I never planned to have a c-section, and therefore never considered any of what comes with it physically or emotionally.
Where do I even begin?
It never once occurred to me that my delivery would not be the blissful, Mother Earth, natural, vaginal birth I imagined. No matter what anyone said, I remained optimistic, even proactively purchasing a Postpartum Recovery Kit. I spent 39 weeks mentally, emotionally, and tangibly preparing for said vaginal birth. Then, at the insistence of my OB, at 39 weeks, I was put on the induction schedule for the following Monday. For no reason other than the all too common culprit, a steadily increasing blood pressure. I was never diagnosed with Preeclampsia, I never had any symptoms of high BP, but by 39 weeks and 2 days, I just figured "doctor knows best."
I was huge, I was exhausted, it was JULY, and I was secretly afraid that I was in more danger than the doctor wanted to let on (spoiler, I wasn't.) So I acquiesced, and after 2 days of failed medical induction, I had not dilated even one full centimeter. With the fear that LO would no longer tolerate the cocktail of inducing drugs, I was given the choice to proceed with a cesarean. With much disappointment, and much fear, I again acquiesced.
Countless women check-in to the L&D fully prepared to leave with a sore crotch, but not nearly hip to hip stitches! I am not unique in this sense. Now that I have been humbled by my delivery experience, I want to share a few thoughts on what I wish I knew, what I wish I had, and what I would have done differently.
I was not a failure for needing help.
And neither are you. I felt those twinges of guilt laying in bed helplessly as my husband changed our son's first diaper. I fell prey to the feeling that I was already failing as a mom because I kept comparing my ability to what I imagined other moms were able to do physically after giving birth. I had no business doing that, because for one, every birth is different for every body. Secondly, I had just undergone major surgery. I was doing my absolute best and I'm damn sure you are too. Our LO's won't remember that we couldn't lift them from their bassinets for the first few days of life. Give yourself time, and be kind to yourself both mentally and physically. You are amazing and you have just done something incredible. Most importantly, you are unequivocally deserving of the help you need to heal.
“For the first few weeks, it hurts like hell to laugh, sneeze, cry, pass gas, stand up, sit up or lay down.”
No matter what you expect, be prepared for what may happen instead.
Oh boy, if I only knew I wouldn't need all those crotch shaped ice packs and perinatal sprays. This is tricky because, again, you never know what will actually happen when you go into labor. However, let's say you have the ability to prepare for either scenario, then I suggest you do. In the case of a cesarean, for the first few weeks, it hurts like hell to laugh, sneeze, cry, pass gas, stand up, sit up or lay down.
Sadly, it took me nearly 2 weeks to stumble across the most game changing tip to mitigate the pain of simply cracking off a fart. A firm pillow! I was legitimately feeling like I couldn't make it through before finding this one out. If you're in a financial pinch, or find yourself having an unplanned c-section, a small throw pillow works for getting in and out of bed, in and out of cars, and yes, for farts. The hack is simple, just press the pillow against your lower abdominal area while doing pretty much anything that causes you pain. It's such a lifesaver and if you've already got one, it's FREE! Now if you're a fancy girl, or just have the ability to prepare, you might prefer something a bit more stylish and easier to keep track of.
Now my sweet husband did order me this frida mom postpartum support band once we got home from the hospital, but I want relief MUCH sooner for you! So if you are fortunate enough to have a scheduled c-section, THIS kit (also by frida mom) has all the luxurious, yet highly useful accouterments.
*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
If I could do one thing differently,
I would have walked more! As I lay in bed just hours after surgery, the idea of walking seemed counter intuitive. The nurses encouraged it, the Cesarean care paperwork recommended it, yet my post-op brain did not compute. I was fearful that I would hurt myself by rushing to get back on my feet. However, once I got home, walking around seemed like the only thing that worked to loosen up the tightness I felt after 6 days essentially spent in bed (it's a long story). Everyone heals differently, so you should do what your care team recommends and of course listen to your body. It just so happened that, in my experience, I hesitated to do something that could have provided me with so much relief so much sooner. Walking also did wonders for my morale which made me feel like I was capable of much more physically.
Oh! One more thing, look into scar tissue desensitization! I found out about this way too late, but once I began doing some of the methods I read about, my incision area has never felt the same.
Did you deliver by way of Cesarean? If so,
This is very helpful. I've seen some of these and was seriously struggling to figure out what they mean. Thanks!