An emergency c-section isn’t something you plan for and of course by definition, is something that comes as a final resort. As a dad and husband, I had no idea what to expect as my wife was recovering in the hospital bed after surgery to get the baby out – I kind of wish I had know a bit more, just so I was prepared. So in no particular order, here’s a few inklings into what to expect as a Dad post op.
Nappies become the dad’s responsibility after a c-section. Considering the nature of major surgery, your partner is likely to be pretty incapacitated. I had to learn very quickly how to put a nappy on and how to effectively mop up spilled urine (my methods aren’t conventional so I won’t share). I wasn’t expecting to be burdening the spent nappies, but actually I quite enjoyed the time I got to bond with my boy. It also got me involved really quickly which, looking back, I wouldn’t change for the world.
Following major surgery, insurance companies simply won’t let you drive – having a c-section is no exception. Be prepared to pay back all of those pregnant designated driver favours. It won’t be easy for your partner either – being reliant can make them feel isolated, especially if you return to work.
I like to think I’m pretty domesticated. I can use the washing machine and if I really need to, I can iron a shirt (obviously only when I’ve run out of jumpers). The sheer volume of baby washing steps things up to a different level. With your partner out of action due to not being able to bend, prepare yourself for the onslaught of poo-stained baby vests and onesies. Yes they look cute to begin with, but you don’t feel so sentimental when you dress your child in their third clean outfit of the day at 11am whilst your washing pile builds to Mount Everest heights.
I won’t lie, sleep wasn’t a luxury I was able to indulge in during those first weeks of fatherhood. Feeding can be affected by a c-section, it adds more complications to an already monumental task. Fathers become way more involved in the physical process after a c-section. With the baby’s mum unable to rotate, it’s down to dad to move the baby into a comfortable position and maneuver the little one from crib to boob. Sounds simple, but you’re still needed for the 4am feed, even when you’re back at work!
Emergency c-sections don’t just leave physical scars. As a dad, be prepared for tears and amplified emotions – not just from the mother of your child, but you too. Things can go from happy to sad and back again very quickly. An operation like this is a rollercoaster and it isn’t a nice one – I’m talking Nemesis, not the Tea Cups. In the weeks following the birth, partners need to be physically involved but also emotionally involved, especially if there was a prolonged labour before the surgery.
Just remember, it’s good to talk. Lots of people go through an emergency c-section so make sure you talk to others who have been in a similar situation.