C-section recovery was something I never expected. Funny enough, something my mom also never expected either. Considering it was something I never planned for, it was hard to prepare for my recovery. Regardless, it is almost 4 weeks since they cut me open to bring out my baby. I wanted to share some of the 10 things I wish I knew about c-section recovery and just the postpartum journey in general.
Obviously, throughout my pregnancy, I concentrated and prepared for vaginal birth. I totally did not have it in mind that events would occur which would result in me needing a c-section. Thus, when I was booked for one, I had no much time to prepare for the c-section recovery or postpartum experience. In fact, hours before the operation, I had no idea what to expect.
A c-section is one of the major operations that one can have. A lot of muscles are being pulled apart just to make sure that the baby gets to the world properly. It also has a lot of risks, therefore one ought to be mentally prepared for it.
10 things I wish I knew about c-section recovery
1. Painkillers are Lifesavers
Obviously, for such a major operation, you will need painkillers. But, if you are like me and dismisses medication once you start feeling like human, you get to understand that you are stupid. Four days after my operation, I started feeling so good that I decided to take a break on the meds. By evening, I could hardly move my legs, let alone breath normally.
It was as though my soul was being transported to another soul without my approval. Most of all, you get your guard down to some meds that are hell on their own. Having to insert rectal diclofenac was not the hill I thought I wanted to die on until I had to.
2. Heavy Bleeding
When I was prepping for a vaginal birth, I readied myself for the bleeding that would come after giving birth. When I was booked for a c-section, I thought that the bleeding would not be as heavy during the c-section recovery like it would have been after a natural birth.
It was shocking to see the heavy bleeding for weeks on end. Add that to the fact that I spent nine months without aunt flo, then allover a sudden, it is as though you are bleeding for the whole female species.
The bleeding can get so annoying, especially immediately after the c-section operation. Because someone has to take care of you and change you until you can get functional. Which leads to the next point…
3. You Feel Useless
Once that operation is done, you remain bedridden for about 6 hours. In this time, you can not do much at all. After those hours, you still need someone to take care of you, even bathe you. This can get very uncomfortable, I was glad to have my mum around.
You can not carry anything heavy for weeks, the heaviest thing you are allowed to carry is your baby. It just makes one feel a bit useless, especially if you are used to moving about and doing chores.
Writing has become my pass time to make sure I stay sane as I still am recovering.
4. Dare to Sneeze, Cough or Pass Gas
This is something I was not ready for at all during the c-section recovery. If you dare to sneeze, cough, pass gas, or even do number 2 then you will end up in tears. Or at least on the floor with your hands cradling the part that was cut open.
During either of the four will have you feeling like your wound is reopening. I know most moms who have a vaginal birth have issues with doing number 2, but even a c-section will have you not wanting to go to the toilet for a while.
One thing I learned was to sneeze or cough with your legs crouched to your stomach, this position minimizes the pain.
5. Still Look Pregnant
A vaginal birth will bring your stomach down to a smaller pooch, while a c-section will often make you look six month pregnant. Once you start your c-section recovery, you still will look pregnant. The annoying part is that you feel like your stomach is a balloon filled with air.
Thus, you will still have issues with turning when sleeping and still won’t see your pum for a whole bit. After some days, you will be able to use postpartum belts that hold the stomach in place. However, be content that you will not be able to get your body back in a snap. It will take longer because most exercises are ruled out until after six months.
6. The Weather Matters
Being someone who has undergone surgery before, I knew that any surgical wound hurts when it is cold. I knew for sure that if it ended up being cold, I would need to cover up to make sure that the wound is undisturbed. What I did not know was that if it is extremely hot, the wound hurts still.
It still feels like it is being reopened. Sweat, which is salty, has that effect on it too. So, always make sure you have it dressed even when you think you do not need to.
7. Breastfeeding Might Take Time
It is every pregnant woman’s dream that they get to give birth and immediately breastfeed. Okay, maybe not every woman’s dream, but it definitely was mine.
I got frustrated that I had no milk coming out of my breasts after the unplanned c-section. Although they still asked me to breastfeed so that the baby can stimulate production, I still felt like I was failing the little guy.
Colostrum only started coming after two days, and it still bothered me.
8. Walking is Good
Walking is something that helped me a lot, it relieved some pain of the operation. Even the doctors made sure to constantly remind me to make sure to take walks. Walking on flat surfaces and not hilly surfaces or steps.
It definitely helped with the constipation.
9. Breast Engorgement
Before the first time I had engorged breasts, I had never heard of it before. But Lord, was the first time a way to know. Having my boobs swelled up and hurting that bad was something I did not plan for.
Hot towels did help a bit, so far, I would say that I am used to the feeling. Although it does come as a surprise each time.
I know I did talk about the heavy bleeding, but damn, the cramps that come after a c-section are out of this world.
This is a sign that the uterus is getting back to its place. The cramps are often sharp and strong. Which makes point number one important, painkillers for the rescue.
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