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8 Freaky C-Section 'Mysteries' I Found Out About the Hard Way

c-section anaesthesia wears off

At 34 weeks it was clear that a C-section would be the only way my first-born son would arrive in this world. My baby, who had been in a breech presentation for over a month, was “stuck,” as the doctor put it. He was wedged into place, and most likely had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. External cephalic version, or the process of attempting to turn the baby externally prior to birth, would not be possible. And so our fate was sealed.

I was disappointed, to say the least. While I’m not sure that anyone actually looks forward to labor, I was hoping for as close to a natural birth as possible. As someone with a long history of hospital stays (I had leukemia as a teenager), the last thing I wanted was for my child to be delivered in an operating room. But alas, this step was medically necessary and the safest thing for the both of us.

At 37 weeks, Jake made his desire to enter the world known by giving me a swift kick and breaking my water. He couldn’t even wait for our scheduled C-section date two short weeks later! In the following hours, I labored while I waited for an OR to open up, and tried to embrace the fact that I was about to undergo major surgery. Sadly, some women labor for hours and hours, expecting a natural delivery, only to have something go wrong, and are then whisked into the operating room with just minutes to prepare themselves. Even though Jake was early, I still had a couple of weeks to wrap my head around the event. For this, I am grateful.

But no matter how much you read about or research a topic, nothing can really prepare you like the actual experience. Here are some aspects of the surgery that I hadn’t been expecting. I hope they will take some of the mystery out of the ordeal for women who might have to undergo a C-section in the future:

1. You are strapped down in a rather uncomfortable position.

With your body situated on a narrow table, your arms are strapped to arm rests, crucifixion-style, and you absolutely cannot move, even if your nose itches.

2. While you cannot feel any pain during the procedure, you can still smell.

In my case, the doctors were cauterizing while they cut, which meant I could smell my own burning flesh. It was only off-putting to the extent that I realized what they were doing, and it was a bit surreal. I stared at my husband, and he gave me a knowing look. “Yes, they’re cutting you open right now,” he said with his eyes and a small nod. No words were necessary.