Mel Bremner bent down to pick up the shampoo in the shower when she saw her guts spill out of her – five days after giving birth.
The 38-year-old managed to hobble to the sofa with the help of her partner Aidan Johnson, who immediately called 999 for an ambulance.
Mel, who admits she has a high pain threshold, posed for the photo before she was airlifted to hospital.
Mel, a waitress from Macduff, Aberdeenshire, said: "I'd only been in for a couple of minutes and I bent down to get the shampoo.
"I don't remember if I felt it happen or saw it happen first, but my intestines were slipping out of my stomach. I put my hands underneath to catch it.
"I realised if I shouted out it would put pressure on my stomach, and that if I shout it will all fall out, so I was just trying to call out calmly to Aidan.
"It was all gurgling around and moving. It was awful."
"I was sitting there thinking 'oh my god I'm holding my intestines'. It was quite creepy."
Mel had her emergency C-section on December 9, 2011.
She was overdue and medics intervened after realising she wasn't dilating despite their best efforts to kick-start labour.
The op at Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin went smoothly, and she was soon allowed home with her daughter Nadie.
Mel said her wound and dressing were inspected before she left hospital, and she was deemed well enough to go home with Aidan, an off-shore engineering consultant.
I don’t remember if I felt it happen or saw it happen first, but my intestines were slipping out of my stomach. I put my hands underneath to catch it
But four days after giving birth he noticed two "white blobs" – now thought to be fat – but they didn't suspect anything was wrong.
A day later, while she was in the shower, the unthinkable happened and Mel was left holding her own intestines.
"When I look at that photo I remember sitting there and my stomach and insides were literally in my hands," she said.
"Everyone was asking me 'what have you been doing?' but I wasn't doing anything I shouldn't have – I was just having a shower."
Aidan calmly led her from the shower to the sofa in the living room, and covered her with a towel while they waited for paramedics to arrive.
"I don't think the woman on the end of the phone believed him really," Mel said.
"I was sat there holding my insides the whole time. I daren't move my hands."
She had surgery and after a couple of days in hospital was home again.
The couple said the c-section consultant later speculated he had cut the end of the thread too short while stitching her up, or not tied the knot tight enough.
Mel later had daughters Allie, now four, and Robyn, now three, by c-section, despite the traumatic experience with Nadie, now seven.
She added: "If Aidan had panicked I think I would have too, but he was brilliant and calm."
The first-time mum shared the image on parenting site ChannelMum.com to dispel the myth that C-sections are an "easy" option for women.
"People think they are an easy way out, but it's really not," she said.
"It's major surgery, but they don't tell you that at the time. They just tell you 'take it easy' and away you go home.
"I think after giving birth you are sort of expected to get up and get on with it.
"People are always telling you to take it easy but you just say 'I'm fine'."
A spokesperson for Dr Gray's Hospital declined to comment.
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