Before my son was born I never really thought about C-sections. I was adamant I was going to give birth to my child naturally because that's what my body was designed to do right? Wrong. After being in labour for almost 30 hours my doctor regretfully informed me that my fever was getting worse, my son's heart rate was increasing, and there was no way he was going to fit through my birth canal. After hours of agony and anxiety a feeling of peace came over me. I remember thinking "yes, just cut me open, do whatever you need to do, I'm just ready to hold my baby". And so off we went down to the operating theatre so that they could take my baby out for me and put an end to the never ending contractions and the different fingers violating my vagina checking for dilation.
As awful as C-sections sound, if I'm completely honest I really didn't think it was as horrific as I had anticipated. The anesthetist made sure I was completely numb from the waist down so I didn't feel anything throughout the procedure besides some pressure when they were pulling to get him out. My husband was beside me the whole time talking to me and stroking my hair along with some of the nurses who were comforting me too. Within 15 minutes Thomas was out and I heard his first cries. They laid him on my chest for skin to skin bonding while they stitched me back up. I don't think I've ever felt so high off life ever. Absolute happiness.
The tough part began once I was in my recovery room and drugs started wearing off. Once the epidural started to wear off, I felt pain like no other in my lower abdomen... the only way to describe it is like the worst gas pains you've ever endured but x1000. And that's because a lot of the pain I experienced post surgery was due to trapped gas. Think about your abdomen being cut and left wide open for over 30 minutes and the amount of air that gets trapped in there! I spent a lot of time during those 3 days in the hospital trying to fart!! (And poo).
Despite the pain however, I couldn't help but feel relieved that my vagina hadn't been ripped apart...I didn't have any stitches down there, and I could cross the sitz bath of my shopping list. Whew!
Jokes aside, the recovery after having a C-section is no joke. It took me about two whole weeks to feel normal again (being able to laugh or cough without feeling like my stitches were going to burst open)
Below are some of the things that really helped me through:
1. Stool softeners - They helped to a certain extent but I wasn't actually able to open my bowels with them alone. I needed the help of suppositories.
2. Suppositories - you know those things you push up your bum to make you poo? No? Well they are AMAZING for post C-section surgery. I didn't take one until my last day and my goodness I felt like a new woman. I still couldn't open my bowels but I released A LOT of air and my stomach went down astronomically. I continued to take 1 now and then once I was home because constipation after you give birth is REAL. You actually feel like you're giving birth again but through your bum! The first number two that I took post surgery I was so proud of because I actually lost a few pounds. I AM NOT LYING. I'd never in my life seen a toilet bowl so full, so much so that I actually took a picture ... Which my husband later asked to see because he is gross like that.
3. A heating pad. My nurse suggested I try this because I had terrible abdominal cramping due to the contractions you get when you breastfeed (this is your uterus contracting in order to return to its normal size) it really helped and I was able to sleep with this across my lower abdomen for pain relief. It was electric so I simply plugged it in and it stayed warm all night and day.
4. Drugs/pain relief - this is an obvious one but don't do what I did and wait for the pain to return before asking for more. Find out how often you can take them and set an alarm in your phone so you're able to take them regularly and before the pain kicks in. I'd often end up doubled up in bed, unable to move or get up because I kept leaving it too long to take more painkillers.
5. Walk - if you can, get up and start walking straight away. It seriously helps with the healing process. I would take Thomas out in his cot which had wheels and just walk up and down the floor.
6. Make some investments - once you get home and you're taking less pain relief it will be really difficult when baby cries and you need to bend down to pick him up or you need to change his nappy and bend over to do so. Luckily what helped me was the co sleeping bassinet we bought which attaches to the bed so he was right next to me .. Also the changing table ... So I didn't have to bend over and change him on the bed. Lifesavers!
7. Keep legs elevated - as much as you can. If like me you had drugs through an iv fluid before surgery your legs might swell up ridiculously. My ankles were non existent.
8. Get help - bring in mum / sister / Aunty / best friend for a few days to help out. You won't be able to do much for a while so it's a God send if you have someone to do your dishes, cook and hold baby while you try to shower and feel slightly human again.
If you're reading this and you're pregnant or just had a baby... Congratulations and feel free to message me and ask me about anything I forgot to cover.
Hugs & kisses