First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes c-section, baby, c-section recovery, and then a baby carriage. In continuation of this past post, I want to go over what to expect during the c-section recovery.
The first night: It’s rough since you can’t move around a lot, I slept with my head elevated at a 45 degree angle for two weeks after the surgery, since it felt most comfortable for me, I was a bit scared of lying flat with the stitches. The good thing is you don’t have to get up to pee since the catheter is still in there the first night. The best thing you can do for yourself is to take the pain medication, as scheduled, around the clock. Don’t wait for the pain to start…take it every 4 (in my case for Percocet) and 6 (in my case for Ibuprofen) hours. I did this for 2 weeks, and I was in very little pain as a result.
The morning after: I slept relatively well; I didn’t have the baby in the room with me since he was in the Special Care Nursery. They take out the catheter in the morning, and I was really nervous, but for nothing since I didn’t feel anything when it was removed. Getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom was another story, you don’t realize just how much you use your abdominal muscles for every little movement. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, and use your leg muscles for sitting up and down. The nurse was standing nearby, but thankfully, I felt strong enough to do everything myself. I was afraid it would burn when peeing the first time. It didn’t.
Moving around: I only used the wheelchair once. Walking back and forth, even at a snails pace worked best for me. Sitting and standing is a challenge, but slow and steady is the way to go. Holding and feeding the baby hurts too, but you are so focused on the baby, you don’t really pay attention to the pain. Use the band to support abdominal muscles, it really does help, and just having the belt there reassured me that my guts wouldn’t be spilling out. I didn’t shower until the second day, but the warm water feels really good, I would have done it on the first day had I known. Make sure to wash the stitches with soap to keep them clean and to use a soft towel to thoroughly dry the area as well.
Have someone stay with you to help if you can. You need more help than you think, and it gets pretty lonely in the hospital. I wasn’t lucky enough because hubby had to work and I didn’t have family available nearby.
Breastfeeding: Since Lil Z was a preemie, he would only suck a little bit and fall asleep. So I had to pump, pump, pump to get the valuable colostrum to him. Don’t be discouraged if you pump and nothing comes out. Stick to it! It took me over 24 hours before I saw the little droplets of milk coming out.
Bowel movement: Yeah, not a pretty topic, but it takes a couple of days before you can go. Make sure to eat some fruit, drink some prune juice, have some fiber and it will be smooth sailing. While we are on the subject, you will get gas that can cause painful cramps, keep moving, and take Simethicone, you’ll be glad you did.
Swollen feet: Day two after surgery my feet had grown to elephant proportions, which threw me for a loop since I didn’t get swollen feet during pregnancy. It’s all the extra water they pump in you from the IV. Keep your feet propped up, use 2 to 3 pillows, and be patient, it took me one week to get my feet back to normal.
Holding baby: Just make sure you are comfortable and have lots of pillows and are in a good position. No better pain therapy than counting the little one’s fingers and toes.
Laughing: No one told me this, but you feel your insides are going to rip when you laugh. I discovered that 9 days after my surgery. I also realized that I had been so preoccupied with baby, I hadn’t laughed for 9 whole days. Just press a pillow against your stomach for relief, but do keep laughing, it’s the best medicine after all.
Baby blues: I had a wicked case of baby blues. It is normal to feel a rollercoaster of emotions. Make sure to take deep breaths, that you have someone nearby to talk to, and don’t feel guilty. Embrace all feelings you have during these special weeks following the baby, it’s part of the beauty of motherhood. However, seek professional help immediately if symptoms worsen.
Pace yourself. Walk slowly, don’t lift anything too heavy, take breaks and try to rest. Don’t forget to eat well. Take it one day at a time, each day feels better than the one before, and though it’s hard to believe at the time, you will be running around in no time. It took me 6 whole weeks before I felt one hundred percent, but just one look at Lil Z had me feeling I was on cloud nine from day one.