After my experience with an emergency c-section, I was terrified of the idea of a repeat surgical birth. I spent my entire second pregnancy prepping for a VBAC that did not happen. I ended up in surgery again. Apparently my body does not like to go into labor.
Having been through both an emergency c-section and a planned one -- I can honestly say a planned c-section is not nearly as terrifying. If you have been through a bad experience with an emergency c-section and are pregnant and terrified with the prospect of going through a surgical birth, I'm here to ease your mind a little. It's not the same experience. It's really not as bad.
Here are ways a scheduled c-section is totally different than an emergency one.
1. Your family can be with you through the prep.
It was just me and the nurses rushing through the prep of my emergency c-section. For my scheduled c-section, my family was around me the entire time. The only time I was without my partner was when they were administering the epidural.
2. There is no panic and rushing.
One of the worst moments of my emergency c-section was the initial rush of doctors pouring into my room and running me down the hall to the operating room. Not good. In a planned c-section, there is no running. That is a plus.
3. Everyone is calmer.
Expanding on that last point, no one is panicking about a baby that needs to come out of your uterus RIGHT NOW. This makes the whole experience a lot less stressful.
4. The procedure itself takes longer.
I was shocked at how fast my emergency c-section was over - and shocked again at how long my scheduled one took. The procedure itself was much less jarring, as doctors were not being forced to rush to make sure baby got out fast enough. Movements were slower, there was less jarring and tugging - it was just a lot gentler of an experience.
5. Your body will probably recover quicker.
I couldn't believe how much more pain I was in after my first c-section, but when I think about it, it makes sense. The doctors were not rushed during my planned c-section, so there were no sudden, quick, jarring movements. I'm sorry I'm using the word "jarring" so much - but it's the best adjective to describe how an emergency c-section can feel.
6. The general feeling in the operating room is way less stressful.
My nurses were calm. My doctors were joking around. To say that my second c-section was a much more pleasant experience than my first is an understatement. Yes, it is still major surgery -- I'm not saying I had a good time. It was just so much better.
7. You will not be shellshocked by an unexpected turn of events.
When you go into a hospital expecting one thing and another thing happens, it's a little disconcerting. Having a major surgery sprung on you is no fun. Going into the hospital with certain expectations and having those expectations remain constant is obviously an easier thing to deal with.
8. Your nurse will probably get you up and walking quicker.
Not sure if this is true for all planned c-sections versus emergency c-sections, but my nurse had me up within 10 hours of my planned c-section. That made the healing process so much quicker.
9. You might experience some pre-surgery fears.
One thing about knowing a surgery is coming, is that you know a surgery is coming. I was afraid of surgery -- I'm not going to lie. But honestly, I think the reason I had so much fear is because I only had my emergency c-section to reference. I can honestly say having been through a planned c-section I would not be as afraid to do it again.
10. You'll be more prepared.
You won't be sitting in recovery thinking, "What just happened?" You may even bring your own nifty belly binder or be prepared with comfortable, loose-fitting jammies.
(photo: Dirk Erken/ Shutterstock)