Yippee: we’re all going to be allowed to have c-sections whenever we want them. We will of course be queueing up. But if you’ve not been lucky enough to have one before and are planning to take advantage of the new guidelines, here’s what you need to know.
1. Don’t bin your maternity nighties in anticipation, as you will be living in them for the next six weeks.
2. Shave in advance. Unless you want a nurse to take you by surprise with a blunt razor.
3. It will not happen when they say it will. I was confidently told that it would be at least an hour, so my husband went to the loo. Thirty seconds later, they came to collect me, leaving him locked in the loo.
4. The anaesthetic might not work. If so, don’t let the junior doctor tip you sideways to try to spread it around a bit. Ask them to call a consultant instead. Preferably before they start operating.
1. The drugs will make you feel a bit less than well. You may have spent nine months planning your first skin-to-skin encounter with your baby; when the moment comes, you will be concentrating on not being sick.
2. They put a nice screen up so you can’t see what’s going on inside you. However, the lights above you have little mirrors around them. It is not advisable to look up.
1. Whatever size knickers you normally wear, the elastic will somehow always coincide neatly with your scar. Make sure you are armed with a supply of Granny-pants, preferably disposable. I am a size 10 normally, but size 16-18s worked well for me.
2. They will not let you out of hospital until you have done a poo. Learn from my experience and do not – repeat NOT – take a triple dose of Lactulose in an attempt to speed up the process.
3. Enjoy your catheter. You can drink as much water as you like without having to get up for a wee. This is fun.
4. Unlike the cannula. Possibly the most painful medical torture implement ever invented, and a necessary evil of c-sections. Look on the bright side, though: they take your mind off the scar pain.
5. Take your painkillers. You might think it doesn’t hurt that much, and that you don’t need them any more. Yes it does, and yes you do.
Yes, it’s all good fun in elective section land. (Especially compared to the vaginal birth from hell: been there, done that, got the t-shirt). And however bad it might feel, just remember that you’ll somehow forget the bad bits enough to do it all again in another couple of years’ time.
That’s motherhood for you.