let’s talk C-Section Recovery!
When I had my C-Section I had no idea what to expect with my recovery. I knew that there was always a possibility of a C-section with any pregnancy, but I didn’t think that I would ever need one. I was young(ish), I was healthy, and I was having a completely routine pregnancy. I should have researched more on the subject. You can read about my C-Section adventure here. But my time has come and gone so now I want to let all you other momma’s know what you can expect with your C-Section recovery, planned or unplanned.
A little warning- I am not going to sugar-coat what this recovery can be like. Also, each momma will have a different experience with her own recovery. And once again, I am not a doctor. The opinions in this post are my own based on my own experience and my doctor’s recommendations.
You will be in pain.
And rightfully so! You just had major surgery, even if it may not seem like it since a C-Section is usually a relatively quick procedure (mine was 20 minutes, in and out!). But that pain will get worse before it gets better. The first few days after your C-Section will be hard. It will be a struggle just to stand up straight for the first time. Make sure that you take the pain medications that your doctor prescribes you. You will most likely be able to ween yourself off of them in a couple of weeks, but for now your body really does need them to aid in the healing process.
Your incision site will be swollen.
And it will itch. And you can get shooting pains around that area, randomly, for up to a year after your C-Section. And if you’re like me, your incision site will leak. This is usually normal, like it was with me. I tried to start doing too much too soon and my incision opened up a little. There is always going to be some fluid around a surgical site, but because I didn’t rest as much as I should have, that fluid built up more than usual and leaked out. It was not pretty. But it was an easy fix. I just had to clean the surgical site with peroxide twice a day, let it air dry, and then put some gauze between the site and my super attractive mesh underwear.
You will learn to love the mesh underwear.
I didn’t wear regular underwear for at least a week after my C-Section. Regular underwear was just too tight and if the band was any lower than my belly button it would cause me excruciating pain since my whole abdomen was extremely sore. The mesh underwear that the hospital gave was a lifesaver. It’s not tight at all and it goes way up above your belly button, and it’s probably the most comfortable thing you could wear after this surgery. And it’s very helpful in regards to my next tip.
You will still bleed.
Even though you didn’t go through a vaginal delivery, your body still needs to adjust to postpartum life. Your bleeding usually tapers off quicker than someone who went through a vaginal delivery though, so at least there’s a silver lining! But the mesh underwear is actually super helpful with holding those big, hospital-grade pads in place. So use them! They’re hideous, but they’re really the most comfortable option during your recovery.
Breastfeeding hurts your incision site.
Not only will you have to deal with any common pains of breastfeeding (especially if you’re a first time mom like myself), but you will also have to deal with the very real pain you’ll feel in your uterus. Breastfeeding causes your uterus to contract, and while this helps your uterus get back to its normal, pre-pregnancy size, it is also very painful since your abdomen and uterus were just cut open. The day after I had my C-Section the nurses wanted me to start trying to pump since my son was extremely jaundice and wouldn’t stay awake long enough to feed. They wanted me to start increasing my supply and so I pumped. And then I started crying from the pain and had to stop pumping after 5 minutes. Breastfeeding and pumping get less painful the more you do it, but I was not ready for that at all so early in my recovery.
You will be super emotional.
I think that this one goes for any delivery method. Your hormones will be way out of whack and you will be on an emotional rollercoaster. I cried at everything. And it doesn’t help that you feel almost useless since you can’t do a lot of things you’re used to doing on your own. But don’t worry, all of these emotions that you’re feeling will subside over the next few weeks as your body starts regulating your hormones during this recovery.
You can’t lift anything heavier than your baby.
Or anything heavier than 10 pounds, to be exact. You also can’t reach for anything. Or drive for two weeks. Or go up and down the stairs for 2 weeks. And trust me, you’re not going to want to do any of that stuff anyway. I spent my first two days home in bed. I was lucky enough to have my amazing wife home with me and my parents had flown down also. And this brings me to my final, and most important piece of advice.
Accept any and all help that is offered!
I’m serious, take anything that people offer you. It will take all of your strength and energy just to take care of your new little one. My neighbors had started bringing my trash cans out while I was pregnant and they continued to do that after Al was born. And I am beyond grateful for that. Just the thought of having to drag two big garbage bins 30 feet to the curb after my C-Section makes my scar hurt! I was lucky enough to have my wife home with me for almost 3 weeks so I could focus on resting and getting myself healed. I also had my parents down to help out and just the fact that I didn’t have to worry about going grocery shopping or cooking dinner was a huge burden lifted.
Just remember, you will get through this. The little things get easier every day. I saw a huge improvement in my recovery within the first 2 weeks. And by the time my 6-week-follow-up appointment rolled around I was given the all-clear. I was fully healed and I could finally enjoy motherhood and my new little one the way that I had always pictured. And even after everything I went through, I would still do it again. My C-Section and the subsequent recovery was all for the well-being of my baby, and that’s the only thing that matters in the end.
I hope that this post helps some of you who may have to go through this same recovery. And for anyone that’s already been through this, do you have any other pieces of advice for a momma who might need a C-Section? Let us know in the comments below.