definitely appreciate a little pampering for herself.

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L.G.

answers from Detroit on

I had the same thing happen. Long labor, the pushing, the c-section.

Take her out to dinner. Something where she has to put no effort into it at all.

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A.H.

answers from Lansing on

Maybe get her a gift card to have her hair and nails done. I have had 2 c-sections and would have appreciated these kind of gifts. You could also get her a nice jogging suit to wear around the house until she heals up.

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D.E.

answers from Detroit on

I had my son natural and my daughter who is 7 1/2 mos by c-section since she was breach. I was extremely emotional when I brought her home because not only was I having to care for her and her needs but I was very sore and felt as if I could not care for her like I needed to, I would say go over there and be there to help her, let her take a nap and a shower. I really appreciated that when my mother-in-law did that for me. My husband got me a pedicure to and it felt nice to have alittle pampering done too. It was about all I could really tolerate. Tell her it will get easier I promise.

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C.H.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi H.,

After 28 hours and 2 1/2 hours of pushing, I had a c-section with my first. I was a wreck because I was so tired, drained and sore. The best thing someone did for me was help me with laundry. I couldn't go up and down the stairs easily or lift the baskets without discomfort. I was so emotional and felt like I couldn't keep up with the chores, the baby or myself. I appreciated that more than anything. I did also appreciate the meals.

T.M.

answers from Lansing on

I think any nice gesture would be good, but it'll take her some time to get over her feelings about it. With my oldest, I had a c-section after 38 hours of labor and cried when they told me they had to do the c-section. For a long time I felt like I "really" didn't give birth...it's a hard feeling to shake, but now I'm fine about it. Just being her friend and being there for her if she wants to talk about it will help.

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T.A.

answers from Grand Rapids on

H.,
I had an unplanned c-section with my first baby after 27 hours of labor. I was so tired and I hurt so much! I really appreciated the help I recieved after with food and housework. I secretly felt like such a failure as a woman, I'm fine with it now (5 c-sections later! LOL) But there was a gal who was just an acquaintance (a very very good friend now) who called me every single day for like 6 months. Just to chat or to let me vent about things. I really looked forward to that. It just goes to show you that sometimes the little things that cost no money really do mean the most!

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R.A.

answers from Detroit on

H.,

I too had an unplanned c-section, just days after being told they were pushing out my due date. The thing I loved the most was those who came over and offered to do the house work I could not yet do like vacuming. Making a real meal that had side dishes, or just wanting to spend time with me while Daddy was at work. However, in a couple of weeks she will be ready to get out and you have some time before yours should arrive so if you want to do something special that has a dollar value. Maybe offer to watch the baby while she goes and gets her hair done, get her a gift certificate to her favorite salon. Most mom's do not want to bring a new one into the salon due to fumes, so she would probably really love that.

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R.P.

answers from Detroit on

Hi H., I had an unplanned c-section too. My son went into fetal distress half way through pushing. I remember feeling like I wasn't really a mom because I didn't "give birth" to him. Like I didn't deserve to bring home this beautiful boy. How silly!! I Loved the food people brought but I also liked any thing people thought to bring over. Every time i'd pull out one of his new little outfits i'd realize how ridiculous I was being and that my baby couldn't care less how he got here just that I was there to take care of him! As you can tell by this post it happens to a lot of people and she'll realize that too. It's just great that she has a friend like you who really cares about how she's feeling and is willing to listen! God bless you and your little one too!

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R.H.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi H.,

I too had an unplanned C-section after 21 hours of hard labor. (daughter had cord wrapped 4x around her neck... couldn't come down) I know exactly how your friend feels. You put so much effort into caring for this child and trying to bring them into this world... and then have to have surgery! AUGH!

I think the things that I really appreciated were help around the house and someone there to tell me "it's ok". To remind me that mamma and baby are healthy and that is what is important. It's a tough thing to deal with... you some how feel like a failure as a woman/mother. Not to mention all the hormones!

