C-Section Recovery

Last week’s C-section post was so well received that I wanted to include a few other stories and resources in the series.  The more you know… right?  Today’s post is from Cherie, and I’ll have one more c-section post later this week.  Again, I have no personal experience with the procedure, and I so greatly appreciate the perspectives you all share in the comments.

Guest post from Cherie:

Despite all the time Hubby and I spent in childbirth classes, my eldest was not particularly interested in a change of address. What she was interested in was growing, a lot.

Understand that this is the child who was taller than me at eleven, whose feet once grew five WHOLE shoe sizes in eight months. So when I say she was growing, well, she was growing. For this reason my OB recommended inducing her a couple weeks after my due date. Sadly, eldest decided to just hang tight. Like someone superglued her to my rib cage. By 6am she was starting to have significant stress and a cesarean was decided upon.

There’s no point in discussing specifics – times have changed since then and books do it better. I will tell you that they rocked me back and forth on that table so hard I thought I’d fly off . . . until I had a second c-section I didn’t realize that wasn’t par for the course – eldest really was kind of stuck up there! My other two experiences were similar, except for the rocking ;) My second child was well and truly stressed out, not moving, stuck way on the side with no fluid around him. My sweet, heavily accented OB said, “Well, I think we gonna have a baby today!”  The third time we didn’t even try to plan for a natural birth.

My recovery did not seem difficult to me. I made certain to walk as suggested and I believe that helped me recuperate as quickly as possible. After each surgery I had a number of hours where I just was sleeping off the drugs post birth and really couldn’t function much – Hubby trailed baby along.  I later spoke with a close friend on the day she gave birth I was shocked. She sounded so normal and wonderful that I couldn’t believe it. Her answer? Lack of anesthesia!

So there is a difference, and I am glad I had those extra days in the hospital. The anesthesia was a key component to the negative things about a c-section, for me. Certainly unavoidable but when I had my second and third I made sure to have careful conversation with the anesthesiologist, discussing the difficulties I had in the past; headaches, challenges with regulating my temperature and such, and each time I had a better experience, because drug choices were changed.

If you’d had prior surgical experience, bring up any issues you had with anesthesia before they give you anything and you’ll likely have less issue with recovery.

I know many people have feelings of disappointment regarding a c-section. The truth is that while I didn’t experience these children passing through my birth canal, I don’t feel cheated. What I wanted was to meet them, and to create happy, independent adults.

Kudos to those who enjoyed their birth process, but it’s kind of like a wedding. The quality of the marriage has almost nothing to do with the wedding. The wedding is just a day. The marriage lasts a lifetime. Same for childbirth . . . it’s an experience. Parenting is a lifetime of experiences, good and bad, so there’s no need to feel like you’ve done something wrong simply because circumstances dictate a c-section.

Tips for a Speedy(er) C-section Recovery

There were, however, some differences in my early weeks with baby that you should keep in mind. The recovery made me more tired, I think, than those who had natural childbirth.  If you have a c-section, be even more ready to accept help and nap with baby. Do everything you can to take care of yourself; an infection is not something that will help you enjoy baby-bonding. Don’t push yourself. Remember this, especially, when it’s not your first child . . . by my third c-section I was lifting little people up to my hospital bed within 48 hours – not exactly recommended – but you will need to have some solutions in place to spare your incision if you still have to ‘mama’ bigger kids at home. A stool helps, so they can climb up themselves, and have them pick things up for you for a few weeks too.

Remember, no one goes in hoping for a c-section. But if those are the cards you are dealt, do your best to be flexible and concentrate on healing quickly and well so that you can get down to the main event: getting to know your wonderful new baby. That journey is truly the brass ring.

If you’ve had a c-section, please offer your own tips for a quick recovery.

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Comments

  1. Really, really well-written. Your wedding analogy is spot-on. Thank you!

  2. Love your comparison that birth is “like a wedding”. How it all starts is much less important than what we do every day. Congrats to you and your little ones, and thank you for posting.

  3. Amy Clark says:

    I had three births – two cesarean. The first c-section I was unprepared for, had no help, and a 16 month non-walker at home. I ended up with medical complications and severe depression. The second c-section, I was prepared for both mentally and physically. I knew what to expect and had help set up for eight weeks after I returned home – something I was so thankful to God for. I healed in no time (compared to the first), and was mentally fresh and ready when the help was finally over. What a difference!! Knowing what to expect and having help ready is what I would recommend to anyone preparing for a c-section, or preparing for birth in general, since you never know what will happen!!

  4. My ob gave me an elastic support tube to wear for a few weeks afterwards. Like the elastic material you’d use to wrap a sprained ankle, but in a tube. I wore it from hip to tummy and found it great for supporting my sore abdominal muscles, supporting my back, and reducing pulling and stretching at my scar – so I had less pain – and it let me get back to being active and walking more. I definitely recommend one.

  5. Thank you for these lines “Kudos to those who enjoyed their birth process, but it’s kind of like a wedding. The quality of the marriage has almost nothing to do with the wedding. ” I had my c-section 6 1/2 years ago and I am still bummed about it some days. this makes me think about it differently

  6. Excellent post, what a wonderful analogy!

  7. I agree with the previous posts; the wedding analogy was perfect. I’ve had a vaginal birth and two casesareans. (My first was vaginal, and the 2nd and 3rd were C-sections.) The defining moment at each birth was the moment the baby was placed in my arms. At that point, I completely forgot how they arrived – it was all about this precious baby.

    I had pretty easy recoveries from my C-sections. With both, I was walking the next day and had resumed most normal activites within a week (at a slower than normal pace). Within two weeks, I felt great. I may be unusual, but my vaginal recovery was not dramatically faster or easier than my caesarean.

    I think some books create hysteria around C-sections unneccessarily. It almost definitely saved my daughter’s life. In both cases, the hospital staff was amazing, and in neither case did the C-section interfere with bonding or breastfeeding.

  8. Thank you for such a great article! My first was stuck in the birth canal, I pushed (every 2 minutes) for 2 hours with no progress or epidural. By the time they decided on a c-section she was in much distress and I had to be put to sleep. She was not breathing and had no pulse when born, but was revived and is a very healthy, happy 10 year old now. I mourned missing her birth (no pictures, no videos, nothing, husband was rushed from the room when things got drastic). However, I am so happy that she was okay, that none of that mattered.

    My second C-section (8 years later) was a breeze. I was sitting up in the recovery room, nursing, laughing, having a great time. It was so easy and so much better awake :)

    My third is scheduled for May. I don’t miss the fact that I didn’t “traditionally” birth them one bit. I have had an almost 9 lb baby stuck in my birth canal, it does not feel good AT ALL :)

    Thank you for the refreshing and encouraging article!!

    • How traumatic for you! So glad everything turned out okay, and again… very thankful for modern medical practices when they are needed.

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