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The Difference Between An Emergency C-Section And Scheduled C-Section

My daughter is turning three months at the end of the week and I sometimes still can’t believe we have two babies. I thought time went fast after I had my son, but with two kids 14 months apart, my days are a whirlwind of nursing one baby, feeding the next, playing with both, calming the tantrums of one, while drying the tears of another, and don’t get me started on the poopy diapers! I almost forgot about my c-section delivery — kidding. The scar across my uterus is a permanent reminder. This time around though, there was a level of calmness as it was scheduled rather than an emergency c-section like the one I had needed with my son.

I wasn’t nervous about the surgery per say, as I knew what to expect. The thing I worried about most was Logan and how he would react to the new baby. My doctor told me I had to wait two weeks or so before bending down to lift him, which added to the list of worries as Logan loved to run over and have me scoop him up. He was 14 months when Rhyan was born, so still a baby himself. I worried that he would resent me for the time I’d be spending with his sister, but thankfully things settled into place pretty seamlessly. He didn’t really exhibit any extreme signs of jealousy and my husband and family were great about scooping him up and putting him in my arms whenever he wanted to be held. It was like we didn’t skip a beat. (Myles’ company giving him five weeks paternity leave was also helpful.)

The morning of my c-section, when we drove to the hospital, I surprisingly didn’t cry. Chalk it up to hormones or the sensitive person I am, but I had cried a number of times during my pregnancy at the thought of leaving my son overnight when I was recovering. My hospital stay was going to be my first night away from him. That morning, though, we went about as if it was a normal Friday. We had breakfast with Logan, I gave him LOTS of snuggles, and then we slipped out when he was playing with the grandmas.

On the drive over, I remember talking to Myles about how exciting it was that today was the day we would be meeting our sweet baby girl — the one whose kicks and pokes we had been feeling for the last few months. When we got to the hospital, we checked in and were shown to our recovery room, where we met the nurses, anesthesiologist, and my doctor. We arrived at the hospital for 7:30am, I went into surgery around 9:30am, and by 10:30am Rhyan was in our arms. Looking back at her birth compared to Logan’s, there were some definite similarities, but some obvious differences too.

New born baby.

Rhyan after her first bath.

1. Feeling Anxious.

While both my husband and I felt anxious about my pending c-section, it was different because there wasn’t the stress of not knowing if our baby was okay as we had with Logan. With Rhyan, I was nervous because 1) it’s still major surgery and 2) I worried that my spinal wouldn’t take and that I would feel the doctor cutting into my skin. And since my mind wasn’t racing with a million different thoughts as it did when I was on the operating table during Logan’s birth, I was very aware of my lower body becoming numb.

2. We Got To Take Pictures!

This time around Myles was able to take pictures and he actually recorded Rhyan’s birth. The curtain was still placed across my torso, blocking our view from the surgery, and Myles was seated up by my head as he was with Logan. However, he was able to pop up and look as the doctor broke my water and Rhyan was taken from my belly. It was pretty incredible to see the footage afterwards. I had no idea that’s what the birth looked like.

3. A Relatively Fast Recovery.

After both surgeries, I was up and walking (albeit a very slow shuffle) pretty quickly. For Logan, it was the very next morning (I had him at 6:46pm the night before), and for Rhyan, it was that same night (I had her at 9:59am). And just like the first time, my pain was manageable with the meds.

New mom with two babies, recovering after a c-section.

Snuggles with my two babies.

4. Baby Stayed With Me The Whole Time.

A big difference this time around was that Rhyan was with us from the moment I delivered her. The hospital we chose didn’t have a nursery and the babies stay “in room” with their mamas. For me, this was a welcomed change as Logan had to spend 12 days in the NICU and I didn’t get to hold him until two days after delivery — so you can imagine how happy I was to have my daughter with me. It was also helpful to have Myles, Logan, and my mother-in-law there during the day to help out and then my mom, who stayed with me at night.

5. You Know What To Expect.

Having had a c-section already, I knew the procedure and that I would go into the surgery room first (without my husband) to receive my spinal. I was still nervous about the needle, but like the first time, the nurses and my anesthesiologist were really calming. My doctor was also there and chatted with me the entire time, distracting me from what was happening and even put on some music!

6. The Bleeding After And My Incision Scar.

It completely took me by surprise how much I bled after having Logan. However, I’m not sure if it was my doctor or maybe the fact every recovery is different, but I only bled for about two weeks this time — compared to my six-plus weeks with the first section. My incision scar was a lot smaller too (and I thought it was tiny before!). My scar from Rhyan (the old scar was cut away in the process) is long and razor thin; my doctor really did an incredible job.

7. A Guaranteed Due Date.

Well, guaranteed that if baby didn’t come earlier, we would be having her at 39 weeks. It was nice to be able to plan as much as we could around Rhyan’s arrival! The day before we had a family adventure with just the three of us, before we became a family of four. And then my husband and I had a date night, because as we learned from our son — the first weeks of bringing baby home are a whirlwind. Surprisingly though, Rhyan is a sleeper! Yes, we’re still pinching ourselves to make sure it’s true.

Ravelle Worthington is a wife, momma to three, and the founder of Mommy Brain. Follow her on Instagram here.
Join the Mommy Brain private community where members can have open and honest discussions about all the parts of motherhood, whether that’s parent/child-related, self-care, life after becoming a mom, divorce, career changes, intimacy with your partner — there are many layers to who we are as women and as mothers. This is the space to talk about it all!

Story photos provided by the author.

By Mommy Brain, July 26, 2016
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