Then you have this extra recovery because of surgery! EEK! Help with meals, help with laundry, help with baby so mamma can sleep. Sleep is very very important. You try to do it all as a new mom... and then are so drawn out trying to care for baby and you forget about yourself and then just break down.

So, I would offer to help with things around the house, or just be ther to help with baby between feedings so mamma can sleep. She most likely won't want to... but she NEEDS her rest!

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L.J.

answers from Detroit on

i went through the same thing with my first, in labor over 2 days, pushed 2 1/2 hours and then had a c-section. i think the best thing you can do for her is help her with dinners, or do her laudry, she most likely will have a hard time doing those things. don't be discouraged i had a vbac with my second and was so excited abotu it.

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E.G.

answers from Detroit on

How about a gift card/certificate for a manicure or pedicure? We as moms don't take enough time for personal pleasures. If you choose a place that does spa pedicures they'd get a foot massage as well.

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T.K.

answers from Lansing on

I had the exact same experience and afterward not only was I disappointed but I had just had major surgery. I was completely numb and couldn't walk for at least 10 hours. I hadn't anticipated any of this and I felt completly helpless to take care of my baby. I wanted so much to be able to get up and take care of her at will and felt almost like a failure from the beginning. I'm sure it was hormones as I soon got over that feeling. While in the hospital no one seemed to understand this and that hurt worse. I think a gift that I would have appreciated would have been help. We had no contingency plan for a c-section and here I was completely laid up and my husband had to go back to work the day after I got home. I would have loved to have someone tell me, not ask, because I was too proud to admit it - that they were coming over to help. I needed help just getting around and getting the baby not to mention housework and dinner. I recommend offering those services to your friend. Spend time at the house helping her, picking up, doing laundry, taking care of pets and most importantly bring dinner. In fact for $50 you could go to Dream Dinners and make some premade meals for her to keep on hand.

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E.S.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Many women (including me) feel robbed of the whole birth experience when it's a C-section, especially when you've gone through the whole process of labor and pushing. It's a natural feeling for her to feel this, especially with post partum hormones going on. The book "chicken soup for the mothers soul" is a wonderful book full of mom's stories, miracles, and blessings. It may help cheer her up and welcome the birth process that she had. Also, just an ear is wonderful. C-Sections can be quite traumatic and she's probably just dealing with it in her own way. You're a good friend!

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K.S.

answers from Grand Rapids on

A little late to respond, but your friend is certainly not alone (as you've noticed from the responses!)

I went into labor with my twin girls on a Friday evening, labored through the night...my water broke in the morning (u/s showed both girls to be vertex through all of this). By about noon the following day, I was dilated to 8cm, and shortly after I felt something "not right". My ob came in, expecting to find me fully dilated, ready to push, instead, my daughter's arm was presenting down the birth canal. They are not sure how she turned...it was cramped with 2 babies, my water had broke, her head had been low enough to even put the internal monitor into her scalp! Not common I guess, but it was quite scary. I was rushed in for c-section. I was disapointed because I was trying to labor naturally and had really looked forward to my dh helping to deliver my girls. He had pulled my son out and it was an amazing experience to have him be the first person to hold our child and have him hand our son to me. I was quite upset for a while, not too mention I had a reaction to some of the medication and was throwing up for 12 hours straight. It was a horrible experience.

Anyway, once I got home, I think the thing that helped the most was having meals cooked for me. I had a 2 year old and a 1 year old to take care of, on top of newborn twins, AND recovering from a c-section. I had friends drop off meals that I just had to throw in the oven, they brought all the sides, deserts, etc. It really was a big help!

Congrats to your friend!

K.

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A.P.

answers from Detroit on

I had the exact same experience! Now, not only did I have an infant to care for, but I also had to recover from my c-section! For $25-$50, seriously, the best thing that my friends and neighbors did for me was to bring over food that my husband and I could eat right that minute. I could not even get up to go to the bathroom, let alone try to prepare a meal. We were so busy with getting the baby to nurse that neither one of us ate for many hours those first few days. Call her and let her know that you are getting some take-out and will be over for her to enjoy a real meal. I needed food more than anything, and I'm sure she'll appreciate that, too. Good Luck!!

