As a mother of two and a gestational carrier for a singleton, I have experienced one vaginal birth and two C-section deliveries. While each delivery was part of a unique and special journey, the end result of each experience was a healthy, beautiful baby. For each of the deliveries, the goal was the safety and well-being of the baby and me. As I reflect on these two birthing experiences, I believe that preparing for a C-section delivery is important. To that end, there are some essential steps to include in the preparation process.
1. Talk with your provider/doctor about the expectations of a C-section delivery. Ask questions about the process, the medications used, and the timeline for recovery. Write down a list of questions and concerns about having a C-section delivery so the provider can give you factual information about the entire process. In my case, the C-section was one of the safest and lower risk options for birth.
2. Talk with your support system about the expectations of a C-section delivery. Once you obtain information from your provider, you can share this information with your support system and answer any questions. I made sure to discuss the process with my children. I wanted them to be prepared and I did not want them to be scared that Mommy was in the hospital for a couple of days after the delivery. My spouse and I planned on how to speak to the children about the C-section process and recovery to make everyone comfortable and at ease.
3. Make a logistical plan ahead of time to plan for the delivery. Discuss any childcare arrangements, work arrangements, pet care considerations, and other logistical considerations to plan for 2-3 days away from home. Create and share this plan with your support system to ensure that everyone is on the same page for the upcoming delivery.
4. Talk with the intended parents (IPs) about the expectations of the delivery. Will they be in the operating room? If not, what is the plan for post-delivery? This is a personal decision between you and the IPs. For us, we felt most comfortable with my husband in the operating room. Then we made a plan for the IPs to meet in the recovery room after the birth, so everyone could meet the baby and celebrate.
5. In addition to the planning for the actual delivery, it was also important to plan for the days post-birth. As C-section is major surgery, there are considerations related to recovery. Most important, prepare to have a longer recovery time, which means the possibility of not driving or performing other duties while on prescription pain medicine. I did not drive for at least three days after returning home. So I did need to prepare for this period of time in terms of household tasks (i.e., grocery shopping, driving kids to school or daycare, etc.). This recovery time will be unique to each person and should be discussed with your provider.
6. Be prepared to take it slow and rest. Carve out that time for yourself and your family to ensure a safe and healthy recovery. Most of us mothers have a tendency to want to jump right back into the flow of life-keep in mind your body needs ample time to recover.
If you have more questions on how to prepare for your C-section delivery, always ask your doctor. He or she is there with the information needed to help you feel at ease during this amazing time!