Repeat Cesarean Recovery and My Breastfeeding Attempt

So, my birth story didn’t go the way it was supposed to.  Our picture perfect plan for a VBAC delivery ended in a repeat cesarean.  A repeat cesarean was clearly not what we’d had planned, but it was the safest thing for Eudora, so I’m okay with that.  I have to say, though, that the initial two hours after my repeat cesarean were extremely different from my c-section with Norton.

With Norton, I recovered in the room with him, even though I was too heavily sedated to actually do anything with him.  With Eudora, I was in the recovery unit where people tend to go after minor surgeries.  I remembered being in there with Andy after he had his first surgery on his hand.  I have to say, I was not blissfully bombed out of my mind after her delivery.

No, far from it.

I was trying to wiggle my toes, and concentrating intently on trying to move so that I could go see my daughter.  I started feeling nauseous, but I was bound and determined not to vomit.  I am not a puker by nature.  I’d already thrown up twice that day, and that was far too much for my taste.  But the nausea got worse… and I asked the nurse for a bin.  She gave me a little rectangular card board box thing that was made of the same materials as a fast food drink tray and roughly the same size as a Lean Cuisine microwave meal dish.  And then I tossed whatever was in my tummy.  In the bucket and all over the bed.

She changed me over as I apologized.  And then I threw up again.  And again.  And again.

I’m pretty sure she gave me some kind of anti-emetic through my IV.

I lost count of how many times I threw up in recovery.

Finally, I was able to move enough to leave recovery.  I still felt nauseous as I got rolled into my room….  Motion sickness on top of the nausea from the surgery was terribly not fun.  But I finally got to hold my daughter.  She was perfect and beautiful and mine.

And I threw up a few times.

At least I had a bigger bin to vomit into once I was back in my room.  And I had control over the thermostat; I was so incredibly hot.

The husband and I had discussed the possibility of breastfeeding Eudora this time around.  I absolutely couldn’t with Norton; my mental block against being a breastfeeding mom myself was just far too strong.  I had gotten more comfortable around other people breastfeeding, at least, but I was still not too sure about doing it myself.  And I’d agonized over it in my blog during my pregnancy.  I’d read Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding in hopes of getting myself comfortable with the idea of me being breastfeeding mom.

But the nausea.  I felt awful and had no interest in being a breastfeeding mom for Eudora.  So we gave her formula.

Later in the night, though, Eudora was just screaming and inconsolable.  She’d been fed.  She’d been changed.  She wasn’t cold or too warm.  I couldn’t figure it out.  Out of desperation, I called the nurse.  This nurse rushed in, told me that she was probably crying because she could smell my milk coming in and suggested that I give her to the husband, who was sleeping away in the other bed.  And then she ran off before I could say anything else.  (I found during my stay that this was typical behavior for this nurse.  It bugged the crap out of me.)

I pushed the call button and got a different, more patient nurse who was willing to help.  And the husband woke up.  I asked the nurse if she’d help me get Eudora latched on.  I was completely and utterly clueless about this, and more than a little uncertain and uncomfortable with the idea.

Could I be a breastfeeding mom?

It didn’t take long with the nurse’s help to get Eudora latched.  It took even less time for the nausea to come back with a vengeance.  “I’m going to be sick.  Can you get me a bucket?” I asked, a little panicky as I pulled Eudora away and handed her to the husband.  She gave me the bucket and I threw up.  I didn’t think I had anything left at that point to vomit, but I still managed.

They gave me another anti-emetic.  I continued throwing up, and they’d topped me out on all of the anti-emetics that they could give me at that point.

For days, how much I’d thrown up was a topic of conversation among the nurses.  I heard from nurses who’d been practicing longer than I’d been alive that they were amazed at how much I’d thrown up.

I realized at that point that breastfeeding was not going to work out.  Fortunately, I’ve felt no guilt about that up to this point.  I tried, and I realize that had I pushed it and forced it to continue, it wouldn’t have been a bonding thing.  It would have been a not good thing for me in general.  And that’s okay.  That’s why they make formula.

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Wow! You poor thing! First a struggle to conceive her, then some early labor, then a completely unplanned birth and then the vomitting! If you were not sure you were done before you had her, that may have been enough to change your mind. Good for you for giving breastfeeding a try. We tried briefly with my first and IF we were to have another I think I would go right to formula, not for me either. I am glad you are doing well now and Norton is getting use to being a big brother.

    • Ha, yeah. Nothing about the process was easy at all. But we’ve got our complete family, and that’s what matters!

  2. I’m sorry it was such a rough birth!!!


  1. […] while I was in recovery (and puking my brains out).  She then stayed with us for a bit while I tried to breastfeed (and puked […]

  2. […] thoughts?  I don’t breastfeed.  I tried.  I gave it an effort with Eudora.  And then I threw up.  I couldn’t even try with Norton; it was too distressing to me to even consider it.  I […]

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