Surprising Things Nobody Tells You About C-Sections + Tips for Prepping and Recovering

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hey all! Hope your week is off to a good start! Continuing the c-section talk this week as it's still C-Section Awareness Month through the end of April. No time like the present, right? If you missed my first post about my birth stories and why I had c-sections with both of my girls, you can check that out here.

Today I wanted to share a few tips for preparing for a c-section, as well as tips for recovering as quickly and painlessly as possible. Recovery, in my experience, is the hardest part of the c-section process (especially when you factor in a newborn and perhaps other children to take care of and those lovely postpartum hormones). 

Preparing for Your C-Section

1. Set up your plan of action and rally your support system before the birth. Know all of the times and details for the day of, who will be by your side to support you at the hospital and at home, and read up on what to expect (but stick to reputable sites, not opinion/experience based ones -- don't unnecessarily scare yourself). Having everything in place before it's d-day (delivery day!) will lift a big weight and make everything go as smoothly as possible once the baby arrives.

2. Stock up on the following to have at home: Motrin (the hospital will likely send you home with a prescription for pain meds, but Motrin will also do the trick, especially if you don't like the idea of prescription medication), Ice cubes (if you don't have an ice maker or some treys, get some -- the hospital will send you home with bags that you can fill with ice to put on your incision), extra meals (make sure you have either super easy to make, already prepared/frozen, or gifted meals lined up for the weeks right after the birth). 

3. Make sure you pack either extra comfortable, soft pants OR dresses for the hospital and have some ready at home, too -- basically, steer away from anything with a waistband as it's the last thing you'll want anywhere near your incision. If you can, treat yourself to a few new comfy pairs of pants or soft dresses so you can actually look forward to wearing them. :) 

Recovering from Your C-Section

1. Accept help. I know this is so much easier said than done (trust me... I know) but accept help offered to you in the form of someone picking up your playroom, making you dinner, or keeping an eye on the baby for a few minutes so you can rest. Don't forget that you not only just had a baby, you also had major surgery. This is my #1 tip for recovery.

2. A pillow is your best friend. Anyone who's had a c-section knows that laughing or coughing are your enemies. Of course, with my first birth, I literally had a cough when C was born so that was fun! And with both births, Steve would make me laugh and I'd want to kill him. ;) Make sure you have a pillow nearby at all times that you can press to your stomach when you laugh or cough to take some of that pain away.

3. Create a "necessities station." With both of my c-sections I was told I could only do stairs one time a day. We had a 2 story house, so that felt impossible -- but what helped was creating a "station" of all of my and baby's necessities so I wouldn't have to climb up and down all day long. Think diapers, wipes, breastfeeding/bottle feeding supplies, bibs, an extra change of clothes, my glasses, a drink, etc. Before you come down for the day, try to think of anything you'll need upstairs and bring it down with you. Not climbing those steps will help recovery go faster.

4. Keep up with your pain medication (whatever type you decide) those first couple of days. Don't let the pain get away from you. Sufficient pain relief will help you get up and start slowly walking and moving around, which will be immensely helpful for your recovery!

5. Take a shower. As soon as you are able to stand, walk, and move around and you are cleared by those caring for you, go ahead and take a shower. Even if it's just warm water washing over you -- you'll feel like a new woman! This is true after any birth, but there's something about the more lengthy, bed-ridden process of recovery after a c-section that will really beg for a shower/fresh start.

Surprising Things Nobody Tells You About C-Sections

Finally, a few unexpected things about having a c-section. First up is TMI all the way but hey, if you've read this far, I'm guessing you don't care. ;) 

Going to the bathroom for the first time will be a damn nightmare. Especially if it's a repeat c-section, chances are your bowels will have turned against you and it might seem, in the moment, like they are trying to kill you. It ain't pretty but it's real, friends. This too shall pass (literally).

Most hospitals will allow you and/or your husband to watch. I opted not to watch (just not something I personally felt I needed) but Steve watched both of the girls be born.

You probably won't mind your scar one bit. In fact, you may love it. Every time you look at it, it will be a reminder of the life you brought into the world, the first time you met your little love, and what a warrior you are.

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