Most expectant fathers have a good idea of what to expect during a vaginal delivery thanks to its many depictions in film and television, but few could tell you much about what happens during a c-section. I certainly was unprepared for what laid ahead of me before my wife gave birth to our first child, Madeline, via emergency c-section. Looking back today, there are eight things I wish I’d known then.
Since the c-section happens in the operating room, dads are required to wear scrubs and a surgical mask. There’s no need to strip down to one’s skivvies to put these on. Instead, dads should just wear them over their regular clothes.
Dads sit beside their wife’s head and are separated from the operation by a curtain. The doctor will say when it’s time to stand and see your baby, but it’s best not to do so beforehand. I made that mistake and was disturbed to see my wife’s abdomen clamped wide open!
It’s normal for a fair amount of blood to end up on the floor during surgery, so dads shouldn’t worry. Again, this is normal and not a sign that things are going wrong.
Once the baby is born things unfold similarly to a vaginal birth from a dad’s perspective. The baby will be cleaned up, weighed, and dads will get a chance to cut the umbilical chord.
There’s no need to be be intimidated by the operating room. Dads should take photos as freely as if they were in a regular delivery room.
After the baby is born the mom remains in the operating room a while longer to be stitched back together. During this time dads accompany the baby to the recovery room. Don’t let this throw you, dads. Keep bonding and taking photos to show your wife later.
My wife’s body shook violently for a number of hours after her first c-section. This is a common reaction to the epidural. Stay calm, dads!
I didn’t realize just how much time my wife would need to recover from her c-section, but in hindsight it made sense since she’d just had surgery. Dads should be ready to take the lead in caring for their baby and wife in those early days.