**This post is not to replace any professional medical advice. This is solely my story on my own experiences with a c-section**
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If you’ve read my story about my pregnancy with Bradley, you know that his birth did not go AT ALL like I had planned or envisioned it in my head. To save time and energy, I won’t retell the same story, but if you’re interested you can read about it [HERE].
As I’m sure you can tell by the title of this post, I ended up having a C-Section with Bradley. With all my research regarding labor and childbirth, I didn’t really see anything regarding what it was like after you’ve had a C-Section and the recover process. Granted, I was originally determined to have him naturally without any medication (HA!) so there is a good chance that I didn’t see anything, simply because I wasn’t looking for that information. Regardless, I still think it is helpful to know what to expect regardless of the birthing method you’re planning on because until it happens, you won’t know how it’s going to go.
Long story short, after Bradley was born, I was first carted back to the room we had spent the previous night in. I had a nurse taking all my vitals and administering drugs (yay for pain killers) all while another nurse came in with Bradley – my husband following right behind – to start breastfeeding (I’ll include that process in another post). I want to say we were in there for about a half an hour until we were transported to a much smaller room in the ‘New Mother’ wing of the Hospital. It was probably closer to 8:30pm at night and technically after visiting hours, but the nurses were wonderful about letting immediate family in to see our new bundle of joy.
I was on cloud 9 (probably because of the pain killers) and despite my visible exhaustion, I had no problem staying awake holding my little boy. This came in handy since nursing sessions were every 2-3 hours and he wouldn’t let me forget it. After a little while I realized I was really itchy in my face which I later found out was due to the pain killers used in the procedure (don’t worry, that itchiness didn’t last more than an hour or two).
Since my husband
fell asleep racked out; leaving me stranded in the hospital bed holding our baby and unable to go to sleep, I did have the nurse take Bradley to the nursery for a couple of hours. As much as I loved holding him and wanted him near me at all times, it is important to rest and let your body begin to think about healing itself after all it’s been through.
Remember, feedings are every 2-3 hours, so he definitely wasn’t gone long. Luckily enough, I still had so much adrenaline in my system that I hardly FELT tired during our hospital stay. I wanted nothing more than to be with Bradley.
I stayed in that bed for a full 24 hours before the nurse was ok to let me up and help me to the shower. A big part of that was making sure that I was getting enough fluids. I was hooked up to a catheter for the procedure since my entire lower body was numb after the Epidural. Once they were sure I was getting enough fluids (aka peeing frequent enough), that was when I started getting disconnected from certain things and was able to get up and moving.
The first time getting up is a doosey. Regardless of how you give birth, you will still have a belly except now it will FEEL empty. It will feel empty and heavy and just awkward in general. I think this is what I hated the most. The best advise I can give when it comes to moving again is DO NOT ENGAGE YOUR ABS. Use your hands to sit up, I would spread my knees to help me scoot forward, JUST DONT. USE. YOUR. ABS.
Any sneezing, coughing, even laughing at first, can send a sharp pain in that area. 1. It hurts, and 2. You don’t want to put stress on those new stitches. Again, that big empty belly makes even walking feel awkward. I was given the option of a belly band and I tried it, but I hated it so I opted away from it. I didn’t even want to stand up straight with or without the band, but finally getting a shower in felt wonderful. I did notice rather quickly after taking my first little lap around the room that my feet and legs which had never shown any sign of swelling all through pregnancy, were now swollen and my ankle had basically disappeared so don’t be surprised if this happens.
Now, I hate to break it to you, but a lot of recovery after a C-section is the same as if you gave birth naturally. You’ll most likely still bleed (I did for 6 weeks) although it may not be as heavy and your muscles are going to be basically non-existent; unless you are one of those ladies who has been working out that entire duration (don’t worry, I’m jealous and envious of you girls).
When we were discharged, I was carted downstairs in a wheel chair (thank heaven because walking was still miserable). I HIGHLY suggest a pillow or something to hold in front of you for the drive home. Any and every little bump or crack in the road you will feel from your insides shifting inside that hollow belly.
When I got home, I needed help up the 2 steps to our house so if you live in a multi-level house, I wouldn’t plan on going up and down those steps a whole lot for the first couple days.
I know a lot of the information I’ve presented has been rather negative and daunting if you’re sitting here reading it while your little one kicks up against your belly. Ultimately, the incision didn’t bug me, in fact I don’t have any feeling surrounding the scar. So long as you are conscious of not utilizing your abs when you move, the incision and that healing process will go smoothly.
My issues were in the empty belly feeling that I was not prepared for. I knew my belly would still be around and I wouldn’t snap-back to be pre-pregnancy jeans right away. I just wasn’t prepared to feel hollow with every movement. Although I did not like the belly band, I suggest trying it. Just because I found it to be uncomfortable, doesn’t mean you will and you may actually really enjoy it.
Despite being cut open and trying to heal on VERY little sleep, I felt back to normal about 2 weeks postpartum and was off of all my pain meds. When I say normal, I mean that I was able to move around the house at a normal pace again and it didn’t take me 2 minutes to change positions from sitting to standing. The area was still tender and I refrained from really utilizing my abs until around my postpartum check up.
I hope this helps answer some of those concerns you may have. If you have any questions or something you’d like to add, feel free to comment below!