Here is Tina, a working mama of two from Los Angeles, sharing her thoughts on c-sections and providing some useful recovery tips. She recently had her second baby via c-section and has some great insights from her experience. You can read more of her blog posts at www.stripesandstrollers.com.
With two c-sections under my belt (literally), I wanted to take some time to share my thoughts on this procedure along with ways to recover in the quickest and best way possible. Both of my surgeries were scheduled beforehand and both my boys arrived on time so that definitely provided an added sense of comfort and relief. Whether you elect to have a c-section due to safety concerns or are forced into one due to complications during labor, your number one concern is and always will be your child.
What I never agreed with is the stigma around having your baby via c-section as opposed to vaginal delivery. C-sections are not the easy way out as many assume. There is a serious and nerve-racking surgery involved, followed by a pretty rough recovery time. Whatever your birthing plan is does not define you as a mother in any way. The act of bringing a baby into the world is equally courageous and thrilling, as it is scary and exhausting, both physically and emotionally.
Some tips on how to maximize your days after surgery and make the most of your recovery time include:
1. Stay in the hospital the full 3-5 days. Let the nurses take care of you (and the baby if you need some extra rest). Do not rush to go home, especially if it's your first child (I stayed at the hospital 4 nights with my first baby and 2 nights with my second baby). Take advantage of the resources available to you - such as lactation consultants if it's your first time nursing.
2. Take all the pain medication you need and do not, I repeat DO NOT forget to take the gas pills. All the air that gets trapped inside during surgery takes a toll on you the next day. Those gas pains are no joke. Be prepared and take the gas pills as soon as you get cleared to do so.
3. The sooner and more frequently you start moving, the faster your overall recovery process will be. I had my surgery in the morning and was already standing the same night and walking by the morning. Nevertheless, be cautious, don't push yourself too hard, as your body just went through a major event. I felt like a complete zombie walking the halls of the maternity unit. Start slow and keep going. Your body will thank you.
4. I actually had a pretty bad cold at the time my baby was born so I was coughing a lot. Let's just say the effects of coughing and blowing your nose on and around your incision area are pretty painful. Tip from my OB doctor: put a pillow on top of your incision area every time you have to cough, sneeze or blow your nose. It helped tremendously.
5. Wear the abdominal binder as an added layer of protection once you get home. Place a pad over your incision and wear the binder over it. I felt more secure and was able to move around more freely, especially during the first week post-op.
If you are pregnant and reading this, I'm wishing you a smooth recovery period regardless of your delivery method. Enjoy the journey and keep in mind that every struggle is so very worth it once you meet your little one for the first time.