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Friday, April 9, 2010

How to Have A C-Section That Doesn't Suck

Scared you might have to have a c-section? Well, you should be. It's not preferable. Well, I had two and I'd like to share my wisdom so that you can have THE BEST c-section experience. Yeah. You heard me.

So, for starters you're looking at having 3-5 weeks of pain and discomfort, not to mention a little bit of trouble taking care of your new baby. You won't be able to walk around much at all, even when you're home. Why anyone would CHOSE a c-section on purpose I do not get. I also suggest that if you are in the area where the doctors/hospital will allow you to do a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) that you attempt it. I strongly advise it. It's no more difficult nor eventful than a normal delivery and it's completely safe for 90% of all women who've had a previous c-section. Don't let anyone dissuade you from thinking about it. Read up on it:

For those insane women who choose to have a scheduled c-section I say "Kudos! You're insane and/or are obviously a masochist or drug addict . . . . or soon will be." Why? Because drug prescriptions and guilde lines for doctors only allow YOU medication for three weeks. Yes. I know I said up to FIVE weeks above. That's right! You won't have enough drugs to last the full length of recovery, because doctors are under too much scrutiny from nurses and hospitals. I had a nurse take aside my doctor and tell her I was taking way too many drugs. I wasn't.

How do you fix this issue? One answer. Cheat! I will teach you how. :)

Even the best doctors (and I had one) can't be there when you're in horrible pain. I experienced the most pain and biggest issues the first night after the operation. Why? The drugs from surgery have all worn off, but the doctors have to put a cushion around any drugs that they give you. No doubt this has something to do with covering their own asses. THEY'LL ALWAYS COVER THEIR ASS, NOT YOURS. Have someone keep extremely anal records of exactly when you took your drugs. You might need it to avoid pain.

How can you avoid being in pain? Having issues? Well, while you can't avoid having issues there are ways to combat these problems.

1) Keep with you the phone number of your most obnoxious family member. If you experience pain (like I have about 7 hours after each c-section), make sure that someone holds your hand while you are hurting and someone else to talk to a nurse. Many nurses are smart and helpful. Some are not. You don't know who you're talking to, so try and find out her experience and her power of empathy.

The person talking to the nurse has to say: "I want her doctor! Now!" If they ask for the doctor one MUST be called. Nurses can not change ANY orders or give drugs without approval. They won't break rules in most cases. In fact one of them sat with me and tried to help me visualize a pond when I was in extreme pain. I wanted a knife SO bad, so that I could stab her and say "You visualize an f'n pond you dumb bitch." I had never been in so much pain and she did NOT help me at all. I've done meditation and hypnosis and she did not help in the slightest. I only let her stay because she held my hand and I needed a hand to squeeze.

2) Take your own! Always take your own drugs. What you should have: Various painkillers, herbal sleeping pills (like Relax and Sleep) and a person that doesn't go far. Remember that Tylenol and Advil can be rotated and do not affect the same organs, so can be overlapped. You should also have some kind of heating pad or weighty rice pad. You might have to hide it in a bag. Don't ask if you can use it. You probably can't legally, but there is always a nurse or two that will understand your pain and might even provide a hand-made heating pad. (I LOVE these nurses. They're fantastic!) You need something weighty. It really helps. You can substitute a human hand with a little bit of pressure. Having someone's hand weigh down on your stomach can really help you, but it will lack the heat and therefore won't relieve as much pain.

3) Always stagger your drugs. They can only give you so many injections here and so much benedryl there, so you will need your own drugs to be comfortable. I had two c-sections and for both I had to use my own advil to supplement and I was still in a little pain.
_____ _____ _____ _____ _____ ___ Advil (Anti-inflammatory) effectiveness
_ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ Tylenol drug effectiveness
________ _________ __________ ______ Percaset (narcotic) effectiveness

Know your drugs! For example I've taken vicotin. It did nothing for my pain. Percaset is the only thing that worked for me. Generics work on some people. On others it doesn't. Generics make some people sick. Keep track of what works for you. It's important.

4) Cheat! At some point they'll take you off the IV and start giving you pills. Save your drugs! If they give you two pills take 1 3/4 pills this time. If you're still in pain take the other 1/4, but usually you won't need it. Prescriptions are overestimated. A full dose in not necessary in most cases. Remember that you'll need to stretch these drugs to last the full 4-5 weeks of pain. You won't get enough refills! Doctors can only give you so many pills because narcotics are "addicting". Well, they can't be addicting unless you have a drug dealer handy so that's just ridiculous to me. Still, they have strict rules on it.

So I took my doses as I was told, but I stored a lot of pills in my bra. Instead I took:
1 3/4 pills
1 1/2
1 3/4 pills
1 1/2 pills
1 pill
1 1/2 pills

I kept self regulating. Only take as much as you need and save what you get for later use. If it hurts, just take a little bit more. Remember that I only knew to do this because I had a c-section before and I was very swollen and in a lot of pain. If you have a multiple delivery (twins or triplets) you WILL have more inflammation, more swelling, a higher chance of complications with your incision and a high chance that you'll need estrogen later on. If it hurts when you wipe, that's dryness. Ask your doctor for a prescription creme to help (works great).

I had a nurse tell me that after three days I should be able to get myself out of bed and to the bathroom. Bullshit! Every patient heals differently. She doesn't know how much pain I'm in and I know that most of her shift she was reading a friggin book! God forbid she have to get up and help me. I was so pissed. . . . but instead I called her back to talk to her. I burst into tears and said that I was sorry I had called her and that I am in pain (not to mention all the hormones of child birth. I can't believe the nurse just ignored this all.) She told me she was sorry and that she never should have said it. Damn right! She shouldn't have. I'm glad I gave her a clue.

Nurses are there to help you and to do what you need! You're paying that hopital thousands of dollars. The least they could do is provide good service. Don't be afraid of making a fuss. You are the one in pain. You are the one with insanely high hormonal rates.

If you have any questions I'd be happy to answer. Thanks for reading.

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I am a bit funny, crazy, sometimes serious and usually wise. I'm very creative and artistic. However my greatest gift in life is common sense.