For Moms

How to Stay Calm In An Emergency C-Section

I was your typical first-pregnancy mom.

My hospital bag was packed weeks in advance, my ‘labor songs’ playlist was made and I had briefed my husband on exactly how I wanted things to go.

I spent hours each day watching other women’s’ labor videos, I learned about the stages of labor, and all the technical names for absolutely everything.

But I must admit, every time I found myself on a video of a c-section, I would always skip it.

“I want a real labor,” I told myself, I never ever imagined I’d end up in an emergency c-section.

An emergency c-section is when a decision is made to quickly perform a cesarean section during childbirth. This is due to immediate concern for the health of the mother and/or baby.

The Beginning of My Labor

My son’s due date was approaching and I was feeling sore, tired, and optimistic to get this baby out and in my arms. I woke up every morning wondering if this would be the special day and went to bed every night excited that I was one day closer.

Until one morning I woke up and felt different.

I was usually woken up by kicks in my ribs but this time I felt nothing.

I was fearful of the worst but told myself to relax and simply go to the hospital, there’s no need to worry when he might just be asleep, I kept telling myself.

On arrival at the hospital, they strapped me up to the monitor and all that I could feel was relief.

My baby’s heart was beating away and they said that he was just ‘super sleepy’ that day.

After discussion with the doctors, we decided that I would be induced just to double-check that baby was all good.

FINALLY! I thought.

After 9 months of waiting, here it is! I’m about to meet my little treasure!

I called my family and everyone eagerly awaited my son. My husband got the house ready and we all felt super optimistic.

Quick sidenote, if you’re looking for ideas for how to prepare for your little one, have a look at these:

So I knew that inductions weren’t always quick, but by day 3 I was exhausted, tired, and just wanted him out. I was progressing very slowly but things were looking up.

That was until the alarm went off.

All I heard was a loud siren-sounding noise and numbers of doctors running into my room. I turned around to the monitor and saw my baby’s heart rate dropping.

Dizzy on gas and air, I managed to get a few words out, “What is going on?”.

Panicked and confused I could do nothing but cry. I was glad to hear that his heart rate went back to normal, but I was nervous about what just happened and that it may happen again.

How I Learned to Stay Calm

Seeing my husband look so calm was what kept me calm. He reminded me that our little one would be okay, and of all the reasons why I didn’t need to panic (which you’ll find at the end of this post).

Even though that sounded completely IMPOSSIBLE to do given the circumstances, somehow I managed to loosen up a bit.

I knew that there was a change in me because when the same thing happened all over again, I wasn’t frantically crying, I was able to rest and just trust that my son would be okay.

Minutes passed and I was rushed down to the operating room where my son was out safe and sound. He let out the sweetest little cry, and I nursed him as soon as I could.

Side note: Here is where to find out my top 10 foods to eat while breastfeeding.

All the panic was over, and the stress was all behind me. The superhero medical team saved my son and I slowly began my recovery.

I know this sounds like a fairytale, and to be honest it does sound a little surreal in my head too! But here are the tips that kept me during this emotional rollercoaster! I hope this helps you!

Tips for Staying Calm in An Emergency C-Section

1. Remember that Your Emergency C-Section is Not Your Fault

I think it’s a typical mom thing to always look for what we could have done differently.

You may have thoughts whizzing through your mind like,

“Could I have eaten healthier, or did more exercise?”

“Is this because I didn’t push properly?”

“Should I have chosen a different form of pain relief, or not have taken it at all?”

It’s perfectly normal for us to try to find ways to blame ourselves, it’s simply what we do when we don’t understand why things are happening.

But you need to remember that this was an emergency situation and more often than not, it was unexpected. There probably wasn’t anything you could do to avoid or prevent it either.

When those thoughts occur just remind yourself that this is NOT your fault, and try your best to remain calm and trust that things will work out in the end!

2. Trust In Your Medical Team

It’s crazy to think that a person’s job could be to cut out babies all day – but it honestly is!

These medical professionals are very skilled in what they do. Not only have they studied for YEARS to be qualified to operate on you, but they have also probably done this same procedure many, many times before.

Trust that they know what they are doing and this will definitely help you to worry less during your emergency c-section!

3. Ask Questions

Asking questions during an emergency c-section can sometimes feel impossible.

With everyone rushing (and sometimes panicking), you may be struggling to even get a word in.

But despite this, asking questions is one of the best ways to calm yourself down in a situation like this.

Most of our worries are usually due to a lack of understanding. Or simply ‘hearing about something’ – which may not even be true.

Be sure to ask questions before, during, and even after your emergency c-section. Your voice matters!

4. Breathe

Who said breathing is only for labor? It certainly isn’t!

Research has shown that mindful breathing is an effective way to relax your nervous system and reduce your stress.

Even doing this for only a few minutes has shown to be effective!

So don’t throw out those breathing techniques just yet! Simply inhale for a count of 4, then exhale for a count of 8, and you’ll see your heart rate return to normal!

5. Live In the Moment, While Thinking of the Good Things Ahead

Don’t forget that this is STILL your special day.

Whether you’re hollering, screaming, and pushing, or you’re being wheeled into the theater room, your little bundle of joy is about to be born!

No matter the situation, there is always a reason to be grateful, even if it may seem insignificant to everyone else. Here are some of the things that I was grateful for, you might relate to a few!

  • I was grateful that my medical team were able to get me to the theater quickly and on time
  • That my medical team were so thorough and spotted the warning signs early enough
  • I was grateful that my husband was super supportive and so calming throughout the whole process
  • Also, that I would see my little bundle of joy in just a few minutes
  • And even though these may seem insignificant, I was grateful that the room wasn’t too cold, and that I was pain-free for a few hours

I could honestly go on forever! But I was grateful for both the little and the big things and you can do this too!

Be intentional about focussing on the positive aspects every time a worrying thought comes to your mind. This will help you to stay joyful, even in an unexpected emergency c-section!

Emergency c-sections occur every day and it is so important to learn how to relax and stay calm throughout this hectic process.

Plus, staying calm throughout your emergency c-section will allow you to fully soak in the birth of your little bundle of joy, in spite of the crazy circumstances.

This is your chance to focus your thoughts on your journey to recovery and feeling like ‘you’ again! My top must-haves for an easy c-section recovery, helped me!

Congratulations on the birth of your baby, mama!

No matter which method you used to bring your little miracle into the world, you’ve done a great job! Be sure to rest and enjoy your time with your sweet baby!

Don’t forget to share this with another mom who may need it!


Carolyn is a stay-at-home mom who runs a blog called Mama's Serenity. She discusses all things motherhood-related - from postpartum tips to activities for kids, she has it covered! She aims to tackle the many stresses of motherhood with practical tips and encouragement while connecting with moms in the process!

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