Once in theatre, your doctor and other medical team members around you will be focused on their own tasks. It can give both the mother and father a huge amount of relief to have someone truly focused on their well-being and immediately able to answer any questions about all the strange sensations that go along with surgery.
Having had a c-section myself, I remember clearly how vulnerable I felt laying naked on the operating table with so many people around me – all of them very busy! My partner was with me but was equally helpless to understand what was going on or explain it – and while my wonderful doctor was busy with her work, she was hardly in a position to really offer support over the top of the screen and from behind a surgical mask (which made hearing anything she said almost impossible).
I was surprised to realise just how much of what was going on that I could actually feel, and I could even still manage to move my toes despite the spinal anesthesia. There was a lot of tugging and movement, along with a big drop in my blood pressure, and perhaps the oddest sensation was when a great deal of pressure was applied to my stomach but I only felt the pressure up towards my shoulders. I was quite terrified at this point!
When providing doula care to someone during a c-section, I am continuously checking in with the mother as to what she’s feeling. For the father, I make sure he’s not feeling too overwhelmed by all that’s going on – especially if he’s someone who is a bit squeamish around blood (which is about 95% of the Dad’s I’ve met so far). Some fathers who are particularly squeamish have chosen not to go into theatre at all and are relieved that someone close to the mother can still support her.