You want the real deal here right? It's easy to find the articles written by the "experts" about C-section delivery, but how many of those experts are men? Ya, men are wonderful and can make absolutely wonderful Dr.'s (I've never been to a woman Dr. ever, IDK why, I just haven't) but they can't actually have a baby so they can't actually speak from their experience. Right?
So what? You didn't or aren't delivering vaginally. (Did you like my us of proper terms just now?) If you are like a growing percentage of us out there you just had or are going to have a C-section to deliver your baby. Didn't know that by entering the world of motherhood you were also going to be asked to have major abdominal surgery too. Hu? So, here it is, one of the many selfless decisions you will make on the behalf of that beautiful baby. C-sections are preformed because they are necessary. There is usually to much risk to the baby to deliver vaginally or there is something that makes it unsafe for the mom. You guessed it, unsafe for mom = unsafe for baby. See? Selfless. You are a good woman and a good mama.
Whether it's your first C-section or you've done this many times before it can totally be scary. I'm just gonna give you the "real deal" on having surgery to have a baby. You can look up all the medical stuff yourself but lets be honest, you came here cause you want to know from someone who has been there done that, what you are really getting into. Alright, well, IT HURTS! Not always just after surgery. I was the lucky winner for serious pain and discomfort during surgery. With my first baby I swore they gave me sugar water instead of medicine to make me numb. I didn't feel the actual cutting but holy crap the pressure and tugging sucked. I totally thought I was gonna barf. Good news for you is that it last only minutes vs the hours some women spend pushing and.....modern medicine is our friend. Ask for anti-nausea medicine. When they take you back for surgery, no matter if it's done emergent or scheduled they usually (again, things could be different based on different Dr.'s and different hospitals) give you medicine for pain, which can last for the 1st 24 hours, but for me, it DIDN'T, and they will give you something for nausea and possibly something for itching. The pain medicine they give you that is supposed to work for 24 hours can also make you itch. If you are like me you get all of the above. So what I learned with my second C-section was to tell them right up front, I told the anesthesiologist 1. I barf, give me the good nausea stuff, not the first choice but the GOOD choice for when the first choice doesn't work. 2. I get the chatters. My teeth chatter uncontrollably and it sucks! My favorite anesthesiologist gave me like 2 or 3 bags of WARMED fluid before my surgery with my son and it made a world of difference. 3. The sweet 24 hr pain medicine, doesn't work like that for me. After I start to feel the slightest bit of pain I ask for more pain medicine. There ya go, there are my pre and immediately post surgery suggestions. Just lay down and enjoy the ride. You will quickly be a the proud parent of a new baby girl, or boy. :)
So now what, we all survived surgery and surgery sucks, plus now you want me to take care of this new little human? Start now ladies, ask for help. Plan for help. Let the nursing staff be your help or your husband or both. You want someone that won't be more of a burden to deal with. Most things revolving around the baby will be the same. You are expected to feed the baby, change the baby, snuggle it, love it. You know? The fun part. :)
Along with the fun part you are also being thrown into the motherhood world of multitasking. You need to care for baby and focus on YOURSELF. Most important, believe it or not. Get up and walk. Just take a few steps. Walk from the bed to the bathroom. Anything. If your nausea is under control and you have pain meds on board (which you better cause I just told you what to ask for) then get the nurses help. Only with the nurses help, and stand beside your bed. Remember to use your arms and legs to get up. You don't realize how often you use your tummy muscles until those muscles have been cut in half to deliver a baby. Lol. Resist the natural temptation to bend over. STAND UP STRAIGHT. Focus on a goal in front of you and go! Take baby steps if you must but getting moving is the best way to start to recover. Same goes when you get home. I'm not talking about the 5k you walked each morning before you got pregnant. I talking about getting off the couch and going to get your own drink. Sitting at the table with the family for dinner. The small easy movements.
Mom multi-tasking moment #2 Feeding- feed yourself and feed your baby. After the first day you and baby will both start to get/feel hungry. Day one, take an easy, stick to soups and pudding and juice. The boring stuff. For baby, she will probably be tired and you will have to wake her up to eat. There will be longer breaks between her feedings. Day 2, not so much. That sweet bundle is gonna want to eat every freaking 2-3 hrs if its breastfed and you are lucky and probably every 3-4 if you are feeding it a bottle and not over feeding it at each feeding. Remember, babies like to suck. it's comforting to them, so they will "eat" way more than they need to. Either leaving you with sore nipples or them with a huge tummy full of formula to spit up. I've said it before, for the heavy sucker, binki's are our friends. As for baby, if you are breastfeeding continue to feed on demand or every 3 hours, whichever comes first. Bottle feeding, every 3-4 hours and if baby starts to wake up after an hour to eat again you are probably safe to let it eat a little more than what you were originally feeding it. If it spits it up, you know you gave to much. Remember that whether breastfed or bottle fed babies do cry for reasons other than hunger. Make sure you are not just shoving food in it's mouth every time it cries.
So you done it. You've mastered multi-tasking at the hospital. Now they are gonna send you home and you have to learn to do it all over again! Lol. It's home. It's comfortable and welcoming and that's how you should feel. This is where you need help. If you don't have family or friends that can come help then hire someone. ( Time 4 Me, is very reasonable) The first week should be as relaxing as you can make it. No cleaning and vacuuming for you. No standing for long periods doing dishes and cooking. This next week should be about recovery and rest. Spend time with your baby just snuggling or with your other children watching movies and reading books while baby sleeps. Frankly, all of the above sounds good to me. Take an easy on the food you eat, your bowels take like what seems forever to wake up after surgery and although my suggestion is to STAY ON TOP OF YOUR PAIN MEDS those pain meds have a tendency to slow down your tummy and cause some constipation. You didn't realize it was gonna be this fun hu? Take an over the counter stool softener, like Colace, regularly. It doesn't "make" you go but it will soften that first movement. You want soft. Trust me!
Week 2 and 3 you will start to feel better. You can start to reclaim your "normal" life in small pieces. Continue on something for pain. You may not need the narcotics except at night but you should have something on board. If you don't take meds for pain, you will feel pain. Most of us when we are sick or in pain we don't move around as much. You need to keep moving so keep taking something. Even if all you need to feel comfortable is Tylenol. Continue the stool softener. I like it until the end of week 3. Just in case. I don't want no freakin pepple poop to push. Lol. TMI? Just remember not to do it all. Even if you don't need help everyday you should probably have someone come a few times even if it's only for a few hours at a time. Have them tidy up while you nap or watch baby while you shower. It's the relaxation time that is so important.
The rest of your recovery is what you make of it. I was feeling pretty normal by week 3. I did my own tidying up. We still ordered out dinner a couple of times a week and we had simple meals the other days. I had help with vacuuming and bathroom cleaning. Bending over and picking up all the toys and stuff were the times that I "over did it". It was so nice to have my mom's help. She came and stayed with me for weeks 2 and 3. By the end of week 3 my husband and I were even able to get some alone time to go out to dinner without the children. It was awesome.
There ya have it my friends. Don't be afraid to wear your pajama pants all day, leave your hair pulled back and the toys on the floor. BUT, make time to shower and nap everyday. Get help! If you don't have someone to help it will be well worth your efforts to save up and pay someone to help. Good luck and as always, take time to smell the baby lotion!