We all have our perfect birth plans. We all envision how we’ll handle the sudden shock of labor pains, and then the pushing pains to bring our little ones into the world.
For me, personally, I had spent nights lying awake, trying to brace and prepare myself for pain that everyone told me was indescribable. As well as the glamorous experience of having my legs spread wide, with a doctor and multiple nurses staring into my gaping cooch. All the while encouraging me to heave-ho until a human head fired out like a squealing rocket.
What I had not anticipated, having been so distracted with the tastefully articulated imaginings as mentioned above, was that I could have a C-section…
In this post, I’ll share my personal C-Section experience, and my tips for recovering from a C-section without losing your mind.
My C-Section Story
To be frank, I had a pretty easy pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely felt pregnant, and by the infamous last month I was more than ready to evict my son from ‘the neighborhood.’ Even so, I was quite lucky overall as far as avoiding most of the expected pregnancy symptoms or health issues.
Both Jake and I had perfect doctor’s appointments up until the very end. But it was during a prenatal appointment (two-days after my due date) when my doctor surprised my husband and I by telling us that I would be induced that afternoon; saying it was due to ‘excess fluid’ in my womb
Even then, I was still expected to deliver vaginally, and it was only after 31 hours of labor that my delivery doctor told me that if I did not dilate past eight-centimeters within the hour, I would be prepped for C-Section.
I’ll talk about my “labor story” in detail sometime soon, but for the sake of time, an hour passed without said dilation, and so I was prepped for the surgery.
By the time this decision was made, I was (obviously) exhausted; and almost too tired to be scared (almost).
My husband, who had been an incredible support system throughout the long and laborious labor, snapped a selfie of the two of us right before I was wheeled in for surgery.
At the moment, I was too tired to realize what might have been going through his head, as the one thing he had been afraid of most was a C-section and the potential complications.
In hindsight, I’m pretty sure he took that picture as a “just-in-case”, and it makes me tear up even thinking about how scared he must have been, and how brave and positive he behaved at the time.
I was wheeled, half-consciously, into the surgery theatre and dosed with an incredibly strong epidural. After that (with my husband at my side and able to see every gory detail) I stared dazedly up at the ceiling while my body was yanked and jerked around until the sound of a tiny and breath-taking squeal filled the air…
and my heart.
Anyway, before I get emotional thinking about it again, time for the gore!
My son and I came out perfectly healthy (thankfully), and I think the most surprising aspect of a C-Section is just how quick the surgery was.
Not to mention how cavalier it was for the doctors to perform (just another Saturday night, y’all!).
All said and done, I was cut open, zipped back up, and wheeled back in my hospital room in less than 30 minutes. Ironic for how long we mamma’s are stuck healing and recovering from a C-Section.
It seems, at least for me, that while I knew C-Sections were one of the methods of child birth… it really didn’t occur to me just how major of a surgery it is.
This is mega abdominal surgery, gang, and in spite of the overwhelming pressure we put upon ourselves to immediately start taking care of our baby and become super mom… the fact of the matter is, we just can’t go all in.
This fucked with me emotionally. It was like, “for fuck’s sake… I went through all of the physical discomfort and limited mobility for nine months. I have to CARE FOR MY CHILD. How the hell am I expected to “relax”, “recover”, “rest”- are you kidding me?
Well, we were very fortunate that, due to my husband’s career, he was able to take paternity leave for two-months. In contrast, my friend’s husband (she also had a C-section) had to go back to work three days after she gave birth.
(I’m not even going to get into the disgust I feel in regards to our policies on maternity and paternity leave…)
Having my husband around for those first crucial weeks was such a blessing, and I am so grateful for the time we shared as a family and his incredible support.
However, there were challenges that I had to adjust to and deal with that he couldn’t help me with. And that’s the shit that will be inside your head. It’s your maternal instincts– it’s you’re insecurities and impatience all exacerbated by the pain of your surgery and the stress of adjusting to becoming a new parent.
So, let’s chat about my tips on how I recovered from a c-section without losing my mind.
C-Section Recovery Tips
I know this is so counter-intuitive to everything going on in your life right now… but it is integral that you treat your body with patience and empathy. You just had major abdominal surgery, dude.
As much as you’ll want to bounce around and mom the fuck out of your day, you need to practice self-restraint and allow your support person to pick up as much of the slack as possible.
Let them handle the chores, and help transport the baby to and from you. Take naps when you can because sleep is your best medicine. You might feel better than you’d expect, but that’s all the more reason to be careful.
