OMG you guys I had another baby! Naturally I took some time to recover and bond as a new family of four, but I’m FINALLY feeling like myself again, and certainly not taking this feeling for granted. While I knew what to mentally prepare for going into this c-section, I think that “new motherhood delirium” made me completely forget the severe amount of pain that tags along with a c-section. The surgery is only the start of a painful process, the recovery is soooo much harder.
The nurses said it hurt a lot worse this time due to scar tissue from my previous c-section, and while I THOUGHT I had a high pain tolerance, my body knew exactly when it was time to take another dose of Percocet. I’m on day 10 post surgery and to be honest at day 6 I stood in my shower bawling my eyes out wondering if my body would ever feel normal/whole/good again. Over the past 10 days I’ve depended on EVERYONE in my immediate family for EVERYTHING under the sun, and could not be more grateful for their love and support. There were moments I couldn’t get off the couch to get myself a granola bar, but thankfully those moments are over!
While the Dr. &/or Midwife you used have all the most helpful instructions on recovering from a c-section, I thought I would use this opportunity to share some of the tips I learned in comparing my first c-section to my second and some of my small tricks to alleviate the pain and speed up the recovery process.
1.Pay Attention to the Time. While I don’t want to sound like I’m a pill-popping fiend, I did find that taking my pain medication on the exact moment it was time, was really helpful in keeping me up and moving. With a c-section, the more you move the better you’ll ultimately feel and vice versa, so staying on top of pain management so that I could continue to be mobile was crucial in getting better. Don’t let that voice inside you tell you you’re weak or guilt you into not doing what it takes to make you feel as good as you possibly can after such a serious surgery. Don’t use this time as an opportunity to prove how high your pain tolerance is either, coming from experience, no one will be that impressed and you’ll just end up regretting it later.
2. Do Your Make-Up. This is more of a personal one for me, but after a major surgery AND becoming a new mother AND spending a few days bed-ridden in a hospital, it can be so easy to feel like a total bum. For me, if I know I look a mess, it makes me feel like physically more of a mess. If I’m not wearing make-up or don’t have some real clothes on, I don’t feel like I have the ABILITY to do anything BUT sit in bed all day. So, when I had a free 10 minutes, I just quickly threw on the basics, and immediately felt more confident in myself, which also made me feel like even if I COULDN’T get up and do anything but attach the baby to my boob, at least I felt good doing it. Aside from all that, you gotsta be ready for those baby selfies anyway… 😉
3. Shower Frequently. While they tell you to keep the area of incision dry, they also give you showering privileges in your discharge paperwork and there is absolutely nothing that makes you feel better faster. The heat of the shower relaxed all my tense back, arm, & abdominal muscles, and allowed me to really recuperate. Days 7-9 I showered about 3 times a day. Seriously, whenever the pain became too much to take, I would just hop in the shower for about 10-15 minutes and come out rejuvenated. I also made sure to extra carefully dry my incision area after the shower each time as to not risk any infection.
4.Prep when you can. This recovery was in and out for me. There were moments I felt great followed by moments so painful I don’t know that I’ll ever want to relive them in my entire life. Knowing that’s how my body was working, I used the time I felt good to get some minor clean-ups around the house done, bake a treat for myself, prepare dinner, edit pictures, etc… Only do what you’re comfortable doing, and definitely don’t OVERDO anything, but getting a few things here and there knocked off the to-do list helped me feel productive and in higher spirits. I didn’t JUST sit on the couch and binge watch New Girl all day, I also did 2 loads of laundry from start to finish and made myself an ice cream sundae!
5. Take All the Help You Have. This was probably the most difficult for me to do, after my first son was born recovery wasn’t as difficult, but now having a toddler AND a newborn after a major surgery is straight hard! My husband has been a constant source of help with everything from picking up dinner, to fixing beverages, and diaper changes, I don’t know what I would do if he weren’t so helpful! He constantly asks “do you need anything” and while I normally wouldn’t trouble him with the little stuff this time if I didn’t feel like doing something I simply asked him to do it, and he happily obliged. My mother watched Cash a few hours each day to give us some relief, and my Grandmother even came over and did my dishes for me. While I typically like to think I can do everything and anything, I’ve got some real MVP’s in my family and I’m sure you do as well, give them their time to shine and take the help you need!
6. REST. I know I talked a lot already about getting up and moving around and how important that is in the recovery process, but getting the adequate amount of rest is also just as crucial for your body at this time. I have that annoying mom guilt voice in my head constantly telling me that I’m not doing enough, or I’m not giving it my all. A nagging in my head that says fading in & out of sleep while pumping breast milk after watching 7hrs of Law & Order SVU is somehow lazy. DON’T LISTEN TO THAT DAMN VOICE. The day we came home from the hospital, I had EVERYONE come hang out and literally only woke up every 3-4 hours for feeding. I let the family love on my sweet new babe while I gave my body what it needed. You aren’t alone if 6 days after your c-section you still need to take a 3 hour nap every 6 hours of the day, if you feel sleepy, SLEEP. If you are too physically in pain to cook dinner, order pizza. If the thought of walking to the wall to charge your phone makes you wince, let that cell phone die girl! Let your body direct you, it knows what it needs the most.
Everyone recovers differently, every birth story is different, and every person is unique. Some of these tips may not be for you, but knowing how dreary these past few days have been I really wanted to share what helped the most for me for anyone else wondering not when but IF they will ever feel normal again. It definitely gets better. Give yourself time.