I am now 9 weeks post-delivery of my second baby, and I feel like I am still recovering in a small way from my second C-Section. I’m sure all of you have heard about caesareans and that they are “major abdominal surgery”, and even having been through it twice, I still forget that this is the case! I have been extremely lucky with my recovery on both occasions, I lost minimal blood during the surgery, regained feeling pretty quickly, and was discharged home after 48 hours (the second time round, they tried to send me home after 24 hours, I told them where to go when this was suggested…).
This may be an ‘overshare’ moment but this time round I have been left with a pretty strange sensation over my stomach, it started off numb, now it is is just consistently tingly?! On some occasions I can get a little bit of pain (eg. when my belt digs in slightly) but nothing that is very noticeable really! My fitness is heading back to where it was beforehand but whether I regain tone in my abdomen? We shall see over time! I also have been left with the very strange side effect of not feeling like I need to wee… Every few hours I have to remind myself that it would probably be a good idea to go to the loo as my body no longer tells me?! Luckily, no accidents have occured as of yet…
Anyway, for anybody planning a caesarean birth (or not planning – still read! You never know..), here are the lessons I learnt, hopefully they may be of some help:
- When in the theatre there will be A LOT of people, hopefully lovely people if your experience is similar to mine, so talk to them (just maybe not during important moments like the spinal)! They are there for you, to put you at ease and to talk you through everything. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, if it helps you then do it. And if you feel anything out of the ordinary then tell them, they can fix it – I felt very nauseous both times and within a minute of telling them, it was gone!
- The rules are different in all hospitals but try and get your skin to skin (if that’s what you’d like) as soon as you get out of theatre. There are many myths with breastfeeding and c-sections about it taking longer, I personally didn’t have any issues, both babies fed straight away so try not to stress about this beforehand and just take it as it comes after.
- If the pain relief they are providing isn’t hitting the spot, there is always something stronger you can have, ask for it. Don’t try and grin and bear the pain.
- When you first get out of bed take it slowly, don’t feel pressured or rushed, if you’re not ready then wait.
- There is the C-Section pain, then there is the trapped wind (I know, soz for the detail) – ouch! I hate the stuff myself, but peppermint tea works so hold your nose and down it! The midwife also gave me some peppermint syrup (or something along those lines) which really helped.
- You know those GORGEOUS paper pants everybody tells you to pack in your hospital bag? Well, yeah, they’re kind of great for c-section mummies. Normal pants tend to sit riiiiight where your scar is so it’ll be a few weeks until you will feel comfortable in them again. Either that, or take those huge maternity pants with you!
- This may just have been me, but I was very naive in thinking that with a C-Section there would be minimal bleeding down there. Wrong. Be prepared.
- Accept any help on offer with moving, turning over etc. When in hospital they should help with lifting baby if you need it, just ask!
- TAKE IT SLOW. I ended up having a late night visit to the hospital 1 week post-op as I genuinely thought I had torn something inside by trying to sit up from lying flat without using anything to help me. The pain was indescribable and definitely taught me a lesson in not to rush.
- Keep your scar clean, just use water, don’t touch it and don’t pick it! These days (god I sound like my mum saying that) the size of the wound is so small. I would say I’m not sure how they get a baby out of that opening but then I think about the alternative birth option…
- Don’t over do it, but do try and get out to stretch your legs, you will feel better for it.
- By about week 3 you will start to feel like you are getting back to normal; the ‘rule’ is that you don’t drive for 6 weeks but if you feel up to it then don’t keep yourself stuck in the house, a quick call to your insurance to confirm they are happy if you’re happy and you’re freeeee! (My insurance genuinely said that it’s up to me, they’d only really care if I’d lost a limb…ok, thanks then).
- Yes, you will probably get the infamous tummy ledge above your scar. No, it doesn’t matter, be proud.
I know people who have had amazing caesarean experiences, and not so amazing. Who have delivered naturally and taken a lot longer to recover. And those who have been so scared of their delivery resulting in a c-section. All I can say is that if you have the chance to prepare then don’t panic (easier said than done, coming from the girl who cried with fear both times), and if you are aiming for a natural birth but are preparing for any outcome, then don’t panic. It may not be ideal, but if your baby arrives safely in the world then so what if you have to put your feet up for a few weeks?!
All the love,