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C.K.

answers from Detroit on

H.,

I'm not sure what kind of gift you have in mind, but one of the most wonderful gifts I got as a new mom was a Boppy pillow. You can find these at Babys R Us. The pillow wraps around your waist so you can lay the baby on it for breastfeeding, and it gives your poor tired arms a break. It nestles the baby perfectly for feeding time, or just snuggling. This will help take strain off your friends body, which is especially nice after the discomfort of a C-section.

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V.S.

answers from Lansing on

One of the best gifts I recieved after my 2nd unplanned c-section was a boppy. It made nursing so much easier than the first. The important thing is to focus on giving birth to a healhty baby not how you gave birth.

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C.L.

answers from Detroit on

H.,
I think when I had my baby.. I appreciated food more than anything.. maybe you can offer to take over a healthy meal. Also, just understanding that she is upset and not trying to even say the right thing.. just being there helps. I have a friend who recently had a still born baby and she was very appreciative of food and just us listening.

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C.B.

answers from Detroit on

H.,
Why is she so upset about this? She has a new baby as proof it was necessary. I don't understand why it's so upsetting. My last baby was born in '90. And yes I found myself in the same situation. I was pushing and pushing. I was in hard labor and dilated quite a bit but for some reason it wasn't working. For the baby's well being they did an emergency c-section. Ok so there's a day or two of having mastadon legs from all the surgical fluids, but what's important here is that I have a child to make it all worth it. And he's graduating and going into Air Force soon and I'll miss him unbelievably.

There is no gift of any monetary value that addresses having a c-section. I think it's wonderful of you to want to do that, but again I would impress upon your friend that she has a healthy baby and that's her biggest gift and there is nothing to be upset about.
Hugs to you. You're a good friend!

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S.P.

answers from Detroit on

There is not much consolation for this experience, aside from her beautiful baby. She needs food, gift cards for food, and someone to come over and hold the baby while she showers. So maybe some favorite food, shower goodies if she is into that, and flowers. I also took a great deal of comfort from a hot pack you can throw in the microwave and wrap around your neck.

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N.B.

answers from Detroit on

I went through a similar experiance. Although I never got to push I wasw in labor for 36 hrs with continual contractions for 14 hrs. I never dialted. I felt like I failed even though the circumstances were out of my control. No one seemed to understand. I think you are a wonderful friend for understanding her pain. She is lucky to have you and I think just a card and a note and maybe so flowers (daisies maybe they are a happy flower) would be so thoughtful. Just being there for to would be nice. A c-section is a very painful recovery....I know you are pregnant and probably can't do housework for her...but maybe talk with some other people and get her a housecleaning service. Or help with laundry. I am such a neat freak....especially after bringing home a new baby you feel as though the house has to be spotless for some reason. I was very uncomfortable when I came home to a dirty house and my wonderful husband cleaned it for me. My aunt came and did lanundry and now we are very close becuz of her kind gesture and understanding. Sometimes it is not about the money spent but the other things you can do. I hope this helped and good luck to you and your new adventure starting soon.

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C.C.

answers from Detroit on

I had an unplanned C-section with my daughter 3 yrs ago. The best thing I can say that she would like - just don't tell her it's ok and no big deal. Especially since it was recently. While I know that the way my daughter came into the world really was no big deal, now -- then, was a different story. I just felt like i kind of failed. It was a short time -- I just felt bad since I couldn't do something that comes so naturally to most women. It was just a bit until I felt better, and I know it was best for my daughter -- I just needed the time since it wasn't planned. Just be a good friend -- it's the best gift.
If you want to 'get' her something. A pedicure is always heavenly -- especially after being in the hospital for a bit-- you just feel pampered and pretty.
Good luck on your new one too! Enjoy!

