1.) What exactly happens before, during, and after a C/S? (C/S=C-Section)
If it is an unplanned c/s, an epidural is put in and you are wheeled to the O.R. Then you are "prepped". A urine catheter is inserted to drain the bladder. Usually your abdomen is cleansed with iodine, some of your pubic hair is shaved, and before the surgery starts you are 'tested' by being pinched with surgical forceps to see if you feel anything. Once the surgery begins, an incision is made on the abdomen, then the sub-q (fatty), and facsia layers are cut. Lastly, the uterus is cut and baby, and placenta are removed. Then all layers are stitched closed and you go to Recovery Room for 30min-1hr depending on how well you do.
2.) Will I feel anything? Will it hurt? Yes you WILL feel pressure, but should not feel actual pain. When the baby is removed you feel alot of pressure and tugging which can be uncomfortable. In some rare instances I have seen some women claim they felt pain during the procedure. That could happen if there are "hot spots" meaning the epidural did not cover 100% of the area. But please remember, this is a rare occurance. If this did happen to you there is always the option of being put to sleep for relief.
3.) Can my husband/partner be with me? In most hospitals, yes.
4.) How long will it take to recover? The typical recovery time is 6 weeks. Some women take longer. For me it was 2 weeks. My advice to you is keep moving, yes it hurts but you recover faster.
5.) Will I get to see or hold my baby afterward? Usually the baby is taken to the baby warmer immediately for observation. Apgar scores are given. Then if all is well the baby is brought over by a nurse, or Dad and shown to you. You will have a moment to bond with baby then it usually goes to the nursery with Dad while you are stitched up.
6.) How long is my C-Section going to take? From incision time to end usually 1 hour or so. To get the baby out it is 10-15 minutes.
7.) How many C-Sections can I have maximum? It really depends on your uterus. If there is alot of scarred tissue then a C-Section may not be reccomended. Some women have 6, some only 3. It depends.
8.) Do I have to have future C-Sections now? No. It depends on why you had the C/S. Alot of women have successful VBAC births. (vaginal birth after c/s) Discuss the possibility of VBAC with your doctor/midwife.
9.) Is there a risk of death in a c/s? Yes, as with ALL surgeries there is a risk. A c/s is considered a 'major surgery'. Here are some statistics for you: 1 in 10,000 women die during vaginal birth. 1 in 2,500 women die during a c/s birth. Don't let the numbers worry you. I have never seen anything like that occur where I work.
10.) Will I have a big scar? No. The incision made to get the baby out is only about 4 inches long and is made right above the pubic bone, so bikinis can still cover the scar.
11.) Can I breastfeed after a c/s delivery? Yes. It may be uncomfortable at first because your abdomen may be very sore. But stick with it. It will get much easier when you are fully recovered.