I received several comments and e-mails concerning my c-section after I posted my birth story for baby Ezra. I thought it might be helpful to do a post including some "insider tips" for those facing a c-section or who may end up with one in an emergency situation. My friend, Erin, sent me a detailed e-mail telling me what to expect and tips for recovery and it was such a lifesaver! I memorized that thing before D-Day! :)
For some, a c-section may sound terrifying. It is surgery, and surgery is a scary thing. I wasn't scared of it until they wheeled me down to the Operating Room and then it hit me like a ton of bricks - um ... hello. I was about to be drugged up and sliced open. Panic sort of started to sit in and as I bent over to receive my spinal, I quietly went to the Lord in prayer and never stopped talking to Him until it was all said and done. So. It's normal to be anxious, but coming from someone who just went through it - there's really nothing to be afraid of.
I always had the mindset that I never wanted a c-section at all no matter what. I figured, I already did it the "regular" way, so that's the way I wanted to continue having my babies. Of course, the Lord has such a funny way of humbling us and showing us that what we want is not always best. And He did absolutely that with me. I'm not sure why I was so anti-c-section. Of course you have a little scar, but let's face it, it's not like I'm going to be flaunting my bod in a bikini ever again anyway, so the scar is no biggie. I was blessed with great elasticity in my tummy (thanks, Mom!), so I'm stretch mark free - a scar is a great reminder of my "battle wound" for bearing babies! :)
After having mine, I don't see why they get such a bad wrap! Well, if you're one of those Momma's with small babies and fast deliveries with no lacerations, I can see why a c-section would be torture. Because it hurts. But if you're like me and you make newborns the size of toddlers ... a c-section is a cake walk in comparison!
Alrighty. Let's get on with the tips.
1. Get Up and Move! The day after surgery you will hurt, but you'll feel pretty good. I don't know if it's the adrenaline I was running on, and the thrill of having a new baby, but I felt good. They got me out of bed at 5:30am to walk. Pulling up to get out of bed was the hardest part (thank the Lord for hospital beds that move for you). You have to use solely your arm and leg muscles and not your stomach. You don't realize just how much you use your stomach muscles until you're not allowed to use them. When you stand up, you're not allowed to double over (which is your instinct). You have to stand straight up immediately and it hurts, but it's doable. Make sure you have someone near you to help you walk because you may go down without warning. :)
The second day after surgery is the worst. You will wake up and feel like you've been hit by a truck. It hurts. It was by far the hardest day and it was all I could do to make myself get out of bed. But know this, the more you walk, the better you feel. Take walks down the hall at least a couple times a day.
The third day you will feel considerably better, and it only gets easier from there on out. In fact, I felt so good on Day 3 that I completely overdid it that morning and landed myself back in bed for the rest of the day. Ha!
2. Have a helper in the hospital! On the first and second day, you will be helpless. Husby stayed with me in the hospital and he was a Godsend. He helped me so much - from handing me things, tending to Ezra, helping me shower and everything inbetween. Nurses will do anything you need them to, but for me, it was more comfortable to have my husband there. Some things would have been far too embarrassing to have a nurse help me with. You WILL need help, so make sure you have it.
3. THE BELLY BINDER! I went out and bought a belly wrap before having Ezra because I knew that a c-section was a definite possibility with us. Turns out, the hospital provides you with one and let me tell you - the thing is amazing! If you have a c-section, you MUST wrap your tummy. It helped tremendously with my recovery. It keeps your tummy wrapped up tight and the pressure helps with pain management and helps you use your tummy muscles. It also helps reduce the swelling of the uterus and helps put all your organs back into place! AND, it helps your tummy get back to normal in flattening it back quicker. You are supposed to use it for up to 6 weeks postpartum and I am 2 weeks out, still using and loving mine. The only time I don't wear it is in the shower. I sleep in it - do everything in it! It's super comfortable and breathable. I am going to miss it when I stop wearing it! It has become such a part of me! :) Ha! I forgot to put it on one day and I sat down on the couch and wowza - it hurt! I didn't realize just how much this thing helps with pain until I didn't have it on. Oh, and it has made SUCH a difference with helping my tummy go back down. I l-o-v-e my belly wrap! If you don't listen to anything else I have to say, listen to this - get a belly binder!
4. Go easy on yourself. Let people help you. You just had surgery and you HAVE to give yourself time to recover. Take it easy for at least two weeks. Rest as much as you can and don't try to jump in and be supermom. My Mom stayed with me the first week and was an absolute lifesaver. I would have been a basketcase without her help. She let me sleep so much, she cleaned, did laundry, cooked, grocery shopped, entertained Levi and helped tremendously with Ezra. Without her, I would NOT be feeling as good as I do and wouldn't have bounced back as quickly as I did. If you have someone who can come help you, let them. You need it and your baby needs you be back to normal as quickly as you can. The help at home will help you get there.
5. Pain meds. Take them and love them.
If you're facing a c-section, don't be scared. For me, it was a great thing. Like my doctor said, I would have ended up in an emergency c-section had I chosen to try to deliver him naturally anyway, so I am just beyond grateful for good doctors, hospitals and the advancements we have in medicine that make for happy, healthy deliveries.