Women's Words of Wisdom

Nobody told me how long I would have to wait alone in recovery.

Nobody told me that the effect from the drugs would be that my mouth felt so dry it felt like I drank a glass of cinnamon and sand at the same time.

Nobody told me that after my boyfriend at the time was asked to leave the recovery room to go sign paperwork that they wouldn't let him back in.

Nobody told me that it was standard procedure to basically push/punch my stomach to stimulate my uterus to make sure everything was coming out the way it was supposed to come out.

Nobody told me that I would almost pass out in the shower after the first time I got to have a shower.

Nobody told me how excruciatingly painful and scary it would be to try to have a bowel movement 3 days later after eating only hospital food.

Oh and I forgot to mention the allergic reaction I had to the tape they used when they did my epidural, which left me drugged and super itchy to the point where I begged the nurse to scratch my back!

-Emilie May Bezanson

Things I wish I had known about birth in general is when you plan, god laughs. I thought my second section would be just like the first. It was not.
I thought my body would bounce right back after birth, it never did. I eventually came to know and love my new body (post Lyla) and I’m working on it now post Nico.
I wish someone had told me that you bleed for months on end afterward (especially after a c section!) and adult diapers are your new best friend.
I wish someone would have told me about how the scar feels forever afterward. It’s numb and hard/weird to touch.
I wish someone would have told me to take every single hospital supply I could get my hands on for recovery.
I wish someone would have told me the emotional and psychological strain that a c section puts on you. It’s harder, or sometimes impossible, to make breast milk and that’s okay.

-Raleigh Russel

Applying Betadine Before Surgery

Three days after my baby was born I developed a nasty rash reaction to the Betadine scrub they had used during surgery. Surgeons cover the area they are going to cut with a layer of Betadine before they begin surgery in order to prevent infection and kill bacteria. After they had stitched everything back up they left the Betadine on my skin. This is common practice, but it had huge ramifications for me in the days that followed.Two days after my surgery I was able to stand up and move around a bit so I took a hot shower for the first time and I carefully washed off all the yellow/brown staining from the Betadine. Three hours later I noticed a red rash starting to appear all over my abdomen, from the incision upward to above my belly button and around the sides of my waist. A couple hours after that I noticed that the rash was itchy. Shortly thereafter I was in a world of pain. I've had really bad poison ivy and poison oak rashes. This was like that but ten times worse because of the location surrounding a tender healing incision. None of the doctors or nurses caring for me recognized my symptoms or had ever encountered this problem.

Betadine Rash

I mentioned it to several of the nurses caring for my baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and after showing the rash to them somebody said “oh yeah that’s a Betadine allergy”. Several of them had experienced the same thing after their own babies were born. It turns out that a substantial portion of the population gets a contact dermatitis allergy from Betadine, but nobody mentioned this possibility to me so when it appeared I had no idea what it was or how to treat it.

I was in a huge amount of pain, the incision from my surgery felt like it was being re-opened and my skin was extremely tender and horrifically itchy at the same time. Touching it hurt. My clothes brushing lightly against my skin as I moved hurt. Itching it hurt but also perversely made it feel better. I set about treating it as if it was poison Ivy, with a combination of Cortizone cream, Aloe and cold compresses. None of it helped. The Cortizone cream actually seemed to inflame it more as though the steroid was irritating the rash. After a day of shellacking my skin with Aloe gel I took a cool shower. As I painfully peeled off the layers of sticky gel and cream I realized that all I had been doing was capping the rash with an impermeable barrier that didn't allow my skin to breath. I researched online and began applying a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar to my skin. This left me feeling slightly better but made me smell like a pickle.

Luckily the next morning I was back in my babies room in the NICU and a new nurse said “oh have you tried breast milk? Breast milk fixes everything.” Strange as it sounded I was desperate so I took some of the milk I'd just pumped and dabbed it all over my skin and I immediately felt relief! That whole night and day I applied my milk to the rash multiple times and the transformation was incredible. From angry red welts that were raised up and looked almost neon red, the rash faded to a muted pink glow that resembled a slight sunburn. The itching disappeared literally overnight.

I wish I could shout this piece of hard learned knowledge into the home of every single human being on this planet, but especially pregnant women because it would have saved me so much discomfort and distress if someone had just given me this information immediately after my C-section. To be on the safe side you need to use cool water and rinse that yellow stain off your skin as quickly as possible to avoid having a reaction. I had it on me for around 30 hours and it was really, really bad. Not everybody will have a reaction and some women I talked to seemed to have less extreme reactions than me, maybe they showered sooner than I did or maybe I'm just extra sensitive.

-Katrina Nevin

Direction of the Inner vs. outer incision cuts

I would probably make the same decision and have VBACs and I wouldn’t trade the Virginal births for anything. However, I wish I was better informed and did my research before doing it. I didn’t even know a uterine rupture was a risk at the time. I would have not used Pitocin or any other medicine that put stress on my uterus. There are definitely other contributing factors, like which way the scar runs on the inside not the outside. They give you a bikini cut on the outside but may have done a vertical cut inside. Those are things that you should find out. A vertical cut in your uterus makes the risk much higher. Thinking back I should have gotten my medical records and read through them after my C-section. I wish someone had given me this info prior to the decisions I made. I may still have made the same decision to have VBAC's but at least I would have made a more informed decision.

-Ruby Schaefer

I wish I had known to ask to stay home until I progressed naturally a little more.

I wish I had said no to Pitocin.

I wish I had known that even if I was leaking there was still plenty (of fluid) in there for baby.

I wish I had been educated on spinal headaches, blood patches etc.

I wish I had advocated for myself and my daughter more.

-Elizabeth Francis

If you want an epidural, ask for it as soon as you know you want to have one and start to get uncomfortable, you will not be reminded and it takes a while.

Apparently, you are not able to have an epidural when you are in active labor.

As the epidural kicked in, I started to not be able to feel my legs. I couldn't tell if I was really pushing my hardest or not.

-Emily LaPierre

When I woke up from the surgery I remember having an immediate sensation of relief, I felt so relaxed and rested. Then a voice said “Can you wiggle the fingers of your left hand for me? How about your right?” and I suddenly became horribly aware that not only could I not wiggle my fingers I also couldn’t breath! I tried to take a breath and nothing happened, I tried to speak or call out to say “I can’t breath!” and nothing happened. I was drowning in air and I couldn’t tell anyone! Then all at once (or so it seemed to me) I miraculously could breath again and I was being wheeled out of the OR and back up to maternity.

I wish someone had explained to me in that moment what was happening. I had been intubated during the C-section and I didn't know it. That means that there was breathing tube that went down my throat and into my lungs. When they reduced the anesthesia to wake me up they left the breathing tube in place until they knew that I had awoken sufficiently to be able to breath on my own. Then they removed the tube in my throat. So when I awoke there was a machine breathing for me and I couldn't physically take my own breaths until they removed that tube. This was a horribly frightening experience and I wish someone had told me what was going on in the moment so I didn't think I was suffocating.

-Katrina Nevin

Steri Strips are the adhesive bandages that cover the stitches

Steri strips are the glue tape that goes on over your C-section incision to keep the stitches in place and hold everything together while the scar heals. Everyone said to me that the strips would fall off on their own after about 10 days. Mine didn't. My belly was still so big that I couldn't see my incision unless I stood in front of a full length mirror and leaned back. I wasn't sure where the ends of the actual cut were since the strips go beyond the edges of the incision and it was very creepy for me to touch the area and feel only numbness above the scar and only hard tacky glue strips on top of the scar. I was worried the stitches weren't healed so I waited two weeks and then a bit longer and still the steri strips were perfectly glued in place. Finally I got into a tub and soaked until they just slipped off easily.

-Katrina Nevin