When you get wheeled out of surgery, whether it be you were put too sleep or had an epidural you will be moved into the recovery room until feeling comes back or you wake up. As soon as you wake or feel up to it, the nurses will bring you your little bundle of joy. And this marks the beginning of your recovery, here are some things to keep in mind while getting through the tough weeks ahead.
The simplest thing to do is breathing. And although you may not realize it, even things such as breathe, cough and even laugh uses your abdominal muscles. So it will be extremely painful in the beginning (even with the pain medication you will get plenty of) but it is best to breathe deeply with a pillow held up across the incision to help with the pain and pressure.
This is the one thing nurses and doctors will want to see you do before you can leave the hospital. Walking is going to be difficult the first time around, so use a helping hand. My first time around the hospital I pushed some pain meds before I began and it wasn’t so bad. Brace your stomach with a pillow to help, because it will feel like your stomach is going to open up, trust me those stitches/staples are holding everything in and everything is secured. If you would rather, you can lean on a walker or cart, so less strain is on your stomach.
Although you did not deliver vaginally, you sill still bleed as if you had. Your nurses will check it constantly while you are in the hospital to make sure everything is passing normally. This bleeding is called lochia and will normally be extremely heavy for the first two weeks and then should begin to decrease. Now if you have to change your pads every hour or you have passed clots about the size of a golf ball or larger then you need to consult your doctor immediately.
The most common thing nurses tell you is, you can eat/ go home as soon as you pass gas. Many moms have gas pains for a few days after surgery, you can rock back and forth or get into the fetal position to help relieve some of those pains.. It is very normal to go weeks without a bowel movement, and that as long as you pass gas everything should be fine. The first bowel movement you do have will be slightly painful, so make sure to drink plenty of water to help things move easily.
I remember the first time I looked at my incision, I cried for ten minutes. But it is very important to take a look at it to make sure things are healing well, and to note what it looks like now, so if an infection does happen you will be able to tell your doctor. While you are in the hospital the nurses will check it out every time they are in the room. The incision may have been closed with staples or dissolving stitches, and if you had staples done, your doctor will ask you to come back to get them removed a few days later. Now the incision may look bruised, red and irritated for a little while. And most commonly, you will have numbness and itching that can last years after the surgery.
Like any mom who just had a baby, your emotions are going to be all over the place for a few days. This is especially true if things didn’t go exactly as planned, or if some you felt fearful prior to having the c-section. All these feelings are normal, as long as you keep them in check. Allowing yourself time to feel upset will help you recover faster. It may be normal to feel upset after giving birth but if you ever feel any want to harm yourself or your child it is time to talk to your doctor about getting on anti-depressants.
When you can return back to any activity depends on your body and what your doctor says. In most cases you can slowly go back to normal activities after the six week check-up. You can go back to driving as soon as you can get in and out of the car with out much pain, or can you buckle your seat belt without pain. As far as sexual intercourse goes, you can resume when you feel ready, normally that is after the six week check-up. One thing you have to keep in mind is you are more likely to get pregnant right after having a baby, so remember to be cautious and use protection.
Having more children
There is no reason you can’t have more children after a c-section. It is recommended to wait at least eighteen months before trying to get pregnant. This will give your body and mind time to recover fully so you can then try for a VBAC if you want too. A VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section) is a risky option, mostly because there is a chance of uterine rupture. Many doctors in the US will not even give you a chance to labor before trying to schedule you for a c-section. There are some out there though that are pro VBAC and will trust you to know what is right. If you can’t find an OBGYN who is willing, look for a midwife. Midwives are more likely to take you as a VBAC.
Remember to take it slow and do not rush the healing process that will only cause you more trouble in the long run. When healing it is a good idea to have family and friends around to help you with the baby and give you time to rest. Even though it is important to take it easy, you do have to try and move around to promote healing. I wish you all the luck and congratulations on your lovely baby.