Here’s a look at what happens during the 2 hours before a scheduled c-section:
2 hours before your surgery time you’ll check in at the hospital. You may be given a hospital band with your name and birthdate on it at this time and then will have a seat until your nurse is ready for you. Soon she’ll call your name and you’ll head to a pre-surgery room.
The room you are in before surgery depends on what hospital you deliver at. Kansas City hospitals such as Shawnee Mission Medical Center have small recovery rooms close to the OR for before & after surgery, others such as Overland Park Regional Medical Center have larger rooms similar to L&D where moms are prepped and recover. At Saint Luke’s South, there are Labor/Delivery/Recovery rooms where you are prepped, recover, and spend all of your stay in.
The nurse will lay out a gown and non-slip socks for you. You’ll change into it and go back to your bed.
She’ll place two straps around your belly to start monitoring your baby’s heartbeat and for any contractions. Your blood will be drawn and they’ll start an IV with Saline.
Your nurse will ask you questions such as when you last ate and drank along with other medical questions and have you fill out any additional paperwork that needs to be completed. She’ll also check whether your incision area will need shaving or not.
Wrist bands will be put on you and your significant other that match the band that will be put on your baby. You will also receive an additional medical band (usually one for “fall risk” and another if you have any allergies).
Over the next hour your nurse will be in and out of the room and you may have a few quiet moments with your support people.
Over the next hour your doctors and nurses will come to talk with you and ask questions- an anesthesiologist, the nurse that will care for your baby after delivery (making sure your baby is healthy, weight & measurements, and any shots), and your OBGYN.
Hopefully you’ve discussed your birth plan with your doctor and hospital during your 3rd. trimester. Now is a good time to remind your birth team of any preferences you have for delivery (clear drape, skin-to-skin, dad helping cut the cord, etc.) and to introduce your birth photographer.
Now you’re very close to going back to the operating room! Your nurse will bring you a liquid antacid. It will likely be the first thing you’ve had to eat or drink since midnight. Unfortunately it tastes like a VERY bitter sweet tart! The quicker you can drink it the easier it will go down.
A nurse will bring you a surgical cap to wear over your hair and will have a set of scrubs for your husband and birth photographer (scrubs, surgical cap, booties, and surgical mask).
It’s time to go to the OR! You may be given the choice to walk or be wheeled in. Give your support person a kiss goodbye and off you go!
Your husband and birth photographer will stay back in the room or just outside the OR at this time.
The anesthesiologist will have you sit on the operating table with your legs dangling and they’ll start the spinal (or epidural/spinal combination). This can take a little bit. Your legs will start to feel a little heavy as the medicine starts working and they’ll have you lie down on your back.
The drape goes up, your tummy is scrubbed, a catheter is started and the doctor checks to make sure you are very numb. No worries- they’ll make sure you have no pain before they start! The environment will likely be calm and relaxed (if you’re having a low-risk birth).
Your husband and photographer will be brought into the OR. Your husband will sit on a stool right next to your head. The anesthesiologist will be behind you and is making sure you’re comfortable. If you have any questions or concerns, they’re there to help. It’s been about 2 hours since you arrived at the hospital and now it’s time to have your baby!
This article is written by 6x c-section mom and Kansas City Birth Photographer, Morgan Lang. She uses her first-hand experience as a c-section mom to help others see the beauty in any birth and to capture precious first moments through pictures and video for expecting moms in the KC Area.