Whether a cesarean surgery was in the cards for you or not, it’s ok to say it…it sucks. Your doctor cut through seven layers and moved several organs aside just to get to your baby! There was a lot of tugging for me as well, I’ve heard that can be pretty standard.
For me it wasn’t in the cards and I REALLY didn’t want one. Some ladies do and that’s perfectly fine. But I wanted to avoid surgery as I knew it can be a rougher process taking care of a newborn if you yourself are impaired.
This being my first baby, I got all the insight and recommendations from everyone, I did the best I could with preparing mentally and physically. I was that first time mom who had a birth plan (or guide as I liked to call it because birth is just like weddings, they never go according to plan) and in bold letters towards the top was 1. No c-section! I mean c’mon, I even made padsicles…I’d been wanting to make them since I was a teen. I think they’re actually still in my freezer, should probably get rid of them.
Anyways long story short I ended up having Polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid) and with some unexpected complications came an unexpected C-section. But I will say, for it not being part of my birth plan or wishes, it went as well as it could have and we have a healthy baby boy due to science and medicine and for that I’m grateful!
As far as recovery goes…who else was just prescribed Tylenol and hydrocodone? They must think we’re superhuman or something I swear! My surgery was around 3pm and I didn’t get up to walk until the next day. But some mamas? They’re up and walking shortly after! Insane and props to them! Even with pain meds I remember being in so much pain. It wasn’t bad just lying in the bed, but walking, using the bathroom or showering were a chore, lemme tell ya. It’s a very vulnerable feeling in your postpartum body having your husband help you shower, the most mundane tasks feel overwhelming and impossible without help.
I know my doctor wanted me up and walking as soon as I could to prevent blood clots, I think (probably for other reasons as well), and of course…to let them know when you passed gas. So embarrassing, but I guess when you get opened up like that air can get trapped so they want to make sure everything is working well before letting you leave. (I am in no way a medical professional so sorry if I’m wrong! This is just what my understanding of the situations were as they were explained to me)
I had staples in addition to sutures so the staples were removed before we left the hospital, we were there for two days. They felt funny having them removed but didn’t hurt like I thought they would.
Fast forward to home, I had to walk very slowly, and needed help getting on the bed or the couch. The couch was easier as it’s lower, but the bed I remember being quite a challenge. Even with a little stool it was hard to avoid making any kind of movement that affected my mid-section down to my hips. The Tylenol and Hydrocodone that I mentioned earlier did nothing for me, the Tylenol took the edge off but otherwise there wasn’t much relief provided. To be honest with you I feel like women’s healthcare has some serious flaws in many ways, but that’s a conversation for another time.
Rest was the biggest thing that helped honestly. I remember moving better every day even if I was still slow. I knew I was heading in the right direction.
I was sent home with a belly compression band as well and man, let me tell you, this was a lifesaver! For the first few days I relied on it all the time. I even tried to take it off to sleep but it was still uncomfortable, so I even slept with it on. It sounds counterintuitive to compress a surgical site, but it really made me so much more comfortable. I highly recommend getting one but if you have a C-section your hospital might give you one anyways.
Everyone is different but for me, the vulva area was perfectly normal and I didn’t need a peri bottle or ice pack etc.. I just had to keep my incision clean with regular showers.
I did have a lot of bleeding, but this is very common with any birth, surgical or not. So adult underwear and maxi pads were a must!
I wasn’t told about it until I experienced it, but the area under my belly button feels odd, almost like it’s numb. I had no idea that was a thing, but I guess it makes sense with the tugging and cutting of layers and nerves they did. It’s still so weird and it’s the only thing that bothers me currently. I’ve heard with time it can fade, but I’ve also heard it might stay like that. It’s not a huge deal either way, but just something to prepare for if you have a C-section.
So rest, shower, walk, medicine that the doctor gives you, and a heating pad are things that helped me the most! I know mama, it can be so hard recovering but I remember in roughly two weeks or less I was feeling more like myself. I know how hard it can be to learn breastfeeding as well. I remember crying one night because I hurt so much from the surgery and my nipples hurt at the same time. But as with surgery, your nipples become used to breastfeeding if your baby latches correctly. It was soon quite painless and I remember walking into my four-week checkup post-surgery just fine by myself. It gets better, this is just a phase. (Use nipple cream GENEROUSLY all the time) And no two women have the same experience, so please don’t take my experience as set in stone for women everywhere. It’s not!
At my four week check up with my doctor, my scar was healing well but she recommended a product called “Scar Away”. It’s a silicone sticky tape that you put over your scar and it’s supposed to help the look of scars fade. It might’ve helped me a little, but mine is just now beginning to fade on the ends 6 months postpartum.
Like I mentioned earlier, my cesarean wasn’t bad at all. Body changes, hormones and life changes can be a lot on anyone, especially if it wasn’t what you wanted initially. Women are literally rockstars, don’t tell yourself any different mama!