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K.B.

answers from Kalamazoo on

Hi H.,

I also had a c-section. I was lucky enough to have my mom stay for a week and then my mom-in law stay for another four days. So, I was lucky enough to have help with food, laundry, and get a little extra shut eye.

Personally, I would recommend a meal. Maybe a baked french toast (really nice because dad has probably around left for work in the am). Or a chicken dish, with some salad, and some cut up fresh fruit. Flowers are a nice guesture (but I just didn't have the time to take care of them too) :)

Or if you'd rather, just let her take a shower and a nap. While you babysit the little one. Just a couple hours makes a huge difference, especially if she doesn't have a lot of help.

Good Luck and Kudos for being such an awesome friend.

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D.H.

answers from Detroit on

Hi H. -
First of all, I'm a labor and delivery nurse, so I understand how your friend feels after laboring so long then having a c-section. Also, my step-daughter did the same thing - dilated to 9cm for quite awhile then a c-section. From a nurse standpoint - let her know that our goal is always healthy mom, healthy baby, no matter which way they come out. Next time, she can pick the date to deliver (which is convenient) if she wants to have a repeat c-section (not all doctors offer the VBAC option, and it depends on the reason for the c-section). Since she was complete and pushing, it could be that the baby was coming down sort of crooked, or it's head just wasn't fitting through the pelvis - either way, there's nothing she could have done to prevent it.
You've had some great suggestions already. Since the recovery is a bit harder, she would probably really appreciate some prepared foods for her family - maybe make up a few dinners that can be frozen until they need them; help around the house - cleaning, laundry, etc. (although that may be more difficult to accept - it's hard to have someone else clean your house!); or even just help with the baby - be there during the day for awhile so mom can nap. Hopefully not too many people go over to visit - that can be very tiring for someone who just had major surgery.
Let her know that it gets a little bit better every day. I'm sure your support and caring will help the most!
D.

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D.E.

answers from Detroit on

When I had a c-section, the hospital gave me a binder that helped a ton. I understand that not all hospitals do this. If she does not have one, give her a binder. It really helps with mobility and eases pain. (it eliminates the feeling like your guts are going to fall out and makes getting up and down a lot less painful) I used mine for weeks after the surgery.

Other than that, prepared meals are so nice when you are exhausted and do not feel like cooking.

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C.S.

answers from Detroit on

Hi H.
I was in labor for 30 hours, through the course of my only brothers wedding at that..LOL..and was dialated fully for 4 hours and my daughters head just would not come down, so I had to have a c-section. I wanted to push her out, as I had done with my son. He was a hard birth though. The thing about having a c-section that people just don't get, is that it is not just having a baby, it's having MAJOR surgery. If people would just try to understand that, that in itself would help a lot. Being able to talk about the whole situation and having people understand helped me. And if anyone knows of something stable to help you get out of the bed or couch that would be a big help. You don't realize how hard it really is to do those things until you come home from the hospital and have no rail to help you. That was my hardest part. Especially during the night when the baby was crying and no one else was going to get up. Seems like it takes forever and you get stressed out because all you hear is your baby crying and you are TRYING to get there, very frustrating. So, me, I would say having someone listen, help her get up, and doing some night time help would be great. The best gifts sometimes are the ones that don't cost a dime. I'm sure would've appreciated any of those things. I am a social person too, so having people around just to visit was nice. Everyone is different. She should be told over and over, that what she did, was more than just giving birth. She had major surgery, to make sure her baby was fine. That she had no choice and even if she did, she probably doesn't realize it now, but she would make that decision if she had to, to save her child. She does not need to hear that she got out the easy way or anything of that nature. Those comments are what make you feel bad. Believe me, if I had a choice I would've gladly pushed her out. Having the surgery was much harder than having natural birth. I know I am rambling but I can't help myself. Everyone just says be there, give her time, etc...but she just wants someone to understand, not just let her talk, or whatever. She doesn't want to have to present her case all the time. As for gifts, anything you decide would be great. If you are just worried about getting her something, then the time is enough, take her to get her staples out. Or help her to the babys doctor appointment. My favorite thing to get new moms is a gift basket with things people don't realize cost a lot but are needed. Like baby tylenol, mylacon drops, etc...get her her favorite magazine, some new nail polish, some lipstick, what ever she is into. Not just something for the baby. You need to acknowledge that she had surgery, not just a baby. Anyway, sorry so long, but good luck to her, and to you. Hope your experience goes great for you.

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M.B.

answers from Detroit on

Okay, I KNOW this will sound crazy, but I swear by it!! I have had 2 lil ones, both c-section. Someone recommended it after my daughter was born c-section, and I used it..and made SURE I had it with my son born 6 yrs later. She needs very tight tummy-tuck/control top underwear. It has NOTHING to do with weight. All moms know, that after you have a baby, your stomach is still huge, and when you move, it almost feels like you are pulling a part of your body behind you. With a c-section, this hurts horribly! It keeps your stomach tight to you, so as to not pull on the cut skin or muscles. I swear by it, it is a MUST.

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L.W.

answers from Detroit on

My deliveries didn't go like this, but I have several friends who have gone through the same thing. You don't really say why she is so upset, so I don't know if my advice will help. Is she upset about the scar? Does she feel like she was "robbed" of a natural birth experience?
My first thought was really nice frame with a special picture of her new little one. Maybe silver, engraved with name, birthday etc. and a card that says something to the effect that no matter how "baby's name" arrived, he/she is a precious, priceless gift. Scars heal, you will love him/her just as much no matter how they arrived.
Good luck!

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N.W.

answers from Detroit on

H.,

I had an unplanned emergency c-section with my son. I was disappointed, but ultimatley happy that my baby was ok (his heart rate plummetted during a vaginal exam and he was out in less than 3 minutes!).

I had an extreamly hard recovery. Most likely b/c I went through 12 hours of labor first. I had a really hard time getting around and out of the house. The best gift would have been a visit from someone to go for a walk with or sit outside and enjoy some company and perhaps a healthy lunch or dinner. (maybe a gift card to a restuarant where her husband could bring home dinner?).

Good luck with your delivery.

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S.P.

answers from Grand Rapids on

I went through the same thing your friend did. I was set on a natural vaginal birth and instead I got 18 hours of labor, 2 1/2 hours of pushing, a epidural during labor, and a spinal for my unplanned, but necessary c-section. I was disappointed that what I mentally imagined my child's birth would be like was not what it turned out to be. My advice for a gift would be anything that would make her feel that she's still a awesome mom even though she had a c-section. She made the best decision she could for the health of her baby. I think of it as I gave my son a gift. I put aside my dream of this perfect delivery and my own body image so that my son would be delivered a healthy child. For me, the words of encourgagement and reassurance from my husband and family went a long way. Hopefully this gives you some ideas.

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S.R.

answers from Detroit on

I had an unplanned c-section. I don't understand why this bothers people outside of the fact that you have one because either the mother, or the fetus, or both are in some type of distress. You still give birth to a child, you still have years ahead of you to bond with the child. However, I realize other people are not necessarily like me and seem to feel disappointed or like a failure when they aren't able to deliver a child vaginally. For those people, I don't see how a gift would make them feel better about the delivery. Maybe just get her a gift as a gift instead of presenting it to her like some sort of consolation prize. I can't think of a new mom that wouldn't appreciate something she can use to pamper herself such as a manicure or pedicure or even to have someone come watch the child for an hour so she can take a long bath.

I chose to have a second c-section to deliver my twins a few years after my first child was born. I found the recovery from both to be quite easy. I always point out that pain management after a c-section is great. My friends who delivered vaginally suffered a lot more physically after the delivery than I did because they were given tylenol and sitz baths and sent on their merry way.

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L.R.

answers from Detroit on

I, too, had an unplanned c-section, but mine was an extreme crisis situation and resulted in the pre-mature birth of my son at 26 weeks. That was nearly 16 years ago and while he's healthy and happy today, I can recall with vivid clarity the pain and heartache of those first few months. I'm sure your friend is experiencing a huge range of emotions now, but time and the many precious moments she will have with her son will help heal her hurt and disappointment.

As for the gift, I represent a company that specializes in unique gifts that inspire, empower and encourage women. Everything in our line has been created by a female artisan and much of their handcrafted work brings a smile, touches the heart and soothes the soul. There are many meaningful items for $40 or less and, based on my own personal experience, I'll be happy to make some specific suggestions for something appropriate for your friend if you wish. Feel free to browse my site, www.barefootparties.com/laurarenton.

Congrats to your friend and to you. Enjoy every moment!

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T.W.

answers from Lansing on

I had an unplanned C-section after 16 hours of labor. It is very disapointing and you sure are tired after BOTH ordeals.

I agree with the ones that said dinner, and the best were those that did it again several weeks later when most people are over the newness and excitement, but you still are recovering and still need help.

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C.S.

answers from Detroit on

Dear H.,
You must be the nicest friend on the planet.
I honor you for understanding that your friend has experienced a very real and profound loss.
I personally learned the devastation of not birthing normally 13 years ago and my life has never been the same.
Now I counsel women in all areas of maternity, from pre-conception through post partum. I have even written a book called, "Becoming Cinderella", which shares in great emotional detail the unexpected losses that happen through surgical birth and many other maternal issues.
While massages and manicures are thoughtful gestures, your friend needs to grieve her experience in a safe way and be given tools to transform her emotional pain.
I would be happy to work within your budget to assist your friend during this tender time.
Feel free to contact me at ###-###-####.
You are a one in a million friend H.!
Blessings,
C.

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M.P.

answers from Grand Rapids on

When she gets home and if her husband cant be there for her, go over, if you are able to, and help her out, maybe clean up a little for her, or helping with whatever she needs, but dont ask her, tell her your going to do this for her, getting around after a c section isnt easy. If you cant go over there, make her some easy to nuke meals for lunch, so she wont have to cook, and she can take it easy. Offer her support and friendship. Then when she is up to it get her something to be able to pamper herself, like bubble bath, candles, salts etc, then one afternoon take the baby for the day and let her have a "spa" day to herself. A friend of mine did that for me, I had 32 hours of labor and then had a c section, and when she did that for me it was the greatest gift ever!

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D.G.

answers from Detroit on

I had an unplanned C-section and also pushed for hours prior. my body was so beat, the best gift I recieved was a gift certificate for a spa day and massage.

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L.S.

answers from Grand Rapids on

The best gift you could give your friend is to listen to her talk through her experiences. It is very traumatic to have an unexpected section and she is feeling a lot of emotions that most people find unacceptable because "she has a healthy baby and that's all that matters". Nevertheless, this birth was very much part of her and how she views herself as a woman. Seh needs you to validate her feelings. She needs to feel feminine and beautiful again. Send her to the ICAN website where she can get support for post c-section moms. See if you can help with practical things like meals or watching the baby so she can shower. It's the little things like that which make all the difference!

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A.G.

answers from Detroit on

When I had a c-section with my first, the hospital gave me a binder (big elastic band that wraps around the abdomen). The weirdest sensation after the c-section was feeling like all of my organs would fall out of place if I stood up, but the binder made me feel secure. I used it for weeks after my c-section, and I had a great recovery. For what it's worth, since my c-section, I've had two vbacs. She can still have a vaginal delivery, and it helped me to be reassured of this after my csection.

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K.D.

answers from Detroit on

I think the greatest gifts are the ones that don't cost anything. Spending time there, listening and making sure she gets as much sleep as possible are the best that I got.

I agree with the dinner idea the other moms had. Maybe you can get her family and friends together and arrange for everyone to take a different night to bring a meal by. Recovery for a c-section is a long time so spacing everything out and keeping it up for a few weeks would probably help a lot.

Good Luck with your delivery and God Bless
K. SAHM of 3

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