The idea of having kids has terrified me for a long time mainly because of the labor, pain, and trauma involved. I eventually convinced myself that if I ever had a child, I would opt for a C-section. Although C-section recovery is said to be more painful than vaginal labor, the operation is quick and there is little to no laboring. After getting pregnant, though, I spoke with my OBGYN, sisters, and friends about a C-section birth — they all convinced me that it was too risky. I finally settled on having a baby the natural way with an epidural.
Unfortunately, by week 26, my OBGYN told me that my baby was breached and I would require a C-Section if he does not turn. Part of me was relieved that I was going to have a C-section which was scheduled for December 29, 2020, but I suppose God had other plans for me. Baby Krish arrived two weeks early on December 16, 2020, at 10:50 pm, via C-section.
How did it happen?
December 16, 2020: I woke up late, made myself a cup of chai, and Facetimed my friend, and then my sister. Next, I tested out a new blog recipe, the Jalapeno Popper Garlic Bread, and finally got it right! After taking food pictures and enjoying (admittedly, too much) garlic bread, I was tired enough to nap. I slept at 4 PM, and Sanjiv woke me up after 2 hours and made us salt-warm-water to gargle since both of us hadn't been keeping well.
6 pm: When I started gargling, I felt my water break.
"Something just happened," I told Sanjiv, "I think my water broke." He insisted it was just pee. Ummm.... but I don't pee uncontrollably like this. LOL. I literally had no control over what was happening and went through multiple sanitary napkins trying to soak up the water.
I had no contractions (thank God!!!!). I immediately left my doctor a message, and the on-call doctor called me back and instructed me to go to Labor and Delivery at Hoag Hospital. I took a quick shower because who knows how many days I wouldn't be able to shower for (this was the best advice I received from a friend). I frantically grabbed my hospital bag, jumped into the back seat, and all of a sudden we were on the way to the hospital — my mind running a million miles per hour.
“Was this really happening? Were we about to have a baby? Am I ready for motherhood? I still have so much to do like organize my kitchen spices, the baby room, wash all the baby’s clothes, get our cleaners to deep clean the house. This can’t be happening two weeks early.” I was not prepared for this!
At the Hospital
7:15 pm: We finally arrived at Hoag Hospital — a very reputable hospital in Orange County. After checking in, the nurse took a swab to see if my water actually broke. This test was NOT pleasant and very painful. How am I going to deliver a baby if I can’t handle this test? The result came back positive within minutes — I was going to deliver a baby. Tonight.
The nurses asked me when was the last time I ate and that was 4 pm. I wasn’t allowed to have any food in my body for 8 hours prior to surgery. With that said, the anesthesiologist was available at 10 pm and prepped me for surgery. I was also told my OBGYN would not be performing the surgery, but instead, the on-call doctor would. Of course, this stressed me out even more because I literally chose a doctor who specialized in high-risk pregnancies and one that was skillful in performing C-sections. Regardless, I knew I was in good hands because I trusted his team.
Epidural, C-section, Delivery
I was wheeled into the operating room where there were about ten people. I had to get over my shyness real quick. 😊 The room was cold and I was trembling, literally, trembling. The nurse reassured me it was completely normal. Her words offered me little reassurance. The anesthesiologist proceeded to give me an epidural in my spine which was quite painful, but I handled it well. After about 10 minutes my lower body was numb, but I insisted I could still move my legs and requested them not to proceed. They poked me a couple of times and I felt absolutely nothing. LOL. So yes, they assured me I was numb and proceeded.
At this time my husband was allowed inside the room and he was by my side the entire time. I am so grateful my husband could be with me during this time because of Covid. I know many hospitals are not allowing spouses inside the delivery room; going through delivery is terrifying enough as is, I would never want to go through it alone. Thankfully though, Sanjiv was by my side and kept me distracted enough with random stories. It definitely helped. Funny enough, the doctors operating on me were talking about their vacation plans, and I kept thinking, you better not mess up my surgery. LOL. Anyways, I digress, I didn’t feel any pain during my C-section itself, but I did feel pressure as they pushed down on my belly.
When my baby finally came out of me, he didn’t immediately cry, but when I eventually heard him cry, it felt surreal. I didn’t get to see Baby Krish for another 20 minutes or so, but, my husband did. I asked him to go over and be with our baby. He went over and took a few photos of Baby Krish that he shared with me as I was being sewed up. My heart melted when I saw him… he was just so adorable, helpless, and innocent. He was perfect!
Once the surgery was done, I was wheeled back into our room. I finally got to hold my baby and it felt so strange and surreal at the same time. I couldn’t believe I was finally holding this baby whom I carried for almost 9 months. The nurse placed the baby on my chest for some skin-to-skin contact. It gave us a chance to really bond.
I must say the entire nursing staff at Hoag Hospital was INCREDIBLE. I was beyond shocked by how much nurses do for their patients, things that I never imagined someone would do for me. All I repeatedly said was, "thank you".
The first night, our nurse literally did everything for our baby while we watched in awe. She taught us everything we needed to know about taking care of a newborn — we were definitely overwhelmed. Sanjiv stepped it up and learned as much as he could while I rested.
Soon after a C-section (and vaginal birth), expect to bleed a lot (more so with vaginal). It is perfectly normal. With a C-section, you will bleed a lot the initial days, but this will lighten up gradually. The hospital will provide you with thick sanitary napkins and mesh disposable underwear. Reminder: when you are discharged, make sure you take all the extra napkins and underwear in your room and ask for more if need be.
Once we settled into our room, the nurse had me attempt breastfeeding. Unlike other surgeries where you can rest soon after, after having a baby, you're put to work. The nurse taught me how to get the baby to latch and it was so helpful. Breastfeeding was (and still is) challenging, but I kept at it. Most hospitals will provide you with services such as seeing a Lactation Nurse which is something I highly recommend you take advantage of. My body wasn't producing much milk except colostrum which is really good for the baby. I just fed him what I had and compensated the rest with Similac Pro-Advance formula provided by the hospital. Each day passing I produced a little more colostrum, but not much milk.
Furthermore, as I pump or breastfeed, I feel my uterus contracting which is a weird feeling. It doesn't exactly hurt, but it doesn't feel great either. Each time I breastfeed, I feel a little weird, almost a little empty inside, maybe it's because milk is being extracted from my body. I'm not sure why I feel this way so I'll have to ask around if this is normal.
After my C-section, the nurse wrapped a velcro belt tightly around my lower belly which helps with swelling and the overall healing process. Additionally, if I sneezed/coughed, my stitches didn't hurt as much. The belt provided comfort to me as everything was held tightly in place.
Since I've been home, I've used this belt every single day as it helps when I'm standing and walking. The belt also helps compress the lower belly so your stomach shrinks back faster. My stitches still hurt a little so I am looking into ordering this 3 in 1 Postpartum Support Belt.
Day 1 - Walking
The next day I had to get up and walk to the bathroom with the assistance of a nurse. Getting up wasn’t so bad since I was still drugged up from all the previous night's meds. My pain was about a 5. I made my way to the bathroom, but once I sat down on the toilet, my head started to spin and I felt as though I was gonna pass out. The nurse called for extra help and eventually, they got me back into bed. The number of meds and lack of food in my body took a toll on me.
Day 2 - The Worst Pain, EVER!
The next day, my pain escalated from a 5 to a 9. It was the worst pain I ever felt in my life. I was unable to hold and feed my baby. Tylenol wasn't cutting it anymore and I decided to ask for stronger meds. Although the nurses gave me pain meds, they didn’t work immediately because I waited for my pain to hit a 9 before I asked for stronger meds. I really should have asked for strong meds when I was a 5. Lesson learned!
Day 3 - Discharged
By day 3, I felt a little better. My pain was at a 6-7. I took a quick shower with some assistance. It felt good to shower. My staples were removed before I was discharged, and no, that did not hurt.
I packed up all extra newborn diapers, sanitary pads, mesh disposable underwear, infant formula, newborn soap... basically anything lying around that was useful to me or the baby, I took home with me. It's the best advice all my Instagram Followers gave me so thank you guys!
Yes, We hired help!
So many of you were concerned about me not having help and sent me such heartfelt messages on Instagram DM - thank you! ☺️ So let me tell you what happened.
The next day at home I attempted making chai for myself and I was in a lot of pain just standing... don't know what I was thinking. My husband and I were both overwhelmed and realized we would need help, especially because he still needed to work. Thankfully, my mother-in-law has an amazing network and found someone who was nice, trustworthy, and experienced with kids. We hired her that evening and call her, "Aunty".
The days following I was taking strong prescription meds and still experienced a lot of pain bending down, getting in and out of bed, and on top of that, I had a baby to care for. Taking the baby out of the bassinet was challenging, but my husband helped me out a lot. During this time, I took it easy. I wasn't going up and down the stairs, I wasn't lifting anything heavy (except my baby), I got a lot of rest, I tried to take naps when my baby napped.
Both my mom and mother-in-law made me panjiri and gave me other items to snack on to help me heal faster. The best advice I received from my sister was to keep a bottle of water, panjiri, and snacks by my bedside because of lack of time. I didn't quite understand what she meant until I had a baby and realized even sparing 5 minutes was sometimes impossible.
The Aunty we hired made me chai each morning and whatever else I wanted. I requested her to make me simple foods such as daliya with milk and almonds, roti and subzi with not too many spices. I just ate simple foods that were easy on my stomach.
I finally did the inevitable. I used the bathroom to move my bowels and it was painful, very painful. That hospital food took a toll on me. I have to make sure I drink enough water to avoid painful bowel movements. Additionally, a stool softener such as Colace is helpful.
I started feeling a little better. I lowered my prescription usage slightly. I attempted to make chai for myself which was nice because you guys know I really love my chai. I also made some for Aunty, and she loved it so much she told Sanjiv, "Nisha makes really good chai." Lol. So now, I make the three of us chai every afternoon.
My pain was down to a 3-4. I stopped taking all prescription meds and took Tylenol as needed. It felt good to see my body heal from surgery. It's amazing what a woman's body goes through during pregnancy and after.
Follow-Up 2 Week Appointment
My 2-week follow-up appointment went well. The tape over my stitches was removed. My doctor said I was healing well, but there was a chance my scar could darken. He gave me a cream to use to help lighten the scar, hoping it will work. Additionally, the area around my scar feels numb. After speaking to friends of mine who have had a C-Section, it's quite possible the sensation around the stomach may return after some time or never return.
Lastly, I was advised to take it easy as I still have some pain and to not workout until my 6-week follow-up.
Well, that's my birth story. I was so not expecting to give birth on December 16, but I guess your body just knows when it's time and when a baby will be safer in the outside world than inside the womb.
It is absolutely amazing what a woman's body can do and the way it snaps back to its pre-pregnancy shape (eventually). To be honest, I am so happy I had a C-Section because I really don't think I would have been able to handle a Vaginal delivery. God gives you what you can handle. To each their own. I've discussed this with both sides and I know people who have had vaginal who have said they would never be able to endure a C-section, and I've talked to those who have had a C-Section who have said it's way better than vaginal. I didn't have much of a choice in this matter since my baby was breached, but if I had a choice, I would have still wanted a C-section. Thankfully, it all worked out for me.
Sanjiv and I are so so so blessed and thankful Krish is here safe and sound! God is great!