1. Ask your doctor for a spinal or epidural anesthetic so you can be awake for the birth.
2. Have your partner sit next to you at the head of the operating table. If he’s hesitant, remind him that the actual procedure takes place behind a sterile curtain. He won’t see anything upsetting.
3. Ask your obstetrician to lift baby high enough so you can see him or her right after delivery. It is a beautiful sight to see your newborn lifted “up and out” during a cesarean birth.
4. Immediately after your baby is delivered and quickly checked over (temperature, breathing and pulse, and heart rates are stable) ask that baby be brought to you to be held and hugged. You may need some help since you may be a bit groggy and one arm may be immobilized for an intravenous. This mother- father-baby bonding time, though brief, is an ideal time for pictures, and the anesthesiologist or attending pediatrician will often act as photographer for you.
5. While your uterus and abdomen are being stitched closed (this takes about 30 minutes) and the operation completed, your husband should accompany baby to the nursery so he or she will not be alone with strangers. This extra father- baby bonding time will have a deep impact on both of them.
6. To decrease postoperative pain, ask your anesthesiologist about using a long-acting analgesic called Duramorph , given in the anesthetic tubing. This do-it-yourself analgesia, called “patient-controlled analgesia” (PCA), is set up so you can administer your own medication through your intravenous. Just turn the pump on and off, as you need relief. This medication is safe for your breastfeeding baby.
7. In most cases baby can be brought to your bedside within an hour or two of surgery. If your husband or a nurse is present in the room and baby is healthy, it’s even possible for a cesarean-birthed baby to room in with mother. The best postoperative “pain reliever” is an “injection” of baby in your arms.