Soon you may feel a fair amount of painless prodding, which means the baby is being moved into position. This part is not all that different from a vaginal birth, at least for the doctor. "I have to reach my hand underneath the baby's head to form a cradle so I can pull the head out," explains Amy Moore, MD, an ob-gyn in New York City. Because the mother can't push, she says, "I push the top of the uterus and elevate the head out of the pelvis, getting the shoulders and body to follow."
Before you know it, there will be a baby in the room. From the time the incision is made, the baby can be delivered in as little as two minutes or as long as half an hour, depending on the circumstances. Usually you get to see your baby before he's whisked away for care. Now the spotlight moves off you as all those people across the room clean your baby, administer the APGAR test, and place him in the "warmer," which has radiant heat above it and keeps the baby's body temperature steady.
Once the baby has been given a clean bill of health, the obstetrician comes back to close you up -- the most complex part of the c-section. "It's like putting together a puzzle," says Dr. Wigglesworth. The uterus is stitched up, the outer layers are realigned, and the skin is closed, either with dissolving stitches (which take longer to put in) or staples (which require removal a few days later).
You'll have a few minutes with your partner to marvel or cry or settle on your baby's name. You may experience nausea or a bout of the shakes (for which medical science has no explanation). You'll spend the next hour or so in the recovery room. You'll have a heart monitor and an oxygen saturation monitor attached to your finger. You will feel your legs coming back to life, sometimes gradually, sometimes in spurts. As the anesthesia wears off, you may feel itchy all over for a while; if it gets bad, you'll be offered an antihistamine.