Wear Recovery Panties
Yes, you pumped out a baby, a placenta, and tons of blood and fluids will be evicted from your body over the next several weeks, but you’re still going to look more pregnant than you’ll expect or want.
For me, I still looked 5 months pregnant the day after giving birth, and I refused to look in a mirror throughout the first couple of days.
I did some research and discovered C-section recovery underwear, and I cannot recommend it enough. Not only do recovery panties help you feel more confident, but they’re also a great help in shrinking your uterus! Honestly, even if you deliver vaginally, I recommend these!
They also make you feel much more comfortable in those first few weeks because your postpartum body might feel weak and foreign after nine-months of pregnancy.
This is the brand that I bought, and they helped my body get (mostly) back to normal pretty quickly.
Go Get A Pedicure
I know that this seems luxurious and even a little selfish to even think of going and pampering yourself right now, but you did just bring a beautiful little life into the world.
Personally, I think the thing that bothered me most about postpartum was how ‘odd’ and unlike myself that I felt. The sudden and abrupt shift in our lives was both beautiful and a little scary in the first few days.
I went for my pedicure a few days after my two-week checkup when the doc told me I could drive again.
I chose to get a pedicure not because I thought I “deserved it” or I “wanted a break” (far from it). I did it for two reasons:
- It was something “normal“. It was something I did “before I was a mom,” and I found that the more “normal” things I incorporated back into my day-to-day did wonders for my recovery physically and emotionally.
- It gave my husband a chance to build his confidence that he could care for our boy without me being there.
Don’t Ignore Your Doctor’s Exercise Restrictions
Aside from the unbelievable love and awe over your perfect little baby, you’re going to feel nothing more than the urge to get yourself back to your pre-preggo weight.
Believe me, I know.
However… AGAIN… you’ve just had major abdominal surgery, there won’t be any core exercises in your future for several months, at least.
As good as you will feel, as quickly as you’ll feel it, you will be tempted to go hard on the fitness, but you have to be delicate with yourself. As drawn-out as your recovery might feel now, goodness-forbid you over-exert yourself and screw up your insides… who knows how long you’re recovery time would be if THAT happened?
Just focus on eating a healthy diet, resting, and doing some light walking until your doctor gives you the go-ahead for more!
Keep Taking Your Prenatal Vitamins
Your doctor will tell you this. Listen. Your body is going to be dealing with insane hormonal changes, and the stresses of motherhood(especially if you’re breastfeeding). Keep taking your vitamins to keep you going and make sure you recover properly.
Be Prepared To Bleed
You might have heard from your mom friends that vaginal delivery will mean a lot of time spent wearing panty-liners and maxi pads. This is also true for C-Section. Be prepared and stay stocked up on hygiene products.
Be Kind To Yourself
I’m not just talking about in the “pamper yourself’ way. My biggest piece of advice I can share with you… is to be gentle and patient with yourself.
- Respect your body, and it’s right to heal.
- Respect your heart, and don’t feel guilty because you think you’re not doing enough.
- Take long hot showers (no bubble baths though!) when you need to, and let daddy enjoy that special bonding time with the baby when you need a nap.
Download The Busy Mommy Activity Inspiration Sheet
As always, it’s super important to me not just to share my stories with you fellow, or soon-to-be noob moms, but also to create unique resources to help you relax and practice self-care
This time I have something special for the bullet journal mammas!
Download the Busy Mommy Self Care Activity Inspiration Sheet below, where I share some easy, at-home activities to do when the baby is napping, or when daddy and baby are spending some quality one-on-one time together!
There’s even space for you to jot down your own favorite self-care practices!
As always, it’s totally and completely free, because I love you!
You’re So Strong. Don’t Forget It!
Don’t stress, mamma, and take as many moments out of your day that you can to remind yourself how INCREDIBLE you are!
Your body is amazing and has brought your most precious gift into the world! It deserves a lot of TLC for that!
– and you- YOU, my friend, are amazing (or will be) for loving, tending, and raising a little baby into a beautiful little person!
Trying to L 2 Mom while recovering from a C-Section is a lot to deal with, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and frustrated sometimes, it’d be a little weird if you didn’t.
Be proud of yourself for the incredible strides you are taking, and if you need a bit more of a confidence boost to help remind you…
You can download my Incredible Mommy Affirmations Sheet here that will give you the pep talk you need each day!
Take it easy, mammas… well, as easy as a mamma can take it, that is.
All my love,