One of the most inconsiderate things you could say to a first time mom, or any mom for that matter, who has gotten a c-section is: “you took the easy way out”. Hold up. Easy? Are you kidding? There is nothing easy about getting cut in the middle of your body what.so.ever.
I understand. We didn’t endure the pain of having to push a baby out of our vagina. We were drugged. We felt nothing during the surgery. Blah. Blah. Blah. We don’t need to hear it. C-section moms already know that they weren’t able to give birth naturally, so believe me when I say you don’t have to repeat it to them another ten times.
But, enough about that. Let’s talk about recovering after the cut.
Or, well, how I recovered afterwards.
The first few hours after my daughter was born, I was still pretty numb. Ambrosia had to stay in the nursery for about 4 hours, so I was able to rest a little. The nurses kept coming in to check my blood pressure, my bleeding, and my incision. Around 6 or 7pm, I started to get some feeling in my lower body back. The pain felt almost unbearable. I couldn’t sit up by myself, move around in my bed, or even hold my daughter properly. Joshua had to tend to her since getting out of bed at the time seemed impossible. At 8pm, one of the nurses came in and told me that I needed to get up and at least walk to the cushioned chair in the room. I didn’t want to at first, but she told me that it was a part of “recovering” and it was mandatory. Since sitting up was getting a tad easier, it wasn’t an issue. However, once I tried to stand, the pain was excruciating. I just stood there. I didn’t want to move; I didn’t want to be touched. Joshua and the nurse helped me to the chair where I sat for a good 15 minutes. I was able to hold my baby while sitting, and I even attempted to breastfeed again. We still had no luck with latching, so the nurse told me I could go and lie down again. The next few days we remained in the hospital because my doctor needed to monitor my incision and make sure it didn’t reopen. The pain was still pretty intense and I was requesting medication every 3 hours. It got a little easier to walk to and from the bathroom, but I still just wanted to lie down majority of the time. The third day of being at the hospital, my doctor finally released me. I was so scared to go home without medication, so he prescribed me Tylenol for the pain. Though I knew being at home wasn’t going to be easy at first, I was so excited to be leaving.
Getting into the car
Hurt. Like a lot. Have help. You will feel every bump on the road, and it will suck. If you’re anything like me, even the slightest of bumps hurt. Tip: Ask someone to bring you a pillow. Hug it while on the road. The pressure will help bear with the pain.
This is where it gets personal. Anyone who has had a baby remembers just how gross you feel since you haven’t showered in a while. Because of the c-section, it was so hard for me to stand for such a long time. I also couldn’t shower by myself. As soon as we got home, I just wanted to be clean. I felt disgusting. So… J had to shower me. Literally. I won’t get into detail, but as a woman, you never want to be that vulnerable. But what can you do?
Getting in and out of bed
Took some time to get used to this. I couldn’t really jump up whenever Ambrosia cried, so J was the one taking her in and out of the crib. After about a week, it got much easier.
Laughing, coughing, and sneezing
OUCH. Yes. OUCH. Hold a pillow against your incision when you need to do any of those things. It really does help.
TAKE STOOL SOFTENERS
I am totally not even kidding. Ask your doctor to prescribe some for you. IT’S A LIFE SAVER. I was so scared to poop the first week because of how painful I was thinking it would be. The pills really do help and were worth the $3.
It gets better with time
Exactly that. I felt extremely better after 2 weeks; I could pretty much do everything on my own and I felt so good about it. When I was first released, I thought I was never going to feel like myself again. However, with time, I healed and started to do things without help.
Recovering Emotionally and Mentally
Having a supportive partner, family, and friends is key. I truly can’t express that enough. In the hospital, I didn’t change Ambrosia once. Do you know how heartbreaking that is because I’m her mother? I’m sure not every woman feels the same after their c-section, but for me, the pain was pretty unbearable. Having J as my partner was truly a blessing. He changed and fed her whenever she started to fuss. It didn’t just stop at the hospital. When we got home, it was so difficult for me to jump out of bed whenever she started to cry. J was waking up every 2 hours or so to make sure she was okay. Breastfeeding was extremely difficult for us in the beginning, so I felt like I was under a lot of pressure. I was depressed. Angry. I felt like I wasn’t a good enough mother. I needed reassurance. I needed to cry. I just needed comfort. Having all my loved ones around really helped me get through this.
It’s okay to ask for help
I hated admitting I needed help taking care of my daughter. But you know what? It’s perfectly fine for people to help you. After a c-section, you shouldn’t be lifting anything heavier than your baby. If you need help, ask. It doesn’t make you any less of a mother. It’s better to heal completely than to try to do everything when your body isn’t quite ready and risk the chance of getting hospitalised again.
As a first time mom, I didn’t want my labor experience like this whatsoever. I pictured the perfect birth. No medication. Perfect latching. Being the one to tend to my child the first hours she was with us. But I didn’t get that. I cried because of how everything happened. I didn’t love myself. I didn’t feel like the mother I wanted to be. Then I realized something so, so important: I carried that child for 9 months. I went through an intensive surgery just to bring her into this world. I am the best mother for her. There is nobody in the entire universe who will love this child more than I could. And because I started thinking a bit more positively, I started to love myself again. I didn’t feel as miserable, and I sure as hell didn’t pity myself for not being able to tend to her when she was first born. I allowed myself time to heal completely. I was finally genuinely happy.
I realise that not every recovery story will be the same as mine. However, I think it’s super important that everyone knows just what a c-section mama has to go through after her surgery. So please, think twice before you tell mamas that they took the easy way out. Because it definitely wasn’t easy.