Mama: Jill Pokorny
Baby: Hunter and Mason
This story is about a mama that had 2 elective c-sections.
Both of my boys were scheduled to arrive during their 39th week. We chose each of their birth dates because they were both delivered through elective c-sections. I like plans and schedules. I’m not a surprise party kind of girl and I knew myself well enough to know that feeling extended to the very first birthdays of my kids.
While this is an option in today’s world, it is not the most popular birth plan in the majority of circles. Many people, including some obstetricians, don’t agree with the idea of elective c-sections. We are a military family so my prenatal care and our delivery were all at a military hospital which was great, but I was seen by a different physician every visit, so throughout my first pregnancy I was repeatedly questioned about my desire to have an elective c-section. Some physicians over-emphasized the risks and made a great effort to dissuade me, while others were extremely supportive and even shared that they had opted for the same delivery method. If you are a mom considering this option, listen to both sides and decide what is best for you and baby!
I completed bloodwork the day before my little ones would arrive, made sure I packed everything we would need for the hospital, which means I overpacked the first time, and woke up at 4am to call the Labor & Delivery nurse to see what time we should arrive. With my first son, we arrived to the hospital and were taken straight back to pre-op for vitals and to get IVs. It was here that the surgical team informed me once more that a c-section was not required and I should – in her personal opinion – wait and deliver vaginally. I thanked her for her opinion but said we were there to have my baby delivered by c-section. She signed off, my husband put on scrubs while I was walked to the operating room. With my second child, I was only questioned once the entire pregnancy to make sure I didn’t want to have a VBAC, probably because delivering vaginally would’ve been the potentially more dangerous option since I had a c-section just 13 months before, but we were delayed in pre-op room the morning of his birth because there were two emergency c-sections ahead of us once we arrived. We took the opportunity to enjoy a quiet nap with no kids before the arrival of our second son and it was glorious.
In the OR I hopped onto the table and was connected to many devices. The anesthesiologist came in and with my legs hanging off the table he did a spinal block to numb me. I was then instructed to swing my legs onto the table – a near impossible feat when you are numb from your boobs down! At this point you are completely naked on a table with ten plus people in the room all carrying on conversations – just a little awkward. The surgical team prepped everything and put up a drape so thankfully I could no longer see my reflection in the overhead light. My husband was brought into the OR as surgery began.
I talked about SEC football with the anesthesiologist while the other doctors worked as I attempted to tune out my husband’s narration of the procedure. (He is a physician so things like “they are stuffing your organs back in” is a common place discussion – for the record the narration is not so much fun when they are your organs!) Watching my husband tear up as each of our boys were pulled was an amazing experience. The doctors gave our son to my husband and he brought him to me so I could see him and make the final name decision. The physical feeling of delivery was strange since you are knowledgeable about what was happening, but are only able to feel pressure. At times it felt like my belly deflated. The baby was kept in the OR with me the entire time, being weighed and getting his Apgar scores until the doctors were done stitching me up. Then we were wheeled together to recovery where I was immediately able to hold and feed him. My husband helped give our baby a bath and we all shared snuggles until we could be moved to our room.
The only part of delivery that differed with my second son was the anesthesiology resident went a bit excessive with my anesthesia and I threw up a few times while the surgical team prepped things. The attending anesthesiologist fixed everything but when my husband walked in my blood pressure was really low so I wanted to sleep rather than talk football to avoid his surgical narrative. Within a few moments we were back on track and I had number 2 (baby that is!)
Recovery from a c-section was no where what I thought it would be. Within a few hours you are up and walking around. Getting the catheter out was my main goal as it was just annoying to have in while walking. Moving as much as possible really helped things progress well and reduce the swelling in legs and feet. Best advice is to take pain medication as prescribed and stay ahead of pain. It subsided quickly and by the end of the first week (or sooner) I no longer was taking anything other than Tylenol as needed for soreness. With my first son, we were released within 48 hours of his birth and were scheduled for a check-up appointment in the pediatric clinic two days later. With my second son, I was doing so well the doctors were ready to release me within 24 hours of his birth but I bartered to stay an extra day in exchange for not having to do the pediatric clinic check-up for a week unless needed. (When your kids are 13 months apart you try to limit the required outings!) At home I resumed activities as I felt I had energy and rested when I felt I over did it. Laughing, sneezing and coughing does hurt when you’ve had your abdomen stitched up, so a small pillow for pressure was beneficial for the first week. With my second child I needed more help during that first month because I could not carry my older son who was 13 months old. My husband or mother were with me daily during that time.
I didn’t go a traditional route to have my babies, and if I were to ever have another that baby would be delivered through an elective c-section as well – not that I am planning on that as my hands with two under two are more than full! I am so thankful that I had babies at a time where this option was possible.
Hunter – 7lbs, 8oz. 20 inches long. Delivered at 39 weeks, 1 day.
Mason – 7lbs, 11oz. 21 inches long. Delivered at 39 weeks, 